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Are Parents With Children Becoming The New Second-Class Citizens? [Video]

By Monica Bielanko |

Is the No Kids Allowed movement getting out of control?

First, Malaysia Airlines banned babies from first class. Then, McDain’s restaurant in Pennsylvania says children under 6-years-old are no longer welcome.

According to a Pittsburgh local news poll, more than half of area residents were in favor of the ban. Now, big businesses everywhere are taking notice and the No Kids Allowed movement is spreading like wildfire.

And I think it’s crap.

As Shine reports, complaints about screaming kids are being taken seriously, not only by airlines and restaurants, but by hotels, and movie theaters:

“Brat bans could well be the next frontier in destination and leisure-product marketing,” writes Robert Klara in an article on the child-free trend in AdWeek.

Klara points to, a travel website for kid-free vacations, with a massive list of yoga retreats, luxury resorts and bargain hotels around the world that ban children

Charlotte Savino doesn’t care if you call her a grinch or a misanthrope, she hates babies or children screaming in upscale restaurants. On Travel and Leisure’s blog Savino lists several popular destination restaurants with kid-free areas and policies for travelers looking for quiet vacation dining. The post is titled “Child-Free Dining The (Blissfully) Silent Trend. Charlotte, get over yourself. Everybody hates babies or screaming in restaurants. It isn’t a “trend”. Guess who usually hates the screaming children most of all? Their parents. That’s right. So cut us some damn slack already. Most of us are doing the best we can, removing the screamers immediately.

Traveling is one thing but what about movie theaters? Kids were recently banned from an “adults-only” Harry Potter screening and one movie chain in Texas has banned kids under six altogether, except on specified baby days.

In Florida, a controversy brews over whether kids can be banned from a condominium’s outdoor area. That’s right, some people don’t even want kids outdoors. What’s next? The playground?

Look, I get it. I understand that kids can be annoying, IT’S THEIR JOB.  But I am not at all cool with banning kids from anywhere. This is America for crying out loud!  When did we go from “It takes a village” and “Children are our future” to “Get the hell out of here you loud, whining brat?”  What if restaurants decided to ban elderly people because they take a long time in the restroom or constantly chew with their mouths open?  I don’t necessarily think that’s true, but you get what I mean. Just banning folks willy-nilly isn’t the solution.  Why should I, a responsible parent who will yank my child out of anywhere if she’s misbehaving, have to be regaled to second-class citizenship because of a few morons who think it’s adorable when their kid acts up?

If parents aren’t controlling their children then the restaurant should totally kick them out on the spot.  If baby begins wailing and mom or dad doesn’t remove her immediately, they’re idiots. But this ban thing is out of control. We can’t go around banning large populations just because we’re annoyed by them. Hell, I’d like to do away with loud cell-phone talkers everywhere, starting with restaurants, but it’s just not the way America should roll.

As Piper Weiss from Shine puts it, “It is one thing if the businesses that decide such a policy will enhance their adult customers’ experiences without causing them to lose family business are actually businesses about which this is true…It’s another thing altogether if businesses which reap a fair share of their profits selling their goods or services to families with children suddenly decide to have child-free hours or place draconian restrictions on when and where children may be served. Busy moms and dads of young children find it hard enough to run errands or travel or otherwise conduct normal business without having to remember that their children aren’t welcome at this store on these days or that restaurant during those hours.”

Agreed. Won’t families defect from these businesses in large numbers, not wanting to risk schlepping children there only to find it’s another “childless day”. How is that beneficial to business?

Perhaps Robert Klara from Adweek has an answer. “Blame a wave of childless adults with money to spare. “Empty nesters continue to wield a huge swath of discretionary spending dollars, and population dips in first-world countries mean more childless couples than ever”.

One fella, who has no children, by the way, is so outraged by the ban he took to YouTube to call anyone who agrees with the ban bitter, single people. He’s pretty upset:

Do you agree with John, who wonders what the United States has become when children are being banned, children are, after all, the future, right? Or, on your next date night, will you be first in line at a childless screening of the latest flick?

This mom lays down the law: 10 Places I Don’t Want to See Your Kids

More on Babble

About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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80 thoughts on “Are Parents With Children Becoming The New Second-Class Citizens? [Video]

  1. Sara says:

    If people would discipline their kids instead of letting them run around like wild animals this wouldn’t be a problem.

    I’ve got no problem with restaurants banning small children. I also don’t have a problem with businesses having adult only hours (I’m assuming that turns the grocery store into a night club) or movie times (which I assume turns the move theater into a bar).

  2. Monica Bielanko says:

    So we should just start tossing bans around? Getting rid of anybody we find momentarily annoying? Or should we maybe grow the eff up and learn to deal with life?

  3. Korinthia Klein says:

    I think it’s fair to have a policy against noise or unnecessary disruption, but I don’t think it should be based on age. I don’t like people talking loudly on cell phones in restaurants, or people who talk in theaters, and they are usually adults. My children are seldom if ever a problem in public places, and it’s ridiculous to discriminate against them based on what they might do. If they become a problem, then certainly ask us to leave. But don’t judge my polite and quiet four-year-old based on someone else’s kid. That’s painting with too broad a brush.

