We received a massive response to yesterday’s post regarding the conflict of the canceled sing-a-longs at the Oak & Iris Café in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. The ensuing comments amply demonstrated what a touchy subject children’s behavior in public places is, -- and not just in Brooklyn (although much was made earlier this year about a surprising trend in that New York City borough of bringing babies into bars). In this instance, of course, the establishment wasn’t a bar but rather a perfectly well-intentioned, emphatically family-friendly restaurant. However, as the café’s owner explains in her open letter to the community (re-posted by the Brooklyn blog, The Kensington Prospect), the damage and costs incurred by the sing-a-longs rendered them a liability to her business. She’s since been caught between a rock and hard place. Either she’s alienating potential customers, losing business and hosting an unmanageable event that accrues property damage or she’s fielding notes from angry parents and threats of a boycott. In the wake of the event, Joan Molloy of the New York Daily News wrote an interesting piece today, further examining the parenting challenges of managing children in restaurants. Molloy suggests bringing distractions like crayons or – more crucially – teaching your children some manners and respect before bringing them out to restaurants. Parents, how have you prepared your children before eating out with them? Do you try to pre-empt their restlessness with activities or distractions? Do you sit them down and give them a lecture in advance? Or do you let them be and hope for the best? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.