I bet you never thought that when you had kids you wouldn’t be able to take them out in public.
That day has come, parents, and I have mixed feelings about this new trend. When my kids were younger, it was extremely difficult to listen to any bit of raised volume, let alone high-pitched squealing.
There’s just something about a child’s shrill screams that can be bloodcurdling to parents, let alone others. Kids come with these boisterous antics that are part of the package — all parents deal with this issue at one point or another.
If I don’t want to hear it from my own kids, I know others aren’t going to want to listen to it, either. But should that mean that parents of younger or ill-behaved children shouldn't be able to enjoy going out with their kids or at least be able to make the attempt?
Restricting Kids, Improving Business
Apparently, many business owners across the country don’t want to subject their patrons to your children’s misbehavior, either. Recently, the “No Kids Allowed” movement seems to be sweeping across our nation, taking bold steps to ban or limit kids from restaurants, air transportation, movie theaters, living communities and more.
But what does this really mean?
Not only is this a controversial stride gaining jaw-dropping public attention; it’s also gaining a lot of support from kid-free adults and surprisingly even some parents. And the kicker: Business is booming for those adopting the new rules.
Of course, there are many people who are outraged and even feel that discrimination is at work here, and therefore these bans should be illegal. The fact is, we live in America, where private businesses have a right to set their terms.
This brat-free revolution seemed to be kick-started when Malaysia Airlines banned children from first-class cabins, prompting many other airlines to consider changing their policies. A Whole Foodsstore in Missouri now offers kid-free hours – for those who don’t want to be bothered with screaming kids in carts, I can only assume. Since when is grocery shopping meant to be a Zen experience?
In Florida, a homeowners association in Edgewater is considering banning children from playing outside, citing safety concerns. Kids not allowed to play outside their homes? Isn’t that a natural right? Just last month, DeFrains restaurant in Pennsylania started banning kids younger than 6. Sorry little one, you’re out of luck, but your brother gets to eat.
This all could be coming to a business near you, so don’t be surprised when you end up ordering takeout or renting movies a lot more often.
Are Irresponsible Parents to Blame?
St. Petersburg parent Jeff Carter does not agree with what businesses are doing, but he understands what may have led to this extreme push.
“It’s wrong for businesses to ban kids, but to be fair they do it because too many parents won't be responsible when in social settings with their small children," he said. "Many parents use social settings as a babysitter, and it’s wrong, but it will continue due to lack of parenting skills and education.”
I get it. No one wants to expect to have a nice evening only for it to be ruined by unruly tikes who are not behaving appropriately. Trust me, there were many times that my ex and I would attempt to go out to dinner with our kids when they were much younger.
You can’t always predict what your children’s mood or behavior may be, but it’s a parent’s job to react accordingly. On several occasions, one of us would be left at the table to eat while the other was outside calming an upset child until they were able to return to the table calmly.
We were always considerate of those around us. Granted, not all parents react that way, and I have no issues with restaurant staff asking a parent to take a child outside until the situation can be resolved.
Sometimes Disruptions Just Happen
We grew up knowing how to behave at a very young age, but I don’t think all parents today take the time to reinforce proper manners. However, this isn’t always the issue. Sometimes parents just have a situation to deal with – nothing more, nothing less.
I also take no offense if businesses establish dedicated family areas and adult-only zones. Banning kids altogether is questionable; however, I think there can be exceptions.
It’s not uncommon for vacation resorts, bed and breakfasts, and even cruise lines to offer adult-only facilities. I have no issue with this, and it’s nice to know if I want to go on a quiet respite that I have those options available. If a business is catering to a certain clientele and young children would not be conducive to the services and environment, I think it does have the right to be exclusive.
We need to look at this issue realistically, and it will be interesting to see how far this “No Kids Allowed” movement goes. The way I look at it, if a business is willing to risk losing my business permanently, then it wasn’t after it from the start.
There are plenty of kid-friendly places that will be glad to accept my patronage. I’m OK with this. Just make sure that when the obnoxious guy talking on his cellphone disrupts everyone's meal, you kick him out, too.
Find kid-friendly restaurants in the Pinellas Beaches Patch directory.