The Parent Police Proclaim: "No Kids Allowed"

Backlash or hogwash?

It depends who you ask.

A recent decision by Malaysia Air to ban babies from first class caused quite the uproar amongst family advocates everywhere. After all, is it fair that those who choose to procreate be relegated to the equivalent of “steerage” when traveling by air? Perhaps a tad sensitive because of this announcement, parents this past week went into overdrive upon hearing about a Pennsylvania restaurant’s decision to ban all children under six from passing through its doors. The reason? The apparent disruption and contribution to an unpleasant eating experience for other patrons.

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Okay, as a parent, I’m torn. I understand why people may want to get out for an afternoon or evening in a restaurant without having to worry about the meltdown going on at the next table. Who wants to listen to screaming or whining kids? On the other hand, we were all children once and having been through the rigors of parenting, heaven knows we moms and dads sometimes need a break, whether it comes from handing off the kids to the babysitter or from cooking lunch or dinner.

Kids throw tantrums. Kids melt down. Kids scream and cry. And parents are responsible for addressing each of these behaviors appropriately, whether or not they are inside their home or in a public place, like a restaurant. We’ve all seen kids running amok with their parents blissfully ignoring the mayhem that their children are causing, just so that they can continue on doing whatever they are doing, dare I say, selfishly. And as far as I am concerned it is a much greater reflection on the parents than on the children when the proverbial sky seems to be falling, in public, no less, and the parents do absolutely nothing about it.

I wrote about tips for dining out with small children in an effort to provide some realistic tactics for my fellow parents who are in the trenches and wanting an opportunity to get out, perhaps to a restaurant. Diversion tactics, a game plan and a clear view of the front entrance are just some of the tried and true strategies of making it from the appetizer to dessert without annoying other diners. Yet, even if these suggestions are followed, it appears that there is a large group of folks that don’t want kids there, regardless of what efforts are made to keep them quiet. Between the Malaysia Air decision and the Pennsylvania restaurant edict, one may start to think that children are no longer in vogue.

Where is this backlash coming from, and is there more to come along the same lines?

I discussed this particular topic on CBC Radio’s afternoon program, Here and Now, and have attached a link to the discussion below.

So what do you think? Is there a war on kids that’s starting to brew? Or is the news coverage on these two items “much ado about nothing?” How do you feel about kids in restaurants and airplanes? Yay or nay?
I look forward to your feedback.

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