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No Children Allowed?

Jul29

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No Children Allowed

More and more places have decided they don’t want to have children as customers.  This applies to restaurants, airlines, stores, movie theaters.  Many parents are outraged.  They blame intolerant childless people.  They blame society as whole who they say no longer value children.  They don’t understand how other people would not find their child as precious as they do.

But you know what?  I don’t find other people’s misbehaving children endearing at all.  I am not childless.  As a mother of seven children I fully support these type of bans.

Here is a newsflash, if people parented their kids there would be no reason for places to ban kids completely.

*****

We have seen a lot of movies this summer. Probably more than we have in the past two years combined. (It’s been a long, hot summer in Austin.)

A few weeks ago we were watching the previews, you have to get there in time to watch the previews, all of them, according to my children, when a family came in and sat right across the aisle from us. Two parents and two kids, one about 5 years old and the other about 12- 15 months old. I thought it was odd that they chose to bring a 12-15 month old to the movie theater, since in my parenting experience not one of my children could sit through a movie at that age. But they must know their kid, right? They must know that their kid will sit through a long movie in a darkened theater. Otherwise they wouldn’t have brought her, right?

Yeah.

The movie had not even started when the kid began screeching to get out of the confines of her mother’s lap. Her mother put her down where she proceeded to run up and down the aisle, while both parents sat in their seats and ignored her. Surely once the movie begins they won’t allow this, I thought.

Except that once the movie began it was even worse, because the little girl now wanted one of her parents to walk up and down the aisle with her. And so her parents took turns walking her up and down the aisle, only stopping to try and make her sit down. Where she would scream. They did this for the entire movie.

I wanted to stop them and ask if they were enjoying themselves. I can’t imagine that they were. I wanted to ask them why they didn’t take the girl out of the theater when they realized she wasn’t going to watch the movie.

These people are the reason so many places have enacted policies barring kids from their establishments.

I think we may start attending movies at the Alamo Draft House. They forbid children under six from attending movies at all. They also enforce very strict no talking, no cellphone use/no texting during movies.  Have you seen this video?  It’s a phone call they received by a woman complaining about how she was thrown out of their theater for texting.  It is hysterical and definitely not for watching at work or around your children.

I am going to go out on a limb here where everyone will probably hate me, but if your kid can’t behave appropriately for the place you are bringing him, then you shouldn’t be bringing him. If you know your child can’t be quiet and sit in a chair at a fancy restaurant, then don’t bring him. I don’t care if it is your grandmother’s 90th birthday.  Go some place that is child friendly, but remember just because it might be loud and have a children’s menu, and cups with lids, you still have to parent.  No one thinks your child standing on her chair and singing is cute.  No one thinks your child running around and dancing between tables is adorable.  And no one thinks that your child yelling and screaming is enjoyable.

We were at a restaurant recently where the waitstaff kept commenting how well behaved my children were being. It surprised me because at 6, 8, and 10 years old I thought they were just acting normal. After the fourth or fifth time I finally asked what my kids were doing that was out of the ordinary.  Oh boy, I got an earful.  They were not stories of babies crying, or even toddlers screaming.  They were not stories about parents having to apologetically leave the restaurant and take their food to go. They were all stories about kids running wild while the parents did nothing.

So really, the bans are not about keeping children out. They are about keeping out parents who refuse to parent.  And how can anyone be against that?

* Photo Source

About the author

Chris Jordan

http://notesfromthetrenches.com
Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.

Yes, they are all hers.

No she's not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.

Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That's why her youngest is almost 6.

Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.


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53 Responses to “No Children Allowed?”

  1. Wiley Jul 29 at 5:09 pm Reply Reply

    Another nice feature of the Drafthouse is that they allow kids 3 and up for many kid features during daytime hours. My son was tall and we may have taken him in starting at 2.5. He does well and I think he does better it being the drafthouse, because there are the additional features of food and their is space between your seat and table so he can stand directly in front of his seat.

  2. Melani Jul 29 at 5:10 pm Reply Reply

    I’m with you–I have two children and fully support businesses banning children.  It blows my mind how many people let their kids run wild.  I honestly can’t remember the last meal out we’ve gone to without hearing some child screaming. I also wish we had a theater like the Alamo Draft House near us–I would go to movies more often.  I can’t remember the last time when I went to a movie and just watched the movie rather than listening to adults have regular voice conversations, babies crying in the 8 o’clock showing of Harry Potter (that was last night) or kids running around the theater through the whole movie.  It’s so frustrating. 

