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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: http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/05...

      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 should...at 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 families...is 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.

                              2. Children are why God created fast food restaurants. It was the Devil that created booster seats.

                                1. Once upon a time, most restaurants were for adults. People had less disposable income, and when they went out, it was an occasion. They hired a sitter, got dressed up, and joined their adult friends at a restaurant for dinner. Booster seats and children's menus were unthinkable, because children really didn't go anywhere but fast food places.

                                  Now there don't seem to be any generally observed standards, so it's hardly a wonder some restaurants are coming up with rules like these.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: Isolda

                                    No, we usually ate at home. We all did when I was a kid. I'm no young chicken and my parents took all of us (4 kids) out for dinner for a special occassion...of course the # of choices back then was quite small. Even being invited to eat at a friend of my parents was a big deal then. And manners, well..if we didn't show our best...we were reprimanded...and not allowed to enjoy such occasions again so quickly.

                                    But if you're going to compare "once upon a time" then by all means include that we've all changed. As have our incomes, food habits and dining choices since way back when. That there are a ridiculous number of dining choices and that fast food came along AFTER fine dining. Fast food in my youth was a pizza made by the neighbor pizzeria and there wasn't the convenience of delivery yet...you had to dine out to enjoy it.

                                    Once upon a time...is relative :) but I enjoyed your post very much.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      Ban the little screamers from "adult" restaurants and leave their food spraying, table smearing, kicking and rolling around the floor to Fast Food joints. Especially the one with the "indoor playground" let them slide down the germ ridden slides, and yell until they puke. WOW....what fun for the family!!!

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        What a lovely discussion we are all having here. Great comments everyone. Was just telling my friend the other day HillJ that when I was growing up there were no fast food restaurants. Around my neck of the woods there were only a very few pizza places and no chinese restaurants either. I'm from the philly area so fast food back then was a cheesesteak and fries.
                                        The money quote from the article I linked is "When did kids become the equivalent of second-hand smoke?" My friend John is working in the children's section of a library this summer god help him, and he described a harrowing day where one child was throwing computer parts including a keyboard, another rammed into the woman trying to read a story to the children, and children were playing tag in the stacks. The moms and dads that were both present seemed to be having a staring contest as to which parent would deal with the situation, and the father with the computer throwing child was like "now honey don't you think you should come over here and do this instead?" I'd bet money that he was a divorced dad who didn't get to see his daughter much. Oh, some of the parents were in a different part of the library when their kids were running wild. Not saying we should start banning children from the children's section of the library but...:)

                                        1. re: givemecarbs

                                          givemec, you made me smile big time! Sometimes I think my memory is shot....but then you come along...and revive my faith.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            /blush. Thanks HillJ! I got dragged out to many a posh restaurant as an only child of parents who relished eating out a lot. But my mom was smart and came prepared with a goodie bag of coloring books and comic books. Oh my gosh! Comic books saved my childhood. She started me off on the golden classics or something. I remember being fascinated by the Joan of Arc one. I do remember how hard it was to sit for so long though, and this one restaurant that had terraces and a garden and a goldfish pond. My dad and my uncle took turns taking me for a stroll between courses, I was very young, but it was probably the most fun I ever had at a fancy eatery.

                                            1. re: givemecarbs

                                              My grandparents were fond of dining out and often took me (being the oldest grandchild) with them. I have incredible memories of that time in my early years. I loved your comic book story; for me it was craft projects...mostly clay and I still throw pots and sculpt now. We wouldn't change those memories for anything, righ! And thank goodness the adults in our lives didn't feel it necessary to ban us from enjoying the experience of fine dining, neighborhood eateries or just plan good home cooking!

                                        2. re: HillJ

                                          But I did in include that we have changed, in my second sentence. Having more to spend directly correlates to the number of families dining out with their children.