  4. Gretchen Powers says:

    Wow…it’s so unfortunate that bad public behavior has driven people to think that kids need to be packed away. I’ve taken my kid everywhere with zero issues because I’ve trained her how to act in public and won’t tolerate any BS. There’s a time and a place for running amok and it’s at home or on the playground, not in a store or restaurant. It’s attitudes like this: “Look, I get it. I understand that kids can be annoying, IT’S THEIR JOB.” (it’s their “job”, we should just accept kids being annoying in public) and the related lax parenting that creates the bad blood…

  5. Sabrina says:

    Sorry Monica, I am all about kid free zones. I don’t have children for a reason and don’t want to pay $100 for dinner to have kid scream, run around, or just in general misbehave. Not all parents are responsible like yourself and some even become belligerent when asked to control their child. I don’t go to places, like the playground, and drink. So don’t bring your kid to my nice restaurant.

  6. Manjari says:

    I agree with everything in this post! If people can’t handle being around humans of all ages, they should stay home. I also agree that some parents allow their children to be royal pains, and that contributes to the problem. That’s kind of how being in public works, though. Some people smell bad, some people talk too loud, etc.

  7. Meagan Francis says:

    It really annoys me when I go to the store and there are old people in motorized carts blocking up the aisle. I think there should be “old people in motorized carts-free” hours so I can shop unencumbered and in the style to which I feel entitled. After all, I spend hundreds of dollars a week in these stores. I shouldn’t have to deal with annoyance, ever! It’s my right as an American citizen to shop in complete peace!!!


  8. jboogie says:

    I’d like to see some sort of map showing the region of the country where most of these bans are happening. I’ve never heard of or read anything remotely close to something like this where I live. Anyway, I don’t think is really that big of a deal, and I also don’t think lazy parents who let the kids run wild are necessarily the only reason this is happening. Many parents now think that taking their kids anywhere at any time is acceptable, and as someone who has definitely turned up an eyebrow at toddlers in bars at happy hour, sometimes businesses just have to say no. And that’s their right, because like you said, this is America.

  9. Maureen says:

    I live in Pittsburgh, one of the most family- and kid-oriented cities around, and I know of no one who thinks the McDain’s ban is a good idea. But, I’m sure there are people who think it is. I totally agree–what is going to be banned next? And, people can’t handle children in the grocery store no matter their behavior?? Have we totally forgotten that children are people? No one likes bad behavior no matter what age the person is. People cannot force everyone else to conform to their vision of the world.

  10. kacy says:

    Didn’t we stop banning people from places in the 50′s…..guess not. Isn’t this kinda like segregation?

  11. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    I think the phrase “second-class citizenship” gets thrown around a little too quickly in situations like this. I understand that there is a market for people who don’t want to be subjected to my spawn’s disruptive behavior. If those folks want to pay a premium to be guaranteed a child-free environment in certain reasonable situations, that’s their prerogative. I think the demand for such accommodations is not as high as one would think, but the rise of parents thinking their children belong everywhere at anytime has provoked this response.

  12. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    And when we compare child free situations to segregation or racial discrimination, it just makes it plain that one does not understand the seriousness of racial discrimination or segregation. Or second class citizenry.

  13. Monica Bielanko says:

    Oooh, these are all great comments. @Meagan, I should totally change my article to ask if we should ban old people in carts from Walmart because they are CONSTANTLY blocking up the aisles, completely clueless as to who is behind them. I’d rather hear a kid scream…

    @Sabrina – I totally hear you and would be SUPER pissed if my evening was ruined by some screaming kid. But that’s life. We can’t go around banning entire populations because we’re annoyed by them. As @Korinthia says, I’d like to do away with loud cell-phone talkers everywhere, starting with restaurants, but it’s just not the way America should roll…

  14. bob says:

    The second class citizen ship sailed long ago. Dragging anchor.

  15. Diera says:

    I’m not sure you have interpreted “child free shopping hours” at Whole Foods correctly. Based on that link, Whole Foods is offering babysitting so that parents can drop their kids off and shop, not hours when kids are not allowed in the store! It doesn’t say anything about children being barred from the store.

  16. Ami says:

    I can completely get behind a child ban at certain restaurants and I am a mother of three reasonably behaved children. When I go to a nice restaurant I want to relax and enjoy myself, not watch a toddler meltdown happening at the next table (which is what has happened the last three times I have gone out.)
    However, a child ban in a GROCERY STORE? This is ridiculous to me. A trip to the grocery store is not meant to be a relaxing, restful time to kick-back and chat with friends or a spouse. You’re there to buy groceries. And last time I checked parents (with children) buy more groceries than non-children types.

  17. Gretchen Powers says:

    @DIERA “I’m not sure you have interpreted “child free shopping hours” at Whole Foods correctly. Based on that link, Whole Foods is offering babysitting so that parents can drop their kids off and shop, not hours when kids are not allowed in the store! It doesn’t say anything about children being barred from the store.”
    ARGHHHHHH! Thank you. Babble has hereby reached new levels of stupidity.

  18. JEssica C says:

    The businesses should do what they want…although I think it is very shortsighted. The first time I am turned away with my kids it will be the last time I go to that establishment because I am lazy. I am not going to learn when it is OKAY to bring my kids. By the time they may be allowed to go with me or if they do away with the certain hours, the establishment will be off my radar. Not because I am angry but because it will change my habits. And as everyone knows habits are hard to change.

  19. jeneria says:

    No. People with children are the majority, not the minority. Most of our culture is aimed at families, our advertising, our programming, the majority of our rules. Social normalizing dictates that we should have children and those who don’t are somehow off. As someone without kids, I think it’s absurd to ban children but it’s equally absurd to claim that families are second class citizens.

  20. BlackOrchid says:

    I guess I’m okay with nice restaurants having restrictions on young children/behavior.

