Author Topic: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?  (Read 10053 times)

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Judah

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2013, 02:16:01 PM »
I don't know that it's always rude to take a kid to Chez Fancy, but I'd consider it rude if you (general) were using Chez Fancy as a "proving ground" for Jr's restaurant manners. I, too, remember it being a Big Deal to go to my first "grown up" restaurant, and I was expected to demonstrate a higher level of manners and quiet than I would at a family-friendly place. I expect the same from my children.

Exactly. It's not the presence of a child; it's the behavior.  I don't see how the mere presence of a child who is dressed at the same level of formality as the adults and who is behaving at the same level of formality as the adults can change the atmosphere of a restaurant.
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esposita

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2013, 02:16:57 PM »
(General) You can teach a kid how to behave at a restaurant at home at the dinner table or at child-friendly restaurants. There's no reason to take them to Le Fancy Restaurant - which has a "grown up" atmosphere and most of the time, no high chairs. Even if the restaurant technically allows children, I think it's rude to the other patrons, who go there for a specific atmosphere and then have to sit there and listen to children for the duration of their dinner. As another poster said, many adults go to these places to have a place away from kids.

Older teenagers, sure. I remember it being a "wow, I'm grown up" moment when I was 15 and went to my first grown up restaurant.

Yep - we disagree.  I don't think it is rude to take a child to a nice restaurant.   It would be interesting to know if any etiquette mavens have an opinion on the issue.  If a child talking politely is disturbing to other restaurant goers - well, that's unfortunate for them but alas they cannot expect to go out in public and completely avoid a specific group of people.

I'm not asking nor would I expect children not to be out in public. But if it's later in the evening and I'm at a fancy restaurant and someone brings their kid - it takes the atmosphere down quite a few levels. It went from grown up fancy time to child-friendly restaurant time.

I mean no snark at all, I'm just wondering... How does a properly dressed, properly behaving younger child change the atmosphere? You should not even notice their presence; they should blend in with everyone else there. Just a dressed up person being shorter with a slightly higher pitched voice sitting calmly at another table, conversing with other patrons should not really change anything about your conversation or the food you order, to me at least...I'm just curious and honestly wanting to learn why it would change it for some other folks? (And I'm talking about a child old enough to sit in a regular chair, which is a lot of the four year olds I know.)

Goosey

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #47 on: September 18, 2013, 02:21:05 PM »
Simply because they're children. Adults adjust their behavior, their higher-tuned voices carry, and an "adult fancy" atmosphere can't be maintained if the "adult" part is lost. At least in my experience.

But, I understand others feel differently. If you can keep an "adult fancy" mentality with kids at the restaurant, I envy you!

SlitherHiss

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #48 on: September 18, 2013, 02:24:02 PM »
I don't know that it's always rude to take a kid to Chez Fancy, but I'd consider it rude if you (general) were using Chez Fancy as a "proving ground" for Jr's restaurant manners. I, too, remember it being a Big Deal to go to my first "grown up" restaurant, and I was expected to demonstrate a higher level of manners and quiet than I would at a family-friendly place. I expect the same from my children.

Exactly. It's not the presence of a child; it's the behavior.  I don't see how the mere presence of a child who is dressed at the same level of formality as the adults and who is behaving at the same level of formality as the adults can change the atmosphere of a restaurant.

Well, when I'm out with DH for a late dinner at Chez Fancy as part of a date (8 or 9pm), I really don't expect children to be there. We walk in, the lights are lower, everyone has a bottle of wine at their table, and people are engaged in hushed conversations with their fellow adults. If I see a child, even if they're well-behaved at the moment, it does change the environment. Just because this child is well-behaved now doesn't mean they will continue to be. At the very least, they're likely to get excited and (even if they're trying their darndest to be quiet) the higher-pitched voices of children carry. As a mom, my ears are doubly-tuned to pick out such higher-pitched voices. Bottom line, it's no longer strictly an adult space.

Family dining is awesome, but it's for earlier in the day.

Eden

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #49 on: September 18, 2013, 02:27:29 PM »
(General) You can teach a kid how to behave at a restaurant at home at the dinner table or at child-friendly restaurants. There's no reason to take them to Le Fancy Restaurant - which has a "grown up" atmosphere and most of the time, no high chairs. Even if the restaurant technically allows children, I think it's rude to the other patrons, who go there for a specific atmosphere and then have to sit there and listen to children for the duration of their dinner. As another poster said, many adults go to these places to have a place away from kids.

