What’s your opinion on “kid-free” zones?

The hot topic on the Internet this week has been “kid-free” zones in certain places — essentially banning children from certain events and arenas.

The buzz really got going when a Whole Foods Market in Missouri announced a new event: two hours of free babysitting while you go shopping, every Friday in August. Parents can drop off their kids — the young ones can enjoy crafts and books; Mom and Dad can shop without the grabby hands or whining.

People misunderstood this as banning kids from Whole Foods. Understandable, because local venues are hopping on this trend: a quiet, casual restaurant in Pennsylvania announced this summer that children under 6 are no longer allowed.

A restaurant in North Carolina has made it quite clear with a sign on its doors: “Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!” Malaysia Airlines recently announced that children are banned from first class.

In Austin, my hometown, Alamo Drafthouse has a strict no kids allowed in all their movies, offering instead kid-friendly hours and movies during certain times and days.

There are times and places where children shouldn’t be, for their sake as much as the other people involved. But as a culture, are we becoming less and less tolerant of kids?



Photo from flickriver

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. When you hear a local restaurant is banning kids, do you feel “persecuted,” or do you do understand their perspective? Companies have a right to do what they want — but do you feel like it’s a good move on their part?

Does this say anything about how our culture views — and deals with — children? As a parent, how do you feel when you see someone else’s child making loud noise in a store, an airplane, or some other public place?

(And perhaps most importantly, how awesome would it be if there were more restaurants and stores that provided childcare? This is just one of the many reasons we love Ikea so much.)

You can say no to constant busyness.

To lead your family with peace, you need to know your NOs and YESes. But what are they?

Like Your Life can help you figure them out.

309 Comments

  1. erika

    i have two small kids – ages 4 and 2- (and one on the way)- and i think it’s a pretty great idea. in the rare moments when i get to go on a date with my husband to a nice restaurant, the last thing i want is a crying baby at the next table. and if i paid to sit in first class, you better believe i don’t want a toddler kicking my seat…

    • JenniferSalley

      :o) I’m glad I’m not the only one that happens too!

    • Kelly

      I share your belief-kids are a blessing and a gift, but on a date with my husband I really don’t want to hear someone else’s kids ating out. That’s a whole different topic though!

      • Melissa L.

        I’ve got a two year old and five year old, and I agree. Sure, it would be nice if everyone had the same sense of what places (or times of day) are appropriate for young children, but since we don’t all share the same practice, we’ve left it to the businesses to make the determination for us.

        • Wendy Fehr

          I agree. I have four children. When they were young I didn’t take them anywhere if I weren’t positive their behaviour would suit the situation. Unfortunately, not all parents have that decision – making ability. So, since we’ve handed the decision over to businesses, vote with your dollar. There was one family restaurant we never went to again after they gave me attitude about my toddler – we hadn’t even been seated yet!

    • Nikole Kubias-Clarke

      I was just talking to a friend of mine about this. I have a 6 year old, a 1 year old, and one due in 2 1/2 months. I think it’s a great idea. Why not have some areas that are just not for kids. Or a restaurant that I know I can go out on a date night with hubby and there will not be any kids. I love and like my kids. i like to take my kids most places with me and I enjoy them. But the occasional meal/movie without them would be even nicer knowing I won’t have to hear someone elses child yelling or screaming.

  2. Jessica in Canada

    When businesses ban children, I feel persecuted. I don’t take my children to places that are unnecessary (ie. a fancy restaurant) unless I am sure they will behave. Children are a part of society. We don’t (or aren’t supposed to) shun other segments of society.

    It’s the same as when parents feel they must drug their child for the sake of other passengers on an airplane: forcing a child’s liver to metabolize a drug for the comfort of adults. A man got upset with my almost 2 year old for giggling on an airplane. I didn’t know he was ensured a perfectly quiet flight so he could read his book.

    Banning children from public places aka ignoring parts of our population that are “unpleasant” doesn’t make them go away. I think if people find certain aspects of the population too unpleasant to deal with, they shouldn’t go out in public too often.

    • Sarah M

      so true. Totally agree with you on this one!

      Sarah M

      • Courtney

        i agree

      • Susanna

        Well said.

        I just think it’s amazing that we are banning children from public places before smoking! Which is really more of a problem for society?

    • Rachel

      Word!

      • Kim

        Totally agree with you, Jessica!

        Our society likes to pick on those least able to stand up for themselves…children, the elderly, sick people, the list goes on…

        I always laugh to myself in that the beautiful part is that children are just expressing out loud what we all want to express on airplanes or in airports…utter exasperation and impatience. Ha! Besides, do they kick off the first class passenger who belittles and patronizes the staff and takes up too much space of the woman next to him? No because that person is more difficult to manage than a mere child. UGH! Infuriating!

        I think as parents that we have a responsibility to try our best to show our children how to act in public, and to choose appropriate places for where are children are developmentally, but banning kids is over the top.

        Parents, we have major influence with our pocket books…don’t buy from those who ban kids! Next thing we know, they will be telling elderly people that they are too old to eat at their restaurant or to fly on their plane. Ridiculous!

        • Brittany

          I agree. Though if I go on date with y husband we find a sitter. But how are chidren supposed to learn how to behave in public if they arent allowed there. We are expected to put up of loud mouths, drunks and smokers but not children? If my child is screaming crying than I take him and comfort him whether it be in the bathroom or outside so that he does not disrupt people around us. I had a man once be very ugly to me and a little girls mother ( a babysat for them) bc she was laughing at her movie Then when we were leaving the plane he wanted me to help him get something he had dropped. though the right thing to do would have been to help I told him that he should of thought about taht before he was so ugly about a 3 year old laughing! I thought we were supposed to be a tolarant country!

    • Mary

      I agree completely with you on this one! Just today, I had a lady complain very loudly about all the screaming children and that all mothers need to just find a babysitter before they go out shopping. She said all of this in a store where half of the merchandise is for kids. I couldn’t take it anymore since I had my own 2 little ones with me who were being very well behaved and told her, if she didn’t like kids so much, she needed to shop in a store that didn’t cater to children. I could have just ignored it, but I’m tired of the attitude. I agree with making some places kid free, it is nice to have a nice meal or quiet down time, however we can’t teach kids how to act appropriately in public if we don’t allow them there. They are people too, and adults need to remember they were kids once too.

  3. Michele

    Something has gone a little wonky when the child is seen as the problem. Cesar Millan’s quote about dogs would fit perfectly here: “It is not about your child – it is about you.”

    However, I do agree that not all venues should be child-friendly.

    xoxo michele

    • JenniferSalley

      I completely agree! I don’t think that as a society we are tiring of children, I think we are becoming less tolerant of passive parents.

      • Megan Swicegood

        This is exactly what I was trying to say and couldn’t find the words! I think it’s the rare person who really minds a well-behaved child in public, though for the life of me I will never be tolerant of babies in bars no matter how quiet and cute, most people mind parents not correcting behavior or taking care of an obviously distressed child.

        • Jessica in Canada

          I definitely agree with children in bars! The problem is parents disagree about what is appropriate for their children. Once, I was at a laser show at Universal Studios. There was no age restriction for the show, but recommended for over 12. The people behind us had 3 kids around under 10. One of them was screaming in terror the entire time. I felt ill for that child. He probably had nightmares for a month. I filed a complaint with the park. They said there was nothing they could do. This was incomprehensible to me: physical rides have a height restriction to prevent young children from going on them, the same can be done for “scary” shows.

          My issue is with well behaved children in restaurants, flights, museums, etc. It seems like some people are getting so crotchety, they can’t handle any possible disruption to their day. Should we start banning elderly and disabled people too? When will the insanity end?

          I don’t have an issue if people want to take advantage of babysitting while they are shopping. It definitely makes things easier — for the parent! This is not the store saying children aren’t welcome.

          • Shirley

            I agree it is the parents that do not either know how or care to discipline their children and feel it is okay to expose their children to everything society has to offer. I think businesses banning children says more about societies total lack of responsibility when it comes to their children. There was a time when parents would never have thought about going to a nice, fancy dinner with a 2 year old a time when the child should be asleep rather than suffering through a dinner with his/her parents or concerts where the music is way too loud and not very child appropriate. And yes, I to have seen many a child in a bar.
            Yes, liberty gives us our freedom but that freedom still comes with restrictions.
            Kind of reminds me of what I teach my children. Just because you are free to do whatever you choose does not mean you should.

      • pippy

        It is the parents, not the children.

      • Kay

        I think the crux of the problem is that there are adults who are failing at their responsibilities as parents and because of them, those of us with children capable of social mores and positive behavior, are being punished.

        I think the banning should focus on Human Beings who do not behave with decorum appropriate to the venue. I would ban several adults. Those who talk on cell phones while the film is playing. Those who treat staff in hotels and restaurants like alley dogs. Those who ignore their children until the children resort to screaming.

        Parenting is a serious responsibility. I’m a business owner and a homeschool mom. I was blessed with a high need infant and it took a lot of hands on
        attachment parenting to comfort my sensitive babe. Yet, because his
        father and I were diligant he was able to attend adult venues like Shakespeare
        by age four. He’s never acted out in a restaurant and if he was fussy
        in a class I took him out to calm down because he obviously wasn’t
        happy. It’s about responsive parenting but kids who are acting
        out are often doing so because they have parents who are ignoring
        them to suit their own selfish needs.

        I’ve seen parents who don’t stop their children from running through
        restaurants or climbing under tables and on top of everything. If
        the parent is lacking in emotional maturity how are they going to
        teach their children appropriate behavior?

        We rarely have the ability to go out to a nice restaurant and
        when we do, I don’t want to hear a child having a tantrum
        at the table next to me. I think the issue can be addressed
        on an individual basis but maybe the owners of establishments
        are just tired of dealing with rude parents and they’ve given
        up. Thus the ban on children.

        • kristi m

          Totally agree! I think the problem lies within the adults. How is society going to expect children to learn manners and certain behaviors if they are banned from certain places. My son (now 5) knows exactly how to behave in a movie theater because we have been taking him well before he was two. Same goes with the restaurants. By the time we took our first flight on an airplane at age 2, he was accustomed to the way things needed to be. I also can not imagine children being banned from church. I am involved in a very family oriented religion and can not even imagine it without them. By going to church, my son has also learned the appropriate way to sit and listen and I highly believe that it will bleed over to the way he behaves in school. It all comes back to the adults/parents and their ability to teach their children the appropriate way to behave. I have been in many restaurants and movies, etc where the adults were behaving out of line. So to blame the desired experience on all children is so sad.

      • Robin Bird

        This is exactly the point! With society becoming less rules oriented and structured the lines have become blurred. Having some of these rules in place simply makes it obvious to those who do not take it upon themselves from to teach their children the proper way to behave within our society. There will always be a place for childish behavior from children. But childish behavior from parents that have yet to rise to the occasion to teach and love their children enough to live in a society gracefully is another thing.

      • Leah McNatt

        hear hear! I was about to post something similar to this. Jennifer saved me the time.

      • ashley

        My thoughts exactly!

      • Jen

        Exactly! I don’t mind whining, crying, screaming, misbehaving children [i]as long as I see their parents attempting to do something about it[/i]. Businesses have been put into this situation not because of children, who are simply doing what children have done for centuries, but because of parents who are [i]not[/i] doing what parents have been doing for centuries – that is, PARENTING!

        The ban should be on inappropriate behavior, and that should include adults as well as children.

      • Stacey

        Yes..that’s exactly it. I think if children are well-mannered for their age no one would have a problem with them but some parents aren’t teaching their children appropriate behavior for public venues and it’s frustrating to those who have to put up with it.

    • Leah McNatt

      amen sister!

  4. Jamie

    Maybe it’s just because I’m involved with my own kids, but other people’s kids really don’t bother me.
    You know what bothers me more than this new trend with restaurants etc…? Churches. Churches have been banning children from worship services for decades.

    • Sara

      YES.

    • Elisa | blissfulE

      … and we wonder why fewer kids grow up to attend church as adults…

    • Tamara

      We love where we sit at church. We meet my folks there and know a lot of the people in the pews around us. Recently a new family has joined us and they have what looks to be a four year old boy (I also have a four year old who sits with us).

      The little boy talks the entire service and the parents engage him in conversation. If my little one talks all I have to do is give a look and the mouth is zipped.

      Now, I’m so happy that they are there and want to bring their little guy with them but it really is loud and I can’t hear the sermon. All the people around us look over at them hoping they will get the hint. They have TVs right outside where you can sit with your little ones and hear the message.

      My question is how do you handle that? Do you say something? Do you just move? They are going to drive people away—I’m already preparing myself to be annoyed and it’s only Friday morning. Curious to know what others do in this situation.

      • Christine S

        Our church has the kids Sunday School classed during service. Its hard because some people have to miss to teach, but all members teach in a rotation for 2 months so its doable.

        I’d suggest getting to know the family and then gently bring up how the child reacts in quiet settings. You may get a new perspective on how the parents REALLY feel about their son talking! Truth in love goes a very long way! Either way, you’ll feel better since its a friend at that point.

      • Amber H

        I would say something. In a NICE way. Mention the TVs outside. A lot of times people honestly don’t realize that they are bothering the people around them. Maybe they think they are talking quietly enough that no one is being bothered by it. If they are engaging their kid in conversation, maybe they aren’t catching (or maybe they just aren’t interpreting) the looks. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I’d mention something nicely and, if it keeps happening, maybe be a little more forward in saying that you can’t hear the sermon when they are talking to their child.

      • Kelly

        I’ve not been in the situation, but perhaps some proactive maneuvers to avoid a public scene would help. Maybe talk to the family away from church and/or offer some quiet activity materials, inviting the other child to sit with yours with crayons and coloring books? Let them know that you think it’s wonderful that they want their child with them in the service, but that it’s challenging to hear the sermon when there’s any conversation occuring. Ensure that they feel welcome in your area and at church, letting them know you want to keep it that way by helping them to fit in to the existing group.

        • dmd

          This whole topic is interesting and I honestly sort of agree with both sides. As far as church goes, we don’t “ban” kids from worship in our church, but most go to nursery or Sunday School during worship…or at least after children’s moment about 1/4 of the way into worship. Honestly, worship is not the ideal setting for an ADHD kid and being in worship would do nothing to engender a love of church with him. He would associate it with being bored and being told to be quiet and sit still. In Sunday School, they can talk about God and Jesus, learn about the Bible, and do interactive activities – and they don’t have to sit still. During the times we’ve not had Sunday School or children’s activities during worship, I’ve gotten absolutely nothing out of worship. Really, I should’ve stayed home. He was distracted, I was distracted, no one was happy. We tried activity books, but that doesn’t interest him and what’s the point? That’s like giving a kid a DS at dinner. He’s not there for the point of being there.

      • mom of 7

        Engage this family:) Invite them over, find out what they are looking for in a church, and see if they are interested in the idea of “family ministry” There are lots of ways to facilitate the presence of children within the service. We have children’s programing, but some families prefer to keep their kids in the worship service with them. An area of our auditorium is kind of a gap for the sound system used during the music (our contemporary music can be quite loud for litte ears) and we do make note of that. Activity pages that paralell or compliment the sermon topic plus crayons are available. The tech crew uses motion backgrounds for the powerpoint. I am sure we can all think of ways to help the little guy to wait to ask his questions or at least to have them answered later. the goal of our family ministry team is to help all members of the church see the value in everyone and to bend to those needs (the older people in our church need a hymn or two, the teens like the drums, families prefer short rows with a little more wiggle room, some members prefer the scripture on the power point instead of flipping through their Bible. Our members seem to be less irritated by these things once they think of them as important to someone else) The TV feed is great, in a relationship you might find out why they don’t take avantage of it. A “look” from a stranger communicates very little, but a conversation might lead to an understanding. Unfortunately there is always the chance that thesse people just don’t get “it” so keep your eyes out for an available pew:)

        • Jessica in Canada

          Although it may seem like all parents have the same behavioural goal for their children, in fact everyone has a different philosophy! We have coworkers who let their children run amok; people try to give them advice all the time. What others don’t realize is that this was an intentional choice. I have a friend who believes in answering every her childs questions no matter what or when it is to encourage learning…I believe some things are age appropriate and that some things are best explained in private.

          It is the same for church. I think the key is to find a church who shares your parenting philosophy. Churches that have a program for every age group can help adults to be less distracted and learn more directly. We chose our church precisely because they believed in keeping the children with the parents. We go to church as a family, so we want to worship & learn as a family. Most events are held for everyone in the church, not just a certain population. When music is going on, there is nothing wrong with kids dancing at the back of the church — I don’t think this should disturb anybody, but some people will find this distracting. I personally think if a baby starts crying or a child starts acting up, yes, take him out. But we are in public, so no one should be annoyed by the act of the child being taken out. If the child is not attended to and continues to distract, then I feel that is the problem.

    • Laura

      Really?!?!?!?

      • Elise Adams

        GREAT discussion 🙂 Really enjoying all sides of it. I just wanted to chime in with our experience. Having attended all sorts of churches over the years my family and I are really blessed to attend a Russian Orthodox Church here in our small town. There are many families and lots of little kids. We don’t have a Sunday school or nursery so all the families are welcome during services. Another blessing (might not sound like it at first) is that we stand during services–little kids can sit on the floor, walk a bit (esp. the under 3 set) or stand with us. The attitude during service is reverent and all the families truly support each other with our common desire for attention and quiet, while understanding when an infant gets wiggly. This is the first time I’ve been in a truly warm and welcoming place for all ages. I must say when a “Village” is of a similar mind and helpful attitude it’s really helpful to us parents!

    • Amy

      Yes! In some ways the church is the worst! And this is coming from a pastor’s wife.

      • Jen

        I would say absolutely do not mention the tv’s outside or comment on the kids’ behavior. Personally, I would walk out the door and never return if someone did that to me, and I’m the youth pastor’s wife!!! Maybe they are uncomfortable with the nursery because they don’t know the workers and desperately want to feel included in the service instead of ostracized in the hallways. The best thing anyone at church has ever said to me (and my kids are quiet and well behaved but do make noise occasionally as 18 month olds tend to do), is that they love to hear my children make noise in church because it reminds them that children are there and that the church will continue when they are gone. Jesus didn’t kick the kids out when the disciples wanted to, he said, “let them come to me!” Best thing you could do? Let the kid sit right by yours and help entertain him through the service with books or stickers or something that you bring for them.

        • Annie~Savor This Moment

          Our church is family oriented, with service together first, then children and adults go to separate classes. My four kids are relatively well-behaved, but they have their moments, too. Being aware of and respectful of those around you is common courtesy, but I agree that we all don’t have the same parenting style or philosophy, so either roll with it or find a new place to sit. Our clergy encourages reverent behavior during our church service because we are worshiping in the Lord’s house, and even the youngest children can understand that.

  5. Erica Cosminsky

    I have a 4 year old and I can sort of see both sides of this argument. There are times when I want to go somewhere and it be peaceful without listening to someone else’s kid scream or throw a fit.

    But on the opposite side of that, I feel punished as a parent who has raised a child who is aware of social etiquette. She knows that she can run around and be a maniac at home but behaves in public.

    For example, I have a weekly reflexology appointment at a local spa. One week my childcare fell through last minute and I was really nervous about taking her with me. Of course many of the people who go to a spa are trying to get have a relaxing, peaceful day so it made me feel super when Riley was complimented on her behavior. Plus she gets her feet rubbed if she tags along. 😉

  6. Alexia

    I like the idea of kid-free zones because when I am kid-free myself the last thing I want to do is be by a kid. Well I guess I should say, I don’t mind kids who are behaving. But if it’s kids who are screaming their heads off or something else equally as annoying and the parents aren’t doing anything about it? Well, I get annoyed.

    At the same time. I think businesses take it to far. Parents can be your best paying customer if you treat them right. And businesses who don’t actually end up losing those parent’s business forever because honestly, I’m not going to visit a business who banned my children…even if I’m kid-free. There are ways to deal with kids who’s parents can’t control them and completely banning children isn’t the way.

    • Chic Mummy

      Agreed. A local restaurant we used to go to brought in a rule of no children after 6 pm. That’s fine, that’s their right, but now we no longer go there before 6 or on our date night, and many if our friends are the same.

  7. Julia

    When I first heard about kid-free zones (my husband was staying in a kid-free hotel on a business trip) I was kind of shocked. But then I thought about it for a while and the idea kind of grew on me. I often check my children because I think they might bug other people. Knowing that these people can go to a child free restaurant/hotel/whatever makes me a more relaxed mom, actually. And the thought of going to a kid-free restaurant for a date night with my husband is very nice, I have to admit. 🙂

    I do understand if parents feel discriminated against, tough. If we’d all be a bit more tolerant towards the needs of others there wouldn’t be the need for kid-free zones. But as we’re not living in an ideal world I am ok with child-free zones.

  8. Jennifer

    Moderation is key. Several of our local movie pubs (in Portland) have kid-friendly and kid-free times. I wouldn’t want to have my children at a late night movie where drinking is involved anyway. But to reciprocate, they show movies for adults (originally written as adult movies and then I had to edit it) during the day just for mommies to enjoy and kids are screaming all over the place. It is great.
    About planes, it would be nice if we could actually use our frequent flyer miles when we wanted and where. We were forced into coach once and had to bring our daughter with us. We didn’t want to pay the extra miles for it, and I felt bad for the paying customers, though we kept her entertained and as quiet as a toddler can be.

    • Jennifer

      I meant forced into first class. Would have preferred coach. Sorry if my typo made me sound like a snob.

    • Tsh

      We say “grownup movies” around our home to avoid the awkward label you almost mentioned here. 😉

  9. Heather T.

    To me, it’s a pretty obvious case of age discrimination. Instead of banning noisy people, it’s all kids under 6 regardless of if they’re irritating others. I’ve had more unhappy dealings with loud and drunk adults than I have had with little kids. I really wish people would rethink treating children this way.

    • Wendy

      Yes! This is exactly what I think — it’s age discrimination. No one would dream of banning the elderly or young adults aged 20-24 from restaurants but they are increasingly doing it to children. I think there are ill-behaved and well-behaved people in all age groups and to paint everyone in a group with the same brush is ageist.

  10. Heart and Haven

    I take my kids everywhere I go. They are well-behaved (for the most part) because they are used to it. I often get compliments from others at how well behaved our children are (3 & 4). We take them to “nice” restaurants for dinner; we enjoy time spent as a family, and don’t just want McDonald’s as our only option for dinner when we eat out. We do go to places that are “kid friendly” ie. have kids’ menus, coloring pages & crayons, etc.

    If a place is not family friendly, they don’t get my business. Period.

    Once we were asked to leave a play because I had my sleeping newborn w/me. He was sound asleep not making a single peep. We demanded our money back, and never went back to that theater.

    I do think parents need to be more mindful of their kids though too. I know I don’t drag my kids running errands if it’s their naptime or haven’t eaten, cause then meltdowns are bound to happen. And if we are out in public and they do meltdown, they get one warning or we leave. right. then (I’ve only had to do this once or twice, and my kids understand I’m serious, lol)

    • Elisa | blissfulE

      That’s awful you were asked to leave be cause you had a (sleeping!) baby with you!!

