"No Kids"? No Thanks.

Posted by on Jul 27, 2011 | 49 comments

"No Kids"?  No Thanks.

I read an article today about a “movement” that’s gaining momentum: no kids allowed.  No kids in restaurants.  Adults-only shopping hours at grocery stores.  Children not allowed on airlines, in movie theatres, in certain outdoor parks.  The comments below the article all seemed to agree, adding other locations a “no kids allowed” policy  might be implemented (Disneyland???). When I finished reading, I sat down and had a good, old-fashioned anxiety attack.

It took me a bit to understand why I was having such a visceral reaction.  After all, I don’t want my movie or meal  ruined by a screaming child, either.  I went over the article and comments in my head, and found the root of my dis-ease.  The underlying message is not that adults would like to enjoy a quiet evening once in a while, it’s that children, by their very essence, are annoying and should be either controlled or kept at home.

I admit, I enjoy the “everyone pays the same price policy” at the Arclight Cinema in Los Angeles, where if you want to take your infant to the movies, you pay full price.  It makes for a consistently nicer movie-going experience than most theatres.  They even have 21+ shows where they sell alcohol for those who want a truly child-free experience (or just want to have some drinks with their movie).   I also have no problem with restaurants that do not offer a separate child menu.  Having worked in high-end restaurants for years, I know that families who enjoy finer dining experiences with their children know how to order for them without inconveniencing the kitchen (or they learn quickly).  We have always taken our children to nice restaurants, and rarely order “kid meals.”

My point is the people behind the “no kids” movement seem to want a child-free life.  They don’t want to encounter children anywhere it’s not “acceptable,” and want the kids they do come across to be well-behaved.  Many of the comments talked about children throwing tantrums in stores, acting out in restaurants and actually being on airplanes, and the unqualified parents who allow it to happen.  In their eyes, any child who isn’t smiling and polite (or asleep) is an annoyance.

My children being annoying.

I’m certain there will be a backlash against this movement across the mommy blogosphere, and endless debate about where and when children should or should not be allowed.   The idea I want discussed, though, and the reason for my anxiety attack, is how autism fits into this Utopian adults-only world.

As I calmed down, I realized I had the same gut-wrenching feeling I get when Jack throws himself on the ground screeching, blocking the entrance to the grocery store (this happens pretty much every time we go there lately, for any number of reasons).  It’s the same shaking inside that happens when we go to a restaurant and there’s no seating that will keep my kids contained (we like small chairs and a highchair for Kieran, or a booth where we can sit on the ends and block them in).  The same tightening in my chest, clenched jaw and wringing hands I get when I even contemplate air travel.

I don’t worry about being judged.  If I cared about what other people thought of me or my children when something unexpected happened I would never leave the house (although the stares at the grocery store or in the park when we try to leave and Jack melts down are pretty penetrating).  What I fear is a society that has become so self-involved that it has lost sight of the importance of children, and expects them to act like something they’re not, like adults.  I fear for a community that would rather me keep my child behind closed doors than have him and his not-always-stellar behaviour sully their afternoon.

And what of the mother in the grocery store dealing with a screeching child?  According to the article’s commenters, I should immediately remove him when he acts out, and come back when he’s better (or better yet, leave him at home).  What does that say to my child ?  I’ll tell you what – it tells him a whole host of things in one action.  By removing my tantruming son he learns that he can leave any situation whenever he wants by screaming.  It teaches him that I don’t care about why he’s upset, just that he’s making people uncomfortable, which is more important than his needs. My child understands that his value as a person is less than his elders.

He is not less than you.

There are also other factors that may be at play – a mother with a screaming child may not have another chance to buy groceries and needs to push through.  She may have a child who simply hates being in a shopping cart (yet she cannot allow him to run for various reasons).  Or, she may feel the same way I do, that lessons must be learned, and sometimes it’s inconvenient.  She may also have a special needs child who simply cannot follow made-up rules.

I have three young children and I understand that they can be loud sometimes.  They often run, get worked-up and refuse to settle down.  For these reasons and more we don’t take them a lot of places we don’t have to, like restaurants during peak business hours and movies in the evening.  The times that we have to go somewhere with them that we wouldn’t ordinarily go, I break out in cold sweats until it’s over.  I do not like when I can’t anticipate Jack’s behaviour; forewarned is forearmed.  My kids are normally very well-behaved in restaurants, but if they haven’t napped or Jack is in a mood (which the others will follow), it can be a trying experience.

