DailyMail has the story:

Children crying in restaurants can be enough to frustrate even the most sympathetic diner.
But one restaurateur is so fed up with noisy toddlers disturbing his customers that he’s decided to ban them altogether.
From next week, parents who want to eat at McDain’s Restaurant and Golf Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, will have to leave any children under six at home.

I actually think that he should ban the parents! It’s not the kid’s fault that their parents don’t know how to control them or teach them good behavior in public. And even the best parents have to deal with a melt-down now and again. But I’m sure there are people who have perfectly well-behaved children under 6 who would be fine. I’d amend this to give everyone one chance and then disinvite the family to dine there if they can’t control their kids. My friend said that at one diner the kid was screaming so loud that the manager came over and said “Just leave, don’t worry about the bill.”

Well, that’s one way to get a free meal, I suppose.

I think this is a symptom of a larger problem though, perhaps two larger problems. The first is that those with us without children are hardly sympathetic to those who have kids. I know many single people who wouldn’t last a day with a kid in tow. I love babysitting my colleague’s son because it gives me the opportunity to sympathize with her and her husband. Now their son has been pretty well behaved and we like a lot of the same things so it might be pretty easy for me in this case. I also was a camp counselor for 6 years and my wife is a teacher, so I’m not exactly flying blind here.

The second problem is a lack of mentorship in parenting. We don’t really teach people how to be parents. We teach them that children are a gift from God and that they should love them, both good things, but what happens when that little gift is one you’d like to give back. What rises to the surface each time that someone feels anger or frustration surrounding their kid is the following:

“I’m a bad mother/father. I shouldn’t feel this way.”

People will go a long way to protect themselves. As long as they feel like their kid likes them and feels secure with them, the rest is insignificant. It’s why parents are going to job interviews and calling HR offices and asking Campus Ministers if they’d see their child for spiritual direction. Parents of small children need to know when it’s time for their little one to go outside when they just can’t take it anymore at the dinner table, movies or church. Those of us without children also need a bit more sympathy when the crying starts or when it escalates. In all cases, the parents need to correct their child and when they do not they are doing irreparable harm to both the child and themselves.

My colleague, Pete Rogers, at Regis University, told a great story that resonated with me. He said, “If I got in trouble at school, my parents would immediately ask me what I did. Once I said, ‘I wasn’t doing anything! It was John that did it and I just happened to be nearby.’ My mother’s response was ‘You were doing nothing in the wrong place!'”

True enough. Teachers and other authority figures aren’t always right and don’t always have their charges best interests at heart. But often, especially amongst college students, parents need to lay off. They need to let their child fight their own battles and learn that they need to be self-sufficient. They need to know when to let go of their own issue of over-protecting their child and to let them sink or swim once in awhile.

For those of you with children, what are your thoughts?

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2013215/Restaurant-owner-Mike-Vuick-bans-ALL-children-six.html#ixzz1RzPd0jU8

0 thoughts on “Children Under 6 Banned from Restaurant”
  1. As the mother of 5 young children, I am very sensitive to this issue. Recently an airline banned children in first class, and I had the same problem. Sure, crying kids are annoying, but so is sitting close to someone who hasn’t bathed, or people who talk (loudly) on their cell phones in public…will all those displaying annoying behavior or characteristics be banned? The larger issue is the loss of civility in our culture. It’s common courtesy…if your child is crying/screaming uncontrollably or otherwise being disruptive (and yes, this can even happen to good parents on occasion), you leave the restaurant. When we go out to eat at a nice restaurant, I always get there in the 5 o’clock hour, thinking those wanting a quiet romantic dinner will probably go later. And we make a point to teach our children proper table manners, and of course come equipped with a “bag of tricks” so keep smaller children quietly occupied. Quite frequently we see children at a restaurant table with a hand-held video game or movie – these are children who are not learning the art of conversation, or anything else about how one behaves in a restaurant. So don’t ban the kids…just model good behavior and hope a return to civility and common courtesy will spread far and wide!

  2. I am the mother of 5 and grandmother of 1. We expected “restaurant” manners at home as a way to train the kids for eating out. We always went early, took finger food to keep the little ones from getting too hungry before the meal came and always took kids outside if they could not behave. We taught them that they could not leave their seats except to use the rest room because they might get in the way of a server. We loved restaurants with crayons because they played tic-tac-toe, or drew pictures, and interacted with each other. Eating out in a restaurant was a reward for good behavior, not just something we did routinely. They were excited to be there and knew if they acted up they would get left behind the next time. I think it all boils down to respect. We respected the rights of other diners not to be annoyed by our children. Our children respected our rules in order to be included in the outing.

    Today there is little respect. Parents are mostly oblivious to what their children are doing, including running around the tables, poking at people in the next booth, kicking the chair of the person in front of them. They really don’t care what others’ dining experiences are as long as theirs is okay. There is little respect for other diners or for the staff. So many young families eat out so often it becomes routine, nothing special, and the kids know they’ll keep eating out no matter how badly they behave.

  3. I am a teacher and I had some thoughts on this subject. In general, I find that children respond well to limits. Too many parents today give in to children and don’t set strict rules. Children really want limits. I reward my preschoolers for good behavior and focus on positive behaviors that the children show. I also hold children accountable for their behavior. For instance, it is important for a child to clean up toys. If they refuse, I let them know that they have to do this. I also let them know that I have no where to go and I will wait until they do. It is important to be firm. If more parents followed through on what they told children what to do, things would change.

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