    • Jen

      I think you’ve touched on the issue that businesses are facing – not all parents are teaching their children the proper way to behave in public. We homeschool and live in a rural area – my kids go everywhere with me. We haven’t faced this issue, but I completely understand it! One trip to Walmart is enough for me to wish that it was child-free, but more because the parents of those children are not being responsible. That’s more irritating to me than the child’s behavior.

      We have left stores and restaurants when my children were not behaving. Going out to eat is a major treat in our house and they now realize that they don’t want to blow it with bad behavior!

    • Aussie

      I can understand banning your newborn from the play.

      The baby may be asleep going in but quite likely to disturb everyone if it wakes up.
      Even if you take the screaming baby out you are still going to ruin the atmosphere of the play while you do it.

      I am sure the theater didn’t lose much by you not going back as you sound very entitled and they get to keep their customers who will never come back from them letting a potentially screaming baby into the play.

      • Heart and Haven

        I would understand the theater’s policy if we weren’t allowed to enter to begin with (ie. if they had a no kids policy). However, I thought it was completely unacceptable for them to accept our money, and then part-way through the play to ask us to leave for no reason.

        A good friend of mine was performing in the play and invited us, which is the reason why I even went. I had a 2 mo. old nursing newborn (so I couldn’t just get a babysitter); my older son was with grandma.

        That theater had very poor customer service, and has since gone out of business.

        Luckily, this has been the only business I’ve ever had a problem with regarding babies/kids 🙂 I find most businesses where I live are welcoming of well-behaved kids and they continue to enjoy our business.

      • Chloe

        You can disagree without being rude, Aussie. “I am sure the theater didn’t lose much by you not going back as you sound very entitled” is out of line.

  11. Kirsten

    I’d say it is much more a case of more and more punk kids being allowed to run wild than a lack of tolerance for kids in general. It’s just more common for kids to misbehave than to behave. (and I say this as a family photographer … kids are allowed to run wild! Yikes) While it would be nice if only poorly behaved kids were banned, that would be a much more difficult policy to implement.

    Although I can see how places might lose some business by implementing a kid-free policy, it is also possible they might gain business. It’d be interesting to see the stats on that.

    • Leslie, the Home Maker

      Kirsten,
      This is exactly what I would have typed 🙂
      ~Leslie

  12. amy

    If you own a business, you can ban whomever you choose – and if folks don’t like it, no one’ s forcing them to shop there.

    There are some places and events that don’t make sense for children to be at – it’s not fair to the kids or the adults. People don’t seem to teach their kids how to behave in public – I think thats more a problem than the Bans.

    • beth@redandhoney

      Actually, businesses most certainly cannot ban whomever they choose – they cannot ban someone based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. So why should they be able to ban someone based on age?

      There are annoying people in EVERY age bracket.

      The guy who smacks and burps while he eats. The girl who chats loudly on her cell phone. The couple that practically makes out in the booth across from you.

      You cannot get away from annoying people, unless you just stay home… which is maybe a good idea for those who think that they have the “right” to a perfect night out. It’s a privilege, not a right!

      • Amy

        Actually, it is our “right” to spend our money how ever we choose – even if we choose to spend it at a restaurant that bans kids. Welcome to the concept of free enterprise, one of the MANY things that makes our country so great.
        You are right, based upon the federal Civil Rights Act, businesses can not ban some one based upon race, religion and other categories, NONE of which include children. Therefore, it appears businesses do have a constitutional right to ban children.
        The experts supporting the staff at the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, and pretty much every other major publication that has discussed this topic all came to the same conclusion. There is no law stating that a business can’t ban children. Otherwise I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be having this discussion – as I’m guessing some of the people posting on this blog would have already taken that business owner to court.

        • Repulsed

          Wow! So much hate here. I live in Florida, and have had more problems with rude old men than I ve ever had with kids. since we’ ve become a nation of convenience, then my vote is to ban old people from driving…they actually kill people, and they drive too slow, and a rush hourand make me late for work. Ok, so old people only should be allowed to drive after nine and before 4. Oooh, and what about banning ethnic people from planes if I dont like the smell of their skin.. I mean It would be my right to a pleasnat experience right? If I dont like the smell of curry… OK Im being dramatic here…and trying to make a point, and NOT actually advocating any of the above. hate is hate and once banning segments of our society become acceptable, where will it end? Also, do not forget that The children you ban from society now, will be the same children you will be expecting to care for you in your old age. Be intolerant with them now, and they will show you the same when you become the weak.

          • Amy

            Not quite sure where you get the “hate” from . . . . simply stating the law that currently exists. I think this is a great topic for discussion, but I think some people are taking it way too far. I could probably throw a rock at 50 restaurants from here that are kid-friendly, but not one that bans kids. Why is everyone so up in arms because a few high-end restaurants want to protect their brand? The level of “disgust, shock, etc” showing up on here would be so much better spent on topics that can actually hurt your child, and other (i.e. child abuse, poverty, our failing education system – I could go on forever). But a few restaurants banning kids under 6? Seriously. I think we need to get our priorities straight.

  13. Amanda Anderson

    I think that there are times when, truly, children should be seen and not heard. Equally, I believe that most contemporary children haven’t developed this capacity (and I’m including my own three in this) and that it’s not unreasonable to exclude children from certain places. I take my own children to fancy restaurants once in a great while, but it’s with the understanding that they’ll have to be especially grown up and be on their very best behavior.

    That said, I’d love free babysitting whilst I shop!

  14. Sharon Henry

    I know that some statistics show that the population is ageing. That could be some of the reasons for the bans. It is hard to pay the event prices that are being charged and have some kid yell and holler so that you can’t enjoy said event. That said, maybe we need parents who demand behavior that will not ruin other peoples experience. That said, I know I would like to shop where no little ones drop stuff on the floor and you almost, or do, trip over the junk. Love those little kids but only in small doses!!!!

  15. TuxGirl

    I haven’t yet decided how I feel about this. Honestly, I’ve taken my almost-2-year-old to some slightly fancier restaurants, but I’ve done that because I know she can handle it, and if for some reason she can’t, I’m okay with taking her out to the car and waiting there. She sits through over an hour of church every sunday, during nap time, and usually manages to be quiet enough to not need to be taken out into the hall (although if she starts getting fussy, we do go out of the chapel).

    I understand that many children aren’t able to handle these situations, and in some cases, the parents aren’t willing to take the children out of the situation if things start to melt down. I understand that, and I don’t particularly like having a crying child at the next table over during dinner either. But, on one level, I also wonder what the long-term results of this type of rule is. If we are, as a society, making the statement that children can’t be expected to behave in public, then how are we ever going to teach them to behave?

    The other question I have when this topic comes up is, “What about the children who *can* sit quietly at a restaurant?” Maybe this is a selfish question, but it is one I think about. I have put some effort into trying to help my daughter understand what type of behavior is okay in a restaurant, and I don’t like the idea of being told that she can’t have that experience just because others her age don’t behave well.

    Out of the examples you give, I guess the one I agree with most is the one that states that screaming children will not be tolerated. I’m okay with that, because if my daughter is screaming, at least one of us is going to be going out with her to the car until either the meal is over, or until she is able to calm down and is ready to behave.

    • Elisa | blissfulE

      Rock on, TuxGirl! Keep taking your daughter to these places and keep expecting her to behave her best (no one is perfect, but you know what she can and can’t handle), and guess what, she will! And doors will open to her that are shut to her contemporaries. For instance, people who freeze up when they see me walk in with four children are bubbling over with praise and engaging my kids in conversation by the time we leave.

      My children also sit through church and can behave well in all sorts of situations. People ask me how I do it, but I say I’ve never NOT done it. I don’t drop them off to be entertained so I can escape them, nor do I let them watch ill-behaved role models on TV. My kids love to go places with me, and I love to take them. Win-win.

      • Rachel

        I agree that the ‘fair’ thing to do is to make only the disruptive children leave and for businesses to not discriminate against all children. That, however, puts a business owner in a tough position often, by requiring them to tell the parents of noise-makers that their children are not behaving well enough. I, for one, would feel very uncomfortable telling another parent (and paying customer) that their children are being disruptive and should be carted elsewhere.

        I understand that businesses would rather choose the route of least resistance by not allowing children all together.

        • Katelyn

          What is so hard about saying, “Your child is disrupting the other customers, please remove them.” If it’s a restaurant, they could offer to box up their food.

          What about a disruptive adult? I don’t want to listen to someone else’s loud cell phone conversation and they at least should know better. I would be more annoyed regarding an adult’s behavior than a child’s.

          • Melissa L.

            I think it actually would be hard. It leaves it to the employees, because an owner isn’t always on the premises, and it leaves too much room for interpretation – “the last time we were here my daughter did the same thing and no one complained” or “why didn’t you say anything to that family over there?” It’s simpler, even if it’s unfair, to make a quantifiable judgment (age) instead.

      • Jill @ Craft in a Northern Town

        I have 2 kids, 5 and 1. The first time our 5 year went to a restaurant he was 6 weeks old. And we never looked back. As a result, he doesn’t get wild and crazy at restaurants. He also looks the waitstaff in the eye and orders his own food, with please and thank yous. He doesn’t know any different. Our 1 year old is learning the same thing. I was a little worried during the 2s and 3s that we’d have to curb eating out, but he did great. He actually behaves better during meals at restaurants than he does at home. 🙂

        If you don’t expose them to things when they are young, how do you expect them to know how to behave when they are 16? 19? 30?

      • Sonya

        Exactly!!! I have taken my kids with me everywhere too. My hubby works out of state during the week and I need to take them with me EVERYWHERE. I would not choose to leave them anyhow. I ENJOY my children and they are learning how to be responsible adults by going places with me. I take them to restaurants, malls, nursing homes, hosptials, funerals, farmers markets, church, playgrounds, etc.and I have never thought twice about them not behaving. My kids now look at those “other kids” with disgust. They know that isn’t the way to behave.
        We were eating in Pizza Hut one evening when a little girl, about 5 years old, was throwing a fit about eating pizza and a salad. The dad was trying to convince her that she liked cucumbers! I thought that my kids eyes would pop!! They couldn’t believe that the dad didn’t take her out. My daughter (10 years) said that little girl’s behavior was “way wrong and totally unacceptable”. “What is wrong with that dad!” It is really bad behavior that brings comments like that from another child. Many of the problems are with poor parenting. It is NEVER acceptable to let a child scream and run around in a public place. I watch a 4 yr old granddaughter for our neighbor. She has her moments (at home) but I will take her places with me too. She has never misbehaved for me in pubic places. I have babysat her since she was 15 months old. I think that example set for her by my kids has made an impression. I am also very clear with her on what I expect when we go out.
        All this said; I feel that restaurants have to do what they need to do. It may not always be “fair” to me but no one ever said life was fair!
        It is the “bad” parents that ruin it for the “good” parents!
        Thanks for giving us this space to vent!! ~SMILES~

      • Megan

        Elisa, I love your reply that you’ve “never NOT done it.” This is the kind of parenting that is needed! Kid-free zones isn’t really about how society views children, it’s really about how our society raises their children and parenting skills (or lack thereof)!

    • Chloe

      I was an insanely well-behaved and shy little kid. I remember being very upset that there were pools and restaurants I wasn’t allowed to go to, because I was practically a shadow!

  16. Mcrunner34

    I have a great 4 year old and 5 month baby, both boys. I am working on my Marriage and Family therapy degree with eleven years in behavioral modification counseling.
    It doesn’t matter where you’re at with a child in the community. If you tell them “no” to something they really want, they will wear their emotions on their sleeve. I did it as a youngster, so did you. The lack of patience and understanding people show towards children in, even a first class event, reveals that people think way too highly of themselves.
    Do people need personal space? Yep. Not at the expense of telling parents where they can and can’t be.
    I don’t know of one human being that wasn’t once a sniveling little monster as a child.
    Maturity is knowing that it happens everywhere and extending patience and empathy towards parents because they are trying and the child’s tantrum was unplanned.
    If I was in an environment when my child tantrumed and someone confronted me, they have officially made the situation worse for everybody.
    This is silly.

    • Amber H

      “I don’t know of one human being that wasn’t once a sniveling little monster as a child.”
      LOVE.

    • Amy

      I agree that “Maturity is knowing that it happens everywhere and extending patience and empathy toward parents because they are trying and the child’s tantrum was unplanned.” But, maturity is also knowing when to deal and handle the tantrum by taking the child out of the public environment in a timely matter and considering the others around you. We shouldn’t expect that other adults should just be patient with our out of control child. Yes, on a plane that might be impossible and more patience is required. But it is not silly or does not make the situation worse when someone confronts a parent who needs to take their child out of the public environment. It is just as selfish for a parent to expect twenty people or more at diner to just deal with their child so you can finish your meal.

      • beth@redandhoney

        I love your comment, Mcrunner34… I fully agree. And I don’t think that confronting a parent whose child is having a tantrum is really going to help the situation – more than likely the parent already feels embarrassed (whether they are showing it or not), perhaps helpless, and most likely racking her/his brain to figure out how to make it stop.

        Judging his/her “crappy” parenting snidely (in your head or out loud) is certainly not helpful or kind.

        Children are immature, naturally. Everyone is born and must go through the necessary stages of child development in order to become an adult. If we segregate children they will never learn to become mature adults.

        A little empathy and/or patience can really go a long way. And like I said above – no one has the “right” to a quiet evening out. The right to not be discriminated against based on age, gender, religion, etc…. that’s a real right that is being taken away from children, and that’s just wrong.

        • Audrey

          I so appreciate this comment. It’s one thing if a parent does nothing to deal with a wild kid, but most of the times that I see children – either mine or someone else’s- having tantrums, the parents are doing their best to calm the situation / remove the child promptly. Let’s have some compassion for the upset kids and their parents. Let’s quit making snap judgements about parents. And let’s realize that young kids are certainly not going to be able to react in a ‘mature’ fashion.

  17. Anne

    I understand that parents should know when it’s appropriate to take their children to certain places and when it’s not. I have a 21 month old and a 2 month old and know that it’s inappropriate for me to bring them to a movie at 8pm at night. However, I do not think that places can mandate whether or not children are allowed without facing charges of discrimination.

  18. Heidi

    The problem is not the children but the astonishing variances in what parents view as acceptable public behavior. Have you ever tried to “help” a parent whose child is exercising their freedom of expression in the middle of a movie? For the most part it’s not pretty. As a business person I would prefer to avoid that circumstance if I can.

    I support a business being able to create the atmosphere they believe is most conducive to the success of their endeavor. Just as I am thankful I can make an informed decision about whether or not to give them my business rather than be in the uncomfortable position of poor service due to an unwritten policy or ongoing underlying frustration.

    • Sharon

      Exactly!! There are so many parents out there who are in complete denial about their children’s behavior and think they poop roses.

  19. Leslie L

    I’m not that bothered by it… When we go out with our 6 yr, 3 yr, and 5 month old, we go a little earlier, we’re prepared to keep the kids quietly entertained, and we go to places that we know are kid-friendly. Some restaurants clearly aren’t intended for kids, and I think people abuse that, and that’s why these places feel the need to “ban children”. We save those restaurants for date nights! It also seems like sometimes parents don’t want to change their lifestyle to fit their kids. If they took into account their kids schedules, and the environment they are in, fewer run-ins would happen.
    I breastfeed in public, but I also make sure I’m well covered up so I’m not flashing any bits and bobs. We take the baby to the movies, but are prepared to get up and leave if he becomes noisy. We still do all the things we love, we just adjust and do it a little differently with (or without) the kids.
    As for the airline tickets…. I wish I could afford first class tickets for myself, let alone my 3 kids!!

  20. Megan

    I think they’re a great idea. I’m a pretty new mom, but I’ve always appreciated businesses that help guide those who can’t seem to know where their children should and shouldn’t be. In Philadelphia, the Ritz theaters do not allow children under 6. This is a perfectly acceptable rule. They don’t show children’s movies (they’re usually art or indie films) and most of the adult movies shouldn’t be viewed by really little ones. Until my little guy can behave himself, I’m not going to subject other patrons to his screams and whines while they try to enjoy themselves. Pre-kids, this drove me nuts and now that I’m a mom, it drives me even crazier. When you become a parent, you have to make sacrifices from time to time. If that means you can’t go out to eat with your kiddo, so be it. Get take-out or delivery. (Obviously, my humble opinion).

  21. Jenni C.

    I don’t support a ban on child in particular venues I think it should be more like a ban on irresponsible parents. I don’t care if there are 50 kids in a restaurant where I came to enjoy a quiet evening as long as they are for the most part well-behaved. What bothers me is having a kid jumping up and down on the adjoining booth and screaming and crying and throwing things while there parents are distracted by cell phones or just plain ignoring the child.

  22. Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

    I do like the idea because it’s always disappointing to pay for a dinner out and have it ruined by screaming or unhappy children. It’s okay if the parent will take the child outside, but often they don’t. So the money you spent for a relaxing dinner is wasted, not to mention your evening out.
    Personally, I would never leave my child in the care of a department store employee. You could come back and find they somehow allowed your child to leave with someone else. Even if they issue tickets or something you must show first to pick up your child, I just don’t trust folks. I’d never be able to enjoy shopping worrying if my child was truly safe. I’d just rather just pay for a sitter to come to my home…someone I know and trust.

    • Sharon W

      I totally agree about not leaving your child with some random person. I have never taken advantage of any gym or store offer to babysit while I do whatever I need to do. I hadn’t thought about the issue of my child being picked up by the wrong person, but that’s a great point! My fear is more about who would be taking care of her. You hear of so many people that work with children that should not be allowed anywhere near them. And, as friend recently pointed out to me, when you are with your child it’s easier for you to pay close attention to them versus someone that is watching multiple kids at once. I may be a bit overboard, but nobody has stayed with my toddler besides my Mom.

      And I agree with the people who have commented about using your brain as a parent as far as when and where you take your kids. I don’t take my daughter to the store etc unless she has had a nap and been fed. It’s unreasonable to expect a child to be well behaved when you haven’t provided for their most basic needs.

      • Susan (Between Naps on the Porch)

        Sharon, I totally agree with your comment. We would never leave our child in the hands of a stranger so why do it in a store. Our children are small…for about a minute. Then they are grown and asking for the car keys and we would give anything to shrink them back to that age for just a day. I know, because mine is grown now and I miss my little boy. Grandchildren…this woman needs grandchildren! lol

  23. se7en

    Oh good grief and then their will be “granny free zones” and “mother in law free zones” and “wheelchair free zones” and then “parent free zones”… why don’t we all just get born into an exclusive club and never ever intermingle because we might learn something from another club and hay you wouldn’t want anyone to learn anything… This is such a weird first world idea – that people need their space. Imagine this idea in a place where children are loved and adored and seen as a heritage, rather than a commercial commodity, that are born demanding a college degree…

    I have to say that when there is a revolting snively grotty wining kid around in an restaurant or store you don’t usually have to look to far for the corresponding adult who is setting the tone who is behaving even worse than their kids…

    Really how are kids ever going to live in an adult world if they only see adult environments when they are eighteen…you would never dream of letting them drive a car at sixteen if they had never ever crossed a road before. That being said, most reasonable parents wouldn’t take their kids to obviously “adult only material” places… it just doesn’t make logical sense to expose your kids to some things. Frankly I don’t want to be exposed to a lot of so called “adult things.” But a whole food market – it’s laughable!!! Think of all the bright and beautiful colorful markets around the world and then remove the children – ordinary comes to mind.

    Apparently I feel quite strongly about this!!! I will just back away from the keyboard right now!!!

    • Elisa | blissfulE

      I agree! Of the four countries I have lived in, America is the least tolerant of children. And as things become more segregated, everyone loses.

      I believe television-as-babysitter and the culture of escaping from our own children (dropping them off with people we don’t even know!) both contribute. The less we, or someone else who shares our core values, are actually present-in-the-moment with our own kids, the less they will know how to behave, and that is now resulting in their privilege to go places being forcibly curtailed. Like prisoners. It makes me very sad.

      • Katelyn

        Oh, AGREE! AGREE!

        Children are people too. Why does American society think it’s okay to treat a child as somehow less of a person than an adult? Now, I do believe there are places and times that are inappropriate for children. But to BAN them seems extreme and really selfish and self centered. A responsible parent will respond to their child’s misbehavior and either correct or leave. And seriously, airplanes. I’m sorry but sometimes it just has to happen. Plenty of crabby adults on airplanes, too.

        Childcare in a grocery store? Hah! You want to hear some screaming? I won’t even leave my 1 year old with his grandparents let alone a stranger.

        • Jessica in Canada

          I agree Elisa! It is a breath of fresh air to take my children on vacation to Mexico! Mexicans value family and adore children! The waiters/waitresses in restaurants forget about working and start playing with our kids. It is such a switch going from the airplane where I am worried the whole time about getting dirty looks from fellow passengers despite my well behaved children to going into the Mexican culture where they are happy to see my kids. It is so much more relaxing and joyful.

          I also believe segregation is unhealthy. A friend of mine attends a small church where there is no nursery. Some of the congregation were complaining about the children in the service. My friend stood up and said “you should all be grateful we have children in this church. They are our future and valued by God.” There were no further complaints.

    • Stacey

      I agree. Just about all of us reading this post live with children. We know that children are sometimes well-behaved and sometimes need admonishment for their behavior. There have been times when I have needed to take a child outside to calm them down or to discuss inappropriate behavior. Once, I even left a restaurant because my children were not behaving appropriately. But all children cry sometimes. Even the best parents have children who misbehave sometimes. I wish that people (especially those with children, who should know better) would be more tolerant of children in public places. I wish they did not immediately glare at or give very audible sighs towards struggling parents and children. Be patient; give parents and children time to resolve their difficulties. Most parents will remove their children if that is not possible.

      And giggles and whispered questions during children’s movies charm, not irritate, me.