I can’t even think about flying without my stomach turning.  We flew a lot with Jack when he was a baby, and have flown several times with two or three children in tow.  The last flight was over two years ago, though, and I don’t know when we’ll fly again, even though my family is on the other side of the continent from us.  Things have changed in two years, both with the airlines and our family.  Each child requires their own seat now, which means we have to split up into two rows (and some unfortunate soul gets to sit with us).  I cannot envision a four-hour span of time when any of my boys would sit still in a seat, and a simple airplane seat belt won’t keep them restrained.  Delays, overbooking, car rentals, time zone changes and unhappy seatmates all add to my newfound fear of flying.

It’s the thought of getting through security, though, that keeps me up at night.  The security line is a nightmare for families already, a juggling act of shoes and folding strollers and backpacks and unrestrained children forced to go through alone.  I don’t know when Jack will object to being touched or get spooked and run away or simply throw himself to the ground and object wholly to the process.  I can’t be certain neither of my other children will follow suit.  It’s enough to keep me home, as much as I miss my family and I know they miss us.

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s amazing parents of special needs children fly at all.  Heck, it’s amazing parents fly at all.  But you know what?  They do, and they pay good money to do it, too.  Nobody truly enjoys being cooped up in an airplane for an extended period of time, but a little civility goes a long way.  Creating rules against children traveling by air is nothing short of ageism.

The idea that there are people out there who would impose rules on where my children are allowed to be is laughable to me.  It’s infuriating and obscene.  Yes, there are parents who exercise questionable judgment and take their toddlers to the evening showtimes.  There are parents who don’t pay a lot of attention to their kids in busy restaurants.  And yes, there are mothers who let their children scream in the grocery store when they really don’t have to.  There are also adults who have either forgotten what small children are like or think they were well-behaved at all times as youngsters.  There are adults who think money can buy them an insulated life.  There are adults who have no empathy, sympathy or common decency.

Parents of special needs children make choices every day about where they can and cannot go, sometimes changing plans in the blink of an eye.  They juggle the comfort of their children, themselves, and yes, others.  Sometimes their children are angels, and sometimes they are not.  Their lives are difficult enough without added, arbitrary restriction.

If we teach our kids now that to be a child is to be annoying, they will pay that forward.  If we show them that the needs of an adult to be comfortable circumcedes their need to be understood, we will all pay in the end.  If we hide autism behind closed doors, we lose the future.

And now, a moment of zen.

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  • Anonymous

    My stomach dropped when I read this line:
    “The idea I want discussed, though, and the reason for my anxiety attack, is how autism fits into this Utopian adults-only world.”  Utopians scared the shit outta me….Hitler was a Utopian, and that didn’t lead anywhere good.

    It is vile ageism (elitism also play a part no doubt) and buys in to the dogma of ‘blame the parents’ for a child simply BEING a child.  As humans we learn through experience, both good and bad.  Both well behaved and demonically possessed.  Our children learn how to navigate their world through their tantrums.  I loathe and sweat at the thought of a tantrum in public places, I don’t condone them or enjoy them but as a reasonable person, I expect them and try to down play situations where my boys might freak.

    I AM the mom with a kid who hates the shopping cart and alas I have no fucking personal shopper.

    Rant on with your bad self.

    • Thanks, mama. 🙂

  • Jessica

    I understand your thoughts, but I’m torn on the situation. I don’t have children, and I’m not child-free, nor am I an ageist (?). There are places I go where I can expect that at some point there will be a child who’s having a bad day. The poor kid is tired, unhappy, and just upset. They are kids, they don’t know any better and I’m in a grocery store and everyone has to grocery shop. No problem. I feel that way about most mainstream restaurants as well. If they are serving hot wings and french fries, roll the kids in. And most parents are great about corraling the kids establishing the point to where the tantrum has gone on too long to remain in the restaurant and disturbing others. Common courtesy, I’m all for it. 

    But there are places where bringing a small child is probably not a good idea, and I can see where business owners have to draw the line. Having worked in a 4 diamond restaurant for several years, it is not an environment for small children. It’s just not. Expensive, coursed meals, in a quiet environment where the success of the ambiance you create is just as important as the meal itself. One screaming child can cost you a lot of money and lost repeat business. I feel the same way about movie theaters, but usually I see adult flicks so it’s not a big deal and really it’s adults who are annoying in theaters more than kids. 