Older teenagers, sure. I remember it being a "wow, I'm grown up" moment when I was 15 and went to my first grown up restaurant.

Yep - we disagree.  I don't think it is rude to take a child to a nice restaurant.   It would be interesting to know if any etiquette mavens have an opinion on the issue.  If a child talking politely is disturbing to other restaurant goers - well, that's unfortunate for them but alas they cannot expect to go out in public and completely avoid a specific group of people.

I'm not asking nor would I expect children not to be out in public. But if it's later in the evening and I'm at a fancy restaurant and someone brings their kid - it takes the atmosphere down quite a few levels. It went from grown up fancy time to child-friendly restaurant time.

I mean no snark at all, I'm just wondering... How does a properly dressed, properly behaving younger child change the atmosphere? You should not even notice their presence; they should blend in with everyone else there. Just a dressed up person being shorter with a slightly higher pitched voice sitting calmly at another table, conversing with other patrons should not really change anything about your conversation or the food you order, to me at least...I'm just curious and honestly wanting to learn why it would change it for some other folks? (And I'm talking about a child old enough to sit in a regular chair, which is a lot of the four year olds I know.)

I agree with you. The only time I take issue with a well-behaved child being present is at an informal event that was expected to be adult-oriented. Hanging around drinking and/or chatting with a bunch of adults, the language and content of conversation would be drastically changed if even a well-behaved child was present. That's the only time I'd care. But in a restaurant when they're not disturbing anyone? Or wedding or whatever? No problem as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #50 on: September 18, 2013, 02:29:12 PM »
Simply because they're children. Adults adjust their behavior, their higher-tuned voices carry, and an "adult fancy" atmosphere can't be maintained if the "adult" part is lost. At least in my experience.

But, I understand others feel differently. If you can keep an "adult fancy" mentality with kids at the restaurant, I envy you!

I recall, in reading a sample of one of Carol Burnett's books, that when her 3 daughters were young, she and her husband Joe used to have a hard time getting the girls to behave when they went out to eat.

Then one day she had them each pay her a penny for her to do their hair as though they were at a salon and then she let them pick out their own outfits for going out to dinner and as a result they acted like perfect little ladies.   Joe asked Carol what she did to get them to behave and she replied that when she's in a costume it helps her get into that character and so she figured if their daughters were dressed the part of young ladies, they'd act that way, and they did.
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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #51 on: September 18, 2013, 02:31:49 PM »
I don't know that it's always rude to take a kid to Chez Fancy, but I'd consider it rude if you (general) were using Chez Fancy as a "proving ground" for Jr's restaurant manners. I, too, remember it being a Big Deal to go to my first "grown up" restaurant, and I was expected to demonstrate a higher level of manners and quiet than I would at a family-friendly place. I expect the same from my children.

Exactly. It's not the presence of a child; it's the behavior. I don't see how the mere presence of a child who is dressed at the same level of formality as the adults and who is behaving at the same level of formality as the adults can change the atmosphere of a restaurant.

For me, as much as anything else (and others have made excellent points I totally agree with) its the unpredictability level of children.  Specifically very young children. Sure anyone of any age can act out at any time, but the odds of a young child acting out (being loud, whiny, kicking their chair leg which reverberates across the floor to other people at other tables, etc) is much greater then the odds of an adults doing so at a fancy restaurant later in the evening. And just having those odds upped, increases a particular level of tension.

cwm

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #52 on: September 18, 2013, 02:40:06 PM »
I don't know that it's always rude to take a kid to Chez Fancy, but I'd consider it rude if you (general) were using Chez Fancy as a "proving ground" for Jr's restaurant manners. I, too, remember it being a Big Deal to go to my first "grown up" restaurant, and I was expected to demonstrate a higher level of manners and quiet than I would at a family-friendly place. I expect the same from my children.

Exactly. It's not the presence of a child; it's the behavior. I don't see how the mere presence of a child who is dressed at the same level of formality as the adults and who is behaving at the same level of formality as the adults can change the atmosphere of a restaurant.

For me, as much as anything else (and others have made excellent points I totally agree with) its the unpredictability level of children.  Specifically very young children. Sure anyone of any age can act out at any time, but the odds of a young child acting out (being loud, whiny, kicking their chair leg which reverberates across the floor to other people at other tables, etc) is much greater then the odds of an adults doing so at a fancy restaurant later in the evening. And just having those odds upped, increases a particular level of tension.

