We’ve all had moments where we were out somewhere – maybe having a meal, maybe seeing a movie, maybe on a bus/train/plane – where we’ve thought, “Someone needs to tell that kid to knock it off.” When some parents mix entitlement with a lack of common sense, is creating specifically kid-free places the answer?
A recent op-ed on an Australian news site talks about establishments that have made themselves “no kids zones,” specifically a microbrewery called The Raccoon Club.
The rules of the club, whose owners want adults to relax and not modify their behavior because of children, have drawn complaints from parents who, according to one report, “cannot see the harm in having the odd family in there on a sunny afternoon.”
I don’t agree with the article’s opening of, “Once upon a time, children were seen and not heard,” since I do not find anything wrong with a well-behaved child contributing to the conversation in the right environment. The post is not particularly well-written, either. However, I still think it’s well within the rights of places that serve primarily adult beverages to limit who can be in there. In the U.S., some laws insist upon it. Just because one place says no does not mean there aren’t other options.
Regarding “modified behavior,” how many of you know that person who, when hearing the faintest whiff of a curse word or a sex joke, will make a big huffing deal if children are nearby? Now, how many of you know someone who would do the same thing if they’d brought their children to a bar-like place? My precious angel must never hear the word “hell” because Mummy couldn’t get a babysitter.
Look, when you make the decision to bring your child to a place that is primarily frequented by adults, you cannot control the content of that environment beyond leaving it.
I have two kids, eight and five, and I have brought them along to places where children are infrequently seen – an art show, an all-ages concert, etc. – though it is always within the rules of the establishment. It is always with the pre-game pep talk of, You will not act like wild animals in there. It is not the You Show. We are here for [X] reason, and I expect you to behave. They know what is expected of them, and if they misbehave, I will not hesitate to leave because, guess what, I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, and that other people do not need to endure whatever fit my children might have. They’re older now, and therefore less prone to fits, but one never knows.
The only parenting decision I am judging here is the selfishness involved in: A) letting your kid misbehave to the detriment of others’ enjoyment; and B) acting as though you are entitled to do so. It’s rude. If your child cannot handle a sit-down meal in a nicer restaurant without getting bored and loud, then do not eat there with your child. Everyone will be happier.
What do you think? Where do you draw the line for “kid-friendly?” Do you think the child-free establishments are overreacting, or do you think the parents complaining are?