    Because I rarely get to go out, and when we get a sitter, reservations, etc, at a very nice place, invariably we are surrounded by crazy, tired-out, loud little ones! I have left restaurants due to this. If I wanted that, I could have taken my kids to Fridays or something instead of trying to go somewhere really fancy and paying a sitter.

    AND I always make let reservations! Why are people taking small children out to eat at fancy places at 9pm?!?!

  21. BlackOrchid says:

    let=”late” – sorry! not enough coffee yet

  22. Theresa says:

    First off for the people who agree with this you must not have any kids.
    Second off I absalutely do not agree with banning kids from anywhere. Why is it socially unexceptable to have children? Why do us parents have to be punished for the people who can not handle to hear children making noise, do i like to listen to other kids cry in resturaunts no i do not but it is a part of life. Most families can not always get a baby sitter to watch their children so they opt to take them with them out to dinner. Is that a crime? For the person who said if parents would learn to discipline their kids. Do you know how hard it is to do that in a public place with people staring at you to see if you are going to spank them or not so they can give you a dirty look or decide to report you for “abusing” your child for spanking them? My son is three going on four in November, and while he is not the best behaved child in the world and by far he is not perfect, but he does usually behave him self in resteraunts, they should be telling these parents to bring busy things for their kids to do while waiting for their food instead of banning them from eating in public places of going to the movies.

  23. MonicaBielanko says:

    @Gretchen – I am SO over all of your Babble comments. Honestly, I see your name and just scan past. They’re the same thing every time. Snide comments about various writers and how stupid they are…

    So I included a link that was a part of the original Shine article on which I based this article. Is that really “new levels of stupidity” or just an oversight on my part? And there’s a nice way to say hey, I think you’re wrong about the grocery store thing. You know, kind of like how Diera said it… Didn’t your mama raise you no better, girlfriend?

    I find it super annoying that you constantly slam Babble yet you are likely Babble’s most loyal reader. How many articles to you comment on a day? Every single one? And usually, like four or five times… Move on if the stupidity is just too much for you to bear. I won’t miss you.

  24. Diera says:

    I have just taken the amazing journalistic step of calling the Whole Foods, and spoke directly to someone there, who confirmed they are NOT banning kids from their store in any way shape or form for any amount of time, they are offering BABYSITTING. This is a service to help parents, not to make them second-class citizens. That’s what you get when you Google “child-free” and don’t stop to read the content.

  25. jaybird says:

    I think this all points to an entitled group of young adults who had the freedom to choose NOT to have children and live their lives unencumbered by them. They are then repulsed by others’ kids and think that they have the “right” to not be around children any time, any place. In previous generations, only a minority of people would remain child-free and the general culture embraced children (since most people had them and understood how children can behave now and then).

    If we take our kids out to dinner, we frequently choose Asian or Mexican food. It’s stereotypically true, we’ve found, that our kids are treated like gold there (and they behave well in turn)–other cultures embrace children and understand that they are people, too. How else are kids going to learn how to behave in places if they are banned until they’re teenagers? I do think it’s a great responsibility on behalf of parents to ensure their kids learn how to behave themselves. They also need the sense to know that they are expecting too much from these little people and should get a sitter! Unfortunately, there is also a group of entitled parents who think their kids can do no wrong, and they drag their kids everywhere–to places where they wouldn’t have been brought in the past.

    Whole Foods would be bankrupt if it weren’t for parents buying organic/non-processed foods for their families. I think this was a babysitting service FOR parents so they could spend longer than 10 minutes shopping (and therefore spend more $$ in their store!).

  26. Diera says:

    @MonicaBielanko – Sorry if I have now compounded the rudeness, but I do think you should have called them and asked. It only took me a minute. It seems pretty clear that if they’re offering babysitting, they’re not anti-parent or child. Other events on their calendar include a Children’s Book Fair, a music festival they sponsor with “kid-friendly” food, a “Chefs In Training” class for kids who want to learn to cook, Story Time, a school supply drive, and yoga for kids. I think accusing them of being anti-parent was a little silly. (And no, I’m not affiliated with this store or with Whole Foods in general in any way, shape or form.)

  27. Diera says:

    And to follow up to the main point of the story; I’m pretty OK with not being able to take my kids to luxury resorts, yoga retreats, the first class cabin of Malaysia airlines, and high-priced restaurants, because it’s not like I’m going to be in any of those places anyway because I’m not remotely wealthy enough to do any of those things anyway. As long as the children’s museum, grocery stores, the library, the mall, casual local restaurants, and cattle-class travel within the US still allow kids, I’m good.

  28. Gretchen Powers says:

    I guess you told me, @MonicaBielanko…I’m still a bitch and you’re still a crappy writer. Later!

  29. Rosana says:

    “If baby begins wailing and mom or dad doesn’t remove her immediately, they’re idiots.” First of all, I do not remove my kids at the first cry, because they usually cry for like less than 6 seconds. If they didn’t stop that short, then I would remove them, BUT that does not make me an idiot, it makes me a mom that knows her kids and knows that unless they hurt themselves (and even then) they will not cry for long. Second, I am not worried about businesses adopting this ban. I will not accomodate my kids to their business child-free schedules, etc, I will simply go somewhere else. I will not spend the money at places where my kids are not allowed to stay. However, we need to use common sense and not take our kids to places where, obviously, they should not be at (opera, non-kid movies, etc.)

  30. Manjari says:

    I agree, Jaybird.

  31. Diera says:

    There is apparently no public way to reach Piper Weiss, and there are over 10,000 comments on it so I doubt she’s going to see mine pointing out that she’s got the wrong end of the stick. Poor Whole Foods in Missouri, the victims of an Internet misunderstanding gone public.

