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Restaurant Ban On Children


Recently, my husband and I went out to a local Steak ‘n Shake restaurant for dinner after going to a movie. When we arrived there were several other patrons already seated, including a group of several adults with two children that looked to be about three or four-years-old.

Not long after being seated we had our suspicions that we would not exactly be enjoying a peaceful meal. The children at the other table were yelling, running back and forth on the dining bench and climbing on the window sill. It became apparent that the adults were completely oblivious to these antics because they continued their conversation long after their food had been eaten. Even my best stern face would not encourage the adults in this dining party to reprimand these out of control children. The noise and antics continued throughout our meal.

When we went to pay I said something to the girl at the register. She smiled and looked at me like I was nutty. Maybe she agreed with me but was unable to say anything. Or she was okay with allowing a good customer to walk away annoyed but too polite to ask someone to peel their children off the windows.

A few nights ago, my husband and I decided to go out to eat at a local Golden Corral. Several seats behind us was a mother with a little boy of about four who was yelling out someone’s name repeatedly. Throughout our meal the yelling continued and the child got up several times, knocked things over and crawled underneath the table where some poor man was trying to eat in peace. The mother sat there, did not say a word and allowed the behavior to continue.

With that fact that the economy is so poor, jobs so scarce and money so tight, consumers are eating out less frequently. So when we do spend our hard-earned money we deserve the right to enjoy a good meal in peace and quiet. It certainly isn’t too much to expect to enjoy the company of our dining partners without the constant interruption of screaming, running, badly behaved children. There are many kid-friendly restaurants to choose from. When you go to Chuckie Cheeses or any fast food restaurant you know what you’re getting yourself in to. You know your chances of eating in the presence of loud, boisterous children are pretty high.

Recent reports that some restaurants are establishing bans on small children have some parents up in arms. But, as privately owned companies, don’t these restaurants have the option of saying enough with the distraction of having noisy, obnoxious children in a dining environment? It’s certainly not likely that a child will go hungry if he can’t eat at a particular restaurant. Many restaurants are realizing that they’re losing business as a result of patrons being forced to sit back while at the mercy of parents who can’t control their own children in public.

I’m certainly not a child hater by any means. I was a Head Start teacher for five years. I’ve taught preschool and special education classes. I have three grown children. I raised them on my own as a single mother. My children weren’t angels by any stretch of the imagination. But they darn well knew how to conduct themselves in public situations. And, I’m proud to say that, on more than one occasion, I had other diners tell me how wonderfully behaved my children were and how much that fact was appreciated. Many parents are not teaching children proper manners and social skills anymore. Many parents don’t exhibit appropriate social skills themselves so the apple and the tree lesson applies here.

I’m sure the subject of noisy children, and whether restaurants have the right to ban them from their establishments, will continue to be a hot topic for a long time. I’m wondering how many of the opponents are parents with poorly behaved children and they’re just angry that someone has called them out on their lack of parenting skills. I’m sure what I have to say in this article might be found offensive by some of these parents. But, hey, this is America people. We have the right to our opinions and the right to check your bratty kids at the door.

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  1. It is very frustrating to have to “tolerate” mis-behaving children, because parents don’t want to be bothered or prefer to be their children’s friend rather than giving them the guidance and teaching that they need. Do adults just think that children automatically know how to behave? No…you as a parent (or other adult in a child’s life) are there to teach and guide (or at least you should be). It’s sad when children who behave are the rarity. I love children, but put me around a screaming brat, and I’m ready to explode!

  2. Bob C

    I too agree. Having raise four children, neither my wife or myself would never tolerate braty behavior no matter where in public we would be.
    Your children are a reflection of yourself, so I guess those parents with the children bouncing off the walls have no problem with the negativity. I however sit there doing the slow boil, biting my tongue not to say something to the insensitive dolts that brought the little heathens into the restaurant . On same note that is why lately when someone says “thank you”, nowadays you get “uh huh” or a nod. Manners people, simple, old fashion manners!

  3. I think you hit the nail right on the head with the apple not falling far from the tree. I think there are tons of children that misbehave because their parents don’t know how to be parents. The fact that the children played uncontrollably during the whole meal just says the parents didn’t know, or even care enough to stop them.
    I think any business has a right to say who is welcome instead their doors. There are places that are more suited for the dining with children experience. A nice relaxing diner isn’t the place to take the rambunctious kids.

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