  24. Dawn

    While I can appreciate the idea behind “kid-free” zones, I think that as a society we have gone grossly astray. The traditional family and it’s values has been so broken down in the community without this to add to the problem. I understand that kids misbehaving in public isn’t always something that other people want to deal with, but by secluding them away from places, how will they ever learn how to behave properly? If we expect kids to grow up with tolerance, patience, & understanding.. should we not lead them by example instead of simply excluding them? I do think that on many occasions some parents let their children do things that might not be acceptable, but at the same time being a kid, means acting up and out. It means screaming at inopportune times. But rather than deal with the immediate issue, we chose to just simply block them out entirely? Where does it end? It’s already gotten out of control what you can and cannot do with your kids, now you can’t even go where you’d like to go? Yes, other people pay to have a relaxing time doing “X” and it should be enjoyable to them. Yes parents should do more to make sure their kids aren’t being disruptive. At the same time, YES we should be more conscious of our children and raise them through love, understanding, and patience, so what if it’s not your kid? You’d expect nothing less if it was. I’m just saying, for as “accepting” as society claims to have become, what I see more and more is a greater trend towards the intolerant. What ever happened to “it takes a village to raise a child?” We are so self-absorbed as a society we think we know more about what’s right for someone else’s child than their own family. Is it not true that the people with the children are also paying the same money as the ones without the kids? If there is a problem, would it not be better to simply ask the parent or grownup to take the child out for a few moments to settle down rather than simply say no children allowed? What if you have a well behaved kid? What if you have a very young baby who’s asleep? I could go on and on, and have already! But I’d just like to ask this, once the “kid-free” zones are established, what’s next and where does that stop? It sounds a lot like age discrimination to me. Just my take. And yes, I am a mom of an almost 3 year old boy, who, on occasion makes a fuss, but it gets handled, and if it doesn’t change then it’s time to go. Just beware, first it’s the ban on kids, next is a ban on old folks, who knows what’s after that! lol I am being dramatic there, but I think it’s a fairly obvious that if this sort of thing sets that kind of trend, it opens all the doors for every other “problem” that comes up. I’d say, punish the parents not doing what they need to be doing to get their situation under control, not the kids. It’s just my view anyway.

  25. Dawn

    Sorry for my GIGANTIC post! Didn’t realize I had that much to say!

  26. Messy Wife

    My first thought: I would much prefer restaurants which post loud and clear about their kid-free policy to restaurants with no highchair/booster seat/changing table etc without warning.

    If I have a date night with my husband, I may also want to go to one of these kid-free restaurants. I don’t think I can hear other people’s kids but it would make it so easy to answer the question “why can’t we come along?”

    Perhaps, people have become less tolerant of kids nowadays as people’s relationship become more distanced. In the “good old days”, there were more large extended families get together, even the singles would have experience with kids. At the same time, kids are not like they used to be either. Sometimes, some parents give their kids too much “freedom to explore” and are afraid of putting down boundaries.

    Given the circumstances, I can understand kid-free policy. But I will feel “prosecuted” if one of my childhood restaurants becomes kid-free; or, an entire chain casual-dining restaurants become kid-free. It would be best if they offer child-care next door 🙂

  27. Mardi

    I love taking my daughter out to restaurants, art galleries and other venues that aren’t specifically kid orientated. I think she gains valuable experiences & often shows me aspects I might have missed (pop a toddler in front of some abstract art & ask them what they see!)

    BUT

    I know my girl. Her personality, limitations and triggers for certain behaviours. We’ve spent a lot of time teaching her what behaviour is appropriate in such situations. We talk about it prior to arriving & if things start going wrong, we will leave.

    If I go out on date night with hubby at 8pm to a nice restaurant I don’t want kids running around a restaurant disturbing everyone. I think that’s fair.

  28. M

    People want kid free zones because some parents allow their children to be brats. They don’t teach their children to behave in public….that being said, not all kids are brats, so I can see why some people are upset about this. Kids need to learn from their parents how to act in all situations. Even as my child is throwing a total fit (and totally embarrassing me in the process, -trust me, it happens plenty) I know that I have to use that moment to show him that No, its not okay to act like that, at the store or at home. I think we tend to worry so much what will happen if we discipline our kids in public – whether that means a spanking, time out or a stern talking too….you never know when the (usually childless) random stranger comes to the kids “rescue” and confronts you on your parenting style. This undermines the teaching of your child and shows that kid that when you are in public, they are free to do as they please. I have seen far to many people give in to whatever that child wants just to keep them quiet…which in turn creates a “little monster” that, quite frankly, I don’t want to be around. So, is this really a “persecution” agains parents? Or is it a wakeup call to raise our children to know that Mom and Dad mean business whether we are home or out to eat.

  29. Julie

    I think it is sad that public places need to make these rules.

    As a parent, it is my right to have my children with me wherever I go. It is also the right of my children to be able to attend restaurants/ theatres/ go on flights etc without discrimination.

    However, sometimes it is preferable for us to sacrifice our own rights, and even the rights of our children to love and serve other people.

    If all parents were concerned with loving and serving others, and made sensible decisions about which venues are appropriate for their small children, these “rules” would not need to be imposed.

  30. Rachel

    I think these rules are being implemented for the kids in America that aren’t being disciplined by their parents like they should be and are basically just running wild. I don’t have kids yet, I don’t mind kids, manners and good behavior go a long away and I thank my Mama for being so hard on me.

  31. Connie

    I think it is sad that so many people are cheering about this on the news sites that are writing about it. Kids are PEOPLE and I think that as a society we forget that. We want them to be quiet, emotionless unless the emotions are convenient for us, little robots and then we get angry when they don’t meet our incredible demands. People of ANY age can be rude, loud, messy, demanding- I can think of a whole age group that has a tendency to- the elderly! What would happen if restaurants started banning people over age 60 because people complained? Ugh!! Yes, there is a time and place for kids to be, but if I want to take my 7 year old daughter to a fancy restaurant because I know she is well rested and in a good mood, I think that should be my choice. (And if she started acting up or causing a scene you can be sure I would get my food to go and try again another time!)

    • lizvd

      I think part of the problem is that too few parents are willing to leave if their children act up. Those that don’t are ruining it for those that do.

  32. Elizabeth Rago

    Just like any other establishment I do not care to visit/support for various reason (service, don’t like the product…) I won’t support businesses who do not accept children. However, there are certain places children just do not belong. I am talking small children, who have a hard time staying quiet and siting still and are still in training. Like my children! (I guess any children who cannot behave in that setting applies, too.) I believe small kids should not visit places like upscale restaurants and the symphony. If your kids can act appropriately in these settings, I applaud you! My kids just need a little more time in training, so I will opt to keep them at home while my husband and I enjoy some adult time alone.

  33. Leslie

    I think Whole Foods did the right thing. If you want to give your customers a pleasant shopping experience and still be family-friendly, then offer a complimentary staffed kid-zone. Any business can do that- restaurants, malls, movie theaters, bowling alleys. Parents have a nice stressed-free time, the business gets more business. It’s a win-win.

  34. Rebecca Willard

    I think it’s very ironic, considering the individuals making these rules were once children too, they’ve just forgotten!

  35. jdp

    Karma. Grumpy kid-haters will be the ones in nursing homes being neglected by some kid who felt the hate growing up and now hates old people and only works there to torture them with wiffs of good smelling food they can’t have or waking them up every half hour or cold hands :p

  36. Ashley G

    Reading all of your comments has really helped me to better articulate my own attitude toward kid-free policies.

    I agree with a number of you that going out in public to a wide variety of venues is educational for kids and liberating for parents; I want to continue to be able to do so. Most definitely. I understand that there are plenty of businesses out there that want parents and kids as patrons, but my concern with no-kid policies is that if many businesses do this (with good results) it will become standard and not just an exception. There will be kids’ public places and adult public places. And judging by the corporate world’s general attitude toward children (especially YOUNG children), the kids’ places are not going to be maintained as well as the adult places. I imagine that life in public with kids will become one giant, sticky ball pit. I agree with the parent who said she wants to be able to take her kids out to eat–and NOT just to McDonald’s! This kind of widespread segregation would be a shame (though I know it hasn’t yet arrived). It would allow adults who want to forget there are even children in the world to do so. It would allow children to grow up thinking that all public places are kid-centered (which is equally distressing).

    That being said…I would not boycott a business that just wants to promote certain events or hours as adult-only. I have adult-only events and hours in my life, too!

  37. Anthony from CharismaticKid

    Restaurants in my neighborhood are more likely to have a “anthony-free” zone as I am more childish than the kids I work with sometimes.

    No, kid free zones don’t bother me unless too many of them start popping up.

    I think “stroller-free” is a more appropriate idea. If your kid needs a stroller, he’s probably a baby.

  38. Bree

    I absolutely agree that certain places should be off limits to children. I have 3 children, but I appreciate the fact that there are places that they do not belong. I also appreciate a restaurant that does not allow children. I worked a restaurant that did not allow children and no one ever got upset about it. When dinner is upwards of $30 a plate I do not want to sit next to a 4 year old. I want to enjoy my meal and the experience. There are too many children that do not behave and have parents that do not make them behave that has set this into motion. Perhaps that is what should be addressed? Not businesses finally putting their foots down.

  39. Megan Swicegood

    I think we’re becoming less responsible with kids, forcing and allowing them to grow up fast. As a result, there’s been a backlash of “kid-free” places. It amazes me the behavior that is allowed to go on and the inappropriate and unsafe places that kids are plunked into by their parents. I do find it a bit sad that anywhere is banning children all together. There’s no reason that responsible and respectful parents with mindful well-behaved children should not be allowed to dine together in any restaurant of their choosing, fly first class or see a movie. However, as a person who has been discomforted by an unchecked child (and who hasn’t experienced this – kids or no kids of their own) I can say in the moment I felt a mix of emotions – sympathy for their parents, irritation at the discomfort I was being caused, and the willingness to pay extra to not be inconvenienced by the child. It’s a sticky situation.

  40. Teresa

    I don’t think it’s a matter of society becoming less tolerant of children. I think it’s a reflection of how so many people are raising their children in a completely undisciplined way. People allowing their children to scream in restaurants, run the aisles in the grocery stores – they are the ones who are causing the backlash.

    • Julie

      That’s exactly what I was going to say!
      I think the problem is too many adults who want what they want, no matter what. If their kids scream in a restaurant, well everybody else just has to deal with it. If they are restaurant patrons without kids tonight, they expect everyone else’s kids to be quiet.

    • Katelyn

      Ahh. It seems adults acting like children are the real problem. Not the kids.

  41. lizvd

    I’m going to admit up front that I do not have any children. I read this blog because I like the simple lifestyle it promotes and because I want to be as knowledgeable as possible when I finally do have children. That being said, I grew up as an only child who spent a lot of my time with my parents and other adults. When out, I was expected to be on my best behavior- if I whined or threw a tantrum, we left. It was that simple. I learned quite quickly what the consequence of being a brat was- I didn’t get to do fun things or go to restaurants. While I have seen a few parents implement this strategy over the years, the majority that I see in the supermarket and at restaurants spend more time ignoring or attempting to placate their children than enforcing good behavior. I know parenting can be tough, but I don’t think they are doing themselves or their children any favors. In addition hearing a child scream and cry while attempting to enjoy a meal or get through the already annoying chore of grocery shopping puts me on edge. If parents can’t enforce good behavior, I don’t think there is anything wrong with society saying, “Sorry, no kids.” It may be inconvenient if this model becomes popular when I have children, but I respect the right of patrons to shop/dine in peace.

    • beth@redandhoney

      the “right of patrons to shop/dine in peace”? when did that get added to the constitution??

      • Chloe

        Restaurants can refuse service to anyone.

  42. Judy

    It makes me wonder if there are going to be age discrimination law suits or something of the sort…you can’t ban an 86 year old from going there, so why should you be able to ban a 6 year old?

    I can see both sides. I do feel a little persecuted but I also know that I have 2 active, energetic boys who cannot sit through a long dining experience at a fancy restaurant. The idea of going on a quiet date with hubby is pretty appealing after a long day of roaring dinosaurs or loud puppies :). Maybe what they should have is kid friendly zones or something (like they have/had smoking and non-smoking zones in certain restaurants).

    I definitely think this will be interesting to watch develop because there are going to be some very upset, very vocal parents who won’t like having their kids banned. I keep wondering how on earth royal families get their children to behave in public so well 🙂

  43. Kimberli

    Living in Utah where family is king, I have to agree with this. I have a few kids of my own, so don’t get me wrong. I love, love, love kids! But…I DON’T love parents that think we should tolerate their kids running around a restaurant, or screaming in a movie. I think that is selfish to expect others to put up with their misbehaving children.

  44. tacy

    perhaps a reflection of the unprotected environment of the unborn. if we have the right to ban babies from being born, then why wouldn’t we want the right to not want to deal with them in public?

  45. Tracy

    I think this has come about because some people just don’t parent their kids, and they let them run wild and finally some people are complaining and business are starting to get sick of it and starting to do something to protect their business. Now not all kids are wild and rambunctious when they shouldn’t but a lot are, I was out shopping yesterday and I’d say at least a 1/4 of the kids I saw were behaving in ways that I would never let my 2 (15 and 6). Would you let your 10 year old walk through a CVS bouncing one of those big balls? I sure wouldn’t. Would you let your teen girls play hide and seek in Target yelling and squealing at each other? I wouldn’t. Now I don’t count the screaming toddler who was throwing 1 heck of a tantrum in Target as his mom was trying to deal with him, but many times I also have seen kids throw those same tantrums and the parents are doing nothing. I expect my kids to behave in a way where they are not bothering the over people around us, but I also do expect them to act like kids. So if we go someplace where they do start to bother other people we will leave, why should my kids ruin some one else’s time I don’t think that’s right or fair so I do my best to take care that they don’t. Now am I perfect no, but I do try to be.

  46. Nan @ Playful Decor

    My grocery store has a large, well-stocked secure playroom and it’s awesome! It’s not a “no kids shopping” thing but an offering if we want to use it – my kids love it and I love the stress free shopping.

    I’m all for kid-free zones, be it restaurants or airlines. When my hub and I get the sitter and go out to a quieter adult restaurant, I really don’t want to see or hear kids. I NEED the break!

    • Tsh

      What a cool grocery store!

  47. Tina O

    I think the problem here isn’t the kids but (some) parents…
    I have two rather well behaved children. When they get out of line and scream in a store, or hide under a table at a restaurant or stare for long periods of time at people eating at the table next to us, we make sure to stop the behavior and if we can’t we quietly leave. We also keep kid things on hand to keep them occupied. That being said, I don’t bring my 9month old to the movies or a fancy restaurant where he is expected to keep quiet for 2 hours but I will bring my 5year old (and keep him quiet). I think if people used their judgement there would not be a need to ban kids from anywhere.
    On the other hand, I know parents who never do anything when their kids misbehave in public. If all kids were like this I would ban them from everywhere! These families give all families a bad rap. Not all kids are rude and scream and run all the time.
    When I was a kid, I would NEVER have misbehaved that way in public, my parents would have never allowed it. And you didn’t see many kids behaving badly in public without the parents stepping in. I think SOME parents are way too easy now. Raising a child also means teaching them how to behave in public as well.

    • Catherine

      You wrote what I was thinking. I’m amazed at the behavior some parents will tolerate. I have 2 kids and we tell them each time we go out to 1. be mindful of others eating (watching movie, etc.), 2. Use their manners since we teach them for a reason and 3. If they can’t do 1 and 2 – we will leave, no exceptions.

      We’ve had to leave mid-meal twice. A bummer, but the lesson is learned.

  48. gwyneth

    I love the Alamo policy, and love that they have a baby day for those who it may affect. I know the owners, and I know one of their major problems when they were first starting out was people bringing their kids to the movies (young kids, under 10) and then the parents would sneak out to do whatever, essentially treating the theater like a babysitting service (part of their policy now is that any child under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian. I quote “there are wonderfully behaved 12 year olds, but get them in an unsupervised pack of four or more, and they can rampage through a place like feral hogs”). One part of the problem is that we have in society is that there is no longer a reasonable expectation of how children should behave, or how parents should behave. Parents of some kids do insane things that business owners have to deal with, but on the other side of the coin, people talk about how kids should behave in a restaurant, and expect a two year old to act with the same manners as one should expect from a eight year old. I don’t have a problem with restaurants making kid-free zones any more than I have a problem with them requiring a jacket, or any other dress code. It seems like there have always been kid free restaurants, it was just understood that wasn’t the sort of place you should take your kid, but as people stop understanding that, they have to make it policy.

  49. Hannah D.

    I’m befuddled by the response to Whole Foods. Are people just determined to be offended? Because if our WF offered that option (or Central Market, or Costco, or wherever) I would be all over the opportunity to shop while maintaining a harmonious inner dialogue about which box of cereal represents the best deal. 🙂
    And it’s not like they’re forcing parents to use the service!

    P.s. Loved Heii’s photo of you guys!

  50. Hannah D.

    *Heidi’s

  51. Amy

    Far from being less tolerant of kids, I think society is becoming less tolerant of the results of poor parenting and the sense of entitlement many parents feel to take their kids anywhere at any hour. In general I see kids out later then what used to be considered ‘appropriate’ and at locations that were not intended for children and it is, again generally, tolerated. But when parents stop being respectful of those around the who are paying to enjoy a nice dinner (and may also be paying a sitter so that they can go out without the kids) people get upset.

  52. AKR

    Though I do agree that there are parents who fail to discipline in public I feel like any time a child acts out in public, a parent is labeled as one of those parents. There are times when any kids have a bad day and may cry or get upset. That cannot always be prevented. I think more than anything we should be less judgmental and more understanding when we see a fussy kid in public and parents may not feel so under pressure or judged.

    I have a strong willed son and we work very hard with him about his behavior but sometimes he has a melt down. That being said, we try to handle it privately and remove him from the situation. Even in doing so, there are those glances and expressions from people as we usher him out. Being already stressed with his behavior, it makes you feel even more stress and judged. I am thankful for the times I have seen an understanding smile from another mom.

    I also know families of children with disabilities like Autism and though the child may look normal they may have developmental reasons for struggling.

    I am not saying that any of this makes it ok to allow a child to continue a wrong behavior but for us to be careful before we judge too quickly.

    I think that the business needs to accept the loss they will incur and if they choose to do so, they will lose that revenue.

  53. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I read the news about the PA restaurant but the other items are new to me. So very interesting.

    I understand why restaurants are banning children–it’s often because the parents aren’t using common sense! I have children, ranging 1-8, and they are often very well-behaved when we’re out. (They save for bad behavior for home!) But if they are making noise in a grown-up establishment we get them out of there in a hurry!

    And as for childcare at Whole Foods, or IKEA, I think it’s a great idea. But I’ve been squeamish to use it myself. I’m iffy on the idea of strangers watching my kids…..am I the only one?

    That picture is awesome, Tsh!

  54. Ann

    What about parents bringing babies, toddlers, or preschoolers to movies that are totally inappropriate for young children? The babies were startled or awakened by the loud noises, toddlers screamed at frightening scenes, and preschoolers constantly asked (loudly) for explanations of plots/subjects that were beyond their comprehension. I did not bring my young children to movies that were not appropriate to their age or that began after their bedtime.

  55. Melissa Jones

    I think the problem might be the definition of “proper” behavior.

    A spacecraft that I had worked on was entering orbit around its destination planet after many years of travel to get there. There was a public event held to watch the telemetry as the even occurred. My husband, mom, kids (4 and 2) and I (very pregnant) went. The actual orbital insertion occurred about an hour after the kids’ normal bedtime, but we figured that it was a historic moment that we wanted to share with them (plus none of the adults wanted to stay home). We brought plenty of activities for them and gave them some space to walk back and forth between adults.

    Immediately after the event, a complete stranger who was sitting a few rows behind us came up to us to tell us how amazingly-well-behaved our kids were.

    During the reception after the event, I spotted the couple who were sitting next to us (the wife sat down after we did and there were plenty of other places to sit at that time and any other during the night). Feeling confident due to the earlier compliment, I approached them and said that I hoped the kids hadn’t disturbed them too much during the event. The wife proceeded to explain to me how disruptive they were and how it was a professional event and children should not have been allowed. Greatly shocked, I apologized and went my way.

    One person’s perception of my kids behavior and another’s were completely different (I thought they did GREAT, personally), and I’m pretty sure also depended on their own experiences (pretty sure the couple next to us was childless).

    To say “misbehaving kids are not allowed” is going to depend greatly on the one making the judgement call. If I have small children and a store/restaurant says they’re not allowed, that’s the store’s prerogative. They just won’t get my business. It doesn’t necessarily offend me since it’s their loss.

    • Aussie

      It may be their loss from you but may be a gain from others who are happy not to be bothered by your kids

  56. Lauren@SimplyLKJ

    I have two girls, now 21 and almost 18. I can sympathize with a parent trying to calm a crying baby, overtired toddler, or discipline a whiny child (I’ve been in their shoes). But, I too feel America is tiring more of PARENTS not dealing with their child(ren) and their acting out, not the children themselves. If your child is screaming, kicking seats, throwing things…REMOVE them from the situation. How can we expect our children to grow up courteous and respectful when their own parents aren’t?

  57. Alicia

    I completely get kid free zones in movie theaters, and even first class. But grocery stores? Seriously, I would never drop my children off in the care of total strangers, who I have never interviewed, or even gotten a background check on. Call me crazy, but I think that would make me pretty irresponsible.
    At the same time, I understand that parents need a break. My husband is active duty military, and often, I’m a single parent with NO family nearby to help or a close group of friends to give me a break every now and then.
    And, because I am a stay at home mom, my daughter accompanies me on my errands and day to day activities. As a parent, you know your child’s limits. If I know my daughter is sick, in need of a nap, I won’t push it by taking her to the grocery store or go to lunch with my husband.
    But the grocery store, or even the mall and department stores, are not places that serve primarily childless people. They need the business of families. And my daughter , who is 2, is learning to behave at these places, BECAUSE I take her with me.

    Does she throw the occasional tantrum? Yes, and if its a real tantrum, we leave. But if she’s crying bc I won’t let her stand up in the cart or won’t let her run in the aisles, and I know it will only last a minute , then we keep trucking. I don’t care what people think either. Just because my daughter is crying for being told no doesn’t mean I’m a bad parent or a lazy one. Toddlers can’t control their emotions nor should they be expected to be a perfectly quiet and still.

    I think the important thing is to remember your child’s limits and come prepared. Have special toys/books that they can only have during outings. I often go to the grocery store during snack time and my daughter gets to munch on her snacks in the cart, which gives me at least 30 minutes of time to focus on groceries. After that time passes, I know that I only have about 20 more minutes, before she gets restless, I so come with a list and try to get out as soon as possible.

    I realize that some parents ignore their child’s behavior, but I am pretty sure that MOST don’t. Kid free zones in movie theaters, bars, and services that cater to singles and adults…..sure, I get it. Fancy restaurants, SURE! ( and Chilis, TGIF, Olive Garden, do not count as fancy restaurants)
    But lets not go overboard here. The average working mom and stay at home mom does not have a nanny and does not live near family anymore . And, if your child goes to daycare, the last thing you want is drop her off at more “daycares” everywhere you go or pay for a baby sitter.
    Phew, that was long. Sorry!

  58. Wendy

    If more parents were willing to discriminate on their own when/where it is appropriate to take their kids, this wouldn’t be necessary. There should not be a 2 year old running around behind me during a violent PG13 movie- while the kid was annoying, I was also concerned about his well being.

    If more parents were willing to ‘parent’ rather than do as they please with kids in tow, I would have more trouble with these policies. As it is, I don’t feel discriminated against, because I know our family is not the target of these policies. My boys rarely scream at restaurants, and if it happens, we take them somewhere calm so they can calm down, as well.