                                          1. re: Isolda

                                            Oh I saw your comment about having more to spend but my parents and I didn't hire babysitters. We went out as a family, enjoyed great food together and had a ball. We wouldn't dream of excluding our (well behaved) children from a meal out and neither did my parents or grandparents. That's not to say we were together 100% of the time at every meal but we didn't raise our kids to believe they weren't welcome to join us and now that they are on their own my husband and I are very happy when they call US to take US to dinner.

                                            I realize there are ill mannered children and parents who don't take charge of a situation well but I do not believe that a) it's the majority or b) that it's any of my business.

                                      2. Personally, I'm not really a fan of blanket bans on certain segments of society. That is why I choose to live in a diverse urban setting complete with all types--kid/no kid households; single, gay, straight; white and nonwhite; affluent/housing "projects"; dogs/cats/no pets; drivers/bikers/metro-riders.

                                        But I know there are lots of folks who would be happier if the world just looked/behaved like them. And businesses are free to restrict customers as long as they don't break the law. I don't think that the no-kids movement will grow too much as parents and kids are too big of a revenue stream to exclude completely at most places I know.

                                        In the interest of full disclosure, I have two teens. We tend to eat at casual asian, central american, indian joints for lunch because we like those foods and they're more affordable. I eat business meals in nicer/pricer places and never mind the presence of well-behaved children. Of which I'd say 90% are.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: tcamp

                                          I'm on board with this. Nothing ruins a meal out more than an obnoxious kid or even worse, an obnoxius parent. Having to hear "skylar, finish your potatoes, skylar, skylar, skylar, finish your...skylar sit down...skylar just...."

                                          There are plenty of places that encourage and cater to families. In fact, 'family' may be the most catered to and fawned over demographic in North America. There's no shortage of places for them to go that congratulates them on their little miracles and remind them of how amazing and special they are.

                                          1. re: jamesm

                                            .............Having to hear "skylar, finish your potatoes, skylar, skylar, skylar, finish your...skylar sit down...skylar just...."

                                            EXACTLY!!! LOL. I have two grown children of my own and I don't often go to restaurants where children are, but sometimes it happens. It is not just the *normal* frenetic energy that little kids need to discharge after 20 minutes of trying to sit still (that their parents ignore) but the obnoxious and incessant Mr.Rogers -style -parent -talk that you can't ignore because it sounds so out of place the environment and the parents get louder as the kid is not listening.... " What do we do, Tara, Tara, Tara, ........what do we do.....about using your indoor voice, Tara, Tara....look at me.....put the salt shaker down please...PLEASE...I said please...."

                                            It can't be fun for the kid either.

                                            1. re: sedimental

                                              Yet those same children do not act out in Daycare nor once they start school. The adults there have rules which must be followed, or the children are sent home as being disruptive.

                                              The other day I was in a sit down restaurant. The parents were sitting in the far corner, allowing their two children to run up and down the aisles. As soon as one got near me (I was the last table before the door), I did lean over, extended my arm across the aisle to a chair at another table and stopped the boy with my arm across his chest and picked him up under both his arms.

                                              I told him to sit down at his table. He did.

                                            2. re: tcamp

                                              To each his own, I avoid urban setting like the plague ... when I eat out what I want is NOT THAT, I want the opposite of it ... I want to be around people who behave like I do ... and if someone fails to behave like I do I expect the management to do something about it NOW not at the end of the meal when I am enjoying my coffee or paying the check, by then the meal has been ruined.

                                            3. So the pendulum swings to banning after years of inconsiderate parents unleashing their children on an unsuspecting public.

                                              21 Replies
                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                Even a well-behaved child can be a disruption. When I'm eating I don't want to see some kid with a face covered in food with the moms ridiculously oversized SUV strollers and bags blocking the passages in the restaurant.

                                                1. re: jamesm

                                                  How am I supposed to eat a meal when there is a kid with a dirty face??? That's an outrage.

