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'No Kids Allowed' Movement Becoming Popular

Many businesses and communities across the nation are banning or restricting children, stirring up controversy for parents and patrons.

I bet you never thought that when you had kids you wouldn’t be able to take them out in public.

That day has come, parents, and I have mixed feelings about this new trend. When my kids were younger, it was extremely difficult to listen to any bit of raised volume, let alone high-pitched squealing.

There’s just something about a child’s shrill screams that can be bloodcurdling to parents, let alone others. Kids come with these boisterous antics that are part of the package — all parents deal with this issue at one point or another.  

If I don’t want to hear it from my own kids, I know others aren’t going to want to listen to it, either. But should that mean that parents of younger or ill-behaved children shouldn't be able to enjoy going out with their kids or at least be able to make the attempt?

Restricting Kids, Improving Business

Apparently, many business owners across the country don’t want to subject their patrons to your children’s misbehavior, either. Recently, the “No Kids Allowed” movement seems to be sweeping across our nation, taking bold steps to ban or limit kids from restaurants, air transportation, movie theaters, living communities and more.

But what does this really mean?

Not only is this a controversial stride gaining jaw-dropping public attention; it’s also gaining a lot of support from kid-free adults and surprisingly even some parents. And the kicker: Business is booming for those adopting the new rules.

Of course, there are many people who are outraged and even feel that discrimination is at work here, and therefore these bans should be illegal. The fact is, we live in America, where private businesses have a right to set their terms.

This brat-free revolution seemed to be kick-started when Malaysia Airlines banned children from first-class cabins, prompting many other airlines to consider changing their policies. A Whole Foodsstore in Missouri now offers kid-free hours – for those who don’t want to be bothered with screaming kids in carts, I can only assume. Since when is grocery shopping meant to be a Zen experience?

In Florida, a homeowners association in Edgewater is considering banning children from playing outside, citing safety concerns. Kids not allowed to play outside their homes? Isn’t that a natural right? Just last month, DeFrains restaurant in Pennsylania started banning kids younger than 6. Sorry little one, you’re out of luck, but your brother gets to eat.

This all could be coming to a business near you, so don’t be surprised when you end up ordering takeout or renting movies a lot more often.

Are Irresponsible Parents to Blame?

St. Petersburg parent Jeff Carter does not agree with what businesses are doing, but he understands what may have led to this extreme push.

“It’s wrong for businesses to ban kids, but to be fair they do it because too many parents won't be responsible when in social settings with their small children," he said. "Many parents use social settings as a babysitter, and it’s wrong, but it will continue due to lack of parenting skills and education.”

I get it. No one wants to expect to have a nice evening only for it to be ruined by unruly tikes who are not behaving appropriately. Trust me, there were many times that my ex and I would attempt to go out to dinner with our kids when they were much younger.

You can’t always predict what your children’s mood or behavior may be, but it’s a parent’s job to react accordingly. On several occasions, one of us would be left at the table to eat while the other was outside calming an upset child until they were able to return to the table calmly.

We were always considerate of those around us. Granted, not all parents react that way, and I have no issues with restaurant staff asking a parent to take a child outside until the situation can be resolved.

Sometimes Disruptions Just Happen

We grew up knowing how to behave at a very young age, but I don’t think all parents today take the time to reinforce proper manners. However, this isn’t always the issue. Sometimes parents just have a situation to deal with – nothing more, nothing less.

I also take no offense if businesses establish dedicated family areas and adult-only zones. Banning kids altogether is questionable; however, I think there can be exceptions.

It’s not uncommon for vacation resorts, bed and breakfasts, and even cruise lines to offer adult-only facilities. I have no issue with this, and it’s nice to know if I want to go on a quiet respite that I have those options available. If a business is catering to a certain clientele and young children would not be conducive to the services and environment, I think it does have the right to be exclusive.

We need to look at this issue realistically, and it will be interesting to see how far this “No Kids Allowed” movement goes. The way I look at it, if a business is willing to risk losing my business permanently, then it wasn’t after it from the start.

There are plenty of kid-friendly places that will be glad to accept my patronage. I’m OK with this. Just make sure that when the obnoxious guy talking on his cellphone disrupts everyone's meal, you kick him out, too.

Find kid-friendly restaurants in the Pinellas Beaches Patch directory.

DAVID VINCENT August 10, 2011 at 04:38 PM
As a parent of 5 (yes 5) daughters that are now all grown, I would support this ban on a part time basis. We taught our daughters mannors and respect. In all their growing years we never had second thoughts of going from anything from McD to a 5 star resturant. And we did! But I can say that some prople don't have a handle on their children - my stepdaughter was an angle with us, but with her "bio" father - OMG! They were even asked to leave a DENNYS in CA because she was screaming and making such a rutcus. He father asked me what to do about it and I told himg to apply the physc book he reads all the time to her rear end 1 time and that would solve his problems......his response was "BUT MY DOCTOR SAID THAT WOULD HURT HER FEELINGS" ....my response was you don't have to beat her just a good pop 1 time and you would see the difference. That seems to be the problem these days the children of the 60's and 70's don't respect anyone --- or themselves. Think about it the next time you hear a child screeming or yelling in a public place for no appearent reason......SOME DAY THESE KIDS WILL BE TAKING CARE OF YOU! Then where will you be?
Diana M. Weber August 10, 2011 at 06:14 PM
Thanks for sharing your story! I truely believe alot of this movement is due to lack of parenting and not handling children's behavior appropriately. And...there are some businesses that are not catering to familes with children...they cater to those who want exclusivity of adults only. I don't have an issue with that. Business is business, there just needs to be clear guidelines.

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