  32. Monica Bielanko says:

    @Diera – You weren’t rude at all! Totally appreciate the constructive feedback. Article has been edited :)

  33. Diera says:

    Now the headline linking to this article from the main page says, “Will Child Bans from Restaurants And Stores Become The Norm?” In what way is this close to becoming ‘the norm’? One restaurant in Pennsylvania bans kids (under six – they didn’t even ban all children, just very young ones) and suddenly this is a tidal wave of discrimination against parents and children? This is sort of like one child in America getting stung by a bee and Babble running the headline, “When Bees Attack – Will It Soon Be Unsafe For You To Go Outside?”

  34. Rosana says:


  35. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Diera, you’re full of win today.

  36. Lia says:

    I have two kids and I fully support child-free restaurants and movie theaters. Guess what: when mine were small (and even now, though one is a teen and the other a pre-teen) if they acted up or got loud, WE LEFT. Only took once or twice until they got the idea and we didn’t have to do it again.

    My husband and I have had date nights out spoiled by screaming children who were ignored so their parents could talk. I understand, it isn’t easy to find a sitter, but suck it up and get take out if you can’t, rather than subjecting an infant to a three hour meal in a place with no high chairs.

  37. jeneria says:

    What kills me, Lia, are the parents who don’t even try to find a babysitter. We were going out with a few other couples to a moderately-priced non-family restaurant to celebrate one of our friend’s birthdays (he is, by the by, a parent himself) and one of the couples showed up with a five year old and a 3 year old in tow. And it wasn’t because they couldn’t find a babysitter, it was because they didn’t even try to find a babysitter. They assumed that we’d all love to spend the evening with their two children.
    The children were fairly well-behaved (I get that 3 year olds at 9 at night are going to be difficult) but it completely ruined the mood of our gathering as well as the experience for diners near us. The wait staff was also flummoxed as the restaurant didn’t have kid food, but the chef still managed to create chicken fingers and fries. And the whole point was that our friend’s birthday celebration was supposed to be child free and this other couple just ignored it because they felt it was their right.
    That’s the kind of shit that pisses me off.

  38. LizL says:

    I am so tired of the negativity. This isn’t Gawker with a bunch of self important New Yorkers, it’s a parenting forum. We’re parents. If someone spoke to your child the way some of you are speaking with each other, you would be on the Today Show about bullying and how you’re the victim. Guess what!? We’re all someone’s child.

    And before I get “well then don’t read Babble” no worries, I won’t.

  39. Adi says:

    As a parent and a staunch advocate of children’s rights, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to designate child-free spaces (or, at minimum, to set clear and appropriate boundaries for children’s behavior when in adult-centered environments. A logical extension of Ms. Bielanko’s argument would entail opening the doors of nightclubs, bars, and strip clubs to children. Not every place is child-friendly, not every environment is child-proof, and some establishments are simply inappropriate for minors.

    To argue that parents have somehow become “the new second class citizens” as a result of such policies is ridiculous, entitled, and demeaning to anyone who, by virtue of identity, race, sexual orientation, national origin, ability, legal status, etc. HAS experienced such discriminatory treatment.

  40. Laura says:

    Wow I cannot believe that a child ban in resturants is acceptable to some people. If I took the trouble to haul my family to a restaurant only to be trned away based on having young kids I would be livid. If my three year old acts up in a restaurant I teach her that it is not acceptable and that there are ways to act in public. If she cannot grasp that, I’ll stick to restaurants that are made for families. It is my social responsibility as a parent to teach my kid how to act in public and enjoy fine dining, and I would not be happy about having that responsibility taken away, not to mention the fun we could have had together at the restaurant. Also, things like this make it even less desirable for parents to have kids, which is already a huge problem. We should be focusing on making society more kid friendly.

  41. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Aid, I am standing and cheering every word of your comment.

  42. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Sorry, autocorrect error… Adi.

  43. Jen says:

    As a mother with small kids (one of them is an Aspie), I will go to those restaurants! I have enough noise at home and Chuck E. Cheese is not my idea of fine dining. When I pay for a decent meal, I assume it will be drama free. Not only will I frequent a kid’s free establishment, I’m willing to pay more!

    When I take the kids to Chuck E. Cheese I expect noise and chaos. When I want to eat and enjoy a good meal, I’ll go to a restaurant, not a playground, not an amusement park, not toy store. I don’t complain about your brats on their turf so don’t give me a hard time I want a meal (that I’m paying for) in peace.

    Kids are people too but business has to give what their customers what – a peaceful dining experience.

    My little Aspie gets easily frustrated but I can see the signs before a meltdown and can usually help him out. If it’s too much for him, we leave. It’s not good to force him to try to settle down in an overstimulated circumstance. It’s better to remove him from it and bring him somewhere more familiar. Plain and simple. Did I have to cancel dinner orders? Yes. Did i leave my husband alone in a restaurant so we aren’t skipping out on a bill and have to pick him up later? Yes.

    Better than than being the jerk to my child, who is over his limit. I just understand that a restaurant dinner isn’t happening tonight. It’s not fair to anyone to try to force it.

    You crappy parents need to get a grip. Maybe if you read a book on parenting instead of complaining on boards and screaming your victimhood, we’d all be happier.

  44. Monica Bielanko says:

    @Adi You said, “A logical extension of Ms. Bielanko’s argument would entail opening the doors of nightclubs, bars, and strip clubs to children. Not every place is child-friendly, not every environment is child-proof, and some establishments are simply inappropriate for minors.”