  59. Angie B

    Responsible parents are definitely part of your target audience Tsh:)
    Children are a blessing from the Lord and it is our duty to teach, guide and disciple them. It becomes very apparent that when parents do not do their jobs, children get a very different label and are not valued for what they truly are.
    I’m struck by the affluence of our country as I read this blog post, I’m comparing it with a blog i found yesterday called Sixtyfeet.org. Children who are found “offensive” by begging in Uganda actually get rounded up and placed in what is essentially a prison. How blessed our we that we get to choose where we spend our money based on our personal beliefs or how those businesses make us “feel”.

  60. Sandy

    It’s possible that our society IS becoming less tolerant, but if so, it probably stems from a problem with parents who do not discipline and rein in their children. I agree with many of the comments above–it’s really a problem with parents.

  61. Bekki

    Toddlers and children have to be trained to entertain themselves quietly for an hour or so. They aren’t born with that skill any more than they are born potty trained. I am disgusted by poor or passive parenting, which has become the norm. You are hurting your own child’s ability to function as a normal member of society.
    Bottom line, mommas? If you haven’t regularly invested the time at home to train your kids to sit quietly with a small toy or book to entertain them, don’t bring them into a public venue intended for adults. If you are in a public venue and your kids choose to pitch a fit, it is your obligation to find a private place until your child is back under control whether they are 2 months or 5 years old.

  62. linda turske

    If parents would parent their children instead of trying to give them everything and make their lives comfortable 24/7, then this idea would not begin to take root. Kids misbehave because parents are no longer teaching them the proper way to behave. Too many parents don’t want their kids to go without or be told NO. I am called to parent my child and that often mean I am not his/her friend. I make decisions based on what is good for them in the long range not at the moment. I am not called to be their friend/buddy/pal and often I am not popular but that is okay (it affirms that I am doing the right thing by giving them boundaries). I do not like to see this turn of events but I completely understand it. I do not enjoy being at a nice restaurant and having a kid throw a tantrum because mom or dad is not giving them what they want at that very moment. I have 5 kids and all were taught how to behave at a restaurant, in church, or where ever. I could go anywhere with them at a very young age because we did not tolerate misbehavior. Paretns need to step up to the plate. If you do not know how, find a mentor. Someone you respect from church or in your circle, and ask them to help you/teach you.

  63. Courtney

    children are a part of our society. they need to learn to be a part of it. it is discrimination when they are banned from places. what harm do they cause other than some noise and maybe a little more mess in a restaurant. i know when i take my 2 year old out, we try and clean up after our son so we aren’t way more messy than normal, and when he is too loud we take him outside. not all people with kids do this, but i am never bothered by other kids…. even before i had my own.

  64. KVossler

    This is a hard one. As a mother of a one year old, I have taken my child to pub-like bars at times–she did SXSW and I breastfed her at shows–but she’s a well-behaved, easy-going kid. At first glance, I read this post and thought–“Much of this is straight up discrimination–right up there with race/class discrimination.” (The movie theatre stuff is the exception–I live in Austin and love their Tuesday Baby Days.) However, I agree that the root of the problem is two-fold: 1) people who don’t teach their kids to behave in public–and who have no idea what places are appropriate for their children and 2) people who are prejudiced against children and those of us who have children just because they’ve had a bad experience with others kids/parents in the past. If my kid squirms in a restaurant, I take her outside. If she were to scream (which, fortunately, she hasn’t done yet), we’d get our check and get out of there. When she’s older, she’ll learn that dining out is a privilege.

    As for the church issue, I think that kids should be allowed in church. Period. All should be allowed in church. We don’t have the option of turning people away, even if it is to have them sit in the foyer or wherever else with their kids. If our church ever gets to the point where we’re “politely” asking moms/dads to leave the room because of their kids, I’m leaving our church.

  65. Katie

    I don’t think we, as a society, are becoming less tolerant of kids. I think we are becoming less tolerant of bad parenting. I am fine with the banning of kids in places or times.

    The business is free to do as they please. You are free to be their customer or not. I LOVE children. They are free, innocent, and incredibly open eyed to the world. However, when a crabby child is whining at the store and obviously needs a nap or a good whoopin’, the parent needs to nip that attitude in to bud. That parent should have been pro-active to prevent the child from being uncomfortable and reacting in that way.

    All of the customers in the store should not have their hour ruined because of a too cranky kid.

  66. Jael

    I think movie theaters should have time and movies just for kids. Taking kids to a late show, or to an adult movie, is more for the parent and not considering the kids. Plus then the adults can go when to go. However, I would say the same is true for adult who have to be texting through out a movie or can’t figure out how to turn off their phone or put their phone on vibrate. Its rude and inconsiderate. However, I don’t think you need to banned kids, parents need to have more common sense. I know its hard to constantly be paying for a babysitters so that you can enjoy a night out, but its temporary and maybe parents can trade with another couple in their neighborhood or family.

  67. Kristin

    I think companies should definitely have the right to do this. But I do think it’s a sad reflection of our society and the value we place on children. Also, a reflection of how poorly disciplined so many children are. On one hand, I think it’s sad that many people seem to view children as another thing to check off of their list of things they want to do (and no more important than getting a puppy). But on the other hand, I’m not sure I can blame people for not wanting to be around bratty children who have parents that do nothing to stop them from yelling, kicking your seat, etc. Just the other day we went to see a movie. It was Cars2, so the theatre was full of children. My son is 4 and the seats are huge. He must have kicked the seat of the woman in front of us when he was trying to climb up. She bit his head off, instead of simply telling me that he had kicked her seat (once!). Oh well!

  68. Amy

    Wow – I hadn’t heard about this issue before reading this blog post, but it’s certainly given me a lot to think about. I can see both sides of the issue, but I think, as many people have already stated, the root problem is a major decline in the standard of behavior we are expecting from our children.

    It bothers me when other parents allow their children to run amok through a restaurant or talk loudly in a venue that should be quiet. But I also understand the necessity of taking children to such places so they have opportunities to learn how to behave appropriately.

    That being said, every private company is entitled to make their own rules regarding what patrons are welcome in their establishment. And to say that a 6-year-old has the “right” to be anywhere is not totally accurate – minors do not have the same rights as adults in our society, and that’s as it should be. And parents who feel their rights are trampled on may just have to look at this as another one of the many sacrifices they’ve made to have the family they wanted.

    • Katelyn

      Children are people too and deserve the same respect and “rights” as an adult. Why does the one day difference between 17 and 18 magically make a child a whole person? Our society would be better if they treated a child as a whole complete person with thoughts and feelings just as valid as anyone else’s instead of some sort of little pet robot to only do as instructed.

      • Amy

        (FYI – Different Amy than original post)
        That is ridiculous. Children to not deserve the same “rights” as adults. I don’t want my 5 yr old to have the right to drive a car, buy liquor, vote, or for that matter, be drafted for war if it came to that – do you? And of course nothing magical happens the day someone turns whatever age is chosen for the various rights I just listed – but an age limit has to be chosen. And unless that age limit is adhered to, any lazy parent could decide their 14 yr old is “mature enough” to drive a car simply in order to avoid carting them around.
        The federal Civil Rights Act does not prohibit public establishments from discriminating against children, therefore it is the “right” of the business to ban children if they choose.

  69. Clare

    I unfortunately don’t have time to read all the other comments today, so someone may have said what I am thinking. This points to a much more serious problem: poor parenting. If we were doing what we should be as responsible, mature parents, we wouldn’t try to take our fussy baby to an adult movie, or allow our toddler to endlessly kick the sit in front of them on an airplane. This is businesses’ backlash to unruly, undisciplined kids. It is just a shame. When I was young, which wasn’t so very long ago, my parents would not have taken me along on their visits to four-star resturants. Not because I couldn’t behave, but because they knew I would not appreciate it. Parents need to set boundaries, loving your children and being a proactive parent means defining lines. Small children shouldn’t be allowed to do certain things- by their parents, not businesses. However, your 5 year-old may be mature enough for experiences that mine is not, we should be the ones to make that determination. If our culture was more disciplined, this would not be happening. I think it is a shame, and if more businesses join in on the trend, I will be limiting where I shop, eat and fly.

  70. Hilary Snodgrass

    I have 4 kids. I believe that our society has devalued children and made them “status symbols” and something “tolerated until they leave the home.”

    BUT, in my little world, some parents are obnoxious and encourage their children to behave as such also. For example, I know one family with 6 kids and they find it funny to go to a movie and see how loud and rude they can be and the COUNT the number of people that leave. That is out of control. It’s b/c of parents like this that people don’t want to be around children.

    • Aussie

      What a shame the people around them can’t have a good laugh also as they are all thrown out… like the poor excuse for parents were recently with the misbehaving brats on a plane.

      If a few more businesses had the courage to do this then it might stop the incredible entitlement attitude of some parents.

  71. gwyneth

    Reading a lot of these comments I do wonder if we are a little lacking in grace towards both parents and kids in a lot of situations, like assuming that every mother has the time and resources to shop whenever she likes, around a tired child’s schedule, etc. I also wonder if it is that new. I am always struck when reading Jane Austen books of how children are considered bothersome. Maybe we have swung back to a time when children are only a small part of normal life, and should otherwise be relegated to day care or a nanny. I like the idea of being able to choose a certain atmosphere, I think the problem is assuming that atmosphere should be standard across the board, and there should always be a room for children to be expelled to if they dare cry. When my sister became catholic, one of the culture shocks was the lack of nursery care in a lot of catholic churches, and the number of crying babies in church. When she spoke of it to someone she was reminded that they believe in worshipping as a family. Children are part of that family, and children cry, they are supposed to be there, and we are supposed to love them.

  72. Christina Y.

    I think there are a couple of issues at hand here:
    First of all, I think as a society, parents have become more leniant with where they allow their children to go and what they allow them to view. So, perhaps the first issue is to recognize that there has been a change in parenting styles within the past decade. Perhaps that is why restaurants, grocery stores, and movie theatres have created guidelines/restrictions for children (partially to protect the children’s well-being).

    Secondly, there are plenty of restaurant options for families with young children that don’t have to be “McDonald’s quality”. A lot of chain restaurants are family friendly and have more of an upbeat/loud atmosphere where children can blend in to their surroundings a bit easier. I know that these types of restaurants are the ONLY restaurants that my husband and I consider when we are heading out as a family. If we are going out alone, however, we will choose a quieter atmosphere where we would assume children would not be. But, if there is a screaming child, we try to remind ourselves that children can be unpredictable and occasionally do have a melt-down (our own included). The last thing I want to do to another parent is give a dirty look or say a rude comment while thier child is having a bad moment… Lord knows we’ve gotten enough of those and it makes the situation worse!

    I do LOVE the idea of babysitting being offered during grocery shopping! I wish more stores offered such services!

  73. Mary Lou

    “Companies have a right to do what they want — but do you feel like it’s a good move on their part?”

    Hmmmmmm……let us take that thought a little further and then see if you still think it is a good and wise statement.

    Question #1 ….If companies have a right to do what they want and ban children from their establishment, then why is it NOT okay for that same establishment to ban a particular race?

    Questions #2….If companies have a right to do what they want and ban children from their establishment, then did those who died fighting for the Civil Rights Movement, die in vain?

    Question #3…..If companies have a right to do what they want and ban children from their establishment, then why is it NOT okay that the Chinese government bans more than one child per family?

    I could go on and on with my questions.

    Yes, I have been in eating establishments where there have been children that are out of control and out of line. Should those disturbances be addressed? ABSOLUTELY! But I don’t think the answer is to ban children from the establishment as this brings things back into our society that we as a country worked long and hard to divest ourselves.

    Another option: Equip management with the skills to firmly but kindly request that the parents escort their children out. We have bouncers in bars for disruptive individuals that have imbibed too much. Requesting parents to escort their children out for disruptive behavior….NOT JUST TALKING but for screaming, crying, etc……..could work very effectively. If and when the child decides to reenter the eating establishment with their emotions under control, they are welcome back.

    Honestly, the majority of the times that I have experienced disruptive children I have also noticed a lack of parental concern or involvement in solving the problem. The parents have actually made the situation worse by their own actions.

    • kvossler

      here, here!

  74. Liz Anne F.

    I recall walking into our local cineplex one time and noticing the sign that said that infants/children would not be allowed into the R rated evening movies. My first thought was, Who is taking them to these movies during the day? because the idea was so foreign. But clearly, the theater had experienced problems and felt they needed to make a policy to address the needs of all of the patrons.
    Regardless on the movie topic, I do see both sides of the issue, but I think as parents, when we are out on our date night or on a solo grocery store trip (aren’t those fun–you can linger!) we need to be compassionate towards other parents whose child is not behaving. We have no idea what is going on or how the parent is “parenting” and should (try) to not be quick to judge and perhaps, offer help (or sympathy) if it is appropriate.
    As for kid-free venues—I have mixed feelings and whether I am upset or not will depend on the individual business as well as their approach to the issue. Kids are welcome for brunch, lunch and early dinner, but will not be seated after 7? Sounds great. Kids not welcome ever? Not a fan.

  75. Christina H.

    I do believe it shows how little we value children. Consider also the attack on the public school system, head start programs etc. Clearly children are not a priority in this country. I agree as well; we are no longer tolerant of passive parents. I do not “tolerate” my children because I demand a certain level of behavior from them. Of course they step out of line and push the limits every now and then, they are still just children. However, when that occurs we remove the child from the situation for “chill time” so that no one has to “tolerate” their behavior, myself included.
    I think the hard thing for parents to understand is that you, the parent, must behave as you wish your children to. We say please, thank you, excuse me, and your welcome to our children because we ask them to do it for others. We stop and hand a bottle of water to the homeless man on the sidewalk with a smile because we desire to have compassionate children. We do not hit them because we don’t want them to hit others. We do not yell and name call because we ask that they not do this. Most parents behave badly but ask their children to behave well. You become a hypocrite. Why would you ask your children to trust and respect a hypocrite? Why would you expect that during the struggle through the teen years when they are fighting to find who they are and grow up that they would turn to a hypocritical adult for guidance? My husband and I desire to raise responsible, respectful, and responsive adults, so that means every day I must ask myself if my behavior has been appropriate before I ask if my children’s has been.

  76. Suzie

    I see this as a form of discrimination. Substitue child for another minority group and you’d have a lawsuit.

    Imagine if an airline or restaurant banned blacks or gays???!!!

    It’s simply unacceptable. If there is a person (adult or child) that is demonstrating bad behavior, then it’s completely acceptable to ask them to leave. But an outright ban is discrimination….

  77. Adrienne

    While many more people today are choosing not to have children, and the whole idea of having a big noisy family is not en vogue, that doesn’t change the fact that children in the West are treated better and given more respect than they ever have in history. The idea that are society is becoming less pro-child is really not logical. Our culture may not be pro-family, but that is another issue completely. Just think back 100 + years to the Victorian era. The childhood rearing mantra back then was that “children should be seen and not heard.” Hardly realistic, but yet, children were often not allowed to be children, child abuse was prevalent, and they were pretty much expected to submit to the whim of any adult, parent or not. I’m a parent of two, and I honestly don’t mind in the least if a upscale restaurant wants to court clientele taller than three feet. It’s not like Chili’s is banning kids here.

  78. Michaele

    Unfortunately, this trend is gaining strength not due to children, in my opinion, but due to poor parenting. I believe all children can behave in any situation. I was fortunate on many occasions to have complete strangers compliment my children on their good behavior in church, restaurants and other public places. Now that my children are teenagers, I am glad we had a good recipe for their good behavior. If I may be so forward as to share what we did as parents (and for the record, we were very young parents….we had three children under the age of 4 and we were 25 years old).

    * A well-behaved child is well rested and well fed with nutritional meals and snacks.
    * A well-behaved child has received positive attention for their good behavior in the past. We were generous with genuine praise…”I like how you did that puzzle so well!” or “Thank you for going right to sleep last night at bedtime. Mommy loves and appreciates you!”
    * A well-behaved child receives kind and direct communication from their parents. “We will be in church for two hours. I have brought your Bible books for you to read if you need to keep busy. After church, we will go to coffee and donuts in the church hall.” When running errands, we would always lay out for them where we were going and what to expect.
    * A well-behaved child receives positive reinforcement in situations where they are doing what you expect. “I like how quietly you are waiting for your food to arrive. ”

    We also made sure that our children had visited the bathroom before flights, going into a restaurant, movie or church.

    We had such a positive response from our children to this type of parenting that they are just total joyful people to be with now as young adults.

    I believe that any parent can raise a well behaved child who are joys to be around in any situation and thus, these child-free zones would not be an issue.

  79. Jenny

    I’m in MO where the Whole Foods has the babysitting thing. I never took it as banning kids from the store. I don’t go there, but if I did my daughter would go with me and I would never leave her for some stranger to care for. That’s insane. It’s scary how many people just jump at any chance they get to drop their kid off with who knows what kind of person.

  80. Gina

    I don’t disagree with kid free places, sometimes that’s appropriate (like a grown up movie, or a fancy restaurant). But I think we need to look at how we’re raising our kids, if we’re teaching them to be kind and considerate for those around them then maybe there wouldn’t be such a need for kid free zones. In all the places where we bring our kid they need to learn how to be considerate and well-behaved to those around them, and other folks should do the same. (I really like our local Fred Meyer and their kids play place, but if I was required to use that while shopping they wouldn’t get my business. Also, I won’t attend a church where it wasn’t okay for me to have my child in the service with me for any reason, which is why I love that our church loudly proclaims we are okay with babies and kiddos)

  81. Melanie

    As a mama to 4 (ages 2-12) I am aware of what my children can handle and make efforts to leave them home (when possible) particularly if we are in the “danger zone” – naptimes or after 8pm. I know it is not always possible to arrange childcare for every outing (yikes!) but I think it is reasonable to expect children to behave a certain way while in restaurants or in public places. We have had to have our meal packed up more than once because of a failed outing…but that’s our problem, not the other patrons.
    I am troubled by the permissive parenting that causes reactions like this from businesses. As many comments have already stated, the problem begins at home. And I have witnessed many oblivious parents who have no trouble ignoring the appalling or potentially dangerous behavior of their children. As a parent who tries to raise future responsible adults it is increasingly frustrating.
    This is not to say we haven’t experienced our share of tantrums or meltdowns when we have pushed the kids too far (the checkout line breakdown is a favorite ;)) but I think those instances carry a different expectation than a sit-down restaurant or a movie theater.
    As for the comment about government intervention in other countries (like China) I’m not sure that’s the logical conclusion of private businesses laying down guidelines that should be common sense. The amusement of children is not the stated purpose of most of these establishments and unfortunately it has turned into a case of a few bad apples spoiling their bunch.

  82. Fonda

    What a brave woman to undertake such a topic publicly! Being the mother of 5 (now mostly grown) and the grandmother of 3…I do not consider myself ‘anti-children’. But honestly, when my children were younger we did not take them to ‘adult style’ restaurants or venues out of respect for others. (Ie: no Steak & Ale when the kids were with us, but a local Mexican place with a play area instead.) I just don’t think people consider each other any longer. They want to take their children wherever they want to go with no consideration for others.

    Just the other evening I had dinner with an old friend just to ‘catch up’. Knowing this was a family friendly place (as everything in our area is nowdays), we asked to be seated away from the play area so we could talk. Halfway through our meal a family came in and was seated next to us. This would not have been any problem except that the little boy who looked to be about three decided to be a puppy for the entire meal and barked in loud, squeaky yelps for the rest of the meal. Even when we moved to the bar area to finish our visit, you could still hear him all over the restaurant. At that point, I would have liked to have been given the choice of a ‘kid free zone’! Unfortunately, in our part of town there are few options for ‘adult friendly’ places except a bar — and that just isn’t the type of place that I want to hang out in.

    In this case, if we would have had a kid free option, we would have taken it…not because we are anti-children, just because you can’t be sure that other people are going to be considerate of those around them.

  83. Sarah @ Fit Family Together

    I’m so glad you raised this question. I think it’s a sign of the terrible trend our culture is taking where parenting is not taken seriously nor honored as a core part of maintaining our culture and charting our future. Certainly as parents, we have to think strategically about where to bring our children and how we structure them. When my kids were younger, there were places I didn’t take them because I knew it would be tough on them to keep up the behavior expected in a place. However, I think this all falls in the realm of good judgement, courtesy, good parenting and communication.

    These blanket bans in restaurants, etc. shows how much children and parenting is devalued in this society – and how self-absorbed, self-centered and comfort-oriented this culture is becoming. It’s all about having your needs perfectly catered to.

    However I also place a lot of blame on how permissive parenting has become. Parents are reluctant to discipline their children, set limits and even limit their own lifestyle as children become part of their lives.

    Ultimately it’s one of these bans that indicate how ill this culture has become on so many fronts.

    Finally, as the final piece de resistance. Many of these restaurants ban children but allow dogs. Now isn’t that indicative of how people are turning to animals – dressing them up, buying them fancy meals, etc. – because they require so much less of us than children. Yet starting to move them inappropriately into a relationship that used to be reserved for children. So many people are not taking up the challenge of building human relationships and supplanting them with animals. The double-standards in some of these bans is what shows this in stark relief.

  84. Katie Boman

    I have a nearly 5yo daughter and expecting my second daughter in October. I’m very old school; I don’t tolerate tantrums with my kids, PARTICULARLY in public.

    Now I have to admit, because of a combination of luck and my zero tolerance policy on tantrums, I really haven’t had this problem myself. But I decided long ago that, regardless of where we were or why, if my kid started screaming because she wasn’t getting her way, she’d get once chance to knock it off and listen carefully to me telling her quietly and firmly that she’d either straighten up or we’d go home to the no-fun plan; no tv, no games, no choices about meals, for the rest of that day. Here’s where I got lucky; she never tested me till she was old enough for this, around 3&1/2. As such, I never had to actually DO the no-fun plan; my informing her of that consequence was enough. But she just doesn’t scream and throw fits in public, and I feel like that’s at least in part because I don’t tolerate that kind of behavior anywhere.

    There hasn’t been a time since my daughter was over a year old that she got anything like her way by screaming over it. Before that, naturally, crying is still the largest part of how babies communicate their needs, but after that, I was just a careful as I could be to make sure that, when she could use words calmly to tell me what she wanted, she didn’t get it till she did. And if I had to say no, and she tried to throw a fit, I’d simply and calmly shut it down, through simple words to make it clear that wouldn’t be working, and then ignoring her flat out till she stopped. It never took long.

    I feel bad for parents that have screamers. When I see those situations in public, with children obviously older than 3 or 4 years, and the parents aren’t quickly intervening to either get through to the child or leave the venue….you know, when they just keep on about their meal or their shopping or whatever as the child racks up time continuing to behave like someone’s got him/her by the hair and the heels and pulling fit to split him/her in half over a toy they can’t have or candy they had to put back, or simply over being told to stay in their seat rather than running hell bent for leather all over the place…

    Well, I have to say, if it were my kid, I wouldn’t subjecting others to that for 60 seconds; I’d be scooping up my kid, abandoning my meal if that’s what it took, and taking her home on the no-fun plan for the rest of the day. As such, yes, I do have to admit I get quite put out by having to spend 30 minutes or more in a situation where my daughter gets treated to the example of tolerance of unacceptable behavior in other little kids by their parents.

