DPchallenge – There is No “Right” Answer

Obviously, there is a not one ‘right ’answer to the question of whether it is ok to bring children to an ‘adult oriented’ place – such as an up-scale restaurant or a museum.  Each situation depends on the parents and the child/children.

I wish someone would give that me…..                                           Picture credit Alphamom.com

In general, I feel that children should not be banned from restaurants, museums or movies; however it is never appropriate to take a young child to a bar – or any place that may potentially expose the child to a dangerous situation.  And children should not be banned from buses, airplanes or any modes of public transportation.  However, that is beyond the scope of the question, so I will stick with such places as restaurants and museums.

I often think that the question to be asked is why are parents putting their child/children in a situation where the child is expected to act in a fashion that maybe beyond their capabilities – thus making it a burden on the child to live up to expectations that they cannot possibly fathom or achieve?  For instance, taking a squirmy 5 year old to a 2 ½ hour movie that may also contain some very scary segments; or expecting a 2-3 year old  to sit through a 3 course dinner during their ‘terrible two’ stage?  When this situation occurs, it puts everyone in an awkward situation and ultimately it is the child that is blamed.

Of course, there are many children that are able to sit at a nice restaurant or walk through a museum without causing an international incident.  Therefore, those places should be open to all.

And other times, there are situations where a child maybe acting in a manner that is disruptive to others around them – it is at that point that the parent needs to step in, assess the situation and take that child elsewhere until either the child has calmed down or the parent realizes that the environment is more than that child can handle, goes home and tries again later. Furthermore, how will a child learn what kind of behavior is appropriate if they are never allowed to be exposed to that environment?

In defense of parents, however, there are times when ‘other patrons’ need to understand that the human condition can be ugly. People (including adults) sometimes smell bad, act bad, make a bad decision, have accidents etc; so opening your mind and showing some compassion can often make all the difference in the world. If a parent is struggling to calm a child down, and everyone is glaring at the parent, his/her stress is going to escalate and the child will become more anxious.

We live in a society – so people need to be aware of the world around them and act accordingly.  Banning all children from places ultimately causes more issues than it solves.

So for me, at the end of the day, it is not should children be banned but why are putting our children in situations with expectations that they ultimately cannot live up to?

That’s my fast 2 cents ~

About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
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35 Responses to DPchallenge – There is No “Right” Answer

  1. Sorry I’m late to the party but YES YES YES YES YES, a million times YES. It’s not fair to the kids, expecting them to behave in a way that they really can’t yet. Why should a 2 year old have to be quiet and well behaved at a scary movie, or during a long dinner at a fancy restaurant? It’s not their fault, and parents should have better sense than to take them to places like that. Of course even well raised children are going to be children, and they’ll have tantrums and act out at times, but you can usually tell the difference between kids/parents who are having a rough day vs kids who are horribly behaved because they haven’t ever been disciplined.

    • Weebles, you are never late to the party…and always welcome!
      You are so right – you can often tell when a kid is just typically being a kid or if there’s more going on. Some also have issues despite their parents’ efforts as well. There are all sorts of reasons that humans act out and we need to be aware and adapt to all these different situations. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I’m with you. Parents need to have plain old common sense (once I saw a young brain dead couple with their tiny crying baby girl at a demolition derby… do you have any idea HOW LOUD that is? I wanted to snatch the baby and run away) about what their children can handle and other people really need to get over themselves. When my oldest was a baby (6 or 7 months old) I went to the Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up in with my mom. My little guy was happy and making baby gurgling noises, but we sat at the back and to be fair, it’s a pretty informal, small congregation. I got a few glares from some old ladies (on Christmas!! Gah.) and I was about to get up and leave when a woman turned around and said, “Don’t worry about it. We’re all here for a baby.” And I never ever forgot her.

    • That’s a sweet story.
      It seems like people are brain dead about the impact of their actions – either taking a child to a demolition derby (I’ve been to hardcore shows where someone has brought a baby!) or they have no tolerence for anyone else’s situation. We have got to have a middle ground because society is only getting more dense (I mean it in a population way not a brain way – even though it seems to apply that way as well!).

      People seem to forget they started our as happy little gurglers too.

  3. Marie says:

    That is an excellent point! Why are parents putting their children in these situations? Forcing them to sit straight, mouth shut, hands clean, etc. Teaching good table manners is a must, but maybe work your way up? Don’t start at the 5-star restaurant.

  4. Storkhunter says:

    My kid is disabled so it’s not a case of taking him somewhere beyond his years. He has limited understanding so he is disruptive. I would never take him to a movie or place where his disruptions are really annoying. Sometimes I don’t have a choice for eg a restaurant. We stick to our table and try to keep him there. For the most part I haven’t had anyone give me the stink eye.
    But other people aside if I do get the chance to go out to a movie or fancy restaurant I don’t take I am him with because I don’t want to be disrupted. I want to have an enjoyable evening without getting harrassed that my child is misbehaving. I think that would be true of any child not necessarily my disabled kid.

