Open Letter to Parents of Screaming Child in Maine Diner

Originally published on July 28, 2015.

Meet Darla Neugebauer, the Maine restaurant owner who went a tad bit berserk and yelled at a patron’s screaming toddler.

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Evidently the mom of the screaming child, Tara Carson, was so upset by the incident, she went on a Facebook rant, which ended up going viral. A couple of ABC affiliates picked up on the story and gave Ms. Neugebauer the opportunity to defend her actions. Watch.

Not to be outdone by Neugebauer, Ms. Carson shared her side of the story to the POSTEVERYTHING section of the Washington Post in an op-ed she titled, I’m the Mom Whose Encounter With an Angry Maine Diner Owner Went Viral. Here’s What Happened.

Whenever something like this happens a debate surfaces over whether it’s ever okay to yell at somebody else’s kid. The answer is no, but can we at least agree every single person in that restaurant, except for that kid’s parents, probably wanted to do what Darla Neugebauer did? It just so happened she was the first one to come completely unhinged.

Whether the parents of that screaming toddler are so smitten with their child they were oblivious to just how annoying a kid screaming in a restaurant can be or they’re just jerks, it’s obvious they need to face some cold, hard facts. Here goes.

Dear Parents of Screaming Kid,

If you want to avoid pissing off people in restaurants, you need to get on board with the whole once-you-become-a parent-your-life-changes thing. In other words, you are not entitled to the same privileges as people without kids. I’m certain you no longer do whatever the hell you please, whenever you please so what makes you think you are entitled to sit and enjoy a peaceful meal at a restaurant when your kid is screaming her head off? And I don’t care how long you had to wait for your pancakes.

I’m not suggesting you should refrain from dining out with your precious darling, but at least acknowledge she does not enjoy these restaurant outings nearly as much as you do and behave accordingly. In other words, it is incumbent on you to entertain her and keep her from becoming a nuisance. Please be mindful that while cute baby games and songs are preferable to screaming and crying, strangers trying to enjoy a meal may still be annoyed by snowflake’s animal impressions, clapping demonstrations and enthusiastic hand gesturing to the tune of your painfully pitchy rendition of The Wheels on the Bus. This is because – and I know it’s difficult to fathom – no one likes your kid as much as you do. 

Likewise, no one thinks your child is as charming and adorable as you do. Seriously. I say this from personal experience as the mother of the most undeniably, captivatingly beautiful babies ever born. (See below.) 11021543_1082984345051051_4909453282861915548_o906068_1122650474417771_5716070557219998231_o

Obviously, whenever I went out in public with these little cherubs, people noticed us. We’d receive warm glowing smiles and oooohs and ahhhhhs and nods and adoring gazes. Still every now and again even I, the mother of the most undeniably, captivatingly beautiful babies ever born, would encounter some aloof, misguided soul who failed to see their adorableness. I know it seems impossible, but I offer this fact as undeniable proof that no one thinks your child is as charming and adorable as you do.

Back on topic. The bottom line is if you want to keep restaurant managers from yelling at your kid and complete strangers from casting dirty looks your way, don’t allow your precious darling to act like a savage. If she does, get her the heck out of the place. Don’t let her scream. Don’t let her run around. Don’t let her climb on stuff not meant for climbing on. Don’t let her throw food. Don’t let her lean over the backs of booths and grope at somebody else’s hair with her grubby, sticky little hands. Basically, don’t let her pull the kind of crap that gets adults kicked out of restaurants. Capisci?

Children cry and scream and have meltdowns. Left to their own devices that’s what they do. It’s up to parents to teach their children how to behave like civilized human beings. Darla Neugebauer claims she snapped after being forced to endure 40 minutes of your child’s screaming. According to you, it was 10 minutes. Either way, since you’ve clearly been around a screaming kid, you know any amount of time is way too much. So here’s my question for you. Why didn’t you get up off your ass and take her outside?

Don’t hand me that we-were-on-the-road-and-it-was-raining line of baloney. Unless you were road tripping on a pack mule or a camel, that’s no excuse. Next time your kid cries or screams or has a meltdown in a restaurant give it three or four minutes max and then GO SIT IN YOUR CAR until she stops. You may never get to finish eating, but guess what: once you become a parent your life changes. You’re going to miss a meal every now and then. You won’t starve.

Now, you’re probably wondering where I stand on the matter of whether it’s ever okay to yell at someone else’s kid. Or perhaps more important, do I believe Darla Neugebauer should have slammed her hands down on the counter and shouted, “This has to stop!” at your child? Absolutely not. She should have slapped screamed at you instead.


The mother of the most undeniably, captivatingly beautify babies ever born who grew up to be dashing men with impeccable table manners because they weren’t allowed to behave like savages in restaurants as children.


Copyright © 2015 Just Another Ordinary Day All Rights Reserved