    What? That isn’t logical at all. The law doesn’t allow minors to go to strip clubs and bars for obvious reasons. But everyone is entitled to go to restaurants and eat food. Of course not every place is child-friendly, but that isn’t even the argument. The argument is that if we start banning certain populations from places because they annoy us – where does it stop? It isn’t right. Sure it’s an owner’s prerogative, but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

    Not allowing children in strip clubs because it’s the law is one thing, not allowing them in a regular ol’ restaurant or a movie theater is another. Parents should police their children, and if they act out THEN the restaurant/theater should kick them out.

  45. Grace says:

    I think restaurants and movie theaters banning children are a marketing ploy–nothing more. Let’s not make this into the civil rights movement–it is about economics.

  46. Kate says:

    I can’t believe some of the catty drama in the comments lately. I enjoyed your article, Monica. I’m just glad this sort of thing isn’t happening where I live (in Western Canada).

  47. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Really, Monica? The only reason you don’t take your kid to a strip club is because it’s the law? And what is “not right” about banning small children from certain places where their presence or behavior, more often than not, is inappropriate?

  48. MonicaBielanko says:

    Dude, what is the deal with people? Can you please tell me where I said I don’t take my children to strip clubs ONLY because it’s against the law? That’s just silly and you know it. I was pointing out how ridiculous Adi’s comment is that a logical extension of my argument is to allow children in strip clubs .

    A logical extension of my argument is that any restaurant owner anywhere can randomly decide to ban any group of people they find annoying. What if someone decided to ban old people because they’re slow? Isn’t that agism? THAT’S a logical extension of my argument, not her silly strip club/bar comment.

  49. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Old people aren’t garnering complaints in restaurants for being too slow, certainly not by paying customers. Your argument holds no water and is nonsensical. I know your just DYING to make this Just Like Racism, but you’ve had your ass handed to you on that tip and won’t touch it again. You’ve had plenty of parents tell you that they’re okay with this non-issue and your flailing and panty wadding is doing nothing to sell this screed as anything more then sensationalist horsehockey.

  50. Sabrina says:

    @Monica-I’m not saying you should ban whole populations. What I’m saying is that there are places you can take you kids and have an expectation that there will not be drunk rowdy adults there. Those bouncy places, for example. Or Chuck e Cheese (although if I were to step in that place, I’d have to be drunk). As an adult, who works hard even though I don’t have children, I should have that same expectation. Unfortunately, a lot (not all) parents do not feel that way and do not exert control over their children.

  51. Jack says:

    Bad parents who inflict their screaming spawn on the public – I think this all points to an entitled group of young adults who had children and try to live their lives unencumbered by them.

  52. LeeAnn says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a business having child free days/times. It is up to the business based on their clientele. If more parents disciplined their children, which is no longer the norm, I’m sorry, then this wouldn’t be an issue. But I see more children running wild than I do children behaving. No, we should not have to deal with it. If you can’t control your child, YOU go home, not me! When I see a parent actually trying to get their child to behave, I am completely sympathetic. I get that kids will not always listen. But if your kid is running wild and you are doing nothing about it? Sorry, I don’t want you there. Don’t make me suffer. It’s your kid, not mine.

  53. sophie says:

    I am currently single and without children–and I appreciate the freedom it gives me. @jaybird would probably place me in “an entitled group of young adults who had the freedom to choose NOT to have children and live their lives unencumbered by them. They are then repulsed by others’ kids and think that they have the “right” to not be around children any time, any place.” That is absolutely untrue, and I think that type of dialogue does as much to squelch reasonable conversation as the comments made by @gretchen. When I pay extra to sit in business class on an airplane, I think it is reasonable to be disappointed when the traveler next to me has an “infant in arms.” The last time I was able to upgrade, there was a mother and her 1 1/2 year-old in the seat next to me. The child was not a monster, but she chattered the entire flight, grabbed my book out of my hands, and bounced her sippy cup across my tray table. These are ALL behaviors I would expect from a child that age. However, I did not feel like I got what I had paid for–personal space and quiet. I am not at all “repulsed” by children. If all (or even most) parents dealt reasonably with their children, I do not believe this would even be a conversation. However, I would bet everyone (even those who are adamantly against banning children) have been in a situation where kids behave badly and parents do absolutely nothing. Those parents are the ones creating the situation. Kids careening around corners unexpectedly at the grocery store are not just annoying–they are a safety issue. A young child at an R-rated movie who is climbing around and making noise throughout makes the small fortune that I spend to go to a theater very nearly wasted. I love to see parents out with their children if they are well-behaved, and I have the utmost respect for the parent who takes a child by the hand and leaves a restaurant when they misbehave. I think that ultimately this is not an issue of “right” vs “wrong.” It will come down to economics. Businesses will do what makes them the most money. If enough people stop going to McDain’s Restaurant–I bet there will be changes to their policy. If childless couples or parents who have a babysitter show up in droves, then we may see other establishments follow suit. I agree that some 4 year-old children can handle eating out. I also know that there are 10 year-old kids who cannot. If there was any way for managers to ask patrons with ill-behaved children to leave without causing a tremendous uproar, that would be ideal. However, if that were the tack McDain’s were to take, I believe the response would be even more outrage than the “no 6 or under” rule.

  54. TekMomma says:

    I have 2 kids – 10 yrs old and 5 yrs old, and I have no problem with private businesses declaring that the environment is not for kids.
    To make this equal to segregation is offense to me not to mention off the mark. It is melodramatic and a ridiculous comparison. For shame. Look up what happened in the 50′s and 60′s, before you bring the drama.
    And I find myself amazed at the parents who believe their child belongs everywhere. They do not. You as parents are supposed to give everything to your kids. The world isn’t. It’s actually a great life lesson for parents and the kids. The world revolves around its axis, not you.

