I read a blog post a week ago about children in restaurants – more specifically about a restaurant that doesn’t allow children under the age of 13. Effectively the post was a “how dare anyone tell me where I can’t bring my child.”
I never quite know how to answer these things. I always feel like I should start any discussion about this saying “I like kids.” Mostly I feel this way because I am trying to avoid the appearance of being someone who doesn’t like children and doesn’t ever want to see them.
The problem is, however much I like kids, I’m not a parent, and so it’s easier to assume that I don’t like kids.
I like kids. I don’t think they belong everywhere.
There – I have said it. I think there are times and places that children don’t belong. I don’t think they belong at the theater or the symphony. I don’t think they belong at expensive restaurants. I don’t think they belong at the movies at 10 at night. I don’t think they belong in high end china stores.
I guess I should preface this – I don’t think toddlers belong at those places. I’m sorry, but I just don’t. I would have kept silent, but I was at the local theater website and they have a note at the bottom of the page that babes in arms or children not being permitted into the theater. At the least, this tells me it has been an issue.
The problem is, of course, not the children. I doubt it ever was. A three year old is just a three year old. The problem is the parents and the location.
Let me put it another way – I don’t mind at my local, a casual sort of place, when there is a child. I don’t mind when they are very unhappy. Every child has moments of unhappiness. Moments when they are unable to regulate their emotions because they are a child and part of the work of childhood is learning to do this so that you can do it when you are an adult.
I do mind – at least a bit – the parents who let their kids scream for 10 minutes, run around the restaurant where people are trying to eat and servers are carrying hot food, and disturb everyone else’s meal. People come along and they say “well, why should their meal be disrupted because their kid is having a bad day?”
Well. Because you are a parent. That’s part of what you signed up for.
So, thinking back to the restaurant that banned children. We go there when we want a quiet meal. I suspect a lot of people do, and I suspect a great many of them are parents.