  3. Talia Jul 29 at 5:16 pm Reply Reply

    AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We recently took our two year old to see the new Winnie the Pooh movie and was mortified by the behavior of a mother and her daughter in the theater. The two of them sat there and talked through the entire movie, About half way through the movie the little girl started running up and down the isle and yelling. The mom didn’t do a thing. At the end of the movie she started looking around trying to find her daughter. It was absolutely ridiculous. My kid gets one switch to each parent’s lap and then it’s out of the theater if she can’t sit still anymore.
    Oh, & my favorite is the parents who let their children throw fits in places (loud “child friendly” places) and get upset when people glare at them for not controlling their children. I’m sorry, but you deserve to be glared at if you’re ruining other people’s family time with your inability to keep your kid under control.

  4. Heather Jul 29 at 5:39 pm Reply Reply

    I totally agree. There have been a few times that I have had to get up and take one of the boys outside because they were misbehaving, and there have been many more times that I’ve recieved compliments on how my children. We don’t make idle threats in our house. People need to grow up and be parents.

  5. Dawn K. Jul 29 at 6:23 pm Reply Reply

    I think this commentary probably covers many of the important points of this whole debate. I would never imagine bringing Ella (my 15 month old) to a movie, fancy restaurant, or poetry reading. I do feel, though, that she does have a place in a grocery store or somewhere casual like Chipotle. Will she sometimes run away from me down the aisles? Yes. Will I contain her to the cart for not listening? Yes. Do people get pissed when she’s vocal in a cheerful manner or they get slowed down by me trying to juggle groceries and not letting my toddler launch herself out of a cart? YES. This is where it gets all sticky; people who think kids don’t belong anywhere (which of course, is not you), and walking the fine line as to the places where kids may or may not be welcome. I think that Ella would do ok in a place like Olive Garden (more that fast food, but not fancy) as long as she’s constantly distracted, and probably makes a few trips outside to burn off some steam. I make sure to pick up any food she tosses on the floor, we tip well, and we try to not bother other patrons. Some people would most decidedly disagree with me, and profess that they have a right to enjoy their free salad and breadsticks without my kid present, end of story. A grey area that will never be resolved. Thanks for your take on this, Chris!!

  6. suziejd Jul 29 at 10:08 pm Reply Reply

    It’s unfortunate, though.  An outright ban punishes those who do parent along with those who do not. It keeps those of us who would say “this doesn’t work” and LEAVE from being able to make that choice.

    Nevertheless, now that my kids are 13 and 15, I will be thrilled to hear less screeching and yelling. It happened to us at a restaurant just tonight, and it wasn’t enjoyable.  Even though I knew that the parents were tired and just wanted some food without the clean up (just like I did) – I still didn’t want a screaming child a foot away from my dinner. 

  7. Meg Jul 30 at 9:57 am Reply Reply

    This is a great article.  I think Dawn K. above also hits the nail on the head as well.  I can remember 10 short months ago before my son was born.  We used to go to nicer restaurants and yes, I did get annoyed if someone had a loud toddler disturbing everyone.  On the other hand if we went to a casual burger joint I accepted the fact that kids are kids and this is a kid friendly establishment.  Parents need to accept that they are now parents and make some changes in their lifestyles, such as choosing kid friendly places for dinner and finding a babysitter for their 14 month old while they go to a movie.  I am not at all upset by the “kid ban” set forth by some places.  I guess I assume that those places who put forth this ban are those places that I probably wouldn’t/shouldn’t bring my child to anyways.  Now that I’m a parent I try to respect those who aren’t, especially in adult environments. 

  8. Robyn Jul 30 at 6:47 pm Reply Reply

    Bravo – what a great post!

  9. Mary Kay Jul 30 at 10:39 pm Reply Reply

    As a parent of 2 kids who are generally well behaved, I don’t like the universal ban of “no children.” But as one of many who have experienced the misbehaving child and the parent who isn’t parenting, I understand it. When I can, I try to think of something I can do to help a parent who may just be at their wit’s end. Last summer, a child on an airplane was so naughty that the copilot had to speak to him. The mom seemed like a novice traveler who had no idea what to do. When I gave her the bag of Froot Loops that I had brought for my kids, he finally calmed down (and then fell asleep right before landing). But last week, at a museum exhibit for which you had to buy timed-entry tickets, a 3-year-old child fussed through the entire thing and the mom did nothing but stand there and listen to her audio tour. Very frustrating to everyone who was trying to read and listen to the tour, including my 2 children, for whom this other child nearly ruined the experience. When we asked one of the museum attendants to handle the situation, she said there was nothing she could do. Clearly, it was not an appropriate place for a child that age. Unfortunately, the bad behavior will be what dictates the rules, and the good kids (and parents with age-appropriate judgement) will get excluded from things they could have enjoyed and learned from.