  55. Patty says:

    I really don’t think this is anything new. I’m in my early 30s and when I grew up, there was an adults only pool at every swim club I went to. There was an adult’s only condo complex close to my house. Sandals has been around forever and they have always been an adult’s only hotel chain.

    No, I don’t recall any adult only movies theatres or restaurants. But that’s because most parents were smart enough back then not to take children to the movies at 9pm or think they’d sit still at a $50 steak house for two hours.

    I don’t really agree with banning all kids though. However I think a ban on children who can not and will not behave is a great thing, especially for the kids themselves. This way they can learn that if they want to go to certain places, they must act right. There is nothing wrong with that.

  56. Taz says:

    i am pregnant and fully support this idea! i figure once the baby is here if i get the chance to go out on a date w my husband i don’t want to hear some other kid crying! of course a lot of parents are saying they are responsible and use these outings to teach their child how to behave- not every other patron wants to witness that lesson! proper manners should be taught at the dinner table in your home. i don’t think a small child really needs to go to or appreciates an upscale restaurant- there are enough family dining places. i would also fully support adult only flights, coffee spots (even stroller free would be amazing!) and whatever else. ALSO i was really shocked that the writer of this article seems to be reading all of the comments so that she can retaliate against all of the negative ones! hilarious that a few were about her lack of research. i’ll keep an eye out for your articles Monica Bielanko and AVOID them because you don’t seem to create a supportive atmosphere where all ideas are welcome.

  57. anon says:

    It used to be customary to thank a reader who pointed out an error – even if you felt they belittled you – because that reader was doing both you and the other readers a favor by allowing you to correct your mistake. Reprinting an error like that is a big deal, especially if you are the company in question. The fact that you didn’t do the reporting or fact-checking yourself doesn’t make it better. It makes it worse.

  58. Damien says:

    I think a lot of people are missing the main crux of the argument here. The way I read it, Monica’s problem is more to do with places having a blanket ban on ALL kids than it is to do with her thinking parents should be entitled to take their kids anywhere they like.

    When I was 5 years old I almost got kicked out of school for being unsociable. My crime? When all the other kids went outside to play in the yard, I sat in a corner reading. All I wanted to do at that age, hell, all I want to do now, is sit and read most of the time. But some people think that kids like I was should be banned from places just because other kids of the same age run riot and their parents can’t control them.

    I agree with Monica that blanket bans are not the way forwards. Things like this should be done on a case by case basis. I have three sisters, and all three of them have kids.

    For my two eldest sisters, if they take their kids to a restaurant then the kids know this is a special occasion, and they treat it as such and are well behaved. With my youngest sister, her kids are allowed to do whatever they want, regardless of where they are or what the situation is.

    Now personally, I would be all for banning my youngest sister and her offspring from ALL public places. But should the rest of the family be treated the same way just because SHE can’t control HER kids? Or should we employ a little common sense here?

  59. Grace says:

    Monica-please stop being so shrill when anyone criticizes your article. It is a turn-off.

  60. Magnoliamama says:

    I think the movie bans are a really good thing. The chain in Texas lets little kids go to little kid movies. I think that is just fine. We don’t take our three year old to movies (even kid ones) because she’s disruptive and can’t sit still. She doesn’t have a right to disrupt others.

    As for the restaurant bans, I get it. I have been mortified while eating out with friends with kids more times than not. We’re very strict about leaving if our kids become loud or disruptive, but way too many parents have a sense of entitlement about their preciouses being able to behave however they want. Unfortunately, many parents don’t use good judgement.

    I wish more businesses would kick out obnoxious adults too, but that’s another issue.

  61. Kellie says:

    I went to see cloverfield late at night with my husband as a treat and break from our children. A couple brought 2 toddlers & a brand new baby to a 10 pm movie. The kids were tired & restless & screaming. I don’t think that kids should be allowed in movies above the ratings for their age group. Ruined our once in 2 year date. But banning from anything else just seems stupid and mean spirited. You’d think with the economy being as bad as it is they’d welcome any business they could get.

  62. Gretchen Powers says:

    who the hell brings little kids to anything but kids movies? that’s just pointless…see, people are just plain stupid! so when i said I bring my kid everywhere and she behaves, I guess I didn’t mean EVERYWHERE (strip clubs?!?!?! certain bars –pub-like restaurants I feel are FINE–movies, etc…) and I don’t generally keep her up past her bedtime unless we are wrapping up, on the way home, etc. it’s just not worth having them up past their bedtime

  63. H says:

    just for the record: the alamo drafthouse in texas doesn’t allow children under 6 because they serve alcohol and cater to an older audience. they don’t typically even show “kids” movies. they also don’t allow anyone under 18 without a parent present. they do, however, have baby days that are specifically for parents with children/babes. i think it’s a brilliant idea and appreciate not having a screaming child in the theater.
    as a childless twenty something, i do understand why people would appreciate baby bans. more and more people are taking their children to places that are completely inappropriate for children. from what i understand mcdain’s is a fine dining restaurant, not geared toward children and most likely doesn’t server “kid friendly” food. but instead of hiring a baby sitter, parents will bring their children along and let them scream and run wild (i’ve seen it and have family members who are extremely guilty of this). there are plenty of family friendly restaurants out there and i don’t see a problem with families wanting to go out together. but when you take your child to an upscale restaurant when you know your child won’t behave, i get wanting to ban them. and you have to think that it’s happened more than a handful of times before the thought of not allowing babies even crossed their mind.
    if parents would parent instead of making excuses of “oh they’re just being kids” (not unlike what you wrote about in your most recent toddler times article) then i think it would be less of a problem.