                                                  1. re: donovt

                                                    Sorry, I don't find it cute. It's off-putting. I love it when parents can't fathom that the rest of the world doesn't find their child as infinitely charming as they do. It's the ultimate in arrogance.

                                                    1. re: jamesm

                                                      Seriously, food on a kids face is that upsetting? Nobody said you have to live anyone else's kid. But why is it arrogant to want to eat dinner out with my son?

                                                      1. re: donovt

                                                        It's not, it's arrogant to not conceive of the fact that some people do find it unpleasant. It is disruptive and off-putting for many people. I think it's great that families want to spend time together.

                                                  2. re: jamesm

                                                    " with a face covered in food "

                                                    I assume you never want to eat with Adam Richman then? Or anyone in a wheel chair or with crutches? My SIL's mother had her oxygen tank blocking the passages. Should she also have just stayed home? We're inconvenienced in our society by others, even you. I don't want screaming, misbehaved kids in restaurants but someone else's table manners and how clean their faces are none of my business. There are firecodes if passages are blocked; I'm not going to complain about people who are so obese that they have to push their chairs out into the aisles, or people who need more space because they broke their leg surfing or whatever. My legs work fine and I can walk around, I consider myself lucky and not inconvenienced.

                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                      I can appreciate the difference between someone who is physically challenged and a toddler. I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish by making that comparison. Are you suggesting that disabled people are the same as toddlers? That seems reductive and a little insulting.

                                                      1. re: jamesm

                                                        You're complaining about taking up space. Either way, you're having to walk a few steps around them.

                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          No, they are obstructing the passage to and from the store and treating it like a private area for strollers and offspring. It's not a question of walking a few steps around. It's a question of not being able to physically access the space. It's like trying to cross a picket line full of tiny teamsters with no motor skills and their lulu lemon clad union bosses.

                                                          Several people I talked to in the neighbourhood had the same experience and as a result decided to take their business elsewhere.

                                                    2. re: jamesm

                                                      I actually don't blame the child. The child is being a child, which is fine by me.

                                                      It's the parental units that are inconsiderate.

                                                      Funny you should mention SUV strollers. I've literally run into strollers when zoned out moms just stop at the end of an escalator to chat with another SUV stroller pushing mom.

                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                        I had to switch coffee shops because the mom mafia infiltrated and overwhelmed the place I used to with their strollers and children with complete disregard for others. I've actually had conversations with other people in the neighbourhood who did the same. We were run out because there was no consideration for other people. It was all about them.

                                                        1. re: jamesm

                                                          how is that different from you wanting places where THEY feel unwelcome? you complain that they put you out, as you wish them to be pit out.......

                                                          1. re: thew

                                                            Settle down...where did I say that? Point out the part where I want them put out, or where I've made any suggestion that would make them feel unwelcome? Stop putting words in my mouth and getting indignant. They could just move their stupid status strollers a few feet down from the entrance way and not monopolize the real estate and treat it like a private playground. I've literally stood waiting to get in the door while they mill around having a conversation while making eye contact with me, I've see them literally ignore people who try to get in, or have to squeeze by and they refuse to move. I don't want them to feel put out. I want them to show a little consideration for the rest of the planet that doesn't orbit around them and their viable zygotes. Having a child requires sacrifice and inconvenience and it changes your life. That doesn't mean the rest of the world has to share in those sacrifices and inconveniences.

                                                            1. re: jamesm

                                                              here, in your support of the initial idea:

                                                              "I'm on board with this. Nothing ruins a meal out more than an obnoxious kid or even worse, an obnoxius parent. Having to hear "skylar, finish your potatoes, skylar, skylar, skylar, finish your...skylar sit down...skylar just...."

                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                Yeah? That's a restaurant policy. Not getting your point. I'm not standing in the doorway imposing my lifestyle choice on the rest of the world as per my coffee shop example.

