Sunday, June 24, 2007,12:16 AM
We Don't Serve Their Kind Here...

Okay serious rant to follow (Karen - here's the terrible two "no's" and stubborn independence you mentioned...). What is with our country moving towards more and more discrimination. Entire groups of people are being banned from restaurants and public places. Reminiscent of the days of segregation, signs are being put up banning a certain demographic from eating or swimming in certain places. But instead of signs proclaiming "Whites Only" or "No Colored People Allowed" these signs state "No Children Allowed."

Apparently as the baby boomers kick their kids out of the house and more and more people are choosing to not have kids, they don't want to be bothered by other people's kids. They would rather not have to interact with that segment of the population and so are pushing for mandates and rules to protect themselves from children. I understand laws that prevent children from entering strip clubs or R rated movies, but this is going too far. It started in restaurants, private establishments that could discriminate as they choose. Then there were subdivisions (gated usually) that barred anyone under 18 from living there (and often even visiting). But now apparently public beaches in Illinois are banning children to meet the baby boomers' demands for comfort. If this PUBLIC beach had put up signs banning women, or Mexicans, or Muslims there would be huge public outcry and an avalanche of lawsuits. But the ban on children is being met with praise and thanks for the opportunity for the self-center to not have to deal with that pesky and annoying minority - children.

And that is what children are - a voiceless minority that is generally despised because they are not adults. I've become increasingly annoyed by the death glares I get if I bring my toddler into certain stores or restaurants. I'm sick of always being seated in the far back corner by the kitchen in restaurants. But to be denied access because baby boomers are living up to their label of being the "me generation" is just too much. And this isn't happening behind closed doors either. I've heard earfuls from empty nesters and the childless (usually bitchy bitter women at craft fairs) about how much they hate children. Stories of how they would spank strangers' children because the mom obviously wasn't going to give the kid the walloping they deserve for crying in a store. Or telling me that all restaurants should ban children or at least parents refrain from exposing other people to their children by eating out. As one lady put it, places like McDonald's exist if parents insist on eating out with kids. So abuse of children and encouraging childhood obesity are better options that making a self-centered adult spend time in the presence of a child.

My response - GET OVER YOURSELVES! Stop being self-centered jerks. Life is not all about you. Stop discriminating against children because you are too lazy to understand them or too selfish to care. Just FYI - I'll will continue to take my child out to eat and to play at the beach and no I won't hit them if they get too loud. I will not give into segregation and will do my best to be an advocate for the voiceless.

(amazingly enough I agree with Al Mohler on this one. Age segregated communities, churches, or societies are not healthy)

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posted by Julie at 12:16 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 6/24/2007 06:44:00 AM, Blogger Kay

    Great post. It needed to be said and I needed to here it. :)

  • At 6/24/2007 06:45:00 AM, Blogger Kay

    oops -

    *hear* it

  • At 6/24/2007 12:01:00 PM, Blogger Erin

    Hi Julie - Great point. While I don't feel as strongly about it as you do, I do agree.

    My first thought is Red Robin - we have never been in one (and there are 3 in the area that we go to) where there was ever a hint of a problem with having our kids along, even when they were babies and toddlers. I don't know if this is chain-wide, but it's true here.

    I have been seeing more places around here that state they "welcome" children, like movie theaters, restaurants, and stores. Maybe this is the answer. If people insist on creating child-free zones, other people will create child-friendly zones. I don't agree with the segregation, but I just don't patronize places that don't welcome my children. They don't need my business.

  • At 6/24/2007 04:36:00 PM, Blogger Andrew

    I think as parents, we have to listen a little bit to what may be causing this shift. It may be that people are more self-absorbed, but I think it could be argued that this generation of "me" parents have raised a group of children that are really difficult to tolerate.

    I have been in countless restaurant situations where the parent lets their 3 year old run destructively about the restaurant while they chat on the phone. I sat in a theater the other day while a mother held an infant who wailed and wailed.

    It seems that common social courtesy is waived in some parents mind. My children are only 5 and 9, but I remember choosing to stay at home and watch a vid or ordering Chinese because I knew at their younger ages it was too much to expect them to behave all the time. And I did not believe that someone who paid for a night out should have to endure my cranky child. I could be sitting next to a couple who worked hard and spent a lot of money for a baby sitter so they could get a much needed night out alone. Instead, they should sit two feet from my child who is screaming in their ear?

    If I did choose to risk a restaurant or movie, I knew I may have to miss the meal or my movie if my child blew a gasket. Many parents seem to think that everyone else should have to deal with the consequences of their bad choices.

    Now so many parents are choosing not to parent, but rather ignore the teachable moments that face them every day, that children behaving badly is stretching wayyy past the terrible 2's.

    To be honest, as a parent of two children, I cannot blame public establishments from taking these actions. Too many parents are irresponsible.

    This "me" generation of parents has forced their hand.