    Imo, if there wasn’t such an outrageous rash of people allowing their children to behave in these, (o man this is going to be offensive, but I’m gonna say it anyway,) bratty ways, we wouldn’t have public venues banning them.

    But we’ve become a society that instead tolerates and even encourages bratty behavior, and the parents of said brats not only get off the discipline hook, they get to treat parents like me like we’re the bad guys, for being so strict and for “judging” them and their kids. Makes me kinda sick, actually, but like I said. I’m old school.

    • Holly

      I feel the same way, I’m old school too. Yes some words might offended, but the truth can be offensive. We just took a long train ride and while other kids were running up and down the walkway (unattended) from car to car, back and forth.(now I also understand that kids have energy and but they also need guidance, there is time and place for everything, and running unattended thorough out the train is not the time nor the place) Ours were sitting down and playing games and laughing with us. There were times when they got fidgety but we took them for a walk through the train. There was a older couple sitting across from us, as their stop came and they were leaving, they told my husband and I how much they enjoyed our boys.

  85. Kara @ The Chuppies

    For me….depends on the motivation behind the restrictions…

    If it’s because the scenario is not appropriate/safe for children (i.e. grownup movie, bar atmosphere, rides that are too dangerous for children…makes sense to me…for their own safety/well-being…probably shouldn’t be there).

    Otherwise–even if it’s a quiet, EXPENSIVE atmosphere….I’d rather not see an “official ban”. I’d rather parents become better at parenting, that parents consider the feelings of others and teach their kiddos the same. That parents take time to consider others when they think about taking their children along, and what their children can handle behavior-wise.

    The restaurant also can reserve the right to not serve or ask anyone to leave if their behavior is disruptive…be that a child or an adult. I’ve seen plenty of adults in “nicer” restaurants that I’ve wished could be sent to the “loud-and-obnoxious-free-zone”.

    Seems like otherwise, the regulating just spirals out of control….we’re regulating everything under the sun these days….based on the possibility of potential problems.

    And if the motivation is because of the ever-growing sentiment that children are a nuisance, a negative, a “ball and chain”….then that part of it just makes me sad.
    But–
    My husband often reminds me that the Bible doesn’t only say children are a blessing.
    It also says they can be a curse.
    I pray His grace into our kiddos’ lives and mine…to parent consistently and trust Him to develop hearts in them that are a blessing to be around (so that maybe those “kid-free-zones” won’t be needed).

    • Kara @ The Chuppies

      Side note–concerns me when (in our state and the one above us)….dogs seem to be more loved and accepted than children do.
      (and I LOVE dogs 🙂

  86. Monica

    one, i do not mind if certain places ban children. the way i see it is that there are plenty of other choices to eat/shop..thier financial loss. two, i can see WHY places are deciding to do this..i can not tell you how many times i have had to listen to my son ask,”why do THEY get to run around?”

  87. Beth Werner Lee

    Culture of death.

    I do have a friend who trained her kids how to act in restaurants. Once she told me how (she brought kid out to car to sit alone at first disobedience, she standing unseen behind while others finished meal) then I could think through training my daughter in restaurant behavior.

    My heart breaks when children cry. I also feel irritated, truth to tell. I believe we are becoming a less biblical society. I agree wholeheartedly about IKEA.

  88. kathy

    Alot of you aren’t going to like this…. It’s a sheer lack of discipline! Children don’t get enough of it these days. My two are now 12 & 17 and I’ve NEVER had a problem with them being unruly in public or at home really for that matter. They know there are rules and boundries and proper ways to behave and reprucutions for their actions when they don’t abide by rules, etc… Not that I beat my children but I have been know to stand them in a corner in public, give a quick pinch… just something to get thier attention to let them know “Hey… that’s not okay!” And it works! I always said what I meant and meant what I said, still do… you hear so many parents threatening children “We’ll leave” or “You won’t get that toy” etc…. Well I say parents “Say what you mean and mean what you say” and you’ll have a little more control over your children :0) Why do kids just get stuff for going to the store with their parents anyway… that gives them a sense of entitlement I think… They’re not entitled to toys and candy for going to the store and behaving. It’s something they should just learn/be taught to do.

  89. Katie | GoodLife Eats

    Well I certainly would have LOVED free childcare during my grocery shopping trip the other day. (My Grocery Shopping Confessional)

    As a parent, how do you feel when you see someone else’s child making loud noise in a store, an airplane, or some other public place?
    I feel true empathy for them because I know exactly how frustrating that feels.

    When we traveled to Greece earlier this summer there was a couple flying back home to visit family with a baby about 5 months old. He was so fussy during the first part of the flight until he was able to fall asleep, but not so fussy that people were getting nasty.

    I could sense that so many of us around them wanted the baby to calm down not because it was bothering us but because we knew it was a stress for the parents.

  90. Jessica Jones

    I think some of these developments are a brilliant solution to what has become a parenting problem in recent decades. I think we’ve become too tolerant of children in general and parents have stopped parenting, instead becoming indulgent and not setting strict boundaries.
    If some parents can no longer establish limits and appropriate behavior, then I believe establishments have every right to do so instead.
    What I find such a shame about the whole thing is that good parents, ones who teach their children how to behave in public spaces (or simply how to behave at all), are now having to live by these restrictions also.

  91. Shannon

    I am definitely not in favor of either extreme. I think children should be taught to behave and that people should use common sense in bring a very small child who is not able to be taught to be quiet in public to a very adult setting, like a nice restaurant in the evenings. So I actually don’t think it is unreasonable to have a sign that says “No screaming children are allowed.”

    On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t frequent a place that banned children, depending on their reasons. I think our culture is not a very family-friendly one, but we also, for the most part, don’t do a great job of raising our children with proper expectations of behavior. My parents (the hippy generation) have called out of control behavior “just a phase” where as my grandparents, in the same situation, have encouraged us to take the child out of the restaurant, discipline them, and return them once they are willing to act appropriately.

    I really don’t think that is too much to ask of parents.

  92. Amy Grace

    Could there be a cultural shift taking place. When visiting Disneyland on vacation this month, I heard for the first time the admonition on EVERY ride, “Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times and please, watch your children.” The “Watch your children” part is NEW. Why is Disneyland feeling the need to record this message and repeat it on EVERY attraction? Could it be because culturally, people are NOT watching their children? Are people letting them run wild and act out? Could it be that businesses are creating “kid free zones” because parents are abdicating their responsibility? I don’t pretend to have the answer. Just was blown away by being repeatedly told to “watch” my kids on every attraction.

  93. Holly

    I can see both sides of this. I know I don’t always want to hear a screaming child when I’m out at the store or at a restaurant. But I try to understanding, maybe the child is not feeling well, and really should be at home. I think we have become afraid to discipline our children, for fear that it could scar them for life. But they need guidance and boundaries, in a loving manner at a young age.
    As for the comment about the churches banning children. I really don’t think that was the intent. I know in my experience they have children’s church so that the parents can really listen to the message. Not so long ago my children always sat in church with us, (they have to learn how to behave) but if they did get loud we took them out, right away in consideration of others.

  94. Alicia

    funny, just got back from the grocery store and in the aisle , I passed a mom with 3 kiddos,looking very frustrated as she tried to calm one of her toddlers down ( he was having a meltdown).
    As a mom and not an anti-kid person, what did I do? I walked up to her, smiled at her son, and asked him whats wrong. The shock of someone else talking to him (nicely) quieted him down immediately. Exchanged some words of sympathy and laughs with other mom, and went on my way.

    Sometimes, if your next to a screaming tot, and your not too busy, just offer a smile and a word or two. Support mother’s, in general, when you see them stressed out or overwhelmed. Of course, I realize that this wouldn’t work in every situation (:

    • Anna Joy

      I just took my son to the post office because I had to mail out a package and had to do it then. He was acting crazy (as normal) and wasn’t listing to me. The lady behind the counter kindly but sternly told him he needed to settle down and he calmed down right then and there. It does help when it’s not Mom trying to talk some sense in them! After that, he got a sticker from the lady and we left happy.

    • Sharon W

      I haven’t ever tried to talk to someone else’s child who was having a fit in a store, but was tempted to last week. I just didn’t know if it would work or not. But maybe I’ll give it a try next time. In this instance, I was trying to figure out who the problem was, the child or parent. There were 3 kids total and the middle child, maybe 7 or so, was having a fit (flailing around including running into a guy in the next lane over, running away from his mom in the check out line etc) all because his mom “never bought him anything.” Then she told the older boy to tell him what she had bought him already that day. I thought to myself, why is she even engaging in this conversation with him? And why did she bother buying him anything??? She finally had the older boy take him out to the car. Lastly, before the whole freak out in the line, I had seen the kid in the center of the store, alone, telling strangers that he didn’t know where his mom was. An employee told him to stay put and called for his mom over the loud speaker. After quite a long time, his older brother came for him and said for him to stop running away. Seems like he was out of control for the entire shopping trip. And from what the Mom yelled at the kid, I gathered that they had been to at least two stores before the one I saw them at. And she told the boy he could go to sleep when they got in the car. Sounds like she should have just skipped the trip to the store I was at and gone home. As far as I remember, her purchase consisted of two candy bars (one of which had already been eaten) and a snack for the baby.

  95. Sara Tetreault

    With a 12 yo and a 14 yo who have been brought everywhere (restaurants, church, international travel) I can honestly say parenting makes a huge difference. Behaving well in public places and using manners don’t just suddenly happen in kids, they have to be taught by the parents. And, it takes practice.

    Babies crying on planes? I feel awful for the parents. Toddlers running and screaming in restaurants? I feel awful for the kids. Get a sitter or do a child-care swap. Toddlers don’t really want to be at restaurants.

  96. Libby's Library

    Lovely idea in some ways, but it could lead to banning other groups.
    People in wheelchairs take up extra room. What about teenagers – they can cause more ruckus than cranky two real olds…and people who talk at the top of their lungs (especially after imbibing too much alcohol)?

    As out society has become more and more litigious… store, restaurant, and transportation owners, have become (and I certainly understand why), less likely to establish, what used to be considered, common sense rules, that patrons are expected to abide by.

    My husband and I have raised 10 children,and now have 17 grand children. We rarely (due to total exhaustion, and lack of funds), took our children out to eat, or shopping. When we did, we took great precautions, to insure that our children did not disturb other shoppers or diners. If at all possible, we did not go out during nap times, or after bed times. We ate snacks before leaving the house so that they were not ravenous, and we remembered to bring comfort (blankies, stuffed toy, etc. etc.) and “quiet entertainment” items with us. If one or more children because restless, overly loud, or began to cry, one parent would remove the offending child(ren), until “order” was resumed. If necessary, we all left – even if our meal or shopping was not completed. Was this a lot of work? YES! Was it necessary – for us it was!

    We practiced manners in our home. Our kids knew the difference between inside, and outside voices. They knew that we needed to be extra quiet in doctor’s offices, libraries, and in the halls and during services, at church. We did not allow children to “run free” in any public locations. We took responsibility for our children, and greatly appreciated it, when others did the same.

    Our children WERE NOT perfect, but they were – for the most part, courteous, happy, pleasant, little individuals, and we were often complimented on their good behavior. Parents MUST make time for their children… time to raise, nurture, and teach.

    As we have become a more mobile society, the extended family unit has become a thing of the past…which, to me, is so sad. How wonderful it was to have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins around, to help set examples, and provide a caring village, that set healthy expectations and boundaries.

    Kid free zones – oh yes, there are times when we are out on our own (such a new experience after just become empty nesters, after having children and sometimes grandchildren, living in our home for 36 years), when we have become frustrated while shopping or dining out. Irritated by children crawling under tables, running in aisles, throwing temper tantrums, and crying throughout a meal…but more often than not, we just smile at each other, breath a sigh of relief, and say at the same time…
    ” Those were the days, but better them, than us!”

  97. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

    I think if parents do a good job of watching their kids and make sure they aren’t being completely out of control then there wouldn’t be a need for kid-free zones. Yes, meltdowns will happen. But when I was little, if I had a meltdown in a store, my mom would just take me outside and I knew I was in trouble. Parents don’t seem to do that anymore they just tune their kids out almost.

  98. Tammy aka @Tammy_Skipper

    I think there is a lot more going on than a low-tolerance society. If we are working towards being debt free and a night out to dinner is a luxury, we don’t want to be seated next to uncontrolled children. That is the other issue: I truly think there are a lot more parents who make little attempt to discipline their children than we did 50 years ago. I think many facilities are having to put policies like this in place because parents are not using reasonable judgement. Is it really fair to the kids to bring them somewhere they are expected to be still and quiet for several hours if they are 3 years old?

  99. Susan

    Let’s be clear about this…Children are being banned from private companies. No one, not even adults, have a “right” to go there. Stores, airlines and movie theatres are private companies who can choose who they do business with (whether you are an adult, child or baby.) So stop talking about the rights of babies. I am a parent also but have no problem with “adult only” stores or hours. I hate having crying babies in stores, movies or airplanes. I am more tolerant of airplanes because parents have no where to go if there baby is crying. As a parent myself, I believe that babies and young children belong at home, parks or on playdates, not being dragged around a mall with their mom (when they should be home taking a nap.) If you don’t like the polices of “adult only hours/stores” then stop going to those stores. If enough parents stop going to Trader Joe’s, then maybe Trader Joe’s will change their policy.

  100. Heather

    I have to be honest, if I am on a date night with my husband and I am seated next to someone with screaming kids it would bother me. I don’t see a problem with some places stipulating ages limits because they cater to adults. Most people are ok with bars or even bed & breakfasts not allowing children under a certain age to be in there, so if the occasional restaurant wants to do it, that is fine with me. There are plenty of places to eat that are family friendly.

  101. Suzanne

    When I am out to eat the last thing I want to be around is screaming kids and such. I have kids but I have seen too many parents let their kids get away with bad manners so when I want to spend money and enjoy an evening out, a rest. where kids are not is where I would be. There are always going to be places to take your kids, I do not allow bad manners with mine and will leave. This does not offend me at all. 🙂

  102. Anna Joy

    I agree and disagree with this. I have a 2 1/2 year old son is pretty wild. He has never been able to sit still or be quiet since he was a baby. He’s very independent and opinionated. For now, I have “banned” him from certain places which include coffee shops and sometimes the grocery store. I understand being in a place where a child is acting up and how frustrating it is.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure if we should be “banning” all children. I know lots of 2 1/2 year olds that are total opposites of my son and can behave themselves very well. And who’s to say how my son will act in a year? He might be able to behave himself better and maybe then I would want to take him back to a coffee shop.

    But then again, I understand when you’re running a business establishment you’re there to make your customers happy and if you have parents with a misbehaved child that doesn’t do anything about it, then you might end up losing customers.

  103. Jane

    Too many parents let their kids run wild and act unruly. I see a kid free zone as a great thing but only to a degree. This probably wouldn’t be an issue if parents actually disciplined their kids. I am a parent and find it embarrassing to be with or around children with no manners or guidance. There is a time and place for loud voices and running and a time and place for quiet and manners.

  104. Lovie

    I have been the mother of 20 plus children, bio, adopted, foster and literally children off the street. We are now onto grandchildren, hence my gma name “Lovie” as posted. We have always taken anywhere from 5-10 children out to dinner, movies and the likes with us….people often have a freaked out look on their faces as we sit down. Inevitably they will stop by our table on their way out and thank us for having well behaved children. It is ALL in the parenting, we now have passive parents who basically ignore their children or find correction/instruction intruding on their children’s rights.

    As much as I love children, I have to agree with public establishments banning children, what a sad statement on our society in many ways.

    • Tsh

      Care to share some secrets? 😉

    • pril

      couldn’t agree more!! it’s about the parenting kids will only do what they can get away with.
      I have no kids but sit for my friends kids my godchild and as much as he acts up he knows how far he can go with pril. and its not very far. i’m a mean godmother but i have the child safty and manners to teach. and i can’t teach him if i can’t take him.

  105. Anitra

    I am torn, in part because I have pretty good kids, but even good kids have bad days. I LOVE going grocery shopping by myself, but that’s not always an option. And when it comes to restaurants, we usually won’t bring our kids to an adult-oriented restaurant or bar, UNLESS we are meeting with a certain group of friends; because we can’t always get babysitting, it becomes a choice of whether we are going to see these friends at all or stay home. And hey, our children like these friends, too!

    Of course I remove my children from the situation when they’re acting up – if possible. I think the biggest difficulties come in situations where it’s NOT easy to remove the kids for just a few minutes (movie, theater, musical event, airplane), but where you would have to leave entirely, giving up the money and time you have already invested.

    I think of all the times that my toddler/preschooler has had a blow-up WHILE we are already in the checkout line at the grocery store or another store. I’m not going to abandon my groceries. Instead, I try to calm the kid down while we’re in line, and just bear with it until we can get out of the store.

  106. Heather F

    I’m all for it. I wish I could make my house a kid free zone. Who are these kids and why do they keep calling me mom?

  107. Karen

    I have to say that I’m not completely surprised at this. There are two ways to look at these bans. 1) It is just another “ugly head” raised against what God has established, that of families and family life. or 2) Could this be more of a reflection on parenting or more importantly, lack of parenting?
    Actually, I think it is a combination of both views. Children need teaching and training and I think (myself included) we can “turn a deaf ear” to our children because of our own interests or responsibilities. Consequently, there are more poorly behaved children out and about. You can tell the difference between a child that is just tired or having a particularly bad day and the one that is used to manipulating their parents with demands and bad behavior.
    Personally, my children are my most precious charge, so I am not inclined to give that charge to someone I don’t know. I would rather set up a babysitter that I trust will be looking out for my children, instead of giving that charge to a stranger. My two cents! 🙂

  108. Jackie

    Actually, the places are banning parents who have abdicated their roles as parents. I love kids. It’s the parents I can’t stand. My kids are grown, but when they were growing up, if they misbehaved, there were consequences. They were not allowed to yell when they were inside. They were not allowed to stand up on chairs and tables. They were not allowed to run around places unsupervised. If parents would be parents, there wouldn’t be this problem.

    • pril

      agree 100% agree.. no kids but got me a godchild!!!

  109. Carole

    OK, first of all – I don’t have time to join in the conversation by reading all the comments before mine. Probably I’m repeating sentiments already shared …
    Nonetheless, here are my answers to your questions:

    When you hear a local restaurant is banning kids, do you feel “persecuted,” or do you do understand their perspective?
    I don’t feel persecuted. I just wouldn’t patronize a place that didn’t welcome children. I usually don’t leave my babies at home until they are eating solids, which happens around 9 or 10 months. I can see that people might want an elegant restaurant to be quiet for their customers, but … it’s a different approach to life than we personally want to take.

    Does this say anything about how our culture views — and deals with — children?
    Absolutely. I think a pretty huge pendulum swing has happened from the politeness that was expected in the 50’s and 60’s (think Leave it to Beaver). Kids are in general much more disrespectful of adults in general and parents are at a loss as to how to train their children basic respectfulness – let alone appropriate manners for an upscale restaurant. Is the “no child policy” a reaction to a louder and more disrespectful generation of kids? I think it is actually part of the problem. Parents don’t “do life” together with their kids – as families – and don’t have the opportunity to model appropriate behavior. Adults do kid things with their kids, toting them from event to event, and then to adult things without their kids. There isn’t a merging of the two very often. Does that make sense? So our disregard for really getting to know our kids and loving spending time with them, including them in our games, our outings, our enjoyments, as much as we do theirs; expecting much of them (because they are capable of respecting us) as we respect them ……. Then we would want to invite them out with us (from time to time) because we enjoy being with them and they with us.

    (Wow. Sorry for the long ramble!)

    • Carole

      Oops! Forgot to unbold my answer. 🙂

  110. Rosalyn Price English

    I’m all for kid-free zones. I see it less as intolerance and more as societies freedom to place boundaries. Generally boundaries are necessary for the people who don’t have natural boundaries themselves (i.e. parents who let kids talk during church, those who talk loudly on cell phones in quiet coffee shops, gum poppers in libraries – you get my drift)

    I don’t mind being protected from parents who are unable/unwilling to train their youngsters to behave appropriately.

    I will say though, I have a three year old who I take everywhere with me. Does that guarantee he will never act up? No. But I am conscious to take him to places that are toddler-friendly and to be aware of how he is doing – if we’re coming up to nap-time, I don’t take us out for lunch…

    Just my .02,
    Rosalyn

    Win a Taste of Home Cookbook! Join us at http://www.rosalynpricenglish.com/contest.html

  111. MelissaS

    I’m the first one to bristle at being told I can’t go somewhere or do something. However, many business owners are not only trying to create revenue, they are marketing an experience, an atmosphere, or a product that may not be intended for children. I am happy to expose my children to “grown-up” situations, because I agree that they need to learn how to behave in them. But I also see the side from the business owner’s standpoint of trying to maintain a profile that fits their mission, which just might *not* include serving children… And let’s face it – there are PLENTY of places in the world today that d0 cater to children!

  112. andie

    no one wants to hear someone else’s screaming kid behind them in the checkout line… let’s be honest. but this whole “kid-free” craze really scares me. it says kids are an inconvenience. their presence isn’t appropriate. they’re in the way. their existence means you can’t do what you want. and how must it make them feel? my daughter wouldn’t be allowed in a place that didn’t want kids 6 and under, but she’s old enough to get the impression that she’s not wanted. she’s not as important as all those big people in there.

    but i think a lot of this is brought on by parents bringing kids to places where they really shouldn’t be… to a movie at 9:30pm, a fancy restaurant with a 2 month waiting list. people bring their kids (and they’re only inviting disaster by doing so, no kid is going to enjoy those places), disaster happens, and the manager has to make his paying customers happy so he says no more kids. parents really need to use common sense sometimes.

    i think establishments providing child-care is wonderful!! it shows they’re valuing the adults’ time. it also shows they’re valuing the kids by providing things for them to do that they’ll enjoy. talk about customer service! i’m a big advocate for families doing things together, but sometimes you just need to think straight when making a big purchase or catch a few minutes alone with your hubby.

    i will say that there seems to be a general looking-down-the-nose attitude towards kids now. it makes me sad and maybe a little nervous for the future.

  113. Juliette

    I definitely enjoy some kid free time. Sometimes by myself and sometimes on a date with my husband.
    It is certainly a business’s right to make their establishment kid free but I think I would feel a bit offended by this.
    I think instead of banning children maybe parents could use a bit of common sense and not take their children to places their children aren’t necessarily mature enough to be at. We take our children to nice restaurants, not just restaurants with a play place. That way they learn from example how to behave in public. We get the opportunity to teach them. If they are always with other children how will they learn this? At the same time we also don’t take them to an upscale fancy restaurant. Yet.
    So maybe a combination of parents using common sense of where they can take their children and teaching children appropriate behavior might help make the outings more enjoyable.