                                                                For all of the suggestions of just look away, ignore them, walk around, why didn't the owner do something, etc,...I'll ask why should the rest of the world have to accommodate these parents and moderate their behaviour? That's entitlement. The notion of adjust your behaviour and lifestyle to make way for ours because we decided to give birth.

                                                                1. re: jamesm

                                                                  im not fan of the elf entitled. i took my kid out of the stroller at 2 1/2. but you are asking parents to adjust to for lifestyle as well, thats all I'm saying

                                                          2. re: jamesm

                                                            And why for goodness sake it the mom mafia as you call it was overwhelming the coffee shop didn't the owner take charge?

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              No idea, steady clientele? Maybe it's a family friendly coffee place. There are a lot of places that encourage family and children. A few places wanting to establish themselves as a place for adults doesn't mean there will be nowhere for families and children to go. It's a market that certainly isn't being ignored.

                                                              I was at brunch a few weeks ago and there was a mom and her husband and their child. The kid was asleep. They asked our table to keep it down because their kid was sleeping. We were by no means loud or out of control. We were laughing and talking, like people do at brunch.

                                                              1. re: jamesm

                                                                Ok, you've got me there. In a room full of customers (regardless of age) one customer doesn't get to tell everyone else to be quiet because the baby is sleeping. And, read below to see my "baby sleeping" story....they come in every shape & size!

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  Totally agreed.

                                                                  I think this no kids policy is a reaction to the prevalence of a new generation of entitled parents. Eventually the pendulum will swing the other way and there will be some balance but for the time being we seem to be in correcting mode.

                                                          3. re: dave_c

                                                            Dave, I have seen strollers the size of Kia Rio. Enough with that.

                                                      2. Well, the entire subject makes my poor head spin. It wouldn't be true if I said I never saw the behavior some of you have described and FWIW there are a growing number of restaurants allowing pets on leashes to join their owners for dinner all over the country. When I entered my first puppy bakery and attended a 1st year puppy birthday party I recognized life had changed. But, back on point...

                                                        The idea of banning children for any reason from an establishment will probably never sit right with me and if we could predict which places we should avoid ahead of time I suppose we'd all be a bit happier. But children grow up, become adults and will only learn how to properly live amongst the angelic people of this world (& dine in restauarants) through exposure and practice, good parenting helps and...let's face it some luck!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Id rather see a dog at a restaurant than a child. I like dogs.

                                                          1. re: jamesm

                                                            And it's so much less offensive to have a nearby dog licking his privates or panting and drooling than to see a child enjoying a meal. Children *are* actually people, you know. Adults in training. :-)

                                                            If they don't spend time in restaurants and other places where decorum is required, they won't learn situation appropriate behavior before they're let loose on us all where we dine.

                                                        2. i'm going to have to stop reading these threads , as all they do is piss me off.
                                                          people argue from the most ridiculous extremes. no one wants to see a kid covered in spit and food, or screaming their head off. guess what - that isn't most kids.

                                                          i'm very glad my parents took me out often as a child, and never to fast food places. I love taking my 6 yr old out to dinner. and not to fast food places.

                                                          most kids are not is strollers, are not puking, are not rolling on the floor.

                                                          it isn;t parents who seem to be the ones with this notion of self entitlement and imposing their will on others here, it is those who take no delight in children, and act as if that stone hearted attitude was something to be proud of

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: thew

                                                            i delight in my daughter every day...

                                                            best part of the day is when i walk in the door ..i get "Daddy!!!" and a big hug about my knees...

                                                            1. re: srsone

                                                              hear, hear...the extreme examples make for crazy late night tv, but doesn't ring true enough for me to support a no kids allowed movement/ban/whatever for people who don't like children to begin with, have no patience for others, or would be happier in a restaurant of their own design...a restaurant for one...in the first place. That's just silliness but givemec, thank you for bringing this subject up-it's always refreshing to get an earful.