    I think I’m not alone in my feelings. In fact I would say I represent many of the childfree/childless. For the majority of us, we aren’t childfree because we hate kids (although they are out there), we just don’t have kids because it doesn’t fit our lifestyle. Most of us have children in our families and love them dearly. We can tell when you’re doing your best, but we also run into people who don’t employ basic discipline and who themselves are being disrespectful and disruptive. Like the woman in the grocery this week who laughed and watched as her child grabbed food out of my cart and put it in her own when it was very obvious that I was in a hurry. 

    •  Jessica, I see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think you truly understand both sides of this story.  You can’t, honestly.  I’ve worked in seriously high-end restaurants, and I’ve seen lots of children in them.  There is a big difference between “shouldn’t” and “not allowed to.”  Therein lies the rub.

    • Siobhan

      I agree and I am going to be the devil’s advocate here. I agree with a no children policy sometimes. I do not expect children to “behave” themselves every minute of the day, and I understand that the energy and exuberance of children does not exactly qualify them for “Be still and Quiet” award, but I don’t always want to be a part of it. Unfortunately, too many parents don’t take public opportunities to teach their children to respect the space they are in and the people around them. Running and shouting is for the playground, not a restaurant. Throwing things off grocery store shelves creates more work for the already over worked underpaid staff, not to mention creates a hazard. Jumping on couches in coffee shops shortens the life of the furniture and creates a muddy seat for the next person. When children are allowed to behave this way, others around them get annoyed and rightfully so. Parents want children to be part of the adult world, yet don’t show them how to BE a part of the adult world. These are not impossible things to teach, and it does not squash a child’s self esteem to do so. No one is asking children to not be kids, just to be respectable. I have run a home daycare for several years and I have been out in the community with 4 toddlers in tow. We have sat nicely in fast food places and enjoyed juice and fries. We have lined up and waited our turn to take out library books or go down the slide. We WALK when inside, and speak in calm voices in public buildings. If they are tired, we go home. If they are screaming, we leave. If we are full of pent up energy we go to the park or play gym, not Starbucks. Its not a punishment. Its reading the child’s mood and adapting. There are places for kids to be kids and places for kids to practice their skills for being out in the adult oriented community. And sometimes, i want to go somewhere where I’m not a witness to boundless energy or tired and cranky. But I tell you, I’d be a LOT more accepting of so called “misbehaviour” if I witnessed the parent actually taking the time to TEACH the child what is acceptable and non acceptable because let’s face it, if an ADULT behaved the way many kids do in restaurants, on planes or in grocery stores, would it be considered acceptable behaviour? No, it wouldn’t.

      • gramma

        The best response I have seen yet. It mirrors my feelings. I couldn’t have said it better. I’m sure I would enjoy meeting you and your gang anywhere.

      • Alison

        Bravo!!! Yes, yes and more yes.

  • This is lovely, and well articulates the issue with some of these “no children” policies. It’s a hard line for me, because I do think that a business owner can make the choice to ban children — it’s a dick policy, but its his choice. At the same time, I agree — we’re sort of falling back into this Victorian, little-adult idea where children should be seen but never heard. 

    I think parenting is really a no-win situation with strangers, but the idea that children should be someone less people than adults does leave a pit in my stomach.

    • Ashley, I feel the same way.  I, too, believe a business owner has the right to have a policy… within reason.  I think when you’re talking about an airline or some other “necessary” company, though, it’s not the same.  I’m definitely not the over-permissive type of parent, neither am I a quasi-1950’s “Pleasantville” parent, either.  There has to be a happy medium.

      • Oh, definitely re: airlines and other necessary locations for travel and living. The idea of an Adult’s Only hour at the grocery store bothers me a lot, because I don’t know about other parents, but we only have one car and it’s usually with my husband at work — there are not a whole lot of times where I can get out to the store.