  114. Carol

    I think it is fair. Some places kids don’t need to be. I have two young ones, 1 and 2, and they love going to the movies, but i hate having to take them out half way through and never seeing the movie. That really upsets me. It would be nice if they offered baby sitting at an extra fee so parents who have no family support, or they moved to a new area and don’t know anyone, can still bring the kids, but be able to enjoy the movie. I don’t think resturants should ban kids, unless its a brewery like Oggies’ in California, they should inform the parents that a screaming child will not be tolerated, but then the resturants do need to speed up their service, the only time my kids get fussy in a resturant is when they have to wait nearly an hour for their food – that shouldnt be tolerated either. So I think it can be double edged in the case of resturants speed up your process and the kids wont get fussy. But I also read that some hotels are doing that also thats completly unfair to people, if I am on a vacation or goign to visit family and didn’t want to fly I better be allowed to stay in a hotel with my children, im not goign to let them sleep in a car and if your the closest hotel/motel for five miles and im dead tired you better beleive I’m staying there, and if you want to fight it I will fight it. Give me a room where no one is near me.

  115. Julie Bame

    I have an almost 3-year-old and a 9 month old baby. I think there are a couple different factors that come into play here. First, I think it’s great that some places offer child care so that parents who don’t have family or babysitters close by can do some sane shopping whether for groceries or furniture. I’m super blessed to have my sister just a few miles away and I often call on her to keep the kids just for a little while to run errands. The other side of the discussion has to do with 1) how parents allow thier children to become the center of the universe, thus creating little monsters 2) how children who are un-trained and rule the roost of their households behave when in public places. As the problem is two sided, so is the solution: 1) children need to be taught that they are a wonderful addition to their families and to the world, not the center of either. This gives the children perspective on the world – their needs will be filled and are important, but patience and self-control truly are virtues that need to be learned early on 2) parents need to be parents, which means that behavior training, while hard work and a big challenge much of the time, is essential for having children that can handle being in public places successfully. So, while banning children in certain places seems extreme, behavior problems in children who think they are the center of the universe can be equally disturbing. It’s time to be grown ups and take responsibility for our children’s behavior.

  116. kate n.

    quite frankly, i find the entire thing to be offensive…banning children from places…”we don’t tolerate screaming children” — well, i don’t tolerate drunk and/or obnoxious adults — are they banning these people too?
    what about adults who are rude to wait staff…are they banned? and, how about adults who talk through the entire movie at a theater? for pete’s sake! adults are much more in control over their behavior than kids. adults can think through the consequences much more thoroughly than kids. people need to get over themselves and quit blaming kids for the problems at restaurants, theaters, stores, etc.

    • Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds

      I don’t blame the kids – I blame the parents. If the parents disciplined the children and taught them the proper behavior for certain settings, there wouldn’t be a need to “ban” kids from places. But when parents take their kids out in public and let the children behave as though they’re at home, running and screaming and playing, that’s a problem. It’s simply not appropriate to let a 5 year old roam around a restaurant, playing on the dirty floor, getting in the way of the wait staff. But I’ve seen this happen, and I don’t blame the child. I blame parents who are so afraid of hurting a child’s self-esteem, that they won’t properly discipline him and teach him that there’s a right way and a wrong way to behave.

  117. meg

    I think that some restaurants banning children is cool with me, if that is the atmosphere they are going for. I think it is better to have a certain night that is no kids, but none at all? not my thing, but I get it. I have 3 children (2, 4, and 6) and when I am shelling out bucks for a date, I want to have a conversation with my husband. if we are sandwiched between two tables of screamers…well that is tough, and our money was not well spent. Even worse than kids, IMO is the tiny yappy dog in the purse people at the restaurant. Gross. Just saying. I’ve also BEEN the lady with the 3 noisy kids in a restaurant, and I totally understand then when we go out on valentine’s day with our littles (we like to show them that they are special and we love them on this particular holiday, and do our own date a different night) I totally understand that we are usually put in the separate room or back corner with all the other families that do the same thing. It is great. The kids are all noisy, and all of the couples can enjoy their peace in another room of the restaurant. everyone wins.

    The grocery store? I think it is great. I have times when I love having my kdis with me at the market, because I can teach them about food, prices, shopping, etc. But my 2 yr old is sort of a gong show lately, and it would be wonderful to take my older girls with me and let him go play. And who hasn’t tried to shop with the kids during naptime, only to get halfway through and realize it was a terrible mistake? I think it is a great service for the store to offer, and a wonderful marketing tool as well.

  118. Kristy in Canada

    I have often observed couples inflicting the not-so-cute antics of their ill-behaved, poorly disciplined, or simply over-tired children on other clients in a restaurant that is obviously not aimed at ‘family dining’. This leads me to side with many of the comments I’ve seen here. My family has limited financial resources, so when my husband and I decide to go out, we like to have a meal in peace and quiet. Therefore, I will not apologize for walking out of a restaurant when I hear a child crying or see them misbehaving, and I refuse to be held accountable for how the owner of the restaurant responds to my actions. That is entirely their choice. Businesses like restaurants in the service industry take their chances when they institute a kid-free policy, as it immediately alienates a significant group within their potential customer base, but I have to think they’re taking a decision in response to a need they have observed or heard expressed by their customers. Finally, if the restaurant you wish to attend has you worried about whether your kids will stay seated and quiet, chances are you shouldn’t attempt going there until they’re old enough to do so without your constant vigilance. Do yourself and your kids a favour and go to a family-friendly restaurant where you can all relax, or shell out the cash for a babysitter.

  119. Momof2

    As a mother of a 2 and 5 year old, I do not make it a habit of taking my kids where I know typical child behavior is not suitable (ie a really nice restaurant). The problem is that many parents today have zero regard or respect for others. I have friends that I cannot go to the mall with because they think it is perfectly ok to let their little ones run like maniacs through the stores. That’s what the kid zone area is for!
    I just think that if parents took the responsibility to teach their children how to be respectful and behave properly in public it would be less of an issue. And if that means that you don’t take a 2 year old to certain places or at certain times of the day (ie their nap time when you know they are going to be cranky) then you don’t take them.

  120. Kelli G

    I have three childern, 2 of them are in college and one is a teenager. My kids are far from perfect but they knew how to behave because I was clear with them about it. They also knew that if they did not behave that there were consequences. 95% of the time, they were fine. The other 5%, well…it happens. With that being said, I think the reason why businesses are starting these bans and “child free” hours and such is because a lot of parents are too lazy or scared to discipline their children. I see it all the time, parents chatting or texting on the phone while their kids are going crazy. It’s too bad that for the parents of children who DO behave that these bans have to be put in place. I have to laugh when I see comments from people who feel that society is becoming less tolerant of children. I think society is becoming less tolerant of passive or lazy parents and bratty children.

  121. sandy

    Some people are just professional victims. Persecuted because your kids aren’t welcome someplace? Give me a break!!!!!!!!!!! Why would you want to go someplace where your kids are not welcome? That is so immature and typical of the entitled generation. Just go someplace else, for crying out loud. It’s not the children people are objecting to, it’s the parents. And since there is no way to know in advance if you are or are not the kind of parent who will attend to your child’s needs or disruptive behavior, the simple solution is to just have adult only venues.

  122. dmd

    I mentioned beneath another post that I was of two minds about this. Truly, I don’t like being next to a table with an unruly child, screaming, banging, and being a nuisance to everyone including him/herself. But I love being next to an adorable, sweet, not-quite-shy child or just seeing a happy family interacting. If it was a place I went to all the time, I’d be ticked off and might boycott. But if, like in the Whole Foods example, they provided child care, I’d say halleluia! When we stayed in Atlanta for four months, I loved Ikea – drop your child off at the kid’s area and shop in peace! Kids weren’t forced to go, but it was nice for the parents, I think. And for kids – my son loved it!

    My son has ADHD. Thankfully, he mostly keeps the impulsive, short temper part of that at home. But I know from first hand experience that all the good parenting in the world won’t always help. Yes, parents should just suck it up and leave at that point. But…I could almost understand if this is their one time out a month and it’s melt-down city and stuff happens. And sometimes, kids have outbursts then get it back together again. The world is messy. Sometimes kids are messy. But then I’ve been out and it’s some loudmouth adult-only-in-theory. You can’t ensure a calm, quiet, peaceful situation – even without kids.

  123. Amy

    Free markets. I’m guessing that’s what is driving the decision these businesses are making to go “kid-free”. And in the end, these free markets will decide if its a good idea. If enough people value going to a kid-free restaurant, it will probably do very well. It is no different than the many businesses I frequent that are specifically designed to be “kid-friendly”. And that is the choice of the business, just like we as customers have a choice whether or not to support their business.
    I personally think kid-free restaurants are a great idea. I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom, and on the off chance my husband and I go out on a date, I do not want to deal with other kids. I don’t mind if they are well-behaved, but everyone has a different opinion of what ‘well-behaved’ means, so I’d rather just not have to deal with it at all.
    I have no problem with kids (well-behaved or otherwise) in family restaurants, grocery stores, airplanes, buses, etc, etc, etc. But there should be some places adults can go without having to worry about the possibility of disruptive kids.

  124. Jaclyn

    I can understand businesses wanting to limit children, particularly during later hours and in more formal settings, but I would probably be offended by a place that does this (especially if I felt it was a place that should allow kids — explain, a casual restaurant or shopping center) and would probably choose not to dine/shop there.

    When I get a chance to go out with my husband and see/hear kids, I’ve never been annoyed (at least not since having kids, because boy does your mindset change after having kids) — it reminds me lovingly of my own but it also makes me glad that I’m not ‘mom’ right now. I can’t imagine it would ever ‘ruin’ my meal/night. I’m quite aware that some teenagers can also be loud/obnoxious, but I wouldn’t go banning teens either.

    • Bethany

      I agree with you Jaclyn. When I hear kids when I’m out on a date, I’m not annoyed, I’m just glad that my kids are loudly playing at Grandma’s house. 🙂

  125. Mama of 2 Under 2

    Aaaahh.. a topic worth discussing!

    YES, I felt discriminated against when I was asked to remove my squirmy 18 month old while attending a service as a guest at a church, nearing the end of the service. It was almost nap-time, he had sat BEAUTIFULLY (and quietly!) throughout the worship and message. I was mentally preparing to take him out and head home if he became noisy. But the usher saw him start to wiggle and whisper “Mama”…. and took it upon himself to ask us to leave.

    What? He was a distraction? To whom? And if so, could you please ask the man behind me to remove his wife? She spent most of the service chatting it up with her friend…

    (To their credit, both the pastor and the usher made apologies after the service, acknowledging their poor judgement…. but the issue remains.)

    In contrast, at another church the week before, a nicely dressed visitor showed up carting her three dogs in a doggy stroller wearing doggy clothes. After the service, I watched while she did nothing as her dogs barked shrilly at 3 different toddlers who approached the doggy stroller, each time sending the child off crying and scared. Holding my 3 week old baby boy, I greeted the woman and engaged her in conversation. She was intelligent, friendly…. and shocked me by volunteering that if all the babies in the world and her dogs were thrown over a cliff, she would save her dogs first. “They’re like my kids,” she said.

    Thank you for that, ma’am. Not that I was asking. But it confirms what my husband and I have been suspecting for a long time now. Dogs, mutts, canines…. are now much dearer to the hearts of TOO MANY fellow Americans than children. You know it’s true. You have witnessed it yourself.

    We welcome dogs. We scarcely tolerate children. Lord forgive us!

  126. Stephanie Pease

    Sounds honestly like the poor restaurants are reacting against parents who either can’t control or have inappropriate expectations of their children. When parents bring kids to a formal restaurant and the proprietor has to actually kick them all out in order to restore order to the place, its seems pretty natural that they’d resort to these sort of extreme measures rather than have to make a scene every time there’s a problem. I think as a parent, I would appreciate a polite sign saying something like “If your child enjoys sitting quietly, he/she is welcome here. If not, please consider providing your child with an alternate activity.” and maybe a little picture of two angelic looking children on a bench or something. A “No child allowed” sign is a little too rude.

    But as far as the whole foods thing goes… oh my gosh – free babysitting while I go grocery shopping!! Sign me up for that! Going shopping with two children is miserable – one is ok, but more than that is just crowd control!

  127. Darlene

    My kids are grown now, but, I know I would rather eat without listening to screaming or crying children. It would be nice if places provided a place for your kids while you shopped or did whatever. Also, if people don’t like restaruants banning kids they could go somewhere else. The restaurants will more than likely loose alot of business doing that.

  128. Sarah

    I think a business should be able to make their own rules about having a minimum age to enter, but at the same time I think it’s a bad business idea to exclude the kids. They might be little now, but they will be growing up and spending money soon–and if you want their money in the future, it might be a good idea to be nice to them now.
    I also think it’s a little bit…I don’t want to say selfish, but that’s the best word I can come up with…it’s a little bit selfish to think that you can go into public and not have other people around you. You can watch a quiet movie at home, or eat a quiet dinner at home, just as easily as the children can stay home. When we choose to go in public, we are making the choice to be around other people. Children are people too.
    And I think Whole Food’s babysitting program is a little bit genius.

  129. Cherie

    I think it does make a statement on society and their opinion of children and people; even their own children. Children and people are not an interuption anywhere. Our model – Jesus – welcomed interuptions and children with open arms; he didn’t displace them. When the cripple’s friend tore the roof off and lowered their friend Jesus did not get mad and stop the lesson; he was amazed and commended them for their faith. Segregation in any form doesn’t represent life. Everyone needs compassion is playing in my head. How selfish to think a young couple trying to have a life together would not be accepted, because of a fussy child. We all wish we have angelic 24-7, reality doesn’t always happen because of sleep, sickness, family, background and life experiences. We all need and want quiet: turn radios off, TV’s off, smart devices off, and go on down the list. Honor and respect others, what does this look like?

    I agree with some of the people and their new studies on divided church. This restaurant thing is just more of the same. We have segregated children to the extent that they are not connected in the body or sometimes even welcomed in the body and thus disengage from families and church between 18-30; some returning and some never coming back. I believe we do need to rethink how and what we are teaching and quit dividing people generationally. We need to restore worship and living to be whole families; not separate units. As Christians we are reflecting the world versus Christ and His teachings.

    • Joy

      I understand your point, but I have a feeling the children in Jesus time knew how to behave in public, if their Jewish mothers were anything like the Jewish ladies I answered to! 😀 I, too, struggle with the idea of children being catered to in worship. When I was coming up there was no such thing as children’s church. We were segregated during Sunday school like everyone else, then all sat together as families for church. And we learned how to sit still. And be quiet. And a lot of what was said sunk in even when we didn’t fully understand it. Based on our own experience with our kids, I think we lose kids at 18 because they’re used to being entertained in church – then thrown into adult church, which is “boring” in comparison. Definitely something we need to investigate and do better.

      But when it comes to entertainment and eating out- that’s a new phenomenon, because 50 years ago NO ONE went “out” at the rate we’ve become so accustomed to. Segregating based on age-appropriateness is for everyone’s protection and benefit. I doubt there were a whole lot of children who attended crucifixions.
      There is a time and place for everything… time to bring the kids and time to let them stay home and fun while mom and dad invest in each other. A healthy balance strengthens the family.

  130. Heather

    I don’t mind going to a “family” diner with the kids, or a kid movie, or any place where kids just seem to fit into the setting. I don’t have a problem with some kid issues and noise at these places. I do have a problem with loud, sick, unruly, temper-tantrum-throwing, or crying little angels. People are not considerate of the people around them. If they would realize that not everyone thinks the antics of their little blessing are cute and precious, the world would be a much more friendly place. Get up and take your child outside or to another less inhabited spot when they are unhappy and are spreading their unhappy attitude to the rest of the world. OR, Heaven help us, when they are sick! Why do people bring their sick child out into the world to infect me and mine!?

    No, I have no problem with children free zones. If that’s what it takes to keep people from impressing their moody kids on others, or making people understand that allowing their children to be a distraction is rude, then that’s what it takes. When I get the opportunity to go out with my husband (without the kids) the last thing I want to do is hear someone elses child throwing a fit, or just being loud. If you are like us, those nights were few and far between… a “treat”. We wanted to focus on each other, not exercise our compassion for others with kids. Raise your child up in the way that they should go! To me, one aspect of this means making them behave so others are amazed that children were even present. When they realize they are there, they can look on in awe at my parenting abilities! hah! Mine were very well behaved little bits, but I think they were a blessing from God, and had little to do with my abilities. They all hit a sour note from time to time, and mine hit their share! However, they were allowed to go to many events where only older kids and adults were present, and they always impressed even the grumpiest of old men!

    In church, I don’t mind a little baby noise, kids talking softly, or crying a little if mom is trying to get into a nursing position, etc. When they become loud, can’t be soothed or become really disruptive… it’s time to go into the nursery! 🙂

    I saw a clip on the news where some outraged parents were discussing a local diner that had recently become a kid free zone. They were saying things like, “If they don’t want my kids, then I will just never eat here again!” and I’m thinking, hmmm… what is the address of that place? That would be a great date night location!

  131. Joy

    The name of the game is courtesy. I’m afraid in our “all about me” culture we haven’t seen it all yet.
    Back in the day parents parented and disruptive children were promptly removed from the scene. Now it amazes me how far parents will let a child go before taking action, if any at all.
    I’ve also been in restaurants where a group of adults was so rowdy it bothered everyone else.
    I’m astounded that many managers don’t seem to know how to set proper boundaries in such scenarios. There was a time when a manager would quietly and kindly ask you to respect the other patrons or leave. Now everyone’s afraid of confrontation.

    Like others have pointed out, businesses have the right to determine who they prefer to cater to. I don’t like a blanket “no kids” policy, but I can certainly understand the trend given what I’ve seen evolve over the past 30 years. I see nothing wrong with offering kid-friendly times versus later adult hours.

  132. Angela

    As a mother of two boys (ages 9 and 3), I am All. For. It.
    I don’t think it says society is becoming intolerant of children. I think it says society is becoming intolerant of overly-permissive parents who put Little Precious on a pedestal too high for any form of discipline to ever reach. We’ve come a long, long way from the days when strangers would not just stay out of it when you corrected your child in public, but would offer to help. And at whose expense? Are our kids any better off for it? I look at my children’s spoiled, self-indulgent, demanding peers and think not.

  133. Gene

    I love my toddler but there are times that I want to spend some quiet time on a date with my husband or being out with friends. I understand what these establishments are doing and I’m not against them doing that as long as they reserve some special time and place for children. Though I really do not like the idea of totally “banning” kids from entering their store/restaurant. That’s just unfair, don’t you think?

    It would be great to visit a favorite restaurant for some down time and not feeling guilty that other families have their kids with them while my own kid is at home with a babysitter. Of course we also make an effort to only bring my toddler to a kid-friendly store, especially with restaurants.

  134. Laura

    One place where kids really do bother me is in the doctor’s office. Until very recently, I worked for an eye doctor. We didn’t do pediatrics, so I was surprised the number of parents who would bring their children to their eye exams. The vast majority of the kids could not be quiet enough for their parents to have an eye exam with the kids in the room, so we ended up on baby-sitting duty with the noisy kids in the waiting room, which in turn disturbed other patients looking at frames or conducting other business with us. Even more astonishing was that those kids would continue to run amok after having been asked to leave the exam. We had a few coloring books and toys they could play with, but these kids would walk up to our computers and start banging away on the keyboard, or they would take our chairs (the typical spinny doctor chairs) and zoom all over the place. It was a danger to the kids and our patients. Being strangers, there wasn’t a whole lot that we could do to keep the kids under control. It put everyone in an awkward situation. Parents need to know their kids’ limitations, and deal with them appropriately. There are places where it is not appropriate to bring kids; those places are specific to each kid (some may be fine in restaurants and shopping, but not a doctor’s office) and parents need to act accordingly when bringing their kids along.

  135. Sue Klingseis

    I think the main issue is lack of parenting. Most people reading this blog do not have that problem. People spending hard earned money for a meal out deserve to eat in peace and quiet. As a teacher, when I went out to eat after work, I asked to be seated in a “child free” area and usually was satisfied. It was hard for my friends and I to be by undisciplined children after a day of disciplining and guiding children.

  136. Sheri

    Children deserve respect and tolerance as much as adults do. If adults can’t tolerate children, what are we then teaching the children? Gone are the days when children were to be seen and not heard. Children are not miniature adults. A child’s brain does not function as an adult’s brain does and therefore, they do not have the capacity to think logically, understand reason, or control their emotions. It’s our job as parents to teach them to do so, however, that being said, parents cannot CONTROL their children. We can only teach them right from wrong and how to respect others, then hope they follow suit. And most importantly, adults need to model the behavior they expect from children. Children are always watching and observing adult behavior so “Do as I say and not as I do” is no longer an option. I would not/will not spend my money at an establishment that does not welcome children. It is discrimination. However, I also know the difference between a family-friendly environment and an environment meant for adults.

  137. Melissa

    My husband and I purposefully look for family friendly restaurants when taking our 6 year old daughter out to eat. I wouldn’t think of taking any child under 8 to a nice restaurant. That’s just rude. We go to nice restaurants to get away from our kids, not to hear someone else’s kid at the next table throwing a fit or a baby who wont stop fussing. I would like to say that people should just know better, but some either don’t care that they are interrupting other people’s dinner or are oblivious to the fact that their kids are misbehaving.

    I also like the idea of banning kids in the movies after a certain time, like 6pm. Kids young enough to interrupt should be eating diner and getting into bed, not at the movies. I have been to far too many movies where a baby cried through half of it or kids are running up and down the aisles during the show.

    Now, banning kids from 1st class on an airline is a mistake. There are lots of people who are not going to fly coach and are not going to leave their kids in coach alone. They will take their money somewhere else. And they should.

    I guess, its okay for some things and not for others. I think ultimately it should be up to the business owner. If they don’t feel like their business is appropriate for kids they should say so. That should be their right.

  138. Carol

    Screaming kids – absolutely ban them! And NO I would NOT want Ikea or Whole Foods or anyone else I haven’t personally screened, to watch my kids. My church’s entire Sunday School teachers and assistants are criminally background checked so no perverts are overseeing the children – is the same true of Ikea’s and Whole Foods’ staff? I think not. NO THANK YOU.

    Not only should screaming children be banned from ALL public venues, the parents should be stiffly fined. I am sick of our crumbling society not holding individuals responsible. Autistic? No problem. Bee sting? No problem. A crying baby is removed (temporarily) to be fed or changed? No problem. A toddler is learning boundaries and behaviour skills by testing their parent by throwing a fit in the middle of the aisle or restaurant? If the parent promptly removes them, no problem. IRRESPONSIBLE PARENTING – yes that’s a big huge problem. FINE THEM SINCE THEIR BRAINS AND COMMON SENSE ARE NOT WORKING. Send them to parenting class, sure, but do it on their dime, not mine. Not during my highly paid hour at the restaurant. People have no shame anymore – and no common sense. I am absolutely sick of passing the buck and being irresponsible. Poor children, what chance do they have as growing up decent with parents like that?

