As discussed previously, passable table manners in children are not achieved without tremendous effort. Thus, when the well mannered modern mother is at last ready to introduce her little dears to the world of out-of-the-home dining the last thing she needs is the Visigoths charging into the Forum leaving a trail of carnage and destruction in their wake. In other words, as a delightfully well mannered friend recently asked 'What can you do when you have taken your generally well behaved children out to eat with another family only to discover that their progeny are not even acquainted with the basics of civilized dining?' While obviously making a mental note to “never do this again” the well mannered mother still needs to get through the next 45 minutes. Or not. In such a case the well mannered no-nonsense-mother has every right to give her own children two very clear warnings and at the third offense bundle them home (paying the bill whether her food has arrived or not) to a dinner of pb&j.
If she chooses to remain and fight the good fight she should focus on the basics - keeping her children seated and speaking at a reasonable volume. The exception, of course, is al fresco dining in which case they are welcome to play on the lawn before and after the meal arrives. Assuming there is no fresco and the other children are tearing around the restaurant, making inappropriate noises, throwing rolls, putting straws up their noses and quoting the Black Eyed Peas while the other mother is sipping her slow gin fizz studiously ignoring her terrific children – what then? In such a scenario the well mannered mother can hardly expect her children to be impervious to such wild temptation. Instead of shrieking like a Harpy or getting into it with her 'friend' the best a well mannered mother can probably do is quietly remind her children what is expected of them and point out that there are other people in the restaurant trying to have a nice dinner. The sirens’ call of dessert might also have some effect. Other than that, breathe, have a glass of prosecco and promise yourself you will never ever, ever go out to dinner with those children again. As for your own children, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and you should have them back in shape in a month or two.