  10. Jennifer Jul 31 at 12:15 am Reply Reply

    I work as a cashier at a local grocery store and the simple things I say to children is mindnumbing sometimes, parents need to leave their phones alone or realize that they need to multi task. Talk to me and keep one eye on their kid. “Don’t climb on my till please.” “Don’t put your mouth on the side its really dirty.” “Your child is running for the door by the way.” My all time favourite is “your child is eating a chocolate bar in the next till if your looking for them. (the parent started to do a frantic search)” I feel like some parents disliked the rules their parents enforced and have choosen not to apply those themselves, forgeting that there was a perfectly good reason for why the basic rules were there. I remember as a kid I had to have my hand on the cart at all times or be one step away, no running, no screaming and no asking for things over and over. It was indoor voice whenever inside any building and I didn;t see movies till I was 7 or 8 when I could sit for 90 minutes.

  11. cst Jul 31 at 2:39 am Reply Reply

    You say we should be parenting our children, but you might as well say we should be controlling them. You also mention the importance of them behaving appropriately, which I’m guessing means they should act like adults? Even adults don’t do that. Those seem like unrealistic requests of young children, and I don’t think that the way to teach them how to act in certain situations is to keep them away. My kids are very little, and we often get the compliment that they’re “so well behaved.” I don’t like it, frankly, because it means, “Thanks for keeping your kids quiet so we could pretend they’re not here.” I am teaching my kids to be respectful, of course, but I do that by taking them places, not by leaving them home. Airplanes, weddings, nice restaurants, country clubs … we have been everywhere as a family, and if they start to get loud, excited, or upset, my first response is not, “I must remove them or shut them up before someone gets offended!” What kind of message would that send to my child? No, my response is, “What does my child need in this moment that is causing this behavior?” If I can meet that need without disturbing others, that’s ideal, and I’ll do that whenever I can. If I can’t, the relationship with my child still comes first. 

    The joyful cheering or even the sorrowful wailing of a child in public has never bothered me, and I do happen to think that chair-standing or running/dancing children in restaurants are quite cute. If I have my own kids with me, they enjoy saying hello to new friends, and if I don’t, I appreciate the reminder not to be so serious about my meal that I can’t smile at a happy child or empathize with a sad one.

    It’s not at all that I think everyone finds my children as precious as I do. I know full well that some people don’t like to see kids in certain places, but it’s just as rude to exclude them as it is for children to act obnoxiously when they’re there. Children are people, and they have as much a right to be who they are in public as anyone else. Not at the expense of everyone else, but that’s as much a matter of perception as behavior.

    I’m also inclined to give that family in the movie theatre the benefit of the doubt. Maybe their sitter for the younger one canceled after the 5-year-old was promised a movie, or maybe the younger one has happily sat through a movie before and was just having an off day. We all have off days, and I’ve been far more annoyed by teenagers kicking my seat or grown men answering their phones during the movie than I have ever been by a small child just being a child. Especially during  a family movie. What business is it of yours whether the parents were enjoying themselves walking their baby up and down the stairs? Maybe they were; maybe their perception of enjoyment is just different from yours. Why not assume the best of people?

    • lolsuz Jun 11 at 4:16 pm Reply Reply

      @cst: “What business is it of yours whether the parents were enjoying themselves walking their baby up and down the stairs?” Um, it’s their business because the noise and distraction ruined their ability to focus on the movie they paid good money to see? How can you not understand something so simple?

      You say “What kind of message would that send to my child?” to remove them from a public setting when they’re being disruptive. The message is simple: “We share this space with others so it’s not just about us and our needs.” That’s the bare MINIMUM of being a part of society. It’s not just for kids; it’s for EVERYONE. If you want your child to be included in society, you can’t behave as if you’re the only people on the planet. You can’t have it both ways. You’re teaching your child the exact opposite: “My wishes/needs come first… even ahead of the wishes/needs of a hundred other people who are gathered to enjoy something together.” And how is it doing your child a favor to raise him to be unwelcome; to be shunned by others?

      I’m sorry for the harshness of this next sentence but I don’t know a gentle way to put it: parents like you are exactly the reason for the rise in no-kids-allowed polices.

      Nicole in Paris says she was heartened to read your comment, and she feels sorry for French children being so severely curtailed in public. Nicole sets up such a false dichotomy… either we are responsive to our kids to the point where they’re a public nuisance, or we are so uptight our kids aren’t allowed to touch a sofa. What about the middle ground? Can’t we be loving and bonded and sensitive to our children’s needs AND help them learn to exercise some restraint? I don’t get how some people see this as an “us vs them” deal. That’s the very definition of antisocial.

    • Toni Jun 21 at 8:35 am Reply Reply

      Chair-standing and running around restaurants are forbidden not only because they are annoying but because they are UNSAFE.

