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Is It Ever OK for a Business Owner to Yell at a 2-Year-Old?

toddler meltdown

Toddlers throw tantrums. This is just a fact of life, kind of like how the sky is blue and the grass is green. However, is it justifiable for someone other than the parent to reprimand the child? This question has been in the minds of many after a recent controversy when the owner of Marcy’s Diner in Portland, Maine severely reprimanded a screaming child in her place of business. Darla Neugebauer, owner of the diner, has been congratulated by some and hailed as a villain by others.

What exactly happened that caused this explosive stir? Both business owner and mother of the child went to social media to air their sides of the story. Tara Carson, mother of the crying toddler, wrote in a now deleted Facebook post on the diner’s profile that her experience was the “worst” and the owner is a “lunatic.” Apparently, the owner went absolutely ballistic because the child was crying after a 40 minute wait for the food.

marcy's diner

Of course, Neugebauer responded to the post in two separate comments, detailing in bad grammar and excessive profanity how the argument all started over…wait for it…pancakes. Apparently, the parents of the toddler ordered three large pancakes, which their server even suggested was an excessive amount. When the ordered appeared to take too long, the child threw a tantrum and Neugebauer wasn’t having it, literally telling the child to, “shut the hell up.”

READ: Does ‘Crying it Out’ Screw Your Kid for Life?

It’s clear there are no winners here. Was anyone justified? Are there hard and fast rules about children in restaurants? The answer to both questions: No. Both sides seem to disagree on exactly what happened, so it’s impossible to say who was “more” right than the other.

Regardless, it is possible to sympathize with both Carson and Neugebauer, because both parties are allowed to make their own rules–Neugebauer is right–she can set any policy for her diner as long as it’s not discriminatory (and let’s remember, a 40 minute tantrum can be disruptive to other patrons). However, Carson can also parent however she feels is best for her child, and it’s important to remember that no child is the same, and a new day presents new complications. Sometimes, children just need to let it out.

Of course, our piece of advice: Use your inside voice and don’t scream at a crying child, because think about it–if anyone can out-scream anyone, it’s a toddler–you’re not going to win. Besides, it’s just bad behavior. And, you know, be cognizant of where you are–sometimes, the best thing is to just leave.

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