The No Kids Allowed Movement
Headlines scream, The No Kids Allowed Movement is Spreading!
The subject seemed to pop up everywhere last week, from newscasts, to blogs and social media.
Ironically, my week started last week a little on this theme. Last Sunday, while Dale and I were enjoying a breakfast at our favorite country café, we heard someone do something that took us both aback.
As a large group of family members sat squeezed into this small eatery, a child, probably age 4 or 5 began to whine. An older man (presumably grandpa) leaned over and said quietly, but in a firm voice, “You’re going to stop that because no one else in here wants to listen to that while they eat.”
No threatening with violence, jerking him up and storming out of the place or threat of a “time out.” Everyone in the cozy café enjoyed their meals, including Mom and Dad.
It was a refreshing thing to see a parent/grandparent actually parent. The boy obviously knew grandpa meant business. More importantly, the boy knew what was expected of him in a restaurant.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw that happen.
When I read that restaurants are banning kids under the age of 6, my DINC (Double Income no Children) inner self is raising a fist to the sky and saying, “Finally! Enough is enough.”
I mean, really, how many times is the public in general supposed to tolerate unruly children who kick the booth seat behind you while you eat, or worse, those who are allowed to stand up on the seat behind you staring at your meal – or yes, it’s happened to me – have one sneeze all over the back of your head? Or how many flights can one take with kids running up and down the aisles, or screaming at pitches that break the sound barrier if they’re not allowed to do whatever they please while their parents stare off into the distance, acting as if nothing is wrong, or worse yet, continuing a conversation on their cell phone?
Internet comments regarding this subject follow a predictable pattern, with the exception of Mommy Blogger, Jen Singer, at Mammasaid.net, who agrees with certain child bans.
Most DINCs cited these types of incidents, and worse, of why businesses are feeling forced into making this decision. Of course, most Moms unite, in general, writing that banning kids is horrible and discriminatory. One poster even suggested that in order to have a “kid friendly society,” grocery stores should even give up prime selling space for play areas in their stores.
While my DINC self may rally behind a place of business that shields society not from bad children, but bad parents, my empty-nester-member-of-society-self feels we’re all mostly missing the point.
Every second of every day as a parent is an opportunity to teach our children age appropriate lessons and yes, making it fun is a bonus. That would include how to act on outings in public and even to the grocery store, where nutritional experts say should be a place for kids to learn. Everyone of them I’ve ever interviewed for a story tells me that creating adventurous, healthy eaters begins with including children in the meal process, from planning and shopping (picking colorful fruits and veggies is one way to make it fun) to preparation. Not shoving them off in a store sponsored daycare or leaving them in a play area.
I remember when I was 3 or 4 and with my dad in a local store named Sav-On, which had these great clear balloons with a colorful Mickey Mouse type balloon shape inside. Each time we went to Sav-On, I begged my parents and on this day, I finally got one.
Most likely feeling emboldened by my score, I asked for some candy when we got to the register. My dad told me no and I responded with a whine and stamp of my foot. I got “the look” and that’s as far as it went. As soon as we reached the door and stepped into the sunlight, my dad turned and untied the balloon from my wrist (they always tied the balloons to our wrists so we wouldn’t lose them) and let it go.
He said something to the effect that when given something, we need to learn to appreciate, instead of always expecting – and crying when we don’t receive – more. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing my prized balloon float to the sky, and I never whined (openly) again when I didn’t get what I wanted. It taught me what was expected of me in public and also to appreciate the extras in life.
I wasn’t a perfect child; I fidgeted on long plane rides and wondered when my parents would ever finish their coffee so we could leave a restaurant. But I knew that being in public was not a license to run amok and let go of my pent up energy as I would on a summer day in our neighborhood.
Nor were my parents perfect parents. But they understood their responsibility to me as teachers.
It’s just sad that more parents don’t understand that as parent, you are a teacher; responsible for instilling expectations of their behavior in your children that will help them grow into the adults they will become.
What’s even sadder is that the parents who do not parent by teaching these expected behaviors are forcing business owners into these bans, stripping those learning moments from the children of the parents that do.
Have you heard of this No Kids Allowed Movement and what do you make of it?