Tuesday, August 15, 2006

No Kids Allowed

Okay, so I was browsing MSN this morning (I try to keep up with news on the other side of the Atlantic) and came across this article.

I'd be interested to hear what you ladies thought of this, especially some of you who already have a parcel of rugrats yourselves.

I suppose I can see both sides of the issue. One the one hand, I know how I feel when Mr. DD and I go into an "adult" restaurant and are seated next to people who have brought a loud and unruly 2 year old along. (This is obviously not including any chain restaurants that are obviously family oriented, but ones where you'd feel uncomfortable walking in wearing jeans and tennis shoes. I personally wouldn't subject other diners in these places to my off-spring.) On the other hand, "child friendly" place actually NEED TO BE CHILD FRIENDLY. Parents shouldn't feel that they're getting the hairy eyeball from other patrons in establishments that are specifically geared toward families. Kids have to learn how to behave in public. And for that, they need to be....well, in public.

Discipline is something Mr. DD and I are keen on. Both of us grew up in good families with parents who managed to teach us at an early age that every action has consequences without excess corperal punishment. (We both got spanked, but only when we REALLY deserved it. The worst spanking of my life occured when I was 3 and threw a sissors at my Dad's head, which stuck in the wall just behind his right ear. I was a psychotic little bitch.) I think both of us had good examples of how to be disciplinarians without being tyrants. Of course, we might have a hell child who might need to be transported around on a wheelie cart a-la Hannibal Lecter.

At any rate, how do you girls feel about this?


lisalou said...

I think the people quoted in the article sound like pretty intense child haters. I'm all for romantic, fancy restaurant meals sans kids but like you said...go at like 8pm to a place that serves $$$ foodie style food. (ie no katchup on the table, no chicken fingers on the menu).

I work in a building with 520 teens and I can honestly say that although they are super hormone, anti-authority nutso...They are awesome and on the whole WAY better behaved than I ever was.

On that note, We used to get spanked too. AND, get this, we were sent to wait in the car if we were bad in restaurants, malls, supermarkets, etc... We loved it! We would continue to kick the crap out of each other while messing with the dials on the dash board. Ahhh the 70s.I remember somewhere in the early 80s spanking became a serious no-no and we got grounded instead. Us kids were so disappointed. We used to beg for a spanking so we could back out and play rather than being traped in our rooms all day!

SaraS-P said...

I think it all boils down to where you are and what the kid is actually doing. I think people need to be more tolerant of everyday, low-key child behavior in public places. I also believe parents need to use more judgement about where they hawl their children. Many R-rated movies I have been to lately have had toddlers in the audience. My hubby and I were like, "Are there not babysitters anymore???" I expect to hear children when I go see, say, Pirates of the Caribbean, but not 28 Days Later (when the toddler made loud comments like, "Mamma, look at that man's weenie!").

Similarly, with restaurants, I look forward the occasional child running by my table at my neighborhood pizza place, but not in a fancy sit-down place. People need to use judgement.

When children are noisy but not over the top in public, I generally don't mind. In fact, I often find it endearing. Call me a wannabe Breeder, I guess.

VanillaDreams said...

Hmmm. Well, the thing is, when I was a child, I was taken to all sorts of 5 star restaurants, with adults, and I was fine. I really was a well-behaved mature child. I see many children these days who are NOT -- and it must be due to the parenting, because kids don't change, the parents do....

The problem around here is libraries morphing into PLAYGROUNDS. WTF is up with that?!?!? When I was a kid, a library was a QUIET place to read, study, and research. NOT a place to bring your children, or your day home group of kids to PLAY NOISILY for the afternoon!!

Recently my parents were at a local library, and this woman's kids were SHRIEKING in the library, and the library workers did NOTHING about it! My mom also noticed that all the students who were studying in the library had EARPLUGS in. Now seriously, if one needs to wear EARPLUGS in a LIBRARY, then something is going horribly, horribly wrong.