        I probably look permissive from a distance — like you mentioned, my kid tries to manipulate via screaming, and I’m not going to stop my trip because he’s pissed off about the cart. But I’m with you. 😀

        •  If I cut every shopping trip short because of a screaming child, we’d starve. 🙂 I think we look more permissive than we are (in fact, I know we do as it’s been mentioned before) because sometimes we placate to get through tough situations. But honestly, if it’s a choice between placating and leaving, sometimes I’d just like to stay and finish my meal/shopping/whatever, you know? 🙂

        • Jill

          And how many people have babysitters at their beckon call so they can just go without the kids? As much as i don’t enjoy taking my four young boys to the grocery store, if i don’t, well we don’t eat. And PLEEZEE don’t ask my hubby to shop…. He buys what he likes, not what we need – even with a list.

  • You already got my start of an opinion on your FB page before it well all doughy and douchy. 😉 However it just got my guts turning as I thought more of it.

    As a part of a kid with autism this is even MORE alarming than if my kids were typical. Because we are already so restricted by society (even though I know, like myself, you tell society to fuck themselves and go on with regular life as best you can even if it’s to the point of putting yourself in inner turmoil stressland) that the idea of REGULATING the scenerio? Makes me wanna cry.

    The majority of parents already take care of their kids appropriate. And take them appropriate places and manage them as they can and see best fit. A small minority doesn’t. So that minority should make crazy shit like this acceptable? I think not.

    Honestly? There are some points where a child in a child friendly environment is inappropriate. And in that case? If it is my kid? We “take a break” and leave the scene for a moment then march our happy (or unhappy) asses back inside 99% of the time to make sure my small people understand behaviors that are appropriate and what the consequences are (and are not…like leaving. screaming does not equal get your way.) But if a child is acting like ad emon w/o a parent actively attempting to deal with it? Speak with management. I’ve never had to do that because I’m a bossy ass PITA who will speak w/ the parent directly….ooh! wait! Mall play areas! I’ve called mall security on kids who were risks to other kids and parents were not dealing with them. Then it is a danger situation.

    But if it’s just ruining your mooooood? Go have your mood places children are less likely to be. I promise if a child is that disruptive? A good convo w/ a manager will get it taken care of in a way that works for both parties.

    Now I’m rambling. WTF else is new. I dunno. But now I’m bugged bugged bugged. And bummed bummed bummed. Pass me some rumm rummm rummmmmmm.

    • I feel the same way, obviously.  I read the article, got stressed just thinking about it and wrote how I felt.  Now some folks are accusing me of making a big deal out of nothing.  I counter that those people don’t – cannot – understand what life is like with a special needs child.  I live my life waiting for things to happen that I desperately hope will not, and relieved when they don’t.  I live my life in anticipation.  I try not to worry what others think, but Jack doesn’t have a brand on his head that says “I’m autistic” so people don’t always understand what’s happening. I just don’t need the added stresses of knowing we’re not wanted in the first place. It’s a growing tolerance for dismissing children wholly that’s got me worked up.  Ugh.

  • That was my first thought, too, when I read about this “movement.” As a special-ed teacher, it was always important to take the kids out into the community – shopping, Starbucks and more became our field trips. We need more, not less of this. This whole concept is scary, and I fear to think of what happens to a society that forgets the value of a child, or it’s responsibility to care for it’s most vulnerable members.

  • i just read the original article.
    this paragraph really annoyed me: “Klara points to Leavethembehind.com, a travel website for kid-free vacations, with a massive list of yoga retreats, luxury resorts and bargain hotels around the world that ban children.”this is my response to that: gee…has anyone thought that maybe many of the kids today are “brats” because of stuff like this? kids don’t want to be left behind so their parents can have a good time WITHOUT THEM. that is the sort of thing that makes kids “misbehave” and act out…because it makes them feel unwanted. if parents think they can’t have a good time without their kids, then maybe they should not have kids. kids are a huge responsibility and if you have them, then you’re gonna have to give up some things you “want” so that you can raise them. stop being so selfish. raise your kids (and stop pushing them off onto others) with love and respect and they will be much more likely to behave. my kid gets compliments all the time about being so well-behaved. i don’t think it has anything to do with being “lucky to have such a well-behaved kid” either. i’m gonna go ahead and say this too: MY KID IS MORE WELL-BEHAVED THAN MOST ADULTS I COME INTO CONTACT WITH ON A DAILY BASIS. don’t be a self-centered obnoxious jerk and you won’t raise a self-centered obnoxious jerk. PERIOD.

    one commenter had this to say (and i totally agree): Parents now have no idea how to parent, and are creating monsters even more selfish than themselves. As you sow, so you shall reap. It’s sad, but too bad. Grow up. You can’t teach a child anything YOU haven’t learned yet.

    of course none of my comment or the comment that i really liked really applies to parents of children with special needs. i won’t even pretend to know what it is like to walk in your shoes. but for all other true “brats,” i blame it on their self-centered obnoxious brat clueless parents. it seems we have an epidemic of a-holes raising more a-holes. 