  12. M. Jul 31 at 9:54 am Reply Reply

    @cst
    I see your point, though “a child being a child” can mean different things to different people. If a child is making a scene/screaming and making it impossible for anyone present to enjoy their meal/movie/special occasion, I think it is the parent’s resposibility to take care of the child’s needs WHILE also respecting the needs of other people present. Children need to be given limits early on, and those who are not, end up being the teenagers kicking your seat.
    And of course it’s not really anyone’s business whether the parents at the movie theater enjoyed themselves. Obviously, they disturbed the other viewers. One of the parents could have taken the toddler outside while the other remained with the 5 year old. Problem solved.

  13. Nicole in Paris Jul 31 at 10:44 am Reply Reply

    @CST I was so very heartened after reading your response.  I actually live in France where apparently these other commenters would be very happy.  French children are very, very well behaved generally speaking.  But at what cost?  They are barely allowed to speak above a whisper, never allowed to interact with others for fear of disturbing them and definitely NOT touching anything, ever.  //NEW PARA//

    For example, we were at Ikea, a toddler/child friendly place where my young one was gleefully exploring the store.When she picked up one of the (breakable) display items, I bent down and asked her what she found.  She said “blah bloo ree kee”.  I replied, ” bloobadie bloo boo”.  No just kidding.  I just said, “yeah, that’s cool, but we’re gonna keep on moving so please CLEAN UP”.  She understands the last two words well.  She put the little cappucino cups back on the tray and she toddelled off to the next zone.  Meanwhile, a lil French kid was directed to stop touching a couch!  //NEW PARA//

    But that is Ikea, where they love kids (I think)  I have also been taking my 18 month old to the Louvre and other museums since she was just a few weeks old.  These are now environments that she is comfortable in.  She really does understand the concept of looking and not touching.  We have practiced this at home before going out.  //NEW PARA//

    The real world should include children.  It makes the world a better place.  I do believe there are a very few exceptions, movies and romantic restaurants are two of them.  My reasoning has nothing to do with other adults, but the children themselves are not actually able to learn much or do much in these settings.  If a child is included, engaged and learning, the child is not acting a fool.  Kids who are ignored or bored are the ones who seem to amuse themselves in ways that annoy adults./NEW PARA//

    As a result of including my daughter in almost all of our activities, people always respond with surprise that she is only 18 months old.  One big disclaimer, if when she hits the “terrible twos” and changes into one of those obnoxious inconsolable kids (could happen) – yup, we will leave any and every place.  It is about respect, respecting the kid and respecting other people.

  14. Katy Aug 01 at 10:05 am Reply Reply

    Is it going to take a scalding hot skillet of fajitas to be dropped on a child’s head to keep them from running free in a restaurant?  I used to work in a coffee shop and held my breath too many times while children bashed into other customers with big hot cups of coffee, nearly spilling on them.  And parents chatted away without a glance at their kids.  
    I think it’s going to take other parents and people in general to stop pussyfooting around these irresponsible parents.  Call it what it is and embarrass them into proper parenting.  Americans need to grow a pair!  It’s not just rude, its unsafe, and I don’t want to be responsible for your child’s safety. 

  15. blackhuff Aug 02 at 9:02 am Reply Reply

    You said it out loud which no one really wants to because they are afraid of getting thrown by stones.
    You are SO RIGHT in saying that bans are for children who’s parents don’t parent but then also, you get people who have children which does come forth as “not behaved” and then they actually have a medical condition like ADHD or ADD or whatever. This then restaurants see as “naughty children” which is wrong. 
    There’s a fine line when discussing this and also discipline. 

  16. VG Aug 02 at 9:32 am Reply Reply

    For a mother of SEVEN to agree is saying ALOT! I agree with bans. Does it suck that my family gets lumped in when my child behaves? Yes, but I understand WHY. Look @ the changes that have happened during the holiday season. You can’t say Merry Christmas, but you sure as hell got to give recognition to those who celebrate hanukkah & kwanza. This country we live in is turing our children into tolerant wussies, and it starts with the PARENTS! Just be a parent and keep on truckin’!!

  17. kellyhere Aug 02 at 11:50 am Reply Reply

    There’s something a little intolerant about the tone of this article – like, look at all those bad, stupid parents mucking it up for the rest of us. None of us is parenting perfectly, and you know, kids are a part of life. Kids are sort of socially inappropriate by nature, aren’t they? But that doesn’t mean that they should be cloistered away into strictly child-friendly, child-supported environments – I don’t think that’s good for anybody.  

    I certainly wasn’t born old, and can remember behaving badly in public and embarrassing my parents. Not a lot, but it happened, and we all survived, we’re all just fine. Isn’t that part of what you sign up for when you become a parent? And also part of the deal of being human? When you’re a human being in the company of other humans, there will occasionally be small humans in your vicinity, running amok. 