The presence or absense of children can change an environment a great deal. If I'm out with a group of friends, whether or not it's a fancy gathering, it's an adults only gathering and we can and do frequently discuss anything. When children are present, no matter how well behaved they are, the entire tone changes. We have to censor our conversations, we have to be mindful of what the children will pick up on and what they won't, where they are and if they're getting into anything they shouldn't be. Yes, it is the parent's responsibility, but when there's a kid around, I'm on alert. And yes, this was in a public place, the child brought along was the only child.

The place we all met up at was a pool bar, which was 21 only after 9PM, but I've also seen at this place a load of parents bring in their young children at 8:45 and pay for several hours of pool because it got their kids in the door. They weren't escorted out after 9PM, so I guess the 21 only after 9PM only applies to people who show up after 9PM. Or who actually take the time to follow the rules.

Also, there are serious time issues as well. In college I'd regularly do runs to WalMart at 3AM. Lots of people from our dorm would, it was fairly common. And without fail we'd see children from infants up to nine or ten years old running through the aisles, during the school year, on a Monday or Tuesday night. Now what I choose to do with myself as far as my sleep schedule is concerned is my own business, but personally I don't find it appropriate to have a six or seven year old running around at 3 in the morning while the parents do their shopping. And on a regular basis I'd hear the parents telling the kids that if they calmed down then they'd get a treat (candy, soda, juice box were some of the examples I heard) when they got home. Or they were given to them in the store.

I don't have kids, and I'm sorry if I sound like a horrible grump about this, but giving a six year old a full sized can of caffeinated soda at 3 in the morning while you're out shopping? No. Not in any way appropriate for the child to be in that situation. At all. Ever.

lowspark

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #53 on: September 18, 2013, 02:49:11 PM »
Kids at Chez Fancy don't bother me as long as they remain, like other adults there, unremarkable. In other words, if I notice a child at another table because I happened to turn around and see him/her, it wouldn't bother me. But if I notice a child for any reason whatsoever that is related to the fact that s/he is a child, then the fact that the child is there is rude.

I don't know if you can absolutely positively guarantee that a child under a certain age will behave over the period of time it takes to have a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant. And I certainly would never take that chance with my own children (when they were young).

So by that philosophy, it's just inherently rude to bring a child into that atmposphere. At some age, when you know without doubt that the child can be depended on to behave, and the age depends on the particular child, then it's fine.

But here's a different example. An adult cocktail party. Regardless of the behavior of the child, even if it is exemplary and beyond reproach, a child simply does not belong. There is drinking and adult conversations and people getting tipsy and walking around carrying drinks, etc. It's not a place for kids to be in as much for the detriment to the atmosphere of the event as for the child's own well-being.

Weddings, restaurants, museums are all sort of case-by-case, depending on lots of factors. But there are some specific places kids never belong.

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #54 on: September 18, 2013, 02:51:50 PM »
I don't know that it's always rude to take a kid to Chez Fancy, but I'd consider it rude if you (general) were using Chez Fancy as a "proving ground" for Jr's restaurant manners. I, too, remember it being a Big Deal to go to my first "grown up" restaurant, and I was expected to demonstrate a higher level of manners and quiet than I would at a family-friendly place. I expect the same from my children.

Exactly. It's not the presence of a child; it's the behavior.  I don't see how the mere presence of a child who is dressed at the same level of formality as the adults and who is behaving at the same level of formality as the adults can change the atmosphere of a restaurant.

Well, when I'm out with DH for a late dinner at Chez Fancy as part of a date (8 or 9pm), I really don't expect children to be there. We walk in, the lights are lower, everyone has a bottle of wine at their table, and people are engaged in hushed conversations with their fellow adults. If I see a child, even if they're well-behaved at the moment, it does change the environment. Just because this child is well-behaved now doesn't mean they will continue to be. At the very least, they're likely to get excited and (even if they're trying their darndest to be quiet) the higher-pitched voices of children carry. As a mom, my ears are doubly-tuned to pick out such higher-pitched voices. Bottom line, it's no longer strictly an adult space.

Family dining is awesome, but it's for earlier in the day.

I absolutely agree with all of this.  DH and I had one wedding anniversary dinner interruped by a little girl of 3 who went around to each and every table and introduced herself, while dad followed her beaming.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #55 on: September 18, 2013, 02:55:50 PM »
Kids at Chez Fancy don't bother me as long as they remain, like other adults there, unremarkable. In other words, if I notice a child at another table because I happened to turn around and see him/her, it wouldn't bother me. But if I notice a child for any reason whatsoever that is related to the fact that s/he is a child, then the fact that the child is there is rude.