    • Haus_Frau

       I think I love you. 🙂 Haha.

  • What an interesting discussion, no I hadn’t heard of this
    trend, very hard to judge how new it is, or where it stands in the overall
    picture of changes in attitudes towards children. Maybe it’s significant, maybe
    it’s as significant as blowing on a bush fire, I don’t

    Sometimes it’s challenging to hold the vision that
    we ARE moving forward in our understanding of and respectful communication
    towards children. How a child is in a restaurant or public place has a lot to
    do with how welcome they are made feel in that environment, many factors sure,
    but this is a big one. Some people find upset children to be annoying, others
    have compassion for them. It’s our connection and empathy for children that
    needs to change, that I overall believe IS changing. Change has always been
    fought, most people fight change to one extent or another. Many fight the
    current movement towards a complete change of how we relate to children, giving
    children equal rights to adults, this is the nature of change.

    Has anyone read “Parenting for a Peaceful
    World”? It gives such a clear picture of this continuum over many hundreds
    of years, it details the horror story that we’re only just emerging out of and
    starting to collectively heal, it also gives a very bright and hopeful picture
    of where we’re at on this continuum. Genevieve

  • Floortime Lite Mama

    Great post
    I think as a society we are annoyed by all the things that get in our way ! I think we would all do well with your gentle reminder

  • Michelle Rogers

    I think all of those commenters who say that public tantrums are the direct result of bad parenting obviously have no children!! It is almost impossible to go 6 years without a public meltdown.  Children are sometimes just children.  And they obviously have NO consideration of special needs children who really have, well… special needs!!  Parents in stressful situations need your support, not your dirty looks.   However, I cannot say that I object to adult-only vacation destinations and restaurants.  If people don’t like children, they should certainly try to avoid them so that we parents aren’t subjected to their disapproval!  However, with stuff like groceries and airplanes, people really just need to be more tolerant.  Because it’s not like you are paying for a luxury service.  You are getting food and getting someplace you need to go.  Just deal with it!!! 

  • miriam

    Extremely well said. I am a parent of a 6 year old with special needs as well as 2 other younger children and so I get it. We travel quite a bit and usually across the world and it is torture. As my husband always says, even when it is great and a success it is awful!. I used to break out in a cold sweat before travel or going places where I was concerned about how my son would behave but now I have a new approach, I stare anyone down who gives me a look and wait for them to make a comment. Just wait until they hear what I have to say in response….

  • Maggiecar80

    I agree.  How do we teach them how to act around others if we don’t allow them to be in those situations?  

  • Suzanne Lander

    I don’t think the problem is that people have forgotten about the importance of kids in society, I think it’s that a lot of people haven’t figured it out, yet. We’ve had it relatively good for the last generation, but the norm before that, even when I was a kid in the 70s, was that kids stayed home. I think what we’re seeing now is growing pains in a backlash against what’s becoming a new norm. And I do believe letting kids participate in society is becoming the new norm. We parents are too used to it and too focused on the good it brings to everyone for it to go away entirely. 

    • Jill

      I am from the 70’s also and I guess my world must have been much different. My father died when I was 2, and my mother was on her own at 20 years of age. I went everywhere with her and her family. I went to bars LOL The bartenders made me non-alcoholic Shirley Temples. I went to work with her here and there. I went to work with my aunts, and to school. I was not forbidden to go nearly anywhere. I don’t see this as a backlash forom them. So sad.

  • Tasha

    I was impressed one day I was grocery shopping and my daughter started having a meltdown because I had told her no to something she wanted. I was walking along trying to finish up so we could go home. I had a gentleman prob mid 50’s-60’s walk by smile and said rough day at the office? I can still remember his face and the bemused smile that said I have been there too.

  • Grace

    I looked through pages of those comments and didn’t see one about banning kids from Disneyland … are you serious? That is ridiculous. 