    I can't remember the reference, but there is scripture that says "If we would judge ourselves we would not fall under judgment."

    I think society has had its fill of discourteous parents.

  • At 6/24/2007 06:18:00 PM, Blogger kent

    I am not a proponent of segregating anyone from any public place. But as Andrew said some parents have decided that they don't need to watch over their children or that parenting intrudes on their time so they just let the little one go. And I am not talking about excessive partenting where the kids stand at attention the whole time, but golly, some of the little darlings need boundaries badly.

  • At 6/24/2007 09:46:00 PM, Blogger gerbmom

    We used to go to Florida every summer when our kids were little. We stayed in a gated retirement community at Kim's aunt's house. We had full use of the facilities. The retired people fully embraced our children - it was like living with a bunch of grandparents. But suddenly one year we went back and all we heard was whining and complaing about kids and how they should not be allowed in the pool etc. etc. Interestly, it was a new "crop" of retirees - young ones at that. They thought the world owed them a child free, dog free existence and their selfeshness made me sad.
    We always told our kids when we went out that we were in a public place/restaurant where others did not want to hear them whine and yell. So they needed to behave. And they pretty much did - as far as children can. I don't remember it being a problem for us. But, I must confess, there are those occasional parents that give all the rest a bad name by letting the kids yell, and scream, kick the booth back, and run unattended while they are oblivious or don't care. The ones that refuse to take a screaming child out in the middle of a choir concert because they want to hear it - so now none of us get to hear it. However - these parents are also annoying in their own right, being rude to others, talking loudly on cell phones - that kind of thing.
    The same would hold true at the beach. I have had wonderful experiences (usually the rule)at beaches with kids. Beaches are made for kids....
    But I have also been run over, hit with frisbees or had sand kicked all over me and my stuff. Interestingly, it is the adults as often as the kids. LOL.
    I think it is just that many adults haven't learned respect and therefore have no clue how to instill it in their children.
    I don't know what the answer is. I prefer to live my life with children. If I want to have a silent childless existance I can go in my own house and shut the door. Just my two cents....

    BTW, I think you guys are doing a great job with Emma - and I have never been with her when she has been that totally obnoxious child - even the times she has been tired. Granted, when there are a lot of us, we can all take turns helping with her. The point is tho, she is supervised, and paid attention to while still being allowed to be a child.
    OK - I'm tired.
    Have a safe trip and lots of fun!
    Just don't let Emma bother all those adults. - Does the campground have a no pets, no children rule? ;)

  • At 6/27/2007 07:13:00 AM, Blogger paul

    droids and kids, there lot in life is to suffer ;)

    i know that having young kids makes me way more self conscious when they do kick off and every glance or look becomes one of disapproval - when in reality when there's a 4 yr old screaming who isn't going to look? So i have felt times like this as well and subsequently wondered if it wasn't me feeling embarrassed or guilty for inflicting my kids on an unsuspecting society :)

    Selective banning might not be all bad - for instance - i read about an italien beach which was just for mothers, no kids or dads allowed,so they could actually get some well deserved R&R.

    Still i am sure it is taken far too far at times and in some places which is a shame for all concerned...

  • At 6/27/2007 10:23:00 AM, Blogger Mrs. M

    Children are fantastic, and a joy to be around, so I hear your frustration and anger. On the other hand, just this past weekend, I listened to a toddler shriek all through supper. I don't have children, so I'm in no position to throw stones, but it was extremely unpleasant, and the parents in the restaurant just ignored it. Children should ABSOLUTELY be allowed at public beaches, anywhere that taxpayers support, really. But, wow, do I wish the parents were less self-absorbed, and more attentive to their children's needs, comforts, and behavior.

  • At 6/27/2007 01:52:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    BTW, Julie and I are up in northern Michigan this week (going to kid-friendly beaches!) so she'll respond here when we get back. :)

  • At 6/28/2007 07:30:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Hi all - thanks for the conversation.

    Erin - your Red Robin suggestion made me laugh. That has been the one absolute diaster restaurant for us. It is soo kid friendly that it over stimulates. With balloons everwhere, loud music, and about ten birthdays a day its just too much and Emma has had a meltdown everytime we have gone there!

    Paul - thanks for catching the Star Wars reference

    Kent, Andrew .... - you are very right about self-absorbed parents who let their kids go on and on. When parents ignore their kids and make everyone else just deal with them, it is rude. I personally am loath to return to "seen not heard" (or something similar) days. I think that is an unhealthy approach. For centuries the Western world accepted the naturalness of crying babies and playful kids. That was just part of life in a communal setting. We didn't segregate and everyone took care of everyone else's children (a very common part of life in tribal societies today). To shun other's children because they are being children and are not your own (so therefore you don't "have" to deal with them) just reinforces our culture of individualism. If we truly want to promote community and love for one's neighbor, accepting others children as our neighbor's too seems like a good first step.


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