Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"The only ones who seem to get upset are the ones who don't control their children."

A restaurant bans kids under six from eating there:
It hasn't been a banner year for the under-6 set.
Starting July 16, McDain's, a Pittsburgh-area restaurant, will ban children under the age of 6 from its dining area. Restaurant owner Mike Vuick said the policy came in response to complaints he'd received from older customers about kids causing a ruckus. In an email to his clientele, Vuick wrote, "We feel that McDain's is a not a place for young children … and many, many times they have disturbed other customers."

If parents can no longer control their kids, should businesses and their customers have to pay the price? What do you think?


Blogger pdwalker said...

It sounds reasonable. Their business, their rules.

12:27 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger TWM said...

While I don't believe other customers should pay the price, it's nonsense to think it's the inability of a particular parent(s) to control their kids is the problem. Babies and toddlers are sometimes simply uncontrollable without anything short of a gag and straps (not advocating either just to make clear).

If a restaurant only wants to cater to adults and older kids then fine, but don't blame it on the parents or even the young kids.

12:30 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Master Doh-San said...


Let those kids stay at home and aggravate only their parents.

12:31 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Jay Kominek said...

Maybe some children are fundamentally uncontrollable. That means they should be left at home with the baby sitter, instead of throwing food out of their booth and onto my plate.

If you've never experienced the child-in-the-next-booth flinging food at you, or crawling around on the floor and somehow ending up under your table on top of your feet, then you don't dine out very often.

I would greatly prefer to eat at restaurants which ban young children, or at least empower and require the managers to remove guests whose children are disturbing the other customers.

12:45 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Joe said...

It's Vuick's business, he can do what he wants. However:

"complaints he'd received from older customers"

My experience is that too many "older" people are bastards who throw fits over even the most minor things. For years, my ex-wife has used the local senior center for her girl scout troop. After the very nice director passed away (from old age) the replacements have reinforced every stereotype of old people in response to children.

Yes, some children ban be wild, but when I hear old people complaining, it could mean anything from kids acting like maniacs to kids simply being normal kids.

1:00 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Tim the Shrubber said...

Hmmm...part of me sort of supports the business, and part of me is sort of against this.

I do suspect that I would probably be less likely to go to a restaurant with this kind of policy even once my kids are of age. I doubt I would ever get over the impression that my family is just not welcome there.

1:07 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

TWM, I support you up to your conclusion. When my kids are/have been out of control in a public place, I take them home.

I am not in control of them, but until they drive, I am in control of where they are. And when my kids acted out in public in a way that caused problems, I did what I could. I took them home.


1:14 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Oddly, I am a bit torn on this. Speaking as a grumpy old man, mind you. (Middle aged, technically, but I am advanced in this field.) If it is merely crying and fussing, no problem. But if the kids are running around, that is a different issue. I love to see kids in places, and families. So long as I don't have to play parent. Like most zoos, look but don't touch (them to me and me to them). And for heavens sakes, don't feed the wild animals! Just how out of control were these kids?

Then again, I know people who don't want to hear a peep from a child, or have one (Lord forbid)... look at them. Some people are downright creepy about kids. Haters will hate.

1:24 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Ecclesiastes said...

When one of my children became unruly, either my wife or I would retire with the child to the car. We'd get the meals in to-go boxes.

Cars are boring.

Never threaten what you won't deliver.

1:30 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger LordSomber said...

One doesn't have to be a grumpy old man or someone who either likes or dislikes kids to see what the problem actually is.

Hint: Go back to the title of Dr. Helen's post.

1:31 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Yina said...

I completely agree with this ban. Children are like pets. If you're allowed to ban pets with a reason, why not look at it the same way with children?

1:38 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

My experience is that too many "older" people are bastards who throw fits over even the most minor things.

I came to eat in peace. Some people just don't seem to understand that. They seem to think they can impose on me. Kids, I can understand that. They're young, they don't know any better.

The so-called "adults", on the other some cases, they don't even have the excuse of "it's my kids".

If that makes me a bastard, well, then I'm bastard.

1:48 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Tari said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:57 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Tari said...

I have 2 boys (8 and 11) and this sounds great to me. My boys are very well-behaved for their ages, but I am perfectly willing to believe there are some places they are not welcome. As long as I am on notice ahead of time where those places are, I'm fine with it. Better that than dirty looks when my child makes a mistake in public.

1:58 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Unknown said...

What bullshit. It's the parents. I always took my daughter everywhere. If she started acting up, I took the bite and left. My responsibility.