    I saw one comment that said, “This is fine, as long as my kids can opt out of paying for your social security.” I LOVE it!!

    • Grace, I will admit to a little artistic license with that one. That’s actually a suggestion I had seen on another site, people suggesting a kid-free day at Disney. In the heat of the moment it had me pretty worked up. LOVE the bit about social security. 🙂 A dad on the Facebook board suggested he put his child in a blue vest so he could take him in restaurants where dogs are welcome but children are not. 😉

  • Anjhill

    I want to scream!  and SHOUT!  and a lot of other things but I have to say that you have taken the words and ideas from my brain and put them to the computer perfectly!!!!!!  I must tell you that I have been around more annoying ADULTS lately than children and we aren’t banning those wretched idiots grown-ups from anything!  This country is changing and changing fast and frankly I am afraid…afraid of what will happen if children aren’t allowed to do anything besides go to McDonalds a few parks and stay at home and go to school.  What a sad and sorry world it would be.  Children DO need to learn limitations and they need to know when and where they can act like monkeys.  Mine frequently go ape on me and I have no issues with disciplining them right then and there.  I hear you on the grocery store issues…I cannot just walk out leaving a cart of food to spoil so my unruly screaming toddler can be taken from the store so she doesn’t “annoy” anyone.  I say…eff off people if you don’t like kids in your world.  Go find an island and park your arse down alone and bore yourself to tears.  I will take the lively nature of the happy, sad, grouchy, grumpy and alive children anyday!!!!!!

  • Mookietcat

    Amen! I have this conversation with my son’s teachers continually:

    Them: “He started getting upset, so we had to remove him to the office.”
    Me: “You realize that you have just taught him that if he doesn’t want to be in class, the quickest, most effective escape mechanism is a nice, big tantrum, right?”
    Them: “Uhhhhhhh…”

    And the way things are going, if people don’t want our kids with autism to be “in the world,” there’s not going to be anyone in the world, you know?

    • Lunachilde2000

      are you seriously trying to say that eventually everyone will have autism??? heaven forbid and get a grip!

      • No, I don’t think that’s what she’s trying to say at all… not sure where you got that idea.

        • Lunachilde2000

          What does “if people don’t want our kids with autism to be in the world, there’s not going to be anyone in the world” mean to you?? To me that suggests that she either believes individuals with autism to be the fastest growing demographic that will eventually take over the planet or the most important one. I understand what was attempting to be said, it was just an poor choice of wording.

  • Do you know what I find interesting about people like this? Every. single. adult started out as a child. How quickly they forget what it was like to be a kid.  

    • Karie

      that is exactly what I told my husband the second I ready this!!!!!!!

  • Evie

    exactly! we are regressing back to the times where children were forced to live in sanatoriums because they had some sort of illness or disorder. its a shame neglectful irresponsible parents have ruined it for everyone. its a shame people with money and power feel invincible and feel as though they should live on a pedestal, only because companies have allowed them to feel so damn narcissistic. this society is allowing such people to walk all over every one else. as far as i knew discrimination of any kind was unconstitutional in this country. but as i have learned time and time again in my short 20 years of life. this government doesnt protect our constitutional rights as it should, as it promises. to the people who dont want kids, as i have been there not wanting children, and i still dont enjoy everyone elses children. get over it. without children there will be no future. go to bars. ask to get seated in the most isolated part of the restaurant. and to the parents who do not care about their poor bucket babies. please pay more attention to the children you ignore, people dont appreciate a frustrated infant restrained in a carseat everywhere they go. and to the parents of special needs kids. please keep having the patience and love you have as i cannot imagine how hard it must be <3 keep your head up. mothers around the country will not stand for this. they will join together and make things better for our future, for our children 

  • I haven’t read all of your responses but I love your article. I do agree with SOME (minimal) places being child free. Some high end restaurants…movie theaters having a child free night or option…spa places that are for relaxation having a no children allowed policy, things like that. Those are things that I can do without, and I don’t NEED to bring my children. However, there are places where, whether I like it or not, I have to bring my children. Mine are neurotypical, but they can still raise quite a raucous if they so desire (you’ve met Alex LOL). IMO, if most of the places listed were to do this child free thing, they would see a DRAMATIC decrease in revenue. The elitist who want to be in that pristine childless society are the minority, and I don’t think they would spend enough to make up for us families who would refuse to patronize a place that outlaws kids, whether we have those kids with us or not.