  64. Manjari says:

    Everyone who has argued against banning kids from places has said that kids who are creating a disturbance should be asked to leave. No one has said that businesses should allow children to stay no matter how they behave. Yet people keep mentioning that some parents don’t keep their kids under control. Of course no one likes to be around unruly or screaming kids. I just think that families should be given a chance first, because well behaved children of parents who are teaching them to be polite and show good manners at restaurants and other public places shouldn’t be lumped in with every other human in their age group. Also, there is a difference between children in very adult places like bars or very fancy restaurants late at night, and children in grocery stores in the middle of the day.

  65. heather says:

    Banning kids from most places is absolutely ridiculous. Parents are to blame if you have to sit through a meal (or movie, or whatever) listening to a child scream or dealing with a child misbehaving some other way. I agree that if a parent DOESN’T deal appropriately with the child, kick them out. But don’t tell all of us that we have to pay for the idiocy of a small percentage of people with children.

  66. Celeste says:

    I can understand not allowing children into high end restaurants,or into certain movies (with parents) or a movie showing at certain times,but GROCERY STORES?!? Geez! So when is mom or dad supposed to make it to the store for groceries,only when they can get a babysitter?
    I can also support asking people to leave a restaurant if their child is acting up,or if the parents allow the child to run around the restaurant. I waited tables for year and can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have had to watch people’s children because the kid kept running behind the bar or even into the kitchen because the parents couldn’t be bothered to keep and eye on them. Or the number of times I had to clean up huge messes off of the floor and wall because the parents couldn’t be bothered to clean up after their own child. This is not the children who are at fault,but the parents! I do agree that,if the parent can’t keep their child at the table or help, or at least offer, to clean up a mess their own child made then something should be said. Absolutely. Some people do come in to restaurants,and I’ve worked if quite nice restaurant as well as college-style restaurants,and seem to think that the wait staff is their to baby-sit their children. On top of that,their usually the ones who tip the worst!! ;)
    As for children being allowed,even with adults into certain movies-well,I once went to see The Watchmen (if anyone has seen this movie,then they know it is NOT for small children!) and couldn’t enjoy the film because some adult decided to bring a 4-5 year old in and sit right next to me! Well,I couldn’t enjoy the film because I was so uncomfortable with the violence and sex scenes going on with this little boy right next to me.I so badly wanted to tell the man that this was not the kind of movie for this boy,what was he thinking? I guess,if an adult decides that the child can see the movie,even if it’s R rated,the movie theater will still sell the tickets with out question! That’s just crazy!
    I do think that there should be some limitations on where a child can go,with in reason,but it’s not because of the children,but because of the ignorant,self-absorbed parents!! Things need to be said to the adults about what is appropriate for the child to do,go, or see,because some of these parents really haven’t a clue on how to parent!

  67. mrg says:

    I don’t know, I don’t really have a problem with some businesses banning kids. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. Before I had kids I didn’t much want to be around them myself!

  68. Taz says:

    i know that some children are well behaved and can sit through a full movie or dinner. i have seen just as many of those children in not-so-kid-friendly places as i have seen crying, squirming miserable ones. however as a former server/bartender i don’t think the case-by-case basis thing is a great idea. it would only lead to confrontation because quite frankly parents who allow the public to suffer their childrens’ tantrums of usually entitled types. also if you have the kitchen half done with 3+ orders and have to kick out a family the restaurant would be at a loss. here in brooklyn i have seen little kids in dark, sexy, expensive restaurants, bars (yes- bars! this is some kind of new trend i think.) and horror movies (nothing more uncomfortable than watching the rape scene in last house on the left and looking over at a 3 year old playing on his nintendo ds- at 11pm) not every parent is a rational person. if you really can’t cook or really need sushi & can’t get a sitter maybe consider take out. if you want to watch brutal horror movies with your toddler maybe rent one. i really think this is not a shocking thing- people have no common sense so businesses must take that into account.

  69. starrsitter says:

    We’re all ignoring that excluding children from public places (especially when it is regardless of how they behave) excludes their primary caregivers, most often their mothers as childcare still falls disproportionately on the shoulders of women in our culture and many others, from those places, too.
    But, if you’re okay with that, then carry on.

  70. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Yes. Okay with that. It’s a short period of time in the scheme of things.

  71. Emma says:

    The argument of, “How will children learn good behavior and table manners if their parents aren’t allowed to take them out to nice places?” holds no water. Children act in public the way they are permitted to act at home. Good behavior and table manners start with the family table and once they’ve mastered that domain they can and should gradually move up to nicer establishments. People don’t pay a lot of money for a nice dinner so parents can have an audience and atmosphere for a behavioral lesson. My date night is not intended to be an opportunity for someone else to teach junior proper etiquette at a fancy restaurant.

    I expect to see toddlers, children, and babies at most places and I would be unreasonable if I did not, and they don’t bother me one bit. However, the late showing of an R rated movie or a 9:00 dinner reservation at a dimly lit, intimate bistro sans highchairs and kids menus are not among those places, and unfortunately I have seen parents drag their small children into both and expect other people to just be tolerant of whatever goes down. THAT’S when THEY’RE being unreasonable. I also think there is something to be said for being able to enjoy an adult-only atmosphere that is not a strip club or seedy bar. It has nothing to do with hating children or trying to marginalize a portion of the population.

