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Jul 26, 2011 10:10 PM

The no-kids-allowed movement is spreading


There have been many threads on kids in restaurants here on chowhound. Most of them don't end well. Apparently there is a movement these days:

  1. Good grief givemecarbs, what's next banning ill-behaved adults? While I would hardly argue that well behaved children are a blessing, to separate out this specific group is no different than how smokers feel about their god-given right to light up in a restaurant or hotel lobby. And if that many businesses are willing to lose the money families spend...well, good luck with that!

    Hardly a movement I would welcome but most definately another complaint about life as we know it making headlines.

    1. I think it is wonderful. My husband and I don't often go out to dinner because I cook almost every night and it is just less expensive that way. When we do go, though, we inevitably wind up next to a table with screaming brats. The best was the time there was a table of 8 parents and then a table of their 8 screaming kids across the restaurant, unsupervised, and of course right next to me. The kicker was that we were sitting in the BAR section of the restaurant.

      If most children were taught to properly behave and to be quiet in public places, people would be more accepting of them... as they were for the past several decades. Today's parents have ZERO control over their children (don't want to hurt their poor special unique feelings) which is why you are starting to see this backlash against unruly children.

      I would go out of my way to support restaurants and stores that had adults-only rules or times. If I wanted to spend my time with kids, I would have had them.

      This article sums up how I feel in a nutshell:

      14 Replies
      1. re: Njchicaa

        I rarely eat out. When I do, I find that going later is the key as families with young children tend to eat earlier.

        I also ask to be moved if they are trying to seat me next to a table with a kid that is running around or a baby who is fussing in the high chair.

        But I find that most restaurants are pretty good about putting non-kid people in a separate area when they can.

        1. re: Njchicaa

          I appreciate the direct honesty Njchicaa. It's a good thing you know already that you do not want children. I have four, all grown, all exceptionally behaved and like most of us got thru their childhood without causing too much mischief. While I understand that people have opinions about all sorts of things, I am reminded of the # of x's adults who misbehave, act unruly in public places, ruin the evening for other dining customers and felt totally justified. So I have some trouble accepting such harsh criticism of parents/young people in a general broad stroke. Eventually, we all have to deal with each other in all sorts of circumstances. If the "not allowed" sign is permitted I hope it applies to EVERY bad patron, regardless of AGE.

          1. re: HillJ

            Good one. I also have 4 kids, all grown. They never caused problems in a restaurant, and we took them as often as we could afford to. The problems we have had in restaurants were invariably with the ADULTS. If one of our kids got cranky, they were immediately whisked off and out of sight until they calmed down. They stayed in their seats. But I don't know how many meals were disturbed by loud and drunk adults on nearby tables. Or the people who think its perfectly alright to bring a large dog and let it go around visiting people. (I remember a ruined meal when my then 3 year old was petrified by a giant dog that paid him a visit...poor kid didn't want to go back to Manhattan for years.) Bad enough that the restaurant allowed it...but the patron was worse for not being considerate. Have I dealt with loud kids at other tables? Occasionally.....but nowhere near as many times as I've dealt with loud and unpleasant adults.

            1. re: EricMM

              " If one of our kids got cranky, they were immediately whisked off and out of sight until they calmed down. They stayed in their seats."

              Eric, it's great that you did this, but you'd be in the vast minority these days. I've worked in fine dining for the last 15 years and saw horrific parenting all too often. Well behaved children have become the exception, not the rule.

              I have a child, yet I fully support any place that decides she's not welcome. Know why? Because some parents need things spelled out for them and I don't want my kid-free time ruined when I'm there in the future.

              1. re: thew

                I see you lived my life for the last 15 years. Fancy that.

                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  you made a blanket statement about reality, not your life.

                  1. re: thew

                    I made a statement based upon watching children in fine dining for 15 years. No need to be a pedant (courtesy of Mr. ab).

                    1. re: thew

                      So did you, actually, make a blanket statement. I notice both types of kids because I really like kids and pay attention to them. It's a 50/50 split at best, as long as I keep my rose colored glasses with me. Bad manners and lack of consideration for others is pretty standard behavior for the adults, the kids don't learn to be good citizens on their own.

                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                    My child never acted up in restaurants, but any time she lost her cool in a public place, I whisked her away to help her regain her composure in private, too. It spared others the unpleasantness and her the embarrassment and humiiliation of a public spectacle.

                    My problem is with adults who don't teach manners or behave in a responsible and considerate way when their children misbehave. Folks have a right to run their business the way they want to within the law, but I don't mind having well behaved kids around anywhere if their parents are doing their jobs.

                    Sadly, as you point out, too many parents don't.

              2. re: Njchicaa

                I'm not at all offended by your post, and I do have children. They would never have been allowed to behave the way I've seen some children behave. It isn't that hard to train a child properly at home. You just have to have standards and expect them to be met.

                Years ago, my daughter, who was then about 5, had a friend over for lunch. This little girl had not been taught to remain seated until she was done eating, so when she got up to play during the meal, I took her plate away. A few minutes later, she came back to the table, wanting to eat, and I told her that in our house, you didn't get up (unless a bathroom break was necessary) until the meal was over. Since she'd gotten up, I assumed the meal was over for her. She was slightly traumatized (and really, I didn't intend to teach a lesson at all, I was just doing what we did), but her mom told me later that she never again left the table during a meal.

                The goal of parenting isn't getting control over one's kids; it's getting them to have self-control, and sometimes, it takes a little "trauma" or conflict to make this happen. It's fear of conflict that causes some parents not to train their children properly.