  139. Linda

    This is ridiculous, IMHO. As a mother of 3, I believe children should be allowed to be part of the culture (especially food shopping, for goodness sake!) and parents should be exactly that… PARENTS teaching their children how to behave, grow up, and live in society. Sure, we have all experienced our children behaving badly or over-tired, etc., and been THAT parent with THOSE children. Most other parents will sympathize. I think it’s sad when parents consistently seem to have no control, OR are always looking for ways (and the cultural trend seems to be this) to get rid of their kids so they can do their thing ‘in peace’ rather than engage and instruct and model what is proper and good to their kids. Kids are like sponges and will respond. It really IS possible.

  140. Claire

    I think it is sad… welcome to North America (speaking of mainly Canada and the US) where we can’t wait until our parents are old and we can throw them in a nursing home, ban our children from everyday places. I say if you want to go kidless… get a babysitter and go to a pub… or better yet, a quiet trail or beach off the beaten path. We treat our children and our elderly poorly. Most countries have them all living together!

  141. Lisa

    Gosh, I wasn’t feeling persecuted by the “kid free” businesses, but I am feeling persecuted by some of the comments on this blog. The problem with saying it’s the parents’ fault because they’re not correcting the behavior is that different people have different ideas on how to do that. Unfortunately some of the most common ways actually make the behavior worse. I think it’s a crap shoot at best — sometimes your kids will behave like angels and other times they appear to sprout horns for no reason. I’d say stick to the family friendly places and have all your strategies in place to prevent problems, but be prepared to leave if it turns into a nightmare.

    • Kerry

      I agree with you. And it’s also difficult to control infants and young toddlers when they don’t know any better and/or are tired. If my kids were really acting up then I get my husband to ask for the check and we’re out of there. Sometimes I’ll just go and wait in the car with my kiddo while my husband finishes up.

  142. Noell

    Hmmm…I guess it depends on the restaurant. If it would be considered a family-friendly restaurant I would be a bit peeved if they began to ban children. If it were a nicer, sit-down restaurant I would probably understand. While I have 4 kids (4 years of age and under) I get a bit disappointed when my husband and I are on a date next to a screaming kid. I just left them at home with a babysitter for the simple enjoyment of a quiet dinner and adult conversation.
    The whole kid-free thing does say something about how our culture sees parenting, I believe. It seems that in a way parenting has become a passive thing…sit the kids in front of the t.v., give them a technological device, etc. when the going gets rough (heck, I even do the t.v. thing when I’ve had it!) but by all means don’t break their spirit! So why not let them scream like a banshee in public, right? Obviously not acceptable behavior but kids are starting to rule the roost in some families.
    I would be absolutely thrilled if stores or restaurants offered FREE babysitting!! I see this is a huge way to get families to spend more money so why the heck don’t establishments do this for crying out loud?! 🙂

    • Jenny

      I have often commented that the first restaurant or store to offer childcare will have my business!

  143. Jenny

    As a mom of a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old, I completely understand and respect some businesses’ decision to ban or limit children. On the rare occasion when I go out for an expensive dinner with my husband, it’s nice to eat in peace. If I could afford to splurge on first class plane tickets, I would also be quite frustrated if I had to sit next to a whining child. Children are blessings, but there are certain places children don’t belong until they get a little older.

  144. Kerry

    My husband and I went to a semi-nice restaurant the other day while he, our kids , and I were on vacation. We have never been to this town and we needed dinner…and fast. We found this lovely little spot. I felt a little uncomfortable bringing in my young kids (ages 3 and 1) but the wait staff were really kind and doted on our children so I felt comfortable after awhile. A couple other children around our kids’s age showed up a little later as well. We had a nice time but my one year old was tired from the long trip and, now that he can walk, wanted out of the high chair. When he wants something it doesn’t take long for him to make this unbearable, screechy noise. There were a group of older adults that had just arrived and were chatting and I overheard them talking about this new issue of children being banned from restaurants and airlines. One lady mentioned, “I don’t want children screaming in my ear….” I felt like that was my time to get my kiddo out of the restaurant. So I picked him up and told my husband I was going to take my son out for some air while my husband waited on the check. Ugh. I’ll definitely be visiting that place again when we vacation there again, however, it’ll probably be for a special date with just my husband and I. Lesson learned….research restaurants before heading out! 🙂

  145. nopinkhere

    Our children learn how to behave in public by being in public.
    That said, some venues are more appropriate than others. I like Baby Day at Alamo Drafthouse because I can go with my younger child and not feel like I need to leave just because she fusses or wants to walk around.
    I am both much more and much less judgemental of badly behaving kids and their parents now than I was before I had kids. Less because everyone can have a bad day, kids included. More because I hate seeing parents condoning bad behavior by not leaving wherever it is. I admit, sometimes you can’t leave, but I do like to hear the parent in the seat behind me attempt to get their child to stop kicking my seat rather than ignoring it.

  146. Golda Smith

    I don’t see it as being less tolerant of children but less tolerant of ill mannered children whose parents don’t parent. As a mother of young children I’m appalled at how some parents allow their children to speak to them. How’s raising who? That’s what I want to know.
    Kids free zone, I’m all for it but more importantly we need parents to step up and be responsible. Don’t expect that you can bring your child anywhere you want, have them behave anyway they want and other people should just accept the behavior. I don’t think so. My children know what is expected of them before we leave the house and if for some reason they are having a bad day then we don’t bring that energy to everyone else. It comes back to the parents!

  147. Joy S.

    I agree with what you are saying here, Jessica from Canada! Those poor children she mentioned…being subjected to something that is frightening with their own parents being those who are subjecting them to it! My husband and I went through a haunted house one Halloween right behind a daddy who was carrying his little girl, approximately age 3, over his shoulder through the place! She was scared to death, screaming and crying, and he was laughing about it! I was appalled to say the least. Unfortunately, we can’t make decisions for parents, but I wish we could, too, in instances like these. Thankfully they are trying to put through some legislation in California banning young children from purchasing video games that are “first person shooter” games. People can say what they want about it, but I think of it as a good thing. Those youngsters don’t need to be subjected to the experience of virtually killing people with realistic graphics.

    As for children being banned from public places, I think it is archaic on the one hand. There was a time when children were to be seen and not heard (or NOT seen and not heard if possible) which is so sad! I was grateful that time was behind us, and now it seems we are heading that direction again. Most kids already feel excluded from their parents’ lives. Why further that feeling by banning them from places where they might have a family meal? Obviously they shouldn’t go into places like bars or X rated book stores, etc, but restaurants? I guess it’s up to the establishment to decide, but I would think they’d lose a lot of business because of it. On the other hand, I understand the desire of the other people to enjoy their dinner without being disturbed by someone else’s unruly child. Some parents have trouble removing their kids when they are being disruptive to others. It might do them good to remember that if their kid is screaming, then they are probably NOT enjoying themselves any more than the people around them are at that moment!

    I DO think it’s good for children to be exposed to places where they have to work on their social skills, such as a restaurant, where they need to be still and engage in proper public behaviour…but not when they are too young to understand what is expected of them. That is just cruel in my opinion, if the child is too young to understand. It’s better to go to a family friendly place where they can enjoy themselves without disturbing those around them if they are too young to understand what is expected of them in a more formal environment.

  148. Leslie

    I do like Ikeas kidcare place, but man something about it rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s just the location we go to but the attendants are always (and we’ve encountered different ones over the years) extremely strict, speak to me like I’m the child and seem to have NO compassion whatsoever. They recently refused my 3 year old entrance because she was oh, about one milimetre too short. She had to watch her 6 and 7 year old sisters go without her after a climax-building car ride getting there. I would tremble with fear sending my 5+ year old delayed son in as he wasn’t toilet trained until 8 years old. I was sure, being as hard nosed as they had always demonstrated that he would be kicked out if discovered in his pull-up! It’s such an awesome idea to have childcare but not when you feel like a little cog in a huge machine just to go through the process of leaving them. I would shop there more if the attendants had a little heart.

  149. Bethany

    I have never been bothered by a screaming child at a restaurant. My only thoughts when hearing it are, “I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that child. I’m glad we were able to get a sitter.”

    I don’t mind businesses making rules, I just won’t give them my business. My girlfriends and I have a Mom’s Night Out once a month and I have to bring along my nursing infant (who was pretty fussy last time). I don’t know if I’ll go next time–not because I think I bothered the other ladies, but because it’s not fun to be at a restaurant with a fussy baby (especially when I’m spending money)! If a mom has to bring her 5 year old son along because she had no one to watch him, who cares? She must have really wanted/needed that night out if she still came with her son. Life isn’t about me. Come on. Yes, we pay a lot of money for dinner at a nice restaurant, but when has the night ever been perfect? If it’s not a screaming child, it’ll be a bad steak, or an annoying waiter, or an argument with your husband.

  150. Liz

    I can understand it, because I’ve been sitting in cafes where kids are making heaps of noise, getting very annoyed, thinking ‘How come I can’t even have peace and quiet when I don’t have my children with me.’

    However, I also think it’s a symptom of society’s idea that everything must be perfect. We can’t stand to put up with inconvenience or discomfort of any kind. Yes, screaming kids can be annoying. But isn’t that part of life? If we really want a perfect life, maybe we should cocoon ourselves away from all irritations, distractions, annoyances and conveniences. But then, that’s not really living is it?

    Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Matthew 19:14). He didn’t say “Let the little children ( provided they’re not causing a disruption or making too much noise or bothering our patrons) come to me.” And as I think Jesus is someone worth emulating, that means if I’m getting annoyed noisy kids, I’m probably the one with the problem, not them.

    Liz

    • Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds

      I wish that were the case, Liz. I think that most often, annoying children are the result of poor parenting. If the parents don’t teach a child the proper way to act in a setting (be it at the grocery store, in a restaurant, or a movie theater), how will the child ever learn? Parents need to teach their kids that the things they do at home (running, playing, screaming, etc.) aren’t appropriate in every setting. I have absolutely nothing against kids being allowed to go anywhere theire parents go, but I don’t think I’m wrong to expect the kids to behave. I don’t expect things to be perfect, but I do expect common courtesy.

  151. Amy

    I used to be offended by the ban on children. But today I was out with my two close girlfriends without all our kids. We spent the day shopping and then went out for frozen yogurt. We purposely sat away from all the families with busy little children because we needed a much needed break we rarely get. There are so many businesses that cater to families–Chuck E Cheese, Great Wolf Lodge, Red Robin, IHOP etc. Let the businesses that want to cater to adults only be able to do so.

  152. Megan

    “There are times and places where children should not be, for their sake as much as the other people involved.” (Simple Mom) And yet some parents still insist on dragging their kids into such situations and then have the nerve to blame their children for bad behavior. I ask is it really the baby’s fault that he is being asked to quietly sleep through a movie being played at decibels which could break the sweet dear’s eardrums? Or is it the toddler’s fault that she is being told to sit still and quiet in a boring restaurant as her bedtime grows near and the adults are being completely self-absorbed? And if you were a child and had no other means of direct communication wouldn’t you scream and throw a tantrum too? I know I would.

    My concern is not how our society views children but how our society raises children. Until we learn better parenting skills then children bans will happen, and I’m okay with that. What I am not okay with is the bad parenting that lead to the bans in the first place.

  153. Stephanie

    I shop at Bashas in Arizona BECAUSE they have the Cubhouse. The employees are awesome, and my kids looove to go! If they hated it, I wouldn’t take them. I love having my children with me, but if they can be happier doing something more for them, then I am all for it!

    I think parents these days are the ones acting out of line. It seems that the internet and their own personal hobbies and friends are more important than spending quality time with their children. When I see children just being kids and parents yelling because they aren’t acting perfect it really makes me sad….many parents need to get control of their own emotions so their children can be kids. I am all about teaching manners, just remember monkey see monkey do 🙂 And really don’t take your child somewhere that you would have to expect them to act like an adult…they are children!

    I’ll get off my soap box now…I have only begun too!

  154. Laura

    If they are banning my child, they are banning me as well. Do I really have to get a baby sitter to go to the grocery store?

    Of course, It all depends on the place or situation. But in most cases this seems really discriminatory!

    Casual restaurants? Movie theaters? Airplanes? What’s next? Making parents with children sit at the back of the bus?

  155. sfmaster

    I haven’t read all the comments but find them interesting. I have been frustrated when out with just my husband and a pretty fancy restaurant eating AT THE BAR to have kids there. They are well behaved but it isn’t appropriate. When we go out alone we often make choices about when and where to make sure we have an adult experience. And I think it is ok to want adults only time.

    That said it seems like our culture views kids as a “lifestyle choice”. Something one does purely to indulge one’s own desires. But I think we need to realize that there is no cure for cancer, spaceship to mars, highways built, taxes done, planes flown unless we have generations to follow us. We NEED children! And yes many could do better to teach them manners but children in our world are NOT OPTIONAL. There are lots of ways we should accommodate and support families that do have them.

  156. Carey

    I am “one of those parents” I suppose. I often avoid taking my children to places especially when I know they would not settle down, but there are times when I have to go to the store and I have no other option. My kids are talked to all the time at home and school about being responsible and respectful but it doesn’t always sink in. When they start running around or throw a tantrum I quickly grab my last items and head to check out. Because if I were to discipline my child in the middle of the store I would also get dirty looks for that. My children are always better behaved for other people as well so I know we have taught them well. They just don’t do so for me. Although I am not a single parent I can emphasize with them. We do not know the situations that the parents are in so please be careful to judge when their kids are acting crazy. They are probably just as fed up as you! Now, I will not take my kids to a fancy resturaunt because I know it would not work, but I can’t afford to send someone to shop for me when my husband is away. I live in a city with no close relatives nearby. My only option is to pray they will heed my requests and be well-behaved.

    • Shannon

      I don’t think anyone should be banned from the store or avoid shopping if they don’t have child care! I’ve seen some parents acting worse than the children they are with at the store! I think you should go shopping whenever you need to – kids along or not!

  157. Brittany Ross

    On the one hand, it would be nice if babysitting was available in more places because it could make certain experiences more enjoyable for all involved- even the kids! Grocery shopping was always like pulling teeth when I was a kid, and you bet that most days had I had the option of hanging out with a coloring book instead I would have taken it!

    But at the same time, children have to learn how to be discerning consumers, which they learn by watching and conversing with us. So I suppose that value would be determind by how things are going on a particular day.

    And as many people have mentioned here, some parents are just too disconnected from their children to realize that there are days where going out to eat or to the movies is just NOT a good idea! We all have bad days, and kids are no exception. I think we often expect unreasonable things from children- they cry when they’re upset and so do we. But who reprimands US for it? So ok, set some limits for the sake of the children whose parents dont seem to know any better.

    But I do think its a reflection of our views on child rearing. The prevelant idea is to “control your child.” But control is an illusion. Children are more than willing to behave and work with us when we work with them and respect them as human beings. I always see parents trying to control their child and all thats happening is everyone ends up aggitated. A woman in a store once screamed at her 5 (ish) year old “WHY CAN’T I CONTROL YOU?” I wanted to ask her why someone would allow her to have control over them when she obviously wasnt in control of herself!

  158. Shannon

    My daughters are 19 and 16 now and while I understand some of the new “rules” I don’t agree with all of them. Our local movie theater has now banned children 16 and under from any movies after a certain time of evening. I really enjoy that because my husband and I have been on a much-looked-forward-to date night and had some little child or baby being extremely distracting during a movie that is playing at 9:00 p.m.! I understand that some parents can’t always find a sitter and feel that they should be able to take their children anywhere, I really feel that parents of young children need to be respectful of others in the venues where they are going. Believe me, I was! I never took my girls to movies at 8:00 or 9:00 at night where adults might be on a date night!

  159. Thea

    I wonder how people would feel if that same restaurant would say ‘no women allowed’. Our son is very well behaved in the restaurant. I think a ban is ridiculous, but the restaurant has every right to ask children to leave that are not behaving. I wish more restaurants would do that.

  160. Lisa

    Persecuted? I haven’t read the comments but I do think that anyone who considers this “persecution” doesn’t have any idea what persecution really is. I just think we want to be careful to keep things in perspective.

  161. cagey

    I am absolutely on board with kid-free zones. I have a 4yo and 5.5yo – if the environment isn’t welcoming my kids, then I would rather know ahead of time.

    I’ve had pretty good luck taking my kids places, but I try to be careful and respectful of the establishment. Last week, we went to an art museum and it was a limited engagement. We went in, saw some things, then got the hell out.

  162. Jennifer@A Blog of My Very Own!

    Wow. I don’t know how I feel about it because I haven’t been anywhere yet who would not allow me to bring my son with me. I assume if I know in advance that my son wouldn’t be welcome, I’d just choose not to patronize that business even without him. But if I went somewhere and was surprised at the door by their “no children” policy, I’d probably be mad and feel that their policy had wasted my time and energy.

  163. Sharon

    I think it has more to say about how parents have not trained their children to behave and do not handle outbursts appropriately.

  164. Tamara

    Our culture has shifted greatly to a parenting style that tolerates inappropriate behaviors from children. As I child I was expected to behave a certain way, especially when in public. My parents were often complimented on how well their children behaved in restaurants, stores, planes and other public areas.
    I have trained my children to do the same, and I am blessed often by the same compliments from store owners and strangers. Are my kids always perfect? No. They’re kids, and just like adults–we don’t always behave as we should.
    I do believe business owners have the right to make their own rules, especially when so many parents aren’t enforcing any rules with their own children.
    When parents take the responsibility to train and teach their children, we as a society will benefit, and children will be a welcome blessing to every one.

  165. Alexis

    @Susan Just to be clear, businesses don’t have the right to choose who they do business with. Would we feel differently if they choose to ban old people? That’s simply a ban based on age too.

    As annoying as kids can be (especially if I’M the one enjoying a kid-free date night) I can’t support a policy of discrimination against a certain group for any reason. Although I do think it’s a sad comment on us as parents that we are failing to help our kids understand what is “acceptable” at the restaurant, theater, etc. I feel there is no longer a common understanding of what IS acceptable and very likely, this is the problem.

  166. Amy

    I am seeing a lot comments on here about bad parenting and parents losing control of their children. I do agree we see parents spoiling children and not setting boundaries. But what about children who act because they suffer autism spectrum disorders or Aspergers? Or ADHD? Honestly sometimes the best of children have meltdowns. My oldest is very laid back and had a massive meltdown in a restaurant (only time I can ever remember her doing it). We were not in a place where we could leave right away (we eventually did). While some customers might be annoyed, other generally feel bad for the parents…and are totally helpless in doing anything about it. To me, it make sense to have certain businesses cater to families, to adults, to children, etc.

  167. asya

    I think it’s a little unfair to lump Alamo Drafthouse with the other places in the blog post. The “no-kids policy” is actually a no Under-18 policy. In my opinion it’s a good thing because the Alamo is essentially a bar that shows movies in a hard partying college town. I’ve seen people watch Harry Potter, in the middle of the day, with a bucket full of Coronas in front of them and would never consider it an appropriate venue for kids.

    Also, have you seen their new cellphone advert? (Available on YouTube) They kicked someone (over 18) out for using her cellphone in the middle of the movie. They are hardcore about keeping it a pure movie watching experience 🙂

  168. Amy E

    First things first, I love you blog/s. Secondly, having lived in Austin and enjoyed the Alamo, I like that their policy is more about no one making noise/talking/texting, not just kiddos. In this sense, the bigger issue is what are people’s tolerance levels with disruptions and chaos in public? I agree with many of the other commenters, that its less about society being less child friendly and more about parents not having common sense and putting their kids into situations that are not child friendly to begin with, like late night movies and date night restaurants.

  169. Peggy

    As a parent of a 3 year old, I understand both sides. There were times I had to leave the grocery store with him screaming after I had to chase him down. I never ever thought I would have to deal with situations like that. And we do teach him manners. (He’s much better now at 3 than 2…) My husband and I appreciate our time alone in public, and agree in the no child zone. If we’re paying for a babysitter to take care of our little tike, to enjoy each other’s company….then we’d like it to be without children that draw attention to themselves due to negative behavior….which we completely can identify with.

  170. Judy

    This sad state of affairs is a result of the fact that many parents don’t/won’t teach their children basic manners. Yes, we have to be understanding and realistic about what we can expect from our kids. The other side of that is that we, as parents, need to know our own kids and not place them in situations where they cannot behave appropriately. We expect all others to accept poor behavior by our children. If your child is too young to make it through an entire afternoon out and then dinner, then plan accordingly and avoid the problem.

  171. Julie Andreen

    People who don’t mind their manners while using a cellphone bother me FAR more than kids do (i.e, talking too loudly, driving poorly while using it, using it in a theater or restaurant, etc.) Yes, we need to have certain expectations of kids, but in the end, they are still just KIDS, so I’m more willing to forgive most of the things they do. Adults are supposed to know better!

  172. Jennifer

    I think these bans are the obvious next step in the culture of death that has a strong hold in America. I strongly disapprove. On the other hand, it is only logical that children should not be in a bar; they should not be out late at night. They need to be home in bed.
    What I dread most, is taking my children on airplanes. I dread the comments of people telling me my children are annoying. They have sensory processing disorder and I do the best I can but I can’t make them be perfect. They will make noise. It’s not loud but someone usually finds it annoying.

  173. Suzanne Kriefall

    The trend should be going in the opposite direction : more restaurants designed for families with small children, day care provided while shopping, etc. When my family visited the UK (two small children in tow), we were delighted to find a pizza restaurant with both an indoor and outdoor play area for the kids while we sat at the table. The whole time we were wishing that there was a restaurant like this available to us in the U.S. — other than McDonald’s. Its a very simple concept. There are plenty of fancy, grown-up restaurants and we already get the idea that they are not for kids, so there is no need to impose a “ban.” What we need are more kid-friendly restraunts with good food and play areas.

  174. Shannon

    Hi Tsh! I did a post about this same issue last week when I heard about the PA restaurant. I totally “get” why it might be good to place some limitations… I think what disturbed me most was the commenting and the attitudes I saw in articles (not necessarily here on your post but other places) and on talk shows. Almost like kids are disgusting annoyances that keep us from the rest of us from enjoying life. There was no sense that we could bear with one another and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes… for instance, maybe the mom & dad with the crying baby can’t afford a sitter and this is the first time the new mom has been able to leave the house. She tried to time it just right according to Junior’s schedule but… alas. Maybe we could look at her and smile and say “hey, it gets better” and be a little less selfish about our own date time. I don’t know. I understand wanting a peaceful dinner out and I get frustrated by unruly kids too. But, I’m just not sure I want to live in a cultural where children are seen and not heard; or limited to McDonald’s. They bring important stuff to our culture’s social fabric too. I like seeing whole families out together experiencing life. Here’s my post, if anyone is interested: http://inamirrordimly.net/2011/07/dinner-gone-wrong/. I’m a few days late commenting… so, maybe I’m too late to contribute on this one!

  175. Heather

    I am so on the fence about this topic. When we get a rare moment to go out without our kids it is bothersome to be around people who can’t/won’t control their own. However, we also have a child with autism and if we waited for him to have a good day we would never go anywhere. The person was right who said we can’t teach them how to behave if they aren’t given the opportunity to try.