    • There are so many complex issues in regards to ‘banning’ a child from public places – if we ban children then what stops people from banning another kind of person? It doesn’t end.
      But I see your point regarding my question as to why people take children to places beyond their ability to cope – I was leaning more towards the 3 hour meal and expecting any child to sit still for that long and not be antsy.

      There is no ‘right’ answer – we are all trying to do the best we can with the circumstances we live in – My apologies if my post seemed insensitive to all the different scenarios – I’m glad you read it and made your remark.

      • Storkhunter says:

        No need to apologise. I don’t get easily offended by rational arguments – life’s too short. And besides you make a very good point in your post. I was just trying to point out that
        A) it’s not necessarily an age thing so banning kids under a certain age would be pointless ( besides have u seen how some adults behave?)
        B) people need to realise that the world is made up of different people. You can’t live in an insulated bubble. Yes sometimes you will get annoyed but guess what? Sometimes u r the annoying one. (Don’t mean u as in u personally – it’s a general u 🙂 )
        C) why would parents want to take their kids when it’ll hamper their own enjoyment, never mind anyone else’s. ok sometimes u don’t have a choice but on the rare occasions I do get to go out, I jolly well leave my son with a sitter

        • And I would like to add – some people think that just because they have money that everything needs to revolve around their needs and their comfort and the rest of us have to lump it when the world is varied

          – I agree with you 100%

          You make excellent points – thank you for commenting!

  5. Jillian says:

    Definitely two good cents! (And good sense overall ^.^) I agree with all the above comments, and yours, about allowing children access to places to learn the social behaviors (and because those places are fun!). And trying to be sympathetic to parents is good, but as fitnesse said (and yourself) parents who don’t attempt to discipline the kids make those bad situations. My mom always gets mad when parents let their children have temper tantrums, because whenever my brother or I did that when we were little, she took us away from the situation (sometimes leaving full grocery carts behind knowing that she’d have to come back later).

  6. becca3416 says:

    I agree, kids shouldn’t be banned. However, I think the polite thing to do in restaurants and the like, when a child is acting unruly or fussy, is to have a parent take the child outside until they can calm down. I don’t think that is too over the top. Then again, I don’t have kids.

  7. fitnessie says:

    I’ve actually been to a movie theater where the mother just plopped down and let her children, two boys, run up and down the isles and around the theater while talking and laughing, for half the movie… until she was asked by management to leave.
    That doesn’t answer the question at all, because it obviously has a complex area with a lot of grey areas, but it’s worth noting that in this scenario, I certainly didn’t blame the children, as the mother didn’t even make an attempt to discipline her children.

    • I agree – it is the parent who was completely oblivious and without manners – I would also say that even if it was a children’s movie – to allow them to run around is never appropriate.

      Interestingly, most of the discussion seems to center around the movie theatre. Where I live, they actually have some movie theatres with showings for movies in the morning specifically for people with young (infant young) children – with the expectation that it is an adult movie with crying babies.

      Yes, I agree that these areas are complex because each situation can have several factors that muddy the water.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  8. Brigitte says:

    Kids will be kids and it does no good to give dirty looks to the parents. I don’t like when very small kids go to PG or R rated movies and I can’t hear or it’s distracting. I don’t judge but you know, there are places that children don’t need to be and things that don’t need to see. But, Ruta your point about putting kids in situations where they are expected to act like adults is a good one and one I agree with,

  9. Kim says:

    I always thought the same thing….why do parents take kids places where they are expected to behave in a way that is way beyond their years (at least most of them). Kids love to explore new places and if they aren’t allowed to then they get upset and stressed, which gets the parents upset and stressed and then the whole experience turns into a nightmare! I try to give struggling parents of tots in public places as much sympathy as I can. I remember wanted to smack people who gave me the evil eye when I was out with my son.

  10. Brother Jon says:

    Good job! Each person is different. We shouldn’t disallow something that can only potentially happen.

  11. I’d rather sit next to a child than many of the smelly, rude, loud, adults I’ve been seated next to.
    People need to get a life and stop complaining. I can understand if a kid is insanely tantruming but that’s pretty rare. We were all kids at one time, right? I usually do what I can to distract the child or help the mom who is usually overwhelmed. The only time I get annoyed is when parents bring children to movies. I paid money to hear my movie without interruption. Nuff said.

    • I completely agree with you – many movies are not meant for children to be there – and it’s exercising good judgement about what movie is appropriate!

    • Marie says:

      I wrote about how there are many adults out their whose behavior is even worse than a child’s! It’s a public area, an no one will ever be 100% happy with their surroundings (a woman’s perfume may be too strong, a man may have an annoying laugh, etc).

      I’ve even had a man sitting behind me in a movie theater kick my seat 100 times more than any kid ever did. When you put a bunch of people together who have different expectations of how their experiences will go, you’ll get different outcomes (some will have a good night, some will have a bad time). It’s too bad that people get so mad about it instead of accepting the fact that they are out in public and these things happen.

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