The growing number of businesses that are placing what has been termed a "brat ban" on children is sparking a debate among parents, consumers, and business owners.
A Chicago Tribune editorial explains the debate, and advises a balanced approach to thinking about how kids fit best into the larger world of commerce, travel, and dining:
The no-kids-allowed movement, aka the Brat Ban, is gaining momentum, driven by quiet-seeking adults who want to prohibit children from everything from concerts to public transportation to Facebook. Demographics tell the story: The U.S. has more empty-nesters and more childless couples than ever before. One in five women choose not to have children.
We understand why adults who want to enjoy a quiet restaurant meal object to parents who drop the leash and order a cocktail while their kids run screaming about the place. We understand about that cocktail, too.
So we're happy to see the growing list of options for the child-averse: Adult swim. Theaters that have separate kids and no-kids screenings of the same movie. Quiet cars on the train. And yes, kid-free restaurants.
Some Whole Foods stores have child-free shopping hours, with activities to keep the kids busy while the grown-ups forage for cage-free eggs. For a real getaway, there's leavethembehind.com, a website that specializes in kid-free vacation destinations.
But sometimes there's no escape. On airplanes, for example. Every parent who's ever checked a stroller on the jetway has seen the looks of consternation from fellow passengers, even before the baby has made a peep. "Find a more child-friendly mode of travel," one air traveler sniffed on the Shine post. Selfish, whiny, immature — no, we're not talking about the baby.
Frequent-flying moms have learned to carry big packages of foam earplugs to share with seatmates; if the airlines were smart, they'd stock up, too. Individual passengers would be wise to bring their own, if they can't bear the sound of wailing.
(image via: http://blogs.brighthorizons.com/)