Author Topic: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?  (Read 10042 times)

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lellah

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #75 on: September 18, 2013, 03:53:54 PM »
I have noticed that, in a self-reporting survey, 98.7% of people have great senses of humor, are terrific drivers, and have beautifully behaved children whose presence brings joy to everyone.

I'm all for taking the kid out at the first sign of misbehavior.  But sometimes that's kind of closing the barn door after the horse's out, isn't it?  Your kid is wailing in a romantic restaurant?  Obviously, take that kid out.  Good for you.  But why is he there to disrupt my grown up night out with his wailing?

As other posters have said, I think it's unfair to children to expect more of them than they can reasonably perform.  I was at a perfectly lovely wedding when a three-year-old flower girl pitched a giant fit.  She'd been kept up late the prior night rehearsing and then eating the rehearsal dinner and had spent the morning getting primped, the afternoon getting photographed, and by six pm she was exhausted and cranky.  A bee came near her and she just totally lost it.  Her parents had to carry a screaming, writhing, shrieking child out of the church while everyone looked on.  She was a nice kid who should not have been expected to behave herself for so long under such constraints.  But her parents believed her to be a well-behaved child.  And she was... until the bee met with her exhaustion. 

magicdomino

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #76 on: September 18, 2013, 03:55:02 PM »

I always think of the bedtime one because I do know a family who just ran on a later time clock. Their baby slept from about 11pm to 9 or 10 am.  They kept this up until the kid was in grade one. So I never really felt that there was a time that kids shouldn't be allowed out or up past.

My parents did this.  They wanted me to sleep through "Morning Rush Hour."  My father worked evening shift, so once siblings were off to school, and Mother off to her job, he could concentrate on getting me fed, changed, etc.

EllenS

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #77 on: September 18, 2013, 04:07:47 PM »
I am a huge advocate of parental responsibility, but I can't go along with the idea that the mere presence of one human being - who is behaving appropriately - in a public space they are allowed to be in, can possibly be rude.

Children in situations that are dangerous, damaging or inappropriate FOR THE CHILD, absolutely they should not be there.  I also agree with the rule cited above about not taking children to private parties where they would change the dynamic.  But a restaurant?  Who gets to decide that X person is not allowed to eat in public, because they "might" do something disruptive?  Who gets to set the dollar amount of the dinner?  Is that per entree, or including appetizers and drinks?  No, I can't go along with that.

Seeing a child makes you tense?  Since when is it rude to make someone tense by.... existing?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #78 on: September 18, 2013, 04:11:41 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'm a mom of two, aunt to many, and enjoy children.

But since I've been a parent, I'm one of those that walks into an upscale restaurant for 8:30 dinner reservations see's a 6 year old sitting at the table next to us and my shoulders drop. And until this thread I wasn't for sure why.

I think part of my reason is I'm out for a grown up night. And just the presence of other kids brings the thoughts of my kids to the forefront and suddenly conversations seem to go that way.

And even if the child isn't in my line of sight, hearing "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, would you ask the waitress for more bread." is going to bring our kid's into the conversation some how, even if it's just DH saying "Oh, I forgot, we need more bread for school lunches tomorrow."

And if it's a dinner out with girlfriends, the phenomona is worse. One kid seen or heard and suddenly we are no longer a bunch of girlfriend's... we're moms.

People talk a lot about wanting to avoid triggers. So seeing other kids is my trigger that brings up "family" talk when I'm really wanting to have an adult escapism evening. 

So yep, even a well behaved child can change the mood in a restaurant for me.

There presence isn't rude and they have a right to be there, but that doesn't mean I feel like welcoming toward them.

Twik

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #79 on: September 18, 2013, 04:15:46 PM »
I agree with the restaurant issue - if the restaurant management has no issue with children, and the children behave appropriately, it is not rude for them to be in the restaurant.

There was a time, many of us may remember, when it was considered inappropriate for adult women to dine alone in restaurants, because they might be there looking for temporary male companionship. Many other guests would complain about their presence because it "lowered the tone" of the restaurant. 
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Betelnut

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #80 on: September 18, 2013, 04:24:26 PM »
Judah:

Why don't kids belong in a museum?  I don't get that.

Oh, quite the opposite. Kids should be taken to museums frequently.

Whew!  I agree!
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poundcake

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #81 on: September 18, 2013, 04:24:44 PM »
Quote
I'm a mom of two, aunt to many, and enjoy children.

But since I've been a parent, I'm one of those that walks into an upscale restaurant for 8:30 dinner reservations see's a 6 year old sitting at the table next to us and my shoulders drop. And until this thread I wasn't for sure why.

I think part of my reason is I'm out for a grown up night. And just the presence of other kids brings the thoughts of my kids to the forefront and suddenly conversations seem to go that way.

