We have a large family, half of our children are under the age of ten. Most of the time, we travel and dine together. It has always been this way. Date night is a rarity–y’know, where we actually leave the children and engage in adult activities like movies with a rating above a PG rating and dine at restaurants where they don’t have a children’s menu.
Not long ago, my husband and I were enjoying date night. It had been a pleasant evening and we were really enjoying the time together without our children. We indulged in dinner at a restaurant we had both been wanting to try and powered up our movie tickets to 3D IMAX.
Not long into the movie, there were familiar sounds of whining and crying. It wasn’t our child, nor was the rating on the movie child-friendly. We expected the parent’s would be removing their child. We had no such luck. The child continued, eventually staring a domino effect with other children in the theater. It was difficult to focus on the movie and we missed a great deal of dialogue between the characters.
Following headlines, it seems we aren’t the only people seeking a child-free experience. It has become a movement many are calling the Brat Ban. Businesses who once welcomed children are banning them. Businesses like restaurants, hotels, airlines and some movie theaters.
Many feel families are being discriminated against with this movement. Perhaps this is a general statement. In our community, a drive through strip centers and restaurants shows that families are thriving. There’s Kid’s Eat Free Nights and family passes being offered.
The fact that children are being banned is astounding. Is it that we have failed to parent? In 2010, North Carolina’s Olde Salty restaurant didn’t ban children, instead, owner Brenda Armes posted a sign that read “Screaming children will not be tolerated”. The restaurant enforces the sign, making it clear to parents when their kids scream, they’ll be asked to take them outside.
Bars have long posted that individuals under 21 are not allowed, but there has never been this frenzy of cries calling “discrimination”. It should be a given that there are just some places that are committed to an adult-only experience. Bars, rated R movies are examples, but it doesn’t end there. If parents can’t see the boundaries of what adult-only establishments are, does this No-Kids Allowed movement then just make it clear or are they discriminating?
There is a time and place for children. It is unfortunate people need to be reminded of it, especially parents of unruly, whiny, non-listening kids. Sometimes we just need "big people" time.
When my children were small we got compliments on their behavior at restaurants. This is more about the lack of parenting skills way too many adults seem to have these days than it is discrimination against children. It's also about the lack of common courtesy way too many adults have these days. How difficult is it to realize if ones child is a disturbance it's time to take them outside, to the washroom, wherever, for a talk or time out or just to spare the rest of the patrons the outburst. We received more than one wedding invitation that said "No children" back then. We raised our children in a Latino environment where family is big and children are always welcome and we didn't use babysitters. We knew our children could behave themselves. We felt discriminated against because other adults could not or chose not to control their children. So we just declined those invitations. If our children weren't welcome, then we didn't feel welcome either.
I honestly do not have a problem with this. I know there are times when I would love to have a nice dinner without a kid being present. We have 5 so its not often. If people wan this it is up to them. If not go somewhere else.
If anything, the places that are kid friendly will reap the benefits of this change. Moms and dads will go to "no kids allowed" places on special dates, and take the kids to the openly kid-friendly joints most other times.