    What I am really shocked about is the number of people who take their children to Las Vegas. My husband and I took a trip for our anniversary and thought we’d pick somewhere we’d never take the kids that was adult-oriented so we wouldn’t be around too many children. Um, wrong. We were SHOCKED at the number of children in Vegas. Babies being worn on their parents, toddlers in strollers, all hours of the day. Not only is it unfair to the child to be dragged around at midnight when it’s still 95 degrees outside, but there are so many things there that children don’t need to be around, like scantily clad women, drunks, ads for prostitution, etc. I find it so selfish on the part of the parents and feel so very sad for the children. Not sure what has happened to common sense.

  176. Donna Tollefsen

    I am the mother of a 7 year old.Personally I feel it is absolutely frightening that it has come to this. Seriously from day one if we brought my daughter somewhere and she started to fuss – ONE OF US WALKED OUT OF THE EVENT. Yes I ate cold meals at restaurants because what we thought would work didn’t and we ended up eating in shifts. Once she was old enough items were given back because she didn’t say thank you – we left parties because she was disrespectful. Other parents have commented we are too strict but you know what we have also received tons of compliments. I feel bad that she is missing out on so much because of the all the other parents that just don’t get it.

  177. Julie Andreen

    I think the expectations that people put on children and parents are completely unreasonable. Obviously, many of the people on this board don’t have kids (or have simply forgotten what it is like to have them). To expect that parents should basically stay home for the first six 0r seven years of a child’s life is laughable. Children are children; no matter how well-behaved they are and how wonderful their parents are, they all have their “moments.” It makes me incredibly sad that so many people have become so self-centered and intolerant toward the youngest members of society.

  178. Nicole

    Kid Free Zones? I think it’s a very bad idea. However, I think that a certain degree of good behaviour can be expected if it’s reasonable, to protect property from unruly kids.

  179. Cristal

    The family practice we go to has an “adult only” waiting room that is separated from the regular waiting area by a wall with a aquarium in the middle (you can see between areas). On a recent visit a couple (both late forty-ish) in the “adult” area started kissing, then full on making out including having the woman jump on the man’s lap! I don’t know if they thought they were alone and couldn’t be seen in the other room through the aquarium, misinterpreted the “adult” only wording, or were just plain crazy but their behavior far surpassed any kid shenanigans I’ve ever seen. In the end a nurse had to step in and break them up. Sadly there are many adults out there still working on behaving appropriately in public.

  180. Jen

    I live far from family and on a tight budget. Therefore, I can’t afford a babysitter frequently and don’t have free help. If I want to go somewhere, I have to bring my kids with me. My oldest is very shy and a babysitting service in the store would be traumatic for her. I expect my kids to be well-behaved and discipline them accordingly when they are not. I find it extremely offensive and honestly would never give a company my business that didn’t allow my children. Once saw a sign in a coffee shop that said, “screaming children will be given sugar and a small puppy.” I was on a date with my husband and didn’t have my children with me, but I’ll never be back to that place again.

  181. kathy

    i think you pareants are being the selfish ones.

    you have all the rights. you have more tax breaks, and benifts at work then i do. you take you bratts anywhere you want. etc..
    you are being selfish saying i cant have a few areas kid and bratt free.

    • beth@redandhoney

      wow… just wow. i feel sorry for you… and not because you supposedly don’t get the tax breaks you want…

  182. ~M

    I’d never patronize a business that made me feel unwelcome. That said, I don’t take my kids to places where I want to enjoy kid-free time!

  183. leslie eckhardt

    I for one am delighted to be able to be in a “kid-free zone”. It’s not that I hate kids, but I hate the way some parents allow thier kids to scream, cry, disrespect them ( the parents) and generally do as they wish. I ate lunch in a Johnny Rockettes restaurant several weeks ago, and their was some kind of kid’s party going on. The noise was so deafening I couldn’t hear myself think. When people in public cannot keep thier boring cell phone conversations to themselves, how can we expect them to know that we dont just love listening to all the screaming and tantrums that thier children subject the general public to?

  184. Andrea

    I have absolutely no problem with this. Businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone at any time for no good reason. I think some venues aren’t appropriate for children. A high end restaurant is one of them. If I spend $100 on a meal (which I only do once a decade) then I likely have left the kids at home and want a quite night out with my husband. The last thing I want is some screaming, whiney kid disturbing the atmosphere. Why is that wrong? I do think it is stupid for some places to ban kids of families are their bread and butter, but they won’t be in business for long and we won’t have to worry about them. By the way, I have 3 really well behaved kids that I wouldn’t hesitate to snatch out of their seats for a trip to the bathroom if they were disturbing other people’s meals or entertainment. Nor would I hesitate taking them home if I couldn’t’ control the situation. We used to take our kids as babies to movies in a stroller. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. One of us would have to wait out in the hall if it wasn’t going to work. What I would prefer is for business to have the full backing of law and society to kick out those who are disruptive, for whatever reason. Just two weeks ago I was at DQ. We were with our friends who also have a child, and we ran into another set of friends with their children. Total there were 6 children sitting together at their own table and us right next to them. They were being very good, talking quietly and enjoying their ice cream. A woman and her two children walked in and sat behind our kids. Her boy, who was about 7 started crying and screaming. He was having a fit because his candy bar had melted in the car. Mom had a cup of ice and was trying to cool it off (remember we are at DQ). The mom completely ignores this kid and his raging temper tantrum and calls the dad. She tells the boy, “don’t worry, Daddy is on his way and he is going to fix it.” I started to think, ok this boy is going to get it when Dad gets her, but no, he was going to bring him another candy bar!!!!!!!!!!! What the heck is wrong with people.

  185. Ivonne Loving

    I really don’t think it has to do whether a child is well behaved or not. We are all mothers and how little angels have not been so in an occasion or so. It has to do with our society as a whole. We do not want to be bothered, we do not want to help each other nor do we want to understand where the other is coming from. We have become self interested in just about everything. And before I get a comment, I am over generalizing and I do understand that there are people that are different.
    I will not eat a restaurant where my child is not welcomed, I will not travel on an airline that does not allow children no matter what class. I have the same right to choose as everyone else and I plan to do it with my money.
    We have banned smokers, pets, next children, what else is coming down the pipeline? Where will it end? I am offended by it. I agree that I might be irrational about the whole subject … but you shouldn’t mess with my kid.

  186. Tabitha Potts

    Personally I’m very happy to have the option of child-care (as in IKEA Smaland) but on the whole I think people should be more tolerant of parents and children in communal spaces. I lived in Spain for two years, children stayed up later and ate meals with their parents and grandparents in restaurants and no one batted an eyelid. Children were allowed to play around the table and express themselves and it made for a nice friendly atmosphere everywhere you went: there wasn’t an artificial distinction between child-friendly restaurants (over-priced, themed, boring/junk food) and adult only restaurants (stiff and formal). I live in the UK now, but I used to live in California and it was the same: disapproval and tutting if your child was felt to be out of place, however well behaved. I didn’t take my babies to bars! If a restaurant banned kids, I wouldn’t go there ever again……

    • Ivonne Loving

      Absolutely agree! Thank you!

  187. Scarlet

    What a crazy concept banning kids from normal everyday places but people can always show how they feel with their wallets. I wouldn’t shop at a store that banned kids. I do understand that sometimes kids can get out of hand and that would bother any shop keeper, but it is a tricky line to cross! Parents do need to mind their kids and people on the whole need to be understanding and remember we were all kids once!

  188. Crystal

    My husband and I went out to eat with our 2 year old and although he was quite wiggly it was the college kids and adults next to us that were SO loud I wanted to leave. I tend to notice obnoxious, loud adults more than kids. Maybe we should ban them too?! I believe there are places that are appropriate and not for children, but perhaps it is going a bit far.

  189. heather gunsch

    As a single, kid free adult who works with kids daily i think its a great idea to have adult spaces where appropriate; esp in fancy dining, first class, movies. What i wonder though is are we missing the picture on why kids have to be restricted? Instead of blaming the kids we should take a look at who is raising them and how. It used to be a rare occ. to see an outburst or bad behaviour but within the last few decades it is common place. Just an opinion and observation from my part of the world.

  190. Chrissy @ Fireflies and Hummingbirds

    Personally, I think kid-free zones are a great idea.

    I love kids, and I’ve raised one for the last 20 years. But I don’t appreciate it when I go to dinner or a movie, or even when I’m shopping, and there’s a kid throwing a screaming, kicking tantrum and the parents aren’t doing anything about it. Why should I be subjected to that kind of behavior?

    Not long ago I was in an Applebee’s where a child was throwing a fit and other patrons were looking at the parents to do something about it, and the mom actually said, “You can just throw a fit! Get it out of your system!” The right thing would have been to take the child to the restroom or even outside and address the issue, but apparently she didn’t get it. It was as though she thought she was at home in her family room, rather than in a restaurant with 50 other people who shouldn’t have been subjected to her kid’s bad behavior.

    I don’t think it’s that we as a society are less tolerant of kids. I believe people let their kids get away with bad behavior more now than in the past. I also believe that people feel entitled. “I paid to get into this movie, and I’m going to watch it even though my child is screaming her head off and disrupting the experience for everyone else.” It’s a me-me-me world, unfortunately, and everyone’s looking out for him or herself. Sadly, they’re not all that concerned with how YOU feel.

  191. Renee

    I have two small kids- 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. We go to family friendly places. I agree with everyone above. When and if I do get a date night, I do not want to hear a screaming baby or obnoxious kid. I support there being adult only places. My husband and I strategically planned a date morning so we could go see the new Harry Potter movie together (we’re huge fans). I got a babysitter. Yep, there was a baby in the theater. I was really torn. It was the 11am showing, so kids are more expected but I paid good money for that ticket and every time the kid cooed and made noises I got distracted from the movie. I sort of consider babies at the movie like texting or phones ringing.

  192. Irene

    I find the idea of complete banning of children from a public place to be in bad taste. Replace children with the words women, old people, gay and lesbian people, and you would have a protest brewing. The saying in this country says “Children should be seen and not heard,” but it is as if now children should not be seen either?

    That said, I think having certain times where it is adults only or childcare available is totally different.

  193. Dennis & VIcky Rathbourn

    Having raised two girls myself and my wife three of her own before we got married, I can truthfully say that there comes a time in ones life when screaming kids are just not enjoyed let alone tolerated. I blame their parents mostly and am glad to see there are others like us that would enjoy a night out at a restaurant or a plane trip without listening to and having to put up with unruly children. I’ve even seen kids running around in church during Mass like little Indians and the parents think nothing of it. It’s time to bring back discipline, in the home, at school, and everywhere parents take their little monsters in public. Then spank the parents!

  194. Cammy

    I have two kids, but I am absolutely supportive of this idea! Why? Because parents are not addressing their children’s bad behavior. Instead, they ignore it while those around them suffer. When ever my children acted up, started getting loud, or even crying, I took them outside and made it clear to them we would not return until they settled down. Guess how many times that happened? I can count on one hand.

    If you set the ground rules and let them know there are consequences, they behave. For some reason, our society has become too tolerant (or too tired) to deal with our kid’s behavior. We seem to think it is okay to let our child “cry it out” in the middle of a restaurant, or test the limits of their screaming range, or kick a chair (or airplane seat) incessantly.

    It is about respect for those around you, something that seems lost in our society. I would no more let my kid “carry on” in the middle of any restaurant or store, than I would have an argument, or talk on the phone. It is just plain rude and we are passing these disrespectful behaviors onto our children.

    I just wish they would post signs “Your kid is welcome as long as they behave!”

  195. Elizabeth

    My thoughts are this: just because a certain kind of human (young, old, big, little, black, white, unshowered, without a home, gay, straight, trans, mentally unstable… the list goes on….) isn’t the kind of human you want around at that time, it is pretty much your problem to deal with that, not the person(s) that you don’t want around. Sure, I prefer that children are quiet on airplanes and in restaurants. I prefer not to sit next to a bigger person on an airplane who makes me crowded. I prefer people to smell a certain way and I am more comfortable when they look a certain way (dressed in clothes similar to mine, for instance). But we live in a world with all sorts of people, including children who should not, developmentally speaking, be expected to behave like little adults. I certainly prefer that parents do their best to help children learn to respect those around them. And I prefer that when children are highly disruptive that parents choose to keep them in a more suitable environment for their needs. But ultimately, I don’t really blame parents or children for this and certainly do not think they should be banned. I think, as a society, we need to learn how to be more children-friendly and thus more mother (and often father) friendly. To me it raises questions about how we can create environments and spaces where children’s needs and tendencies are honored and taken into account, while also doing our best to find ways to make everyone’s experience one of comfort and welcome. It is, as with so many things, a balance. Thanks for this article and all the comments. Good to read and think about.

  196. Chelsey

    I think it should be about behaviour and not age. My kids have learned to behave in certain situations because we’ve brought them to restaurants, movies etc. If they were banned from those experiences they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn. My kids aren’t always perfect and so I’ve had to take a trip to the van with one for a time out while my husband stays with the other.

    The thing about “Kid-friendly movies” is that that often means less expectations for behaviour. If my kids can sit quietly through a whole movie, I don’t see why they should have to tolerate poor behaviour from other kids anymore than an adult should. There should be expectations for conduct — regardless of age.

    Years ago I went to see one of the Matrix movies with my husband and someone had a child there who was around 4 or 5. I couldn’t enjoy the movie at all (and not because of that child’s poor behaviour), but because the child was clearly scared. I felt horrible for the kid the whole time and wished I could have offered to sit with him out in the lobby…

    Like pps I think it’s an issue of parenting. Some parents make poor choices and/or don’t deal with their child’s behaviour at all.

  197. Denise

    I don’t feel they are banning children, just parents who don’t know how to or refuse to teach them self control. No reason to feel persecuted. A business owner has the right to refuse business to anyone. I can choose to go elsewhere. That’s the beauty of freedom.

  198. sonya

    Well, I have only one kid but I think I like to respect adults and their space in places like Starbucks. I don’t think it’s my right to have my kid make a mess out of things or screaming so I don’t go during times when adults are studying or want to enjoy their coffee so I go during off hours. So I’ll go early to a restaurant for lunch or later. I never had an issue in Austin but back in Vancouver, I got yelled at a lot because my child yelled out once in a restaurant that had only one other table besides ours. So I didn’t appreciate that. I like that in other countries, people are very welcoming of kids but there are plenty of adult only places like bars and such so I’m not sure why our society doesn’t accept kids. Is it because of the parenting?

  199. Rachel Coles

    My daughter is almost of the age past misbehaving in public, not that she did that much before. But I am appalled by the intolerance and self-centeredness I’m seeing in this child-banning trend, from consumers who need everything to be perfect. That’s called OCD and is treatable by therapy and medication. Fortunately our daughter was always well-behaved, but while it has been irritating to be on a plane with screaming kids, I never would have dreamed of asking that family not to fly. I mostly blocked it out, or tried to offer reassurance to the beside-themselves parents that we understood, or just felt sorry for them. There’s nothing they can do sometimes.

    I expect a parent with a screaming kid in a restaurant to take them out for a few minutes to calm them down, but I don’t expect them to leave altogether unless they can’t calm them down at all, and I certainly don’t expect them to not try again another day.

    As far as airlines, we go through scans, pokes, prods, and multiple irritations to fly, that’s just expected. And it’s expensive for everyone. Get over it. If you expect a hassle-free flight then you shouldn’t fly, even on first class. And never mind the miracle that we’re in a long metal tube going a zillion miles an hour above the clouds a mile above the planet. Just go right on ahead obsessing about a kiddie temper tantrum. It seems to me that people who get so upset they demand all kids everywhere to be banned, will find something to be unhappy about, period. If it weren’t the kids, their flight, or their perfect experience would be ruined by something else, by someone not speaking to them with the proper deference, or the flight attendant not coming quick enough, or their pretzels being too salty.

    My point is that I often find that the people who vehemently want to ban kids are more poorly behaved and rude than the kids I see. I guess that comes with the entitled attitude. Everyone may not be a parent, but everyone was once a kid, so I think this kind of attitude, and the notion that banning kids is appropriate is also disrespectful of their own parents, who had to raise them.

    Personally, regardless of whether my husband or I are traveling or eating or shopping childless, I will boycott anyplace that bans kids where they should not be banned. I understand a ban in a seriously upscale restaurant at like $50 a plate, but most of these places? Boycott. Vote with your wallet. The DINKs want to exert influence on businesses to ban kids, then influence back if you are a parent with children of any age, even adult children. There are still a lot more of us, and we have the benefit of ferocity when it comes to protecting the world we want our kids to inherit.

  200. pril

    I have no kids, The other day out with the girls we went to stop and eat. the screaming kid behind us was really loud. really loud. but it’s not the kids fault no it’s the parents, they were laughing and allowing him to do that. it was hugely annoying. rather ear peircing as well. Grant you i wish they would of removed the kid. I looked at the mom and gave her a look like please my ears are killing me.. then she bacame a parent they distracted the child long enought to get his attention back into their booth.

    If we remove our kids from places where we don’t want them how will they learn early on. it reminds me of my mom. one who never really followed through on me being grounded. never made me clean my room etc…
    now as an adult i find it next to impossible to build better household managment because my mom did it for me.. Guess who has a maid!!!

    i’m sorry. But banning children crying or not seems a bit harsh. i do get the appeal of having a nice quite evening out. but just as much you can move your seat or go else where. as an adult you have that choice.
    I find screaming kids more so the parents fault then the kids faults kids will only go as far as you let them .
    i have a god child who well is a little brat. When he is out with me he acts fine he knows his limits with me because i’m the sitter who will remove myself if he acts up. as an adult i know my limits and I can tell if someone is bothered by me or my company.

    i feel if you want to nip this in the butt. Then be a better parent. use disipline and your kids will not act out. but its hard to apply that for the first time when they are lets say 4…
    it needs to be done from day one.
    I think that rule is catering to our lack of abblity to control what we bring into this world. anything else to make us a more selfishsly aimed country .. anyone!
    what a joke!

  201. Mindi

    I know this old but just read it from a link from another blog and had to share this with you. We were on a road trip and popped into a cafe for lunch and saw this sign: Loud and/or crazy children will
    be given an espresso and a new
    puppy.
    It is a trend and I think as a society we are becoming less tolerant of everything including kids. I am a responsible parent and do my best to keep my girls at an appropriate level of noise and remove them for an ‘adjustment’ if they do not respond to me but have noticed some people do not. Maybe this is why the trend began? But we do need to have respect and tolerance for one another no matter the age!

  202. Gary Knox

    MOST adults would NOT have a problem with well mannered, respectful children in a restaurant or on an airplane, HOWEVER, far,far too many parents do NOT bother to teach their children MANNERS or proper etiquette in public. They get really upset IF an adult complains about their loud, rude or untamed child(ren)!! My children WERE NEVER allowed to run a muck or act up and disturb others in a restaurant or airplane or doctor’s office, because my wife and I BOTHERED to teach our children good manners and they always knew what we expected of them!! Those parents who are upset about the brat ban are the guilty parents who are often NOT very polite themselves in public and DO NOT care about others if their child is acting horrible in public. In fact, they are often the overly permissive type parents who think loving their children is never saying no, allowing them to run a muck and being super permissive everywhere they go in public, but in the end, they raise spoiled, out-of-control brats as opposed to raising decent, delightful children!! The few decent, caring parents who ARE doing the right thing wouldn’t think of allowing their child(ren) to ruin a quiet dinner for others or make their flight a living hell for several hours. Notice that the parents who feel “persecuted”are the ones who could use a few lessons from Super Nanny!! The brat ban IS FAIR for parents who love AND discipline their kids AND care about their fellow man in public. Why do the lousy parents feel their monster child has the right to act as they wish in every restaurant or on every flight, but the huge number of adults who’d like a peaceful meal without kids are made to feel guilty for it? WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE??Why do they feel that their child has a right to ruin other people’s flights or meals out (holding the public hostage/captive audience to their monster’s deplorable behavior)? They feel that any of the rest of us DON’T have a right to reject their child’s rudeness or have a problem when their baby screams for hours? THEIR LACK OF TEACHING MANNERS OR DISCIPLINING THEIR KIDS OR TAKING THEIR SCREAMING BABY AWAY FROM THE REST OF THE MAJORITY OF THE PEACEFUL FOLKS IS NOW FORCING BUSINESSES TO CREATE BRAT BANS!!! Shamefully,it’s not the kids fault they’re brats, it’s their parents!! These whimpy, rude parents should be ashamed to be in public!! THEY raised the monster children!!! They know who they are, they’re the ones who have the brats who the school teachers secretly resent, who the waitresses have to bite their tongue until they leave, who the others without kids or with well behaved kids shake the heads at or report to the manager and who flight attendants want to drug or throw off the airplane!! NONE OF US SHOULD HAVE TO PUT UP WITH OUT-OF-CONTROL SCREAMING BRATS IN PUBLIC!!! Perhaps there should be a ban on these parents who are disgraceful and feel it’s their child’s”right” to act as a monster in public places and demand the majority of the rest of us to tolerate!Well… THE MAJORITY WINS and those parents whether they realize it or not..are out voted (one brat to dozens of decent, polite people) Most respectful parents who bother to teach their child(ren) proper public behavior..agree that there SHOULD be some kids free zoned restaurants, flights,etc. My wife and I will continue to go out on QUIET romantic dinners without kids who by the way are very well mannered and quite happy!! In fact, we’ll go out of our way to find restaurants that HAVE brat bans and WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEM!! It’s high time that there’s some place we can go that offers peace and quiet. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH children learning that the world doesn’t revolve around them and YES there are some areas that are off limits to them!! Parents who raise monster kids should stay home!!(they don’t know what common courtesy and proper public etiquette is so they can’t possibly teach it to their kids) Until these permissive type parents get some good parenting classes or consult Super Nanny and actually TRY to raise good kids with proper manners in public, it’s a welcoming sign THAT SOME RESTAURANTS are NOT “family” friendly(or I should say “brat” friendly)

  203. Ginger

    I have to very average acting grandchildren who are now at the age I love to take to special times out. BUT a few years ago they were not the kind of kids that I wanted sitting at a table or booth near me. Consequently they did not go out to eat unless it was a kid-friendly place like Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s. By the way, we have manners night at home. The boys seat the girls, they mind their manners and have a great time.

  204. Jeff

    I fully support no children zones. Get a clue parents! If you can’t exhibit responsible behavior and control your kids in public, then it is actually you that this ban is punishing. Further, when I was growing up, there were many places my parents did not take me because it was an adult space, not designed for children. This was common sense, something parents today seem to lack. Some will be offended by my comments – good. I hope it makes you think and adjust your parenting accordingly.

  205. john

    I am sorry but if you bring your child to a restaurant don’t be mad when are tables discussion quickly turns to how Santa is not real.

  206. laura

    i disagree why should children be banned from certain places we were all kids once and kids like to know what they can get away with they are human beings like the rest of us not animals

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