I can't stand cotton-heads.

Yina --

"Children are like pets."

Which, I presume, makes you like a grown dog?

2:04 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."

2:36 PM, July 13, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Their business, their rules: we don't serve non-whites or gays or the elderly. My business. My rules.

fact: as noted in a comment, often kids do get out of hand and difficult to calm down...don't blame the parents! I have had 4 kids.
In my area, places that encourage parents with kids to come put up a sign: Family Restaurant. Those not wanting to be around kids know not to use that place.

2:38 PM, July 13, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If parents can no longer control their kids, should businesses and their customers have to pay the price?"

Bit of a leading question.

The business ought to be able to do pretty much what it wants, including refusing service to left-handed red-haired Marines. Oh, I know that's not presently the law, but it should be.

And I should be free to pick pretty much which businesses to patronize. If I want to shun restaurants that put blanket ban on children, regardless of how well they behave, that's my business. Or at least it was until Obamacare, which requires me to patronize health insurance conforming with its regulations.

3:34 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...


"Hint: Go back to the title of Dr. Helen's post."

Sure, it can come down to the parents. But not always. Kids are kids, no matter how well they are raised. Actually, you are right in that they are two different issues. Of course, it is splitting hairs of pretty much equal results.

4:19 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Leatherwing said...

I have often wished for a restaurant like this, even when in my 20's. There are times I want to have a nice meal and enjoy adult conversation in a quiet, non-bar setting. There is no shortage of places to go if you want to be around out-of-control kids (regardless of who's to blame).

I say kudos, and if I pass through, i may drop in for a meal.

4:57 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Obi-Wandreas, The Funky Viking said...

LIke many other commenters here, my wife & I take the simple steps to keep our child from disturbing others in public places. As such, I have no patience for those who A) are too lazy/incompetent to take the same steps, or B) place all parents into category A. He's got the right to do whatever he wants. I, however, sure as hell wouldn't set foot in his restaurant.

7:42 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger LordSomber said...

Doom, in other words, ultimately the problem is not the kids' behavior, but how the parents deal with it (or don't).

9:08 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

I had an interesting experience last week at one of my favorite cafes. The cafe has 2 rooms to eat, you get your food sort of cafeteria style and then pick a table and sit. A couple walked in with baby twins. Each one was wearing a baby. The mother had one baby that was well-behaved. The baby the father was wearing was screeching like a howler monkey. They chose a table in the room where I was sitting. Within minutes, every other patron had gotten up to leave or moved to the other room. The father was laughing as the baby howled. He was completely oblivious that people were leaving the restaurant.

Because I am a well-regarded customer of this place I didn't want to cause a scene, so I reluctantly decided not to say anything. But I couldn't help but think that the screeching baby might have been in pain, or hungry, or tired or needed to be burped and father was doing absolutely nothing about it.

I'm all for the kid ban, if I am spending a decent amount of money for a fine meal you bet I don't want to be disturbed by screaming kids.

9:38 PM, July 13, 2011  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

No shirt, no shoes, no service.

Anyone remember that?

No kids.

Well, every business has the right to set its own policy.

I don't blame the kids, because they're kids. I don't blame the parents, because they're parents.

It seems to me that these older clients are upset because other people's children are acting exactly the way theirs did, and they couldn't handle them then either.

5:00 AM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger Andrew said...

We have three kids under the age of six, and frankly, I'd love to be able to visit a restaurant like this on the rare occasion that my wife and I are able to find a sitter and get away for an evening together.

Our kids are well-behaved, with the exception of the one-year old. He doesn't talk yet, just learned how to walk, and can get unruly.

But that's an explanation, not an excuse. At no point did my wife and I ever get the idea that we have the right to ruin the meals of others because our one-year old was, well, behaving like a one-year old.

If he becomes unruly, we're out of there - and not so he can "learn his lesson" (although he will - as evidenced by the behavior of his older siblings.) No, we leave because even though the behavior of our child is completely natural and probably unavoidable given his age, we don't want to ruin the dining experiences of others.

I can't even comprehend the arguments to the contrary.

8:39 AM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

It used to be a societal expectation that you didn't bring your children out in adult public settings unless they could behave themselves. The exceptions were places that catered to children, whether it was a carnival or a kid themed restaurant.

But, nowadays, a significant number of parents think that it is everybody elses job to put up with unruly brats in public. That they "deserve" to inflict their snotnoses on everyone else. it is very much a selfish, inconsiderate phenomina.