    • Katie Taylor Mar 02 at 5:15 am Reply Reply

      Occasionally ok – but it’s not occasionally – - nowadays it’s all the time, given that many parents don’t believe they should curtail any of their activities to accommodate their kids’ natural limits, fussiness and fatigue, including going to rock shows, fancy restaurants, bars and probably Zen meditation centers.

      I’d be more likely to agree with you that kids should be joyfully accepted as a natural part of modern social life if I were allowed to say something to kids who are getting in my hair, the way I would say something to the smoker in the bus shelter or the cell phone yakker in the theater. If kids in public should be accepted as a part of life, correcting kids who intrude on shared space should be accepted as a natural – even helpful – response too.

  18. kellyhere Aug 02 at 11:54 am Reply Reply

    There’s something a little intolerant about the tone of this article – like, look at all those bad, stupid parents mucking it up for the rest of us. None of us is parenting perfectly, and you know, kids are a part of life. Kids are sort of socially inappropriate by nature, aren’t they? But that doesn’t mean that they should be cloistered away into strictly child-friendly, child-supported environments – I don’t think that’s good for anybody.  
    I certainly wasn’t born old, and can remember behaving badly in public and embarrassing my parents. Not a lot, but it happened, and we all survived, we’re all just fine. Isn’t that part of what you sign up for when you become a parent? And also part of the deal of being human? When you’re a human being in the company of other humans, there will occasionally be small humans in your vicinity, running amok.

    I also take issue with the overheated rhetoric about “parents who refuse to parent!” Talk to you local social services caseworker about parental neglect and child abuse and then get back to me about what it means to refuse to parent. I hardly think that taking your loud, obnoxious kid to a nice restaurant qualifies. 

  19. J Aug 02 at 2:01 pm Reply Reply

    I have no problem with businesses banning children.  If you disagree fundamentally then you have choices and can go to a different place.  
    Children are children.  Period.  They have to be told what to do or they will hurt themselves or act inappropriately in public.  Obviously you can’t control all children all of the time, it’s not constructive and it’s impossible but your job as a parent is to mold a functioning adult.  One day they will have to know that running around in a movie theater is not acceptable behavior, for a 3 year old or for a 50 year old.

  20. Tara Aug 02 at 3:04 pm Reply Reply

    I don’t see the problem with the ban. I don’t want fury creatures in my home, I don’t care if they were just hit by a truck and need to be inside because it’s 20 below zero. That might really tick some of my animal rights activist friends off. Too bad, I’m seriously allergic… and even if I wasn’t… it is my house. I should have the same rights in my place of business. I should have the right to refuse anyone’s money based on something that may negatively affect me, my employees, or my business.
    On the other hand, though, what’s to stop bans for all sorts of differences then? Ban old people, hetero or homosexual people, men or women, black or white, Christian or Buddhist… where does banning people become unacceptable? When they turn six? It might make sense to have very specific policies regarding customer behavior instead of an outright ban, but that would require cooperation from too many different parties & just wouldn’t work in today’s society. Sad.

  21. Katie Aug 02 at 5:04 pm Reply Reply

    Here! Here! Does it seem like this is more common now than it used to be? Even in my own family there are kids running wild destroying things while the parents do nothing.

  22. Laura Aug 03 at 7:44 am Reply Reply

    I think people only see the misbehaving children because they stand out. All the children that are behaving aren’t noticed, so I don’t think *banning* children is a good move. I have no problems with establishments banning misbehaving children, but what percentage of children are actually misbehaving? It’s ageist–assuming children will misbehave simply because they are children. What if we noticed people of another race misbehaving? Would we generalize it to the entire race? Our country has been there, done that, and it doesn’t yield pretty results.

    Picking on people who have no means to fight back isn’t a good thing, it’s bullying. If managers of these establishments had the balls to actually manage–kicking out the parents who don’t know how to parent, maybe this would be unnecessary. I have seen many misbehaving children, but I’ve seen far more misbehaving adults. 

  23. Emily Aug 03 at 3:37 pm Reply Reply

    Laura, then you’re leaving it up to perspective and no one would enforce it. And definitely asking for more conflict and that conflict would be counterproductive to the ‘nice atmosphere’ the establishments are trying to create. I agree with the ‘ban’ personally. I have a 10month old and there are places I don’t take her and times of the day when I don’t take her to other places. I have asked for my food to be boxed up and left several times when my child was upset (teething – what can you do?) and it was possible that other people would be bothered. It’s part of this time of my life. When my child is older, a lot of things will change. I know this. As for kellyhere who talked about ‘not parenting’ being a bigger thing and not such a small thing, I really disagree. Certainly there’s a difference in the kind of not-parenting that qualifies as neglect and the kind of not-parenting that qualifies as rude to others and not teaching your child properly. Yes, children need an opportunity to be in public and learn how to behave. But parents who take children into public and do not actually take the time to teach them how to behave aren’t parenting – they’re just carrying kids along with them. The IKEA/France example is a cultural one and CST is right that you need to figure out what the child needs as opposed to jumping straight into disciplining them, but that’s a whole other issue in my book.