And even if the child isn't in my line of sight, hearing "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, would you ask the waitress for more bread." is going to bring our kid's into the conversation some how, even if it's just DH saying "Oh, I forgot, we need more bread for school lunches tomorrow."

And if it's a dinner out with girlfriends, the phenomona is worse. One kid seen or heard and suddenly we are no longer a bunch of girlfriend's... we're moms.

People talk a lot about wanting to avoid triggers. So seeing other kids is my trigger that brings up "family" talk when I'm really wanting to have an adult escapism evening. 

So yep, even a well behaved child can change the mood in a restaurant for me.

There presence isn't rude and they have a right to be there, but that doesn't mean I feel like welcoming toward them.

This is where I'm parking my opinion. If I am a Chez Fancy, it is likely a special occasion, and will be very expensive. It is a grown up atmosphere. Chances are, it is a quiet, elegant, three hour meal with wine, served after 8pm. It is a place for adults. It is not a "family restaurant." Children, no matter how well behaved, don't belong there. If I am ready to plunk down several hundred dollars on a dining experience, I do not want that to be a "family" dining with kids experience. There are ten million places you can take your kids. You don't HAVE to take them to Chez Fancy, too.

I also fully support restaurants having a "no kids" policy, as well, in order to maintain a certain atmosphere.

EllenS

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #82 on: September 18, 2013, 04:34:58 PM »

I also fully support restaurants having a "no kids" policy, as well, in order to maintain a certain atmosphere.

So do I.  I think more choice is a good thing.  I'm in favor of designated child-free zones wherever the market will support them. Planes, movies, you name it - if you can can make enough money (or possibly more!) by billing yourself as child-free, then work that niche and hooray for capitalism!

Personally, I would not take my kids (however well-behaved) to an expensive restaurant because I can't afford to buy them food they might not eat.  However, I maintain that unless a public place is designated that X humans are not allowed there, it is not rude for X humans to be there unless they actually misbehave.

Eeep!

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #83 on: September 18, 2013, 04:36:15 PM »
I am a huge advocate of parental responsibility, but I can't go along with the idea that the mere presence of one human being - who is behaving appropriately - in a public space they are allowed to be in, can possibly be rude.

Children in situations that are dangerous, damaging or inappropriate FOR THE CHILD, absolutely they should not be there.  I also agree with the rule cited above about not taking children to private parties where they would change the dynamic.  But a restaurant?  Who gets to decide that X person is not allowed to eat in public, because they "might" do something disruptive?  Who gets to set the dollar amount of the dinner?  Is that per entree, or including appetizers and drinks?  No, I can't go along with that.

Seeing a child makes you tense?  Since when is it rude to make someone tense by.... existing?

I am a mother of 2 - 4 years old and 15 months.  I certainly do look forward to going out to nice dinners without my kids.  And, I admit, that if I were to enter a nice restaurant and see a small child (I'm thinking under 8 or so), I would be initially chagrinned.  However, I would try to put that out of my mind and if the child never made a peep it would in no way impact my evening.  Because remaining tense about something that "might" happen isn't particularly helpful.  Fot that matter, there are plenty of other things that would impact my evening - someone being an annoying drunk, someone throwing a fit over their food, heck - if it's a quiet type restaruant - even someone just being overly loud. Now I realize, that for small children the liklihood of them acting up is probably greater than those things happening, but if I am able to not stress about those other possibilities - without them actually happening - then I think I can do with a child too.
Now, if the child is older then  I would probably actually think it was nice that they were getting a special evening and that would be the end of that. (Assuming they didn't do things to draw attention to them, of course.)

In the intersest of self-disclosure - my father took me on special father/daughter trips to the symphony starting when I was in first grade, I believe.  We often left at intermission when I was little and I'm pretty sure that I fell asleep towards the end most of the time.  But I am eternally grateful that he did this.  Because I believe I can thank this tradition - in a large part - for my love and appreciation for classical music.  (And I had strict rules about my behavior and I follwed them, believe me.)

All of the above does not apply to places that have actual no children restrictions. 

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

turnip

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #84 on: September 18, 2013, 04:37:23 PM »
A restaurant is welcome to have a no-kids policy.

If the restaurant does not have a no-kids policy, it is not rude for me to take my children there.    Whoever my dining companions are, if they are dressed appropriately and behave appropriately, then I will not take responsibility for your discomfort with them.

turnip

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #85 on: September 18, 2013, 04:39:26 PM »

I also fully support restaurants having a "no kids" policy, as well, in order to maintain a certain atmosphere.

So do I.  I think more choice is a good thing.  I'm in favor of designated child-free zones wherever the market will support them. Planes, movies, you name it - if you can can make enough money (or possibly more!) by billing yourself as child-free, then work that niche and hooray for capitalism!