    I hope the backlash from this goes far and wide. If it wasn’t for our children, our society would end in this generation. I would like to see these people manage if the only people around to take care of them were their own age, geriatric, and losing their marbles..then maybe today’s kids wouldn’t be such a burden.

  • Grace

    I just read this piece, where the author compares raising children to writing a book. You see, she has been working on a book on motherhood for the last couple of years. She set a “goal date” for completion a while ago: July 30. Now it turns out that her oldest child will be getting married on that day. In light of all the discussion going on right now given the articles and commentaries that have been cropping up about the “adults-only movement” (for lack of a better phrase), this mother’s thoughts within days of her daughter’s wedding and self-imposed writing deadline gives me hope.

    Mamas, a tantruming toddler is not the end of the book. A sullen nine-year-old is not the end of the book. An awkward, angst-filled, angry teenager is not the end of the book.


  • Karie

    my two cents and I could go on and on … really I have read this blog and I completely agree … this was my facebook post regarding this issue …

    … so if they are going to have “no kid” times at grocery stores, and
    hey people have the right to their opinions, I am going to try and
    implement the “no rude adult” hours at grocery stores and genuinely nice
    people can only come between the hours of 9:30am – 2:30pm. I mean I
    have the right to not want to be around rude people right? The thing is
    our society wants “kids” to be seen and not heard … I can’t go on, I
    am irked.

    That is just me being angry and going off before I had time to think … I just heard of all this tonight because I am too busy taking care of and nurturing my kids to be kind adults than to read things like this …  

    • Mary A Stock

      I work in a grocery store, and would rather witness a child’s tantrum over candy s/he can’t have, than have to deal with a rude adult.  FYI – There are more rude adults coming through my line than misbehaving children.

  • Bbay78

    Someone posted that they were told they were making a big deal out of nothing and this is definatly a big deal…it is something that has been sweeping the nation unanonced for somee has anyone wlked into a caual restaurant lately and noticed there was no changing able in the bathroom? Making the parent  go to the car for a change. Iwould not call Ruby ueday upcale or any place thayou could exetto notenounter chden. There is a ignotrnce loomii this counry that I cant stomach any longer

  • Haus_Frau

    ” What I fear is a society that has become so self-involved that it has
    lost sight of the importance of children, and expects them to act like
    something they’re not, like adults.  I fear for a community that would
    rather me keep my child behind closed doors than have him and his
    not-always-stellar behaviour sully their afternoon.”

    Bravo. I couldn’t agree with you more. That is what really rubs me the wrong way about this whole “movement”. It’s so self-centered and obtuse that I just can’t get my head around it.   Luckily, my daughter happens to be one of the “well behaved” children (most of the time), but the fact remains, children are just that – children. And to expect them to behave like a mature adult is ridiculous.  What’s even more ridiculous, to my mind, is mature adults *acting* like children by attempting to ostracize families for their own means. Take your ball and go home.

    Whatever happened to living *together*?  These people who want to dictate when and where they will have to be “inconvenienced” by children completely dumbfound me. I suspect that there will be a severe response in revenues / popularity by vendors who choose to embrace this new “movement”.  It saddens me to think that one of the backlash effects of this digital age is that people have forgotten how to socialize with one another – including families with children. This movement just confirms that we are in the midst of the ME generation, and it makes me sad and somewhat fearful of what the future may bring.

    • Lunachilde2000

      It has NOTHING to do with wanting kids to act like adults..it however has EVERYTHING to do with wanting some parents to take enough responsibility to teach their children some appropriate behaviour and manners, something that is sadly lacking in most kids these days.

      • My children are very polite and quite well-mannered. Especially Jack. But he has autism and can’t always act the way you want him to, and this movement would have me keep him home rather than deal with the reality of him. That is the focus of my piece, period.

  • Alison

    OK, what about this? I was at the grocery store a few months ago and a woman was letting a young boy (couldn’t have been more than 3) run around. Well, I was walking around with one of those handheld baskets and had stuff filled to the top. I walked past one of those floor displays and the kid comes running full tilt around the corner and runs right into me, making me drop my basket and half the stuff in the basket. The woman says NOTHING to me and continues to walk on. THAT is why I get mad at parents. I know that kid was just being a kid, but if that were me, I would have apologized and made the kid help me put my stuff back in my basket. 

