No Kids Allowed

I ran across this article (Restaurant bans kids under 6. Discrimination or smart move? – Parenting on Shine) tonight, and found it rather annoying.

Apparently, a Pennsylvania eatery will ban children under age 6 beginning next week. From the article:

The owner of the “upscale, casual and quiet” restaurant explains to WTAE Local News, he’s got nothing against kids in general, but their endless screams at public dinner tables are “the height of being impolite and selfish.”

Now, my kids can get rowdy at meals, but “endless screams”? I’ve never, ever heard children endlessly screaming in a restaurant. If they’re that upset, their parents take them out. And if they do make noise, they’re not impolite and selfish; they’re kids.

While I think that restaurant owners are within their rights to ban children from their establishments, I find the owner’s reasoning offensive and hyperbolic. Are we as a country so lame we can’t even handle kids at the table next to us?

What do you think about banning little ones from restaurants?

3 Replies to “No Kids Allowed”

  1. I didn’t read the article, but from the one quote you included from the restaurant owner, I got the impression that he meant the parents who allow their children’s screams to become endless are being impolite and selfish not the children themselves. I think he’s being a bit extreme, but I have definitely seen parents who, while out and about, only give marginal attention to their children’s existence so they can focus on doing their ‘adult’ stuff – conversation, shopping, etc. It will be interesting to see if he loses any significant business based on his decision.

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    1. While I’ve certainly been in situations where parents are ignoring their kids and letting them run wild, I’ve also become fairly comfortable “parenting” these children (giving them basic manners lessons and sometimes just giving them a look…these “wild” children respond surprisingly well to an adult just showing them that they’re not invisible). I don’t understand why other adults aren’t comfortable interacting with parents or children to let them know there’s a problem. We all live in the community, children included. Why can’t we act like it and talk with each other? The banning, I think, is a way to avoid talking to one another and connecting about this issue in a constructive way. It’s a way to continue to act like the children are invisible and to attempt to exclude them from the community.

      What I’m not understanding is why it’s acceptable to discriminate against children and marginalize them in this way. Imagine if the owner of the restaurant thought another group of people were noisy. Can you imagine him trying to exclude any other group of people (ahead of time and en masse, not on a case-by-case basis)? I can’t think of an example where that would be acceptable, or even legal.

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  2. Ugh, I made the mistake of clicking through from that column to one about banning kids on airplanes and then made the ultimate mistake of reading the comments on that one. “Choose a child-friendly mode of travel or leave the kids with a sitter.” So that means if I want to visit my family on the east coast I should give up a whole week to drive both ways? Crazy!

    Anyway, about the restaurants, I think they’ll get business from people who can’t tolerate kids but I think it’s unfair to parents to ban small children. That said, I have been at restaurants with other families where I think the kids are behaving inappropriately and I’m the only parent who seems to notice.

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