11:06 AM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger Kim said...

For some reason, I'm reminded of the churches which erect sound-proofed rooms at the back where mothers can take their young children, but can still take part in the service.

Personally, I quite like small kids in restaurants, unless they're unruly -- and I'm not above reminding parents of their duties when that happens, either.

as for our intrepid restauranteur, I'd love to see what effect this policy has on his business, in say a year's time. I have a suspicion that he has a core group of loyal older customers who are a major part of his business, hence his policy.

Just don't get me started about people who take children into bars and expect both the establishment and the adult customers to make allowances for them. I once saw a woman with young children complain to the manager of a sports bar about a.) the lack of high chairs and b.) the volume of the TV (which was upsetting her precious little snowflakes). I don't know what he said to her, but shortly thereafter, she marched her brood out in high dudgeon, to the accompaniment of derisive cheers from the rest of the patrons.

11:28 AM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger Joe said...

Forget kids, the most annoying thing are restaurants where the waiters sing birthday songs. Then there is the big fat loud person who is eating so much it makes you want to vomit.

The crying baby on a plane is bad; three college students from germany who were loud and kept their feet pressed up against the back of my seat were the worse (followed closely by the drunk on one flight who was drinking the worse smelling beer ever.)

12:38 PM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

I think the majority of people are pretty respectful. But whenever you get into a cramped space like a restaurant or airplane, where you pretty much can't get up and leave, all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the pleasantness.

12:47 PM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Babies and toddlers are sometimes simply uncontrollable without anything short of a gag and straps (not advocating either just to make clear).

Strange. With 4 kids I never had this problem, in public anyway. My kids understood from the start that if they acted up in a restaurant, we left. If they acted up in the way to the restaurant, we went back home. I can remember leaving once and turning around once. They never had to be told a second time.

If you have a very little one had he/she seems to cranky for a restaurant, don't go. I've seen too many parents who seem to think it's their children's right to misbehave. I support the restaurant owner 100%.

6:47 PM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Their business, their rules: we don't serve non-whites or gays or the elderly. My business. My rules.

fact: as noted in a comment, often kids do get out of hand and difficult to calm down...don't blame the parents! I have had 4 kids.
In my area, places that encourage parents with kids to come put up a sign: Family Restaurant. Those not wanting to be around kids know not to use that place.

fred - are you really this dumb and shallow. Did you know government actually restricts access by age to some eating establishments? Just last year my 17 year old son and I wanted to eat at a place in Atlanta, but, by law, you had to be 18 or older. Bigots!! All of them!!!

You need to start living in reality and forget you liberal fantasies of imaginary prejudice, wrong doing, etc. Start frequenting establishments that are heavily black, Hispanic, gay, etc. By the only person not fitting into the preferred clientele. You need to get over your biases and phobias.

(When I was young and could still play, I would play basketball at a gym where I was the only white person out of 100 people, the others being black. I learned to get along quite well. You should try it.)

7:01 PM, July 14, 2011  
Blogger Joe said...

DADvocate, every child is different. I grew up in a family of preternaturally calm people. My siblings and I blithely assumed the same would be true for us. At first, it appeared to be, then I had my first child and she was a terror. Some of my siblings got a little snooty--they were better parents! And then every single one eventually had their own terror child. So far, they're all turning out okay as adults, but as children, they were nigh uncontrollable.

(And I love my granddaughter. She's smart, funny and just as stubborn and wild as her mom.)

I am NOT advocating just letting your kids run around like maniacs. While I believe in nature over nurture, parents do have a place in teaching manners and social protocol. But just because your kids are calm, don't let that go to your head as being great parents.

I should also point out that one person may find a precocious child endearing and another may be offended. I've also learned that there are way too many people looking to be offended; it's like they get energy from it.

1:19 PM, July 15, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

DADvocate, every child is different.

Some kids are more difficult to control than others, but more so, some parents are more inept, lazy, or disinterested at/in parenting and better at excuse making.

I have 4 kids, came from a family of six kids, spent 10 years working with behavior problem/emotionally disturbed kids. I've never met the kid that couldn't be taught to behave appropriately and who wouldn't behave appropriately with the proper consequences/limits in place. Too many parents would rather make excuses, say every child is different (Duh!), etc than make the effort and practice the self-discipline it takes to teach children self-discipline.

In the short term, it's much easier to make excuses. The child and the parent pay the price in the long run.

5:35 PM, July 15, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only place in a restaurant that kids belong is on the menu.

10:04 PM, July 15, 2011  

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