I don't know if you can absolutely positively guarantee that a child under a certain age will behave over the period of time it takes to have a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant. And I certainly would never take that chance with my own children (when they were young).

So by that philosophy, it's just inherently rude to bring a child into that atmposphere. At some age, when you know without doubt that the child can be depended on to behave, and the age depends on the particular child, then it's fine.

But here's a different example. An adult cocktail party. Regardless of the behavior of the child, even if it is exemplary and beyond reproach, a child simply does not belong. There is drinking and adult conversations and people getting tipsy and walking around carrying drinks, etc. It's not a place for kids to be in as much for the detriment to the atmosphere of the event as for the child's own well-being.

Weddings, restaurants, museums are all sort of case-by-case, depending on lots of factors. But there are some specific places kids never belong.

I agree.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #56 on: September 18, 2013, 02:56:57 PM »
DH and I did not have access to babysitters when DS was little (except for his daycare provider while we worked) so we stayed home a lot or went to kid-friendly places.  If our parents came to visit it was "Woo hoo!  We get to go to a restaurant without a kids' menu!" because Mom and Dad wanted alone time with DS.

There are absolutely places children do not belong.  Ex:  bars, tattoo parlors, spas (saw this once; not pretty).  Yes, sometimes the mere presence of children can change the dynamic of a gathering.  However, most well-behaved children can go almost anywhere.

It is very rude to insist your child be included in everything.  Some people don't like children and sometimes the occasion is not appropriate.

Judah

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #57 on: September 18, 2013, 03:01:59 PM »
For me, as much as anything else (and others have made excellent points I totally agree with) its the unpredictability level of children.  Specifically very young children. Sure anyone of any age can act out at any time, but the odds of a young child acting out (being loud, whiny, kicking their chair leg which reverberates across the floor to other people at other tables, etc) is much greater then the odds of an adults doing so at a fancy restaurant later in the evening. And just having those odds upped, increases a particular level of tension.

If a person is sitting there enjoying their meal and doing nothing to draw attention to themselves and you still have a problem with their presence because they *might* do something, it's your issue.  I don't mean that in a snarky way, but I don't know how else to say it. At that point it's not about the kid doing anything wrong, it's about you. Unless an establishment bills themselves as an adult only place, I just don't see the issue.
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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #58 on: September 18, 2013, 03:11:10 PM »
I was raised as a preacher's kid.  Everyone knows they have to act better and be more polite than any other kids.

My mother started us young. She had four of us and couldn't afford babysitters....and back in those days it just wasn't done except for extreme situations.

We would go with her to her church ladies meetings, circle meetings, luncheons and so on.

She had no qualms about taking us out of the scenerio if we started to act up.  We learned quickly how and how not to act in many different situations.
As we got older the restaurants and places we went got nicer and more grown up.  Every thing was age appropriate.

I did the same with my kids.  And now I'm having a problem with watching my DIL pretty much let my grands do whatever they want.  I will say this...they are great in a restaurant but total banchees in a retail store.   (Let's just say when they go with Granny they behave more than a wee bit better.)

Yes, both my mother and I went without warm meals and many a meal in a carry out container or a return trip to the store.....but we turned out fine.

There is a time and place for kids to be kids.

SlitherHiss

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #59 on: September 18, 2013, 03:11:48 PM »
For me, as much as anything else (and others have made excellent points I totally agree with) its the unpredictability level of children.  Specifically very young children. Sure anyone of any age can act out at any time, but the odds of a young child acting out (being loud, whiny, kicking their chair leg which reverberates across the floor to other people at other tables, etc) is much greater then the odds of an adults doing so at a fancy restaurant later in the evening. And just having those odds upped, increases a particular level of tension.

If a person is sitting there enjoying their meal and doing nothing to draw attention to themselves and you still have a problem with their presence because they *might* do something, it's your issue.  I don't mean that in a snarky way, but I don't know how else to say it. At that point it's not about the kid doing anything wrong, it's about you. Unless an establishment bills themselves as an adult only place, I just don't see the issue.

Kids are, by their very nature, different from adults and thus your implied argument that it's the same as pre-judging another adult (I assume that's what you meant by "person) doesn't hold water.

The bolded also doesn't make much sense, because I've always held to the idea that just because something isn't prohibited, doesn't mean it's a good idea. Should we not be annoyed when parents fail to recognize clear contextual clues about what is and isn't kid-friendly? Do restaurants really have to say "No children after 7pm" or "No children, period" for you to know that a pricey steakhouse famed for romantic dates and imaginative cocktails is not a suitable place to bring your 8yo for a late Saturday dinner?