Jul 27, 2011

Is banning children considered discrimination?

Banning children from public places such as restaurants, planes, certain stores and so on has been making headlines lately.  North Carolina restaurant Olde Salty was the first to start in the trend by posting a sign stating, “Screaming children will not be tolerated.”  A Pittsburgh area restaurant McDain’s took it a step further and actually banned children under 6 from their restaurant.  It doesn’t stop with those two, Malaysia airlines actually banned infants from many of their cabins and other public places are beginning to follow suit.  Is this fair or is this discrimination?

As a mother of two girls, I’m very torn with this decision.  I have girls who are very well behaved on most occasions, but they’re children; occasionally they get a little out of control.  I do feel that banning children entirely from certain restaurants is a very discriminatory move.  There are parents who can control their children and children who are extremely well behaved in places such as planes, movie theaters, restaurants and actual theaters.  There is also a category of parents who cannot control their children or parents who can care less about how their children act in public places.  Many of us have witnessed, at one time or another, parents who let their kids run wild or let their kids scream, throw things or talk very loudly.  There are parents who can just tune those children out and go on with their dinner, shopping or time out.

I feel that if a parent cannot control their child or if a parent doesn’t care how their child acts, that parent should not take their children to a public place where people may be disrupted.  There is always a risk that when a child is acting out of control, the parents may be asked to leave the area until the child can calm down. I believe that is fully the responsibility of the parent to  make sure that the child is behaving and their responsibility to either calm the child down or take them out of the public space when the child will not behave.  I do see many parents doing this, but a handful that I see do not know the correct etiquette for taking their children out. 

There are many movie theaters, Broadway theaters and even some more upscale restaurants that actually have “Kids Night” or something along those lines for children.  This is a great way for parents to network with other parents and kids to get some interactivity, but it also cuts down on the parents taking children with them and risking disrupting everyone else.  This is a great thing for parents, the facilities and children.

Reading other opinions on this subject is actually very shocking.  The comments and opinions of many non-parents is extremely negative and even they are discriminatory and accusatory against parents and their children.  Many non-parents feel that children are a disruption in many public places, even children who do behave.  Unfortunately, that is a very narrow minded way of thinking; that all children are disruptive and that all children should be banned.  I agree more with North Carolina’s Olde Salty on their sign stating that screaming children will not be tolerated.  I highly feel that is the way that more public places should feel and a better way for them to handle children who are disruptive.