  24. Julia Aug 03 at 9:13 pm Reply Reply

    It’s important to bring children out into society so they learn how to behave. I take my daughter out to family-friendly restaurants early in the evening fairly often. And on the ONE occasion we realized this was a very bad idea, we packed up and left.

    When I go out with The Husband for a fancy meal, it’s usually later in the evening, after my toddler goes to bed. So after I have shelled out for a nice meal and paid a sitter and shaved my frickin’ legs and wore fancy shoes and left my kid at home, I’m am EXTRA miffed when my nice meal is ruined by someone else’s kid. Do I support the ban? No. But in a land where stupid people are outbreeding the sensible, I don’t see what choice they have.

  25. Melissa Aug 05 at 2:26 pm Reply Reply

    This last month I had to drive my oldest son to a town an hour away twice a week for a baseball clinic.  We usually ended up getting home late so it was easier to feed the kids in the other town before heading home.  We found a family friendly restaurant that had a good selection and it became our twice a week place the duration of his clinic.  The waitresses came to know us and were great.  Three different times we were approached by other patrons, mostly seniors, and complimented on how well behaved my three boys were. I was surprised every time especially since one of those times I had escorted my 8 year old to the bathroom to have a talk about throwing crayons.  I think a lot of it was that when I am out with my kids we talk, play tic tac toe on a piece of paper, I am involved and paying attention to them and stopping any misbehavior as soon as it starts.  I see a lot of parents on their phones or talking to each other completely ignoring the kids.

  26. Lori Aug 05 at 3:12 pm Reply Reply

    As a mother of 6, I say Amen Sister!

  27. edj Aug 05 at 5:01 pm Reply Reply

    I both agree and disagree with you. (I hold all the views ;) On the one hand, I can’t stand it when parents don’t parent, but instead allow their kids to run wild. The case you mentioned is actually mind-blowing, but I can think of others from my own experience. On the other hand, I do have an anecdote the other way. I have 3 kids, and usually when we took them out we got covered in compliments about how well behaved they were. But once, at a Starbucks, I was letting the twins (then 2 or 3) play in a little area where no one else was. They were chattering to each other but weren’t being loud. And I got totally chewed out by another customer who was trying to have a library-quiet coffee experience.
    Basically, to sum up this essay I’m writing in comments, I think both sides need to give. Parents need to parent. Kids can and should be taught to sit still, to respect the needs of others, etc. But the others also need to recognize that kids aren’t evil, that sometimes they will wriggle and be difficult, and that part of living in society means that we won’t always be in our comfort zone.

    ***********
    Isabel says: I like you! You are one reasonable woman.

  28. Anke Aug 05 at 5:42 pm Reply Reply

    AMEN!!! I couldn’t agree with you more. it drives me completely nuts when parents don’t actually parent and let their kids run amok.

  29. hennifer Aug 05 at 7:51 pm Reply Reply

    I am against it because it is punishing the majority for the crimes of the minority. I have heard the horror stories but I have rarely if ever seen that type of behavior and we are a busy, social family. As I always tell me kids before heading into an establishment “remember your personal space, everyone else here did not come to eat/watch movie/listen to music with you”. I think the bans take the place of what should be discussions with individuals and per your previous article us realizing that sometimes while uncomfortable we need to speak up when we see other parents parenting badly or not at all.

  30. Carrie Aug 05 at 10:23 pm Reply Reply

    I agree completely with what you said. I have five children and I know that taking them to certain places is completely out of the question. We actually did go to a nicer restaurant recently though and I was very happy with the way they behaved. If any of them had misbehaved I would have removed them from the restaurant as to not disturb the other patrons. It is just the way that it is when they are little kids. As a side note, I recently went to a movie. On the way out I saw a sign that stated that no children under six would be allowed in rated R movies with their parents after six in the evening. I would think it would be common sense to not bring them ever!

  31. Wookie Aug 05 at 11:07 pm Reply Reply

    as much as I can’t support people who let their kids do things that are majorly disruptive, inappropriate or dangerous, i can’t get behind a ban, either. Mostly because I think the ban targets the wrong group… If we could have a general asshole ban I’d be all for it… That would get the problem parents out of the picture as well as the generic badly behaved adult.

    *********
    Isabel says: agreed. we need an “asshole ban.”

  32. Wendy Aug 05 at 11:36 pm Reply Reply

    100% completely agree.

  33. Nicki Aug 06 at 12:33 am Reply Reply

    More than once we have left a restaurant due to the crying of our children when they were babies.  After the 2nd or 3rd time, we quit going until we could reason with our kids on proper restaurant behavior.