                                                          2. We as a society have not only become used to bad behavior, we condone and even reward it! Why else would the Housewives of _______( fill in the blank) be so popular? Even our elected officials can’t seem to behave properly. Anyone, adult or child who cannot behave properly in a public place should be asked to behave or leave. It’s too bad this is impossible to do on an airplane.

                                                            1. I'm fine with restaurants and businesses set their own policy and would have been fine with it when my kids were younger. I think it would be great to have a "kid friendly" section and "Burger meister meister" section of places--one where people don't mind kids and all they come with; and those who don't want to see kids at all. Although, it has always stressed my kids out to see kids having tantrums, misbehaving and all. The price of having neurotic children.

                                                              1. I have no problem with children being exposed to good food and other good things in life, but I see no reason why this needs to start practically at birth. I was at a symphony orchestra concert last year seated two rows behind a couple with a son that looked all of two years old. The child was clearly bored, wouldn't have known the difference between the Beethoven symphony being played and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and made disruptive noises and comments throughout the performance. I fail to see how the child was enriched by being brought along, but the enjoyment of the rest of us in the audience was certainly impoverished.

                                                                I behaved very badly in a restaurant when I was three or four. I crawled under people's tables and ran through the aisles. My parents promptly scooped me up, apologized to the people sitting near us and left the restaurant. I didn't get to eat out with them again for another few years When my parents went out, they left me with my grandmother or paid someone to watch me. Now we often hear "helpless" parents say that they have to bring their children along because they have no one to leave them with, as if that justifies horrible behavior. Despite what my parents chose to do, I wasn't deprived of the opportunity to try fine dining. I just got to experience it at a slightly later age, when my parents thought I was ready for it and was able to behave myself. I grew up to appreciate a very broad range of foods from many cuisines, far more than my parents did.

                                                                Several people here have tried to shift the focus onto adults acting badly. We've all seen plenty of that, but it's beside the point. It doesn't make it more acceptable for parents to allow their children to engage in disruptive behavior in public. I don't see the two as exactly the same either. Adults have the capacity to understand why their behavior isn't acceptable to others. Of course, some don't give a damn, but they do know that they are annoying others--they've surely been told so over and over again. Young children do not yet have the capacity to understand the effects of their behavior on strangers. Yes, toddlers may understand that mommy and daddy get upset when they make a lot of noise in a restaurant and that they could very well be punished if they continue to act out, but they aren't thinking "Gee, the reason mommy and daddy are upset is because none of the people sitting near us can enjoy their meal with me making such a ruckus." They are too young to grasp that. And as many others have already said, an increasing number of parents simply ignore their children's behavior and let it go on unchecked.

                                                                I think that eating at a good restaurant should be a privilege accorded to a child, not an automatic right. It is not age-appropriate for all children. I have no problem with a restaurant barring young children, when it has received many complaints from patrons. No, it's not fair that a child who is well behaved at an age when many of their peers still aren't won't be able to eat there until he/she gets a little older. Some kids do mature faster than others. But life isn't always fair and sometimes absolute fairness has to be subordinated to the greater good.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                  That all sounds very civilized, but it really isn't. Adults are accountable for their behavior every minute of every day; no days off and some really immature, clueless grownups still manage to do whatever the heck they please and make no apologies for it. I think if you're going to ban anyone from any restaurant do so based on in the moment behavior not age. Because some adults ACT like children and some children are far more adult than we give them credit for. So case by case this dilemma and forget some broad stroke ban.

                                                                  My husband reminded me this evening about a time we went out to dinner and the couple sitting near us had a baby with them sound asleep. The couple on the other side of us were so disturbed by the fact that a baby was even in the restaurant that we soon realized they were going out of their way to try and wake the baby up. At one point they tried to encourage my husband to set off his cell phone alarm to see if it would rouse the infant, sitting closer to him. The baby was asleep and thankfully stayed asleep but try and explain that kind of ridiculous behavior to me?!