                1. re: Isolda

                  I love your last three statements. I guess like most things the people who need the advice will ignore it and the people who don't will respond.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    I like the idea of a kid free environment, though i agree some kids can be very good company. I spend all day treating disruptive kids, and I don't need that when I'm off.

                    I DO have to add that not all kids are the same to "train", and not all disruptive kids are the result of poor parenting. There are many parents who can't take their kids places, or won't, out of fears about what strangers will think.

                    My brother got us kicked out of a Chinese restaurant when we were children. They had moved us several times. My own son was VERY disruptive as a toddler and young child, and we literally didn't take him to restaurants for many years. When we went kid friendly places, he was literally kept on a leash. The good news is, we have been able to take him to many restaurants as he grew up, has learned to try and enjoy all kinds of foods, and he is great company for adults at eighteen.

                    Okay, I guess all that wasn't necessary, but he is leaving for college in five days. Sigh.

                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      It's definitely true that some kids are harder to train than others. I probably shouldn't have used the word "easy" in my post. I know there are kids who are atypical. We've got two on the autism/asperger's spectrum in my extended family. But I do think that if you have a typically developing child, even a spirited one, you can teach him or her to behave at mealtimes, by expecting it in your own home. It amazes me when parents don't have mealtime rules, then take their kids out, magically expecting it will be different.

                      And God bless you for working with disruptive kids!

                  2. I think it is a good idea. Many restaurants do not want to be put into the position where they have to ask a diner to please keep their kids under control, it is an awkward situation because many parents get defensive about that sort of thing.

                    The end result is that there is nobody to rein in the kids when they get out of hand and has an adverse effect on the dining experience of the other diners.

                    From a business (profit/loss) standpoint alone I think this would be a very sensible policy for most upscale restaurants.

                    1. its not the children i have a problem with...( i have a 3 yo)

                      its the idiot parents with no parenting skills Whatsoever i have a problem with..
                      my wife watches "supernanny" ...i always amazed at these "parents"and they wonder why the kids are so bad...or they dont take the kids to the store or go out to eat..

                      that and this entitlement attitude that everyone seems to have..
                      "im paying money so i get to do whatever i (or my kids) want..
                      or even if im not paying money...people have gotten this attitude lately that nobody else in the world matters but me,me,me,me...

                      and if not im going get my lawyer and sue...and probably win money from you or your business ....

                      when people file lawsuits for spilling hot coffee on themselves..or when the guy breaking in my house sues me because he got hurt while breaking into my house...
                      or sue a dry cleaner about your pants...or you sue a restaurant because your to stupid to know how to eat an artichoke
                      all this stupidity has a trickle down effect...

                      sometimes i think this no longer a democracy...this a "meocracy"

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: srsone

                        srsone, what a riot. Ban children because their parents don't know any better? Just ban bad manners! A restaurant owner has the right to refuse service..and any age the customer might be. I feel for the owners, people can be pigs; leave a mess at the table upon existing and not give too shakes about it. All true.

                        The society you describe....that me, me, me attitude...well you can thank the genius who invented "getting paid for bad behavior" now the norm in every walk of life.

                        Not allowing children in a restaurant that serves food that appeals to them, caters to bad business and confusing. Now, if the restaurant doesn't offer menu items that your children will eat...then for goodness sake select another place...but to suggest barring anyone under a certain age from a restaurant just because some portion of that population is ill-mannered-crazy.

                        I'm curious CH's, what age are we talking about under 5, 10, 15, 21?

                        1. re: HillJ

                          yes... i agree with the banning bad manners/behavior at any age...also...

                          i remember going out to pretty much any "nice" place meant being on good if not best behavior....nowadays it seems that people forgot that..

                          and i think we have already started down the road to "Idiocracy"

                          1. re: srsone

                            ack. there was no golden age before when people remembered it more than they do now

                            1. re: thew

                              That reminds me of the bumper sticker my dad made for his car in the 1970's: Make Nostalgia a Thing of The Past.

                              He was particularly incensed about a 1950's craze that swept through our town as he viewed that era, when he arrived in CA from Japan, as very racist, terrible food, horrific politics, etc.

                      2. I know a lot of my restaurants locally don't outright ban kids but will point out that there are no high chairs or booster seats or kid menus available.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: MandalayVA

                          No kids' menus? That makes me MORE likely to patronize your restaurant with my child. Thank you for not assuming that my child will only eat hot dogs, mac & cheese, and chicken nuggets. She'll be ordering off the regular menu, thank you.

                          1. re: rockycat

                            yes mine as well...

                            at least kid size portions would be nice tho...

                            1. re: rockycat

                              they're rare, but there are good kids menus - where they do half portions of pasta with choices of more than butter or plain tomato, 4 oz servings of fish or meat, etcetc

                              1. re: rockycat

                                Reminds of my precocious son, years ago. When asked if he'd like to see the children's menu, he replied, " No, just repeat the specials again, please."

                                1. re: Rmis32

                                  Heh, nice Rmis! Okay the most angry adults I have seen in these cases are those who paid good money for a babysitter so that they could have a small break from their own kids only to be stressed out by the children of other people. Just sayin'. I started this thread and I am pleased to find that it is still up and running at least. Thanks for all the interesting comments and points of views everyone. As for me, I don't really know what I think about this trend but I do think it's a good topic of conversation.
                                  Here is what I know about myself though. I have to up for eating out. When I am in a certain mood I'm much better off staying home and cooking or getting take out. Which reminds me I gotta go get some fresh corn before my favorite farm stand sells out for the day. When corn is in season here in Penna the whole dining out thing is moot for me personally. :)

                                2. re: rockycat

                                  It's parents like you who are most likely teaching your children how to behave well in a restaurant. You have rules and standards, unlike a lot of other parents.