    Why in the world would anyone want to go to a theater to pace the aisle…..

  34. Paulla Aug 06 at 10:34 am Reply Reply

    I couldn’t agree more. By the time my kids were 2, 3, and 9, I had them so well trained that I found I couldn’t stand most other people’s kids. What is it with people? Ugh. My kids are now 17, 18 and 24 and they are still a delight!

  35. Angela Aug 06 at 11:52 pm Reply Reply

    As a waitress, I would LOVE to work in a restaurant that banned small children. It is torturous to listen to the same baby wail for an hour, not only because of the noise but because it is infuriating to realize that parents will let a child cry for that long and not leave. A little fussiness is a minor annoyance, but no one wants to hear a newborn cry for their entire meal.
    Furthermore, a lot of parents don’t seem to recognize how dangerous it is for their kids to run wild. We carry trays that weigh up to thirty pounds, filled with scalding hot food or dirty dishes, through very narrow aisles. When children are jumping all over the place or running around corners, we may not see them coming and we can’t guarantee we won’t drop those trays when a kid runs into us at full speed. I’m also surprised how many parents will let their kids just go hang out in the lobby, out of their view… we don’t know whose kids they are, and it’s really not up to us to make sure they don’t wander outside or leave with the wrong people. It’s unfortunate that parents whose children do behave won’t be able to take their kids out to businesses with the bans, but if there were any in my town I would certainly take advantage of them!

  36. Lisa Aug 07 at 2:13 am Reply Reply

    THANK YOU! Could not agree more…all it does is make for an uncomfortable situation for everyone…not just the parent(who may or may not care about their screaming child or even be bothered by it), but for all the others who are trying to enjoy their meal/movie/etc…

    Same goes for grocery shopping/target/walmart, etc…I see more people screaming at their children…I’m not saying my kids were perfect, but there were MANY times I left the cart and had to come back because they were just not behaving(usually when they were under 2 yrs old), but I learned VERY quickly when they were in a better mood for shopping and did it during that time of the day ;)

  37. annmarie Aug 09 at 9:22 am Reply Reply

    It’s not misbehaving children who bother me when I am out. It is misbehaving adults who typically ruin dinner/movie expriences. Ever since I’ve had children I’ve realized something – other people’s crying, screaming, loony kids don’t bother me. It’s only my children who can drive me insane and irritate me. When I see other kids acting poorly I just thank god it’s not my kid and get back to ignoring it. But I can hardly ever ignore or tune out obnoxious and rude adult patrons. I guess we’ve just come to accept rude adults as the norm but kids are a bother. Have you ever been out to eat and heard someone screaming at the waitress because their food was cold or not served properly? I have and I would take a running, jumping kid any day of the week. Or how about the people who gab on their cell phones loudly so that everyone within a mile radius can her them. And also I have to say, as a parent of 4 kids, I have had to witness my own kids acting foolishly and it stinks. Sometimes I’ve been able to get it under control and other times, for whatever reason, things go terribly wrong. And it’s always the stares of other adults that make me feel rotten about myself and have me sheepishly leaving the place. There are a lot of parents commenting here who seem to imply that they have perfect children. Ick. Humilty people, humilty, It’s a wonderful thing!

  38. Headless Mom Aug 09 at 11:27 am Reply Reply

    AMEN, Chris! Thank you for putting on virtual paper what I’ve been feeling for YEARS.

  39. Christy Aug 09 at 4:19 pm Reply Reply

    Absolutely. I like the comment about the Drafthouse allowing kids during daylight. I don’t go to movies often, as its expensive, so it’s a treat for me & my husband. So we try to go later in the evening, to mitigate the amount of rude parents/kids. We recently saw the 9:30pm showing of Capt America & surprisingly there were still a few parents with kids there who were definitely under 6. It’s ridiculous to expect children of that age to be up that late, at a movie that probably has scary parts to them, to behave well. Fortunately, the kids close to use did really well, better than the teen next to me who was texting. But I am to the point that I definitely would have gone to the manager if they had been loud. I approve of this new trend & think we’ll see more of it; as budgets get tighter, people are tolerate les rudeness. If I can only afford to go on a date night with my husband once a month or less, I’m going to speak up when the movie we paid $40 to see is interupted. Yes, every child acts up occasionally & I am sympathetic to that. But it is up to the parent to make the hard choice & demonstrate the importance of respecting other people. It’s not about having perfect children, it’s about putting the children’s need for boundries ahead of the parent’s desire to go to an adult movie. And I really feel sorry for the parents who have saved up enough for a night out plus babysitting money, who then have to deal with other people’s rudeness.