  • Riceball Mommy

    I don’t understand banning children from grocery stores.  Those are places where parents need to shop for food, and sometimes if your child is having a bad day you just have to push through.  Also the stores are usually large enough that if you come across someone’s child screaming in the store you can move on to another isle.  I support the idea of not allowing children into certain movies.  If you are going to see a family movie you should expect to see children, though parents shouldn’t even be allowed to bring their children into some movies.
    Now as for the restaurants, I don’t really agree with the ban on children.  I could understand a noise level restriction in nicer restaurants.  That way even the obnoxious 30 year old on the cell phone could get asked to leave. 

  • This is my favorite blog post that I’ve read on this subject so far. I wrote a response on my blog: http://www.organicbabyatlanta.com/4/post/2011/07/no-children-allowed-in-restaurants.html

  • Faye_byrem

    As far as I’m concerned, if people want a child-free environment, they should all get together and buy an island where they can make all the rules that meet their self-absorbed ‘needs’. 

    Children are here to stay.  Children are an integral part of this world.  If you can’t deal with it, you need to go somewhere else.

  • I have never heard of no children areas, or restaurants or shopping centers. Gosh I am not sure what I would do if that ever came in world wide. We have five boys, and they are loud. They scream, They have a voice and we do take them out.
    I really can relate to how you are not sure what is going to happen with going out, and not sure about what Jake is going to do. We have a 12 year old and going somewhere is really scary. Not because we havent been there before, but because our 12 year old could easily have one of his reactions…..and when he does we have to leave before it goes too far. We would never leave home if they bring in the no children areas.
     I can also so relate to the stares….we get them on a regular basis.
    Love reading your information about the no kids no thanks.

  • Kurokami77

    I stumbled across this blog post and I am so glad I did. You express my feelings about this better than I can. I have a 4-year-old boy, a 2-year-old girl, and a 4-month-old little girl. While none of them have autism, my husband has been deployed on his first deployment for 11 months so far. They are in a world of emotional pain, largely because, this being the first time, they have lost hope that he is coming back, and my words to the contrary mean nothing until he finally steps in the door once again. We rarely go out due to unpredictable attitudes and the current refusal to sleep – but this has more to do with the fact that I can barely manage three extremely needy children at home. It’s significantly more challenging elsewhere.

    Shopping is my personal hell. If I could get away with not ever doing it, I would. With an infant seat and groceries filling the cart, the older two have to walk with me, or ride on the sides. When I have the mental presence to bring their backpack leashes (how this deployment has changed my tune about them!) we have an easier time, but have I mentioned the no sleeping issue we’ve been running into?

    And the glares I get for letting my kids be a little silly (our rules are relaxed so long as they stay in a designated range and are not too preoccupied to listen to my directions), or for pushing through as fast as we can, like a bandaid, instead of stopping to deal with each little tantrum. It makes me want to scream at them because they have no idea the hell these kids (and I) are going through, and it’s all because we are sacrificing for THEIR safety. Paying is the worst, as I have to manage two impatient children, a baby who detests her car seat (but has to be in it instead of our sling so that I can better manage the older ones), get the bags in our cart in a manner that won’t squash anything, AND concentrate enough to correctly pay for everything while I have reached the point of being completely frazzled. All under the narrowed, judgmental gaze of the clerk and everyone behind me: not only are my kids less than adult, but I’m holding up the line for a few extra minutes.

    I’ve found myself “casually” chatting with the clerk for the sole purpose of mentioning their daddy is deployed – which almost immediately earns us (me) grace, sympathy, and a kind smile.

    Ending comments? I used to think of myself as a better parent because my kids never threw such awful tantrums in public. Now, I realize that to an outsider, there is absolutely no way to know what all is going on inside that child. I can’t tell if the parents are awful; or if they had no choice but to take their child out at an unorthodox time; or if he/she is angry because his daddy is gone, or upset because her mom died a month ago, or otherwise emotionally in need of some feeling of control over his life that another “no” has taken away; and I most certainly can’t tell if a kid is autistic, or has other mental issues. I have no way to know, and I will never assume the worst ever again. I just wish others could learn the same lesson.

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