                                                                  This no kids allowed movement says one thing to me: I'm entitled to push back. So I'm pushing.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    Wow that is pretty outrageous HillJ. Glad the baby showed more mature behavior than that couple. Has anyone else brought up the disturbing behavior I have witnessed from some parents or grandparents that I call using the kids as attack dogs? I'll read through after supper but I have to go peel me some corn. Seen a mom once enjoy watching her kids annoy a couple at a nearby table (they should have moved) and even one of my girlfriends I'm sorry to say took great pleasure when one of her then teenaged sons was rude to friends and aquaintances. She just did not seem to get it that this did actually reflect badly on her. She was having way too much fun.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Actually, it's not the babies that are the worst offenders. It's the next age level up: the two- to four-year-olds. There's a reason why people use the expression "the terrible twos." At this age children are developing a sense of self (often overencouraged by indulgent parents), revel in being the center of attention and become adept at "pushing other people's buttons." I think that this is the age group most likely to exasperate diners in a restaurant.

                                                                      For those restaurants that choose to exclude small children, it comes down to a business decision. A good restaurant strives to create a positive experience for its customers, one that makes them want to come back and recommend the restaurant to others. If the restaurant feels that too many boisterous youngsters are ruining the experience for diners and they are losing business because of it, I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to set an age limit. I wouldn't expect a fast food or a family restaurant to do this, but for a higher priced establishment, this isn't necessarily inappropriate.

                                                                      I agree that when an adult acts outrageously, the behavior is unacceptable and should be addressed. I suspect that it would be more often if people weren't afraid of possible physical retaliation or creating a scene and getting thrown out themselves. However, I still think that the majority of adults are considerate and act appropriately in public. For very young children, the scale tips the other way. When they behave well in public, it's more the exceptionn than the rule.

                                                                      1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                        This thread has given me alot to reflect on I'll give you that. I managed to raise four kids into adulthood. They knew right from wrong at every age and their dad and I were firm parents.

                                                                        However, I don't live under a rose colored view, I know people can shock the devil out of ya daily. But I don't believe for a minute that adults have it ALL over young people or that the scales tip the other way for growing chow-pups. In my small corner of the world, it just isn't so. Maybe I'm fortunate.

                                                                        This thread started with the notion that no kids allowed should be seriously considered. I think its bunk. I hope it never actually happens.

                                                                        I also recognize that we all come to this discussion with different experiences dining out and enjoying the time spent without disruption or accommodation of issues that we'd rather not, so with respect I'll end my train of thought here.

                                                                        We all have the right to enjoy our individual dining experiences but I'll continue to keep open to the idea that young people get an undeserved rap all too often....and in my view...unfairly.

                                                                  2. I see it as not that much different from any other restaurant niche. There are sports bars, and Indian restaurants, and cigar bars, and Japanese restaurants, and topless donut shops, and..and...and...bottom line is, that different establishments exist to serve different segments of the population. Nobody said anything about hating kids...just that kids aren't allowed in this particular restaurant. Kinda like dogs -- dogs are allowed a lot of places, and not allowed a lot of other places -- if you want to be around dogs (or have one), there's places that welcome dogs. If you don't want to be around dogs for some reason, then don't go to a place that advertises that they welcome dogs. (no, I'm not equating kids with dogs...but the principle isn't that different) I'm highly allergic to cigars..so I don't go to cigar bars, etc., etc., etc.

                                                                    As long as there is a niche of the population that will support those restaurants -- it's no big deal.

                                                                    If you want to have a kid-free evening on date night, then a kid-free restaurant might be a good option.

                                                                    When you have your kids with you, obviously a kid-free restaurant won't be an option...but somehow I doubt that we'll ever reach a point where there are NO restaurants where you can share a meal with your kids.

                                                                    1. Our movement reflects our values.

                                                                      1. Like most kids in restaurants threads, this one is getting personal. We've removed some posts, but we don't think things are going to get better, just worse, so we're going to lock it now.