  40. Raquel Aug 09 at 4:30 pm Reply Reply

    THANK YOU!!! I do not have children yet, but I work with them and trust me I love kids, but what parents dont see is the experience from the child’s point of view. In the situation you described, that child cannot enjoy the movie, they do not understand what is going on. You are forcing them to sit (or hang out) in the dark. I think if we could see a situation from the child’s point of view, we could see that they will not enjoy a place that has a policy banning them in the 1st place. When children are banned from Chuck E Cheese, then you have a point.

  41. Lucinda Aug 11 at 6:35 pm Reply Reply

    There is a difference between expecting good behavior and expecting a child to be a “little adult”.  Many who have taken offense to this article have said that we must allow children to be children and they won’t know how to behave unless we expose them to different environments.  These are both true statements.  HOWEVER, we must keep it age appropriate.  We wouldn’t throw a child in the deep end of a pool if they didn’t know how to swim even though swimming is an important skill.  We start in the shallow end first with them learning to put their face in the water, blow bubbles, kick with a kickboard, etc.  until we get up to diving in the deep end.  The same can be done with taking kids out.  We start with family friendly places where that are appropriate for the developmental level of our child.  Fine dining or a broadway play is not appropriate for a 2 year old.  Period.  But because many people do not use this good judgement, these bans have been put in place and are sadly necessary in our society.  They aren’t a result of intolerance.  They are a result of poor parenting.

  42. Leila Aug 13 at 1:28 am Reply Reply

    I fully agree with the article.  Not only must we keep different environments age appropriate, but we should also keep our egos in check.  Unfortunately, there is a new trend in our society that children are all “special,” hence the ridiculous comments about how certain children are “more energetic than others.”  ALL YOUNG CHILDREN are energetic; if a child is not, then there’s something medically wrong.  While there’s something unique about every child, no child or his/her parents have the right to override the rights of others.  If a couple go to a fancy restaurant to enjoy a quiet dinner, then they should be allowed to do so.  The parents can find a family-friendly restaurant (such as Chuck E. Cheese’s or Mickey D’s). It’s common sense.  Moreover, this poor example of “me-me-me” set by the parents create problems later in the child’s life; he/she will grow up with a monumental and narcissistic sense of entitlement that will preclude his/her integration into society.     

  43. Emily Aug 14 at 5:57 pm Reply Reply

    I think that’s a very good way to put it, Lucinda!

  44. Laura Jun 06 at 3:33 pm Reply Reply

    Makes me think and ponder….What about a child that is austistic? Do you think they should be banned? Even if they are well parented, they still may have have a need to make noises.  And how would you know if a child has an invisible disability like FSA (fetal  alcohol  syndrome) which could be why they are “acting out” ? What would you do in a movie theatre/ restaurant if a child was sitting near you who had Tourette’s and did loud verbal tics every 5 minutes? What about kids like this who make noise/ act out? How would you feel with them in a restaurant or movie theater? 

  45. Laura Jun 06 at 4:03 pm Reply Reply

    Meant hidden disability, not invisible. Sorry.

  46. Susan Jun 10 at 11:00 pm Reply Reply

    I once dated a man FAR longer than I should have because he told me quite solemnly that, once we had kids, he was prepared to never finish either a meal or a movie. Because if they acted up, it was out the door! Even tho’ I didn’t marry him, I still lived up to that code. I would be mortified if my children ever ruined someone else’s meal or movie, & I’m not about to sit quietly by while someone else’s do/es.

  47. Susan Jun 12 at 3:12 pm Reply Reply

    The either/or bs in this post is frustrating. Yes, I parent my children. I’m constantly parenting, teaching them to behave, correcting behavior. Sometimes they get it. And sometimes they don’t. I’m astounded at the number of responses here from parents who seem to have children who always behave perfectly. As in, all the time. Clearly you don’t live on the same planet as me. My children are human. And furthermore, one of my children has autism. Sometimes he’s perfectly fine when we go out. In fact, often. And I pre-plan everything we do to try to make it work for him. But sometimes he has an off day. Should we always stay indoors so as not to upset the rest of you and your perfect children? Perhaps. But perhaps you should also be a little less quick to judge. Some of the posts here are just ridiculously intolerant.

    • Abbs Aug 29 at 4:22 am Reply Reply

      If your kid is truly autistic, it’s a whole different ballgame and it’s understandable. More often, tho,  people claim that their kid is autistic when they really aren’t. It’s more of an excuse the same way they use ADD, ADHD, or whatever other non-existent alphabetic condition is in fashion at the moment as an excuse for crappy behaviour. My friend has an autistic son who it’s obvious to see that he IS autistic, but there are plenty of people who claim they have an autistic child when it’s actually just crappy parenting.

  48. Katie Taylor Mar 02 at 5:18 am Reply Reply

    Great article! Very well articulated.

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