BY NANCY SCHRINER
What’s wrong with kids’ behavior today, and why does no one want them around?
Do kids today behave so badly that no one wants to have them around? We are all familiar with restaurant signs which state, “No shoes, No shirts, No service!,” but have you seen one that says, “Screaming Children will NOT be Tolerated?” You would if you visited Olde Salty’s in Carolina Beach, North Carolina. According to the owner, Brenda Armes, “The only ones who seem to get upset are the ones who don’t control their children.” Owner Mike Vuick of a Pittsburgh area restaurant, McDain’s agrees. In July his establishment banned children under the age of 6. That decision welcomed national publicity. He explains, “the policy came in response to complaints I received from older customers.” Of the 2,000 e-mails he received, they were running 11 to 1 in favor of his decision. A Pittsburg TV news channel website revealed that of 10,000 votes cast, 64% supported the ban.
Restaurants are not the only businesses considering a ban on young children. “Quiet cabins” are currently in use on railways in Great Britain which segregate children from adults. Malyasia Airlines has already banned infants from flying in first class. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are also considering child free zones or child free planes. Director David Chapple, of “The Business Travel and Meetings” trade show says that those paying more for their flight have a right to complain. “It’s understandably frustrating for business travelers, who have paid a premium in expectation that they can work and sleep in comfort, to have that peace disturbed by children,” he told the Daily Mail.
Unquestionably, the “No Kids Allowed” movement is spreading. In the meantime, some might wonder if banning children is even legal. Federal law will not allow discrimination of race, color, religion, natural origin or disability, but banning children from businesses is not included in the list. In any case, business owners have always had the legal right to throw out or not invite in any citizen who is being disruptive.
“While we support the freedom of Georgia’s restaurants to determine proper conduct for guests dining in their establishments,” said Georgia Restaurant Association Executive Director Karen Bremer, “We also know that many restaurants welcome children.” Bremer adds, “In fact, more that 15,000 restaurant locations are participating in the new Kids LiveWell initiative which offers healthful menu items for children. Many parents are looking for better-for-you menu options when they dine out. This program empowers parents to make informed decisions about their children’s meals as part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
Customers of all ages expect to enjoy their meals and flights without unwanted distractions or noise, whether they have small children or not. “I’m a mother of small children myself,” says Macon mom Laurie Bradshaw, “I’m very conscious of how my children act in public. If my children are fussy or disrupting other people, then we leave.” She goes on to say, “There are some restaurants where it’s probably best not to take small children.”
Elsie Clements, Peach county grandmother of seven says, “I get frustrated when I go into a restaurant and a family comes in and sits near me and allows their children to be loud and throw food—maybe the restaurants could have a section for children.” “However,” she continues, “I do enjoy taking my grandchildren out to eat, but I make them behave!” We couldn”t agree more. As much as we love children, it is our opinion that the best solution for both restaurants and airlines would be to have a separate area for adults when they have children in tow. Or conversely, shops, restaurants, and airlines could offer special “no kids” hours. Thirty years ago, it was not uncommon for young children to dine with their parents in the most expensive restaurants. But sadly today, there are just too many parents who have not taken the time to instill proper public behavior in their children. So is it fair to ask others to pay the consequences?
Businesses that ban children might experience a backlash. But finally, only business owners can decide what is best for their business.
FOR THE BAN BECAUSE PARENTS WITH CHILDREN CAN BE:
•oblivious to reality
•inconsiderate of others
•lazy about disciplining their children
•disruptive behavior in public by any age should not be tolerated
•too cheap to get a sitter
•children should be taught that misbehaving in public disrespects others
AGAINST THE BAN BECAUSE PEOPLE WITHOUT CHILDREN SHOULD:
•not be so critical of young parents and their parenting skills
•not be so ultra sensitive to noise
•remember what it’s like to have young children
•no one is perfect all the time and temper tantrums will happen
•it is not realistic to expect perfection in little children