    I was always under the impression that having children meant changing one’s lifestyle. That means not being able to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Parents who drag small children to age-inappropriate places make me cringe not only on the basis that I’m going to potentially have to listen to screaming children while attempting to enjoy the expensive wine I just ordered or the violent movie I’m viewing, but also because to me, it really is a shame that the poor tyke’s handlers are too self absorbed and too unwilling to face reality and accept that their former lifestyles are (at least temporarily) over, and to put their child’s best interests first.

  72. anon says:

    Hm. Celeste, I’m afraid as a reader you were led astray. The grocery store in question is offering free babysitting at the store to help parents just in case they want to shop solo. It is not saying that parents can’t shop with children. If you read up a bit in the comments, you will see that reporting mistakes were made.

  73. Jessica says:

    There are so many events and marketing that go towards families in places where more than just kids frequent. Special summer movie screenings at the local theater, kid’s day at local museums, etc. etc. When it comes right down to it, children and families are merely one part of a large demographic. Those of us who don’t have children don’t come to kid’s events because it doesn’t apply to us. I’m sorry, but I don’t see an issue with a company offering a special time or venue for another demographic — those without kids. I’m not claiming discrimination because the local theater is playing “Tangled” in the afternoon for $2 but not “The Hangover.”

  74. Scifi Chic says:

    As a child-free person I will absolutely patronize and encourage businesses to adopt child-free policies and/or hours. I am not a child-hater (I’m extremely close to the kids in my sphere) and I do not consider all children to be horrible. I know several lovely children with wonderful parents. But I am *tired* of having to step over/around children every place I go. I’m tired of hearing the shrieking and screaming. I’m tired of slack-jawed parents who do nothing to curb their children’s behavior and parents who whip out the “it takes a village!” card when you ask them to remove their child from your dining table at a cafe (yes it happened) but when you ask them for a little “village” consideration in return (“please remove your child we’re tying to eat”) you are given the big old stink eye and sometimes verbally abused. My husband and I no longer go to the movies or certain cafe/bookstores because those places are now overwhelmed with inconsiderate parents and their hideously behaved children. Parents today have for the most part abdicated control to their children and the result of that cowardice/laziness is evident in the children’s behavior in the public sphere.(I honestly can’t imagine what it’s like to spend 24/7 with some of these kids, though I guess the constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown state of a few of my mommy friends with kids like these is my answer.) Part of the problem is that so many parents accept really any kind of behavior from their children (Oh, it’s just a PHASE. Oh, it’s developmentally NORMAL for her to do that. Oh, that’s just KIDS) that what would be considered intolerable behavior a mere 20-30 years ago is now just a day in the life for parents and kids. Parents, banning children from certain places isn’t happening in a vacuum. Business owners did not wake up one day and say out of the blue, “Wait! Let’s ban kids! It’ll be the newest trend!” It’s happening for a REASON.They’re responding to a large and growing number of customer complaints about unruly children in their establishments. It’s happening as a *result* of your lax parenting and resulting rude, overly-indulged, unpleasant, disruptive children. Parents, the blame and power to change it is squarely where it belongs, on your parental shoulders.

  75. macrtst says:

    I am tired of having to be MORE tolerant of children because you (parents) are LESS of a parent. I am all for these places and I look forward to the movement

  76. nchan says:

    The reality is that it’s not easy or feasible to remove misbehaving children whose parents don’t control them. I have dealt with children kicking seats in airlines, and running into people in stores; and absolutely nothing is done about it. Employees don’t want to get into an argument with aggressive parents.

    Show me a child-free vacation, plane, restaurant, mall — I will so happily be there.

  77. Paul Devereau says:

    Monica is missing several key points here..Yes, we KNOW what country this do YOU know that your fellow customers/diners, like you, plunked down money to eat here/ see a movie here/ relax here? The backlash is aimed at PARENTS, not children – because the majority of modern American parents don’t believe in any accountability for their kids or themselves. If kids are “people” too, why should there be no standards for them, lke there are for other people,especially when a ruined experience means loss of money and time, like all real ‘people’ care about? Why should others suffer for your inability or lack of desire to do your job as a parent? Monica, please let us know the date, time, and location of the next movie you and your husband attend, and we’ll do an experiment: We’ll all bring in a boombox, each with a tape of one hour of a screaming child, and sit behind you, ignoring your pleas to take it outside. Afterward, tell us all if you still think ‘America’ means doing whatever you want, whenever you want. Also, please get back to us in about 10 years, and let us know how your ‘parenting skills’ worked out when your kids are teens.

  78. JbirdCrow says:

    They should take a picture of those ppl promoting the bans and then reminding them that our children will take care for them when they r at the nursing home…

  79. Pat says:

    As a parent, and as a child that was reared with rules and the penalty for not following them, I cannot believe parents today. (my daughter, recently told me that she was so thankful for the way she was raised) I think, if people are not prepared to invest the time it takes to nurture and train children in the ways of the world, should not have children. Parents say they are too tired to take the time to work with the children and teach them manners. My husband and I both worked and managed to have time to play and work with our daughter. We could take her almost anywhere we went and she knew to behave. Now, as I have raised my child (and did not expect the schools to teach what I should have done) and retired, when I go out to eat, which is seldom as I am on a fixed income, I do not want to hear screaming, unruly children, running into my table, etc. If parents get angry at us for not wanting them destroying a peaceful meal, perhaps, deep down, they are ashamed that they have not taught them better. If they want to go out and eat but cannot afford a babysitter, I would think they would appreciate a quiet evening. Parents….Do Not Force Your ‘Precious’ Children on others!

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