Personally, I would not take my kids (however well-behaved) to an expensive restaurant because I can't afford to buy them food they might not eat.  However, I maintain that unless a public place is designated that X humans are not allowed there, it is not rude for X humans to be there unless they actually misbehave.


If my family cannot travel due to market 'niches', then I will have a big problem with that. 

Judah

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #86 on: September 18, 2013, 04:40:56 PM »

I also fully support restaurants having a "no kids" policy, as well, in order to maintain a certain atmosphere.

So do I.  I think more choice is a good thing. I'm in favor of designated child-free zones wherever the market will support them. Planes, movies, you name it - if you can can make enough money (or possibly more!) by billing yourself as child-free, then work that niche and hooray for capitalism!

Personally, I would not take my kids (however well-behaved) to an expensive restaurant because I can't afford to buy them food they might not eat.  However, I maintain that unless a public place is designated that X humans are not allowed there, it is not rude for X humans to be there unless they actually misbehave.

I agree completely, except for the crossed out part. 
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hobish

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #87 on: September 18, 2013, 04:43:08 PM »
You have very unusual FB friends.  I know no one who will defend their child screaming in an art museum, or at a wedding or funeral.  You can see the replies here are unanimous.

I think often it comes down to the definition of "screaming".

I went to a wedding recently, that was primarily adults (children who were close family of the couple were invited) and quite formal. Well a couple I'm friends with brought their toddler (the bride agreed ahead of time this was ok... although I believe she did so under duress as I was there when it happened). I sat at the same table as the couple with the toddler.

During the speeches part of the reception the room was almost totally silent, save for an odd murmur here and there, as we all listened. And twice the toddler let out a very loud yelp of sorts. It wasn't a full on tantrum by any means, it was only a few seconds long. But it happened twice. And it was distracting and IMO disrespectful as the toddler had not been invited, was significantly younger then any of the children who were invited (7 years was the next youngest guest, an officially invited), and they were very touching speeches that deserved respect and attention, not distraction.

I didn't specifically bring it up to the parents so they didn't defend it specifically, but they also didn't after the first one immediately remove themselves from the room thus preventing the second interruption... so to me their actions as parents absolutely defended the noise.

You accurately predict that I wouldn't consider a  toddler yelping twice 'screaming'.     However this toddler was invited to the wedding - whatever speculation you may have about the bride being under duress - and so doesn't really apply to the OP's situation.

Children don't belong where they haven't been invited.  They don't belong in places where the law requires that everyone be above a certain age.  I don't know of any other etiquette rules that forbid them from anywhere else in the public sphere - as is occasionally pointed out, if you never take your children to a restaurant or a museum, they will never learn to behave in a restaurant or museum.

Gish was never taken to museums as a kid. I mean never Ė not with his family, not on school trips, not ever. Imagine my surprise when we went to a museum for my birthday and he climbed on the furniture, introduced himself to everyone we passed, and loudly insisted that Degas was ugly! LOL, obviously, no, that didnít happen. Iíve just never understood the statement that you have to take kids everywhere for them to learn how to behave there. There are lots of places we didnít go as kids, that doesnít mean that I now act like a hooligan in airports (for example) just because I was never in one until I was a teenager. 
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EllenS

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #88 on: September 18, 2013, 04:45:33 PM »
If my family cannot travel due to market 'niches', then I will have a big problem with that.

I meant having designated child-free flights or sections of the plane, not banning children from all planes everywhere.  Though a child-free airline might be an interesting business model.  If they could get their own security lanes, I am sure a lot of people would pay a premium.

WillyNilly

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Re: Are there places where kids don't belong? Or am I big, child-free grump?
« Reply #89 on: September 18, 2013, 04:52:01 PM »
I think a point some of us are trying to make is, that some places communicate via things other then an official, outright statement or policy that children aren't welcome. Ambiance, tone, etc are supposed to be clues as to the audience the establishment is aiming for.

Take NYC's famous 21 Club. No where on the website, or to my recollection the menu or signage in the lobby, does it say children are not permitted. But it is very much not, in my opinion or experience, a place appropriate for youngsters. Maybe a well behaved 10 year old, but not a 4 year old who can sit in an adult chair, but who is still none the less only 4.

Wines are not ordered via a waiter, but rather via the sommelier, 3-4 courses are the norm per person (these are not over-sized appetizers meant to be shared, or overly large entrees fit for half to be immediately wrapped up - such as one might get at TGIFridays or Outback), men are required to wear jackets and sneakers are not permitted, etc. So while there is no (that I know of) official policy on children, its not a stretch to read between the lines and realize it is not a place children are welcome. Officially they might be allowed, but allowed does not equal welcomed.