Should Children Be Banned From Public Places?

I was surprised to see this headline when I turned on my computer this morning – No Kids Allowed Movement Gains Steam.” So I clicked on the article to read it, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

Airlines banning tots from first class cabins, restaurants banning children under 6, and movie theaters declaring kid-free screenings.  I understand that there are some places that are not necessarily kid-friendly, but flat out banning them just because they might be annoying or disruptive – do we ban just anyone who is annoying or disruptive from public places? 

You know, before I had kids, I’ll be honest. I was totally one of those people who looked down and and judged people whose kids acted out in public places.  I thought, “How hard is it to tell your kid not to throw a tantrum in the middle of the mall/restaurant/store?”  I thought those parents were being too lenient and “letting” their toddlers act inappropriately.

Oh the irony! Now, I have two very spirited, expressive, easily excitable, boisterous, and shall we say, strong-willed children! I’m pretty sure that there hasn’t been a time in the last 6 months when we’ve been out running errands that one, if not both, have had some issue with misbehaving.  And sure, it might be annoying to other people. But do they have any idea how annoying, frustrating, and embarrassing it is to me?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a perfect parent. And I don’t have perfect kids.  They are KIDS after all!  And one thing that I learned very early on is that I cannot control my child – they have a mind and a will and a voice of their own. No matter how I might try, they are in control of themselves. I am not.

Should I be forbidden from taking my kids out  in public because they don’t always behave appropriately? How will kids ever know how to behave in public if they are not given an opportunity to learn?

Now, there is a difference between trying to turn a tantrum into a teachable moment and just letting kids throw a fit and misbehave without any kind of intervention.  But it’s a fine line. If you’re on the outside, you can’t know all the details of the interaction. You can’t presume that because someone’s child is throwing a fit, this means that they are not a good parent.

I totally understand that there are some places that you should probably not take a young child, especially places where you know that they are likely to act up.  But I also disagree with flat-out banning children from certain places.  Isn’t that a form of discrimination against parents?

What do you think about banning young children from public places?  Should people be more understanding and forgiving of children who act up when out in public?

Photo credit: USACE Europe District/Flickr

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