As for the woman in the article with the kid in the bookstore....Well, I still get the feeling from her that she feels ENTITLED to let her kid run amok just because they happen to have a children's section. In my mind, it is still a BOOKSTORE, not a playground, and just because it's a kids' section doesn't mean the kids can run around and scream!

I have also seen this type of bad behaviour in my local Chapters stores....

I'm not saying children should be banned from any place -- but I don't see kids behaving appropriately today as we did when we were kids. As kids, my cousins and I were regularly taken out to upscale restaurants as very young children (3, 4, 5 years old and up) and we were able to sit through 2 to 3 hour entire meals without moving from the booth or chairs, except to be taken to the washroom. I'm not seeing today's kids do this -- not to say that there aren't some great kids out there acting appropriately, I just haven't witnessed it personally.

Southern Comfortable said...

I think, in part, parents are taking their children to places they otherwise wouldn't have. The article noted that becuase many families have two working parents, they are reluctant to hire a sitter for a dinner out, a movie, etc.

There are certain things I think kids should absolutely not be allowed to do in public. They shouldn't touch other patrons or their belongings, they shouldn't scream, they shouldn't throw things, etc. But talking, laughing, crying, etc. are all to be expected. They're kids, for goodness sake. I think we need to meet in the middle-- parents need to be comfortable with discipline, and other patrons need a little patience.

theoneliner said...

Not allowing kids in the children's part of a bookstore sounds insane to me.

Although, I bet eventually a lot of smaller restaruants will eventually ban children all together-b/c its a free market (well, here) and they can.

I personally think both camps should loosen up-children are a part of life -we non-child people should learn to deal.
On the flip, parents should also understand that children don't belong everywhere-or anywhere if they are out of control.

rockmama-in-waiting said...

What a great response, ladies! I think everyone can see both sides of the issue- there are some places that parents shouldn't reasonably expect to take their children (fancy restaurants, R-rated movies) and that they shouldn't expect to let their kids run riot in other places, even if they do at home. On the other hand, people need to be a lot more tolerant of children in public. How do kids learn to behave, to socialize, if they are excluded from society? (Not to mention the exclusion of people who choose to have children!)

Jennie said...

I could go on and on about the subject, but I will try to summarize and say that I am not opposed to kids going most places in public, but they should also be taught how to ACT in public. My mom was a single mother and took us to lots of different places including nice restaurants and we knew better than to run around like monkeys. And if we did get slightly unruly, all she had to do was give us a look and we stopped.

I can't stand when a kid is running around yelling and the parents aren't paying a bit of attention to it and they are completely unaware that their kids are annoying others.

Oh, and my biggest punishment was also from me with scissors. I think scissors must be the devil - taunting small children to play with them, wispering "come on, just pick me up, it'll be fun"

rockmama-in-waiting said...

I totally agree. I got taken out in public too, but if I acted up big time, I'd get taken out to the car for a spanking.

I saw two children in the supermarket yesterday that were literally walking down the isles seeing how loud they could scream. Their father, obviously, just looking of a peaceful life, did nothing to stop this little competiton. Has the phrase "indoor voices" been lost in the mists of time???

4tops said...

I totally concur. Our culture has become so child-centric, that the children have begun to rule the roost. We have 3 children, with one on the way, ages 11, 8 and 5, and they are expected to act in an appropriate manner anywhere they are. And they do. Why? Because it's explained to them that this is the way it is, and consequences follow for not complying. Are they perfect? Hell no. But if a fit starts in a public place, they are removed, and disciplined. We've actually been out with friends whose FIVE YEAR OLD got so mad about not getting something he wanted he stood in his chair in the restaraunt and pooped his pants. The parents? "Well, we just don't know what to do with him".

There's a biblical phrase that goes "children are a blessing". I'm pretty sure God's not talking about some of these kids. There's no blessing when the child makes your life a living hell by disallowing you to continue to actually have a life. It's a shift in parenting. Really. These kinds of concerns didn't come up 20-30 years ago, when parents were actually expected to parent.

Sorry to rant, I'm trying to pass the time...still nauseaus at 13 weeks...get a little bored and look what happens...