‘No Kids Allowed’ Policies Spark Debate

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/)

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  1. by Molly Mac

    On October 26, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Spoken like a true parent. What our generation has forgotten ( or maybe they didn’t know in the first place) is that well into the 60s there were some spaces that were clearly adult only spaces (and I don’t mean that in a pornographic sense). Certain movies, restaurants, and other venues were tacitly acknowledged not appropriate places to bring children.

    I’ve had the unfortunate experience of being a high end restaurant (the kind where dinner can easily run 300-400 per person) and subjected to children who were too cranky/hungry/tired/ill trained to be there. I wanted to bill and coo with my BF and instead of soft music we were serenaded by an upset toddler.

    You have a young child? Don’t be cheap, get a babysitter. can’t afford.don’t want to pay for a sitter? Stay home and have friends in. Take turns going out with friends.

    You made the commitment to live with a baby, I didn’t.

  2. by Frank

    On October 26, 2011 at 10:32 am

    @ Molly.

    Thank you for your comment. I could not agree more. I really like kids, I used to work for a big toy company and my wife is a teacher – so we hardly count as child-haters. Yet the mindset of many of today’s parents is totally beyond me.

    To give you an example: A friend (a polite and educated person with a college degree in psychology) and her 2 kids enter a shop with chinaware. The kids are bored and start to yank stuff out of the shelves. When asked by my wife if she considered this normal she replied “that’s the shop owner’s problem, not mine.”

    And that’s where the problem lies: today’s parents are an integral part of today’s society, which in turn is following the credo of “me, me, me”. Selfishness and ignorance rule. At least that’s what the entertainment industry has been telling young target groups for the last decade through the personas that star in their sitcoms. Those teens then grow up to become spoiled and ignorant parents.

    And that’s basically why a BratBan has become necessary (and might sometimes even be beneficial for the child). And forcing a 2-year-old on a 8-hour flight to a holiday destination is nothing but selfishness from the side of the parents.

    So when we book a hotel we look for the ones that are definitely not “family friendly”. An 8-lane motorway in front of them and a 2-mile-walk to the rocky beach usually guarantees that there will be no spoilt and annoying PARENTS – as the kids are usually not the biggest problem.

  3. by Clara

    On October 28, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Funny!!! Anyone who call kids spoiled and brats must come from first hand experience or didn’t your mommy teach you if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say it at all… I am a mother of 5 and there is a time and place for everything. Yeah certain locations should be off limits expensive restaurant certain movies. But to say parents should have to stay home all the time because of the kids. Please if anyone needs a night out is the parent’s maybe they can’t afford or even get a sitter. It’s funny because everywhere my family goes all I get is complements on how well my 5 children behave… Kids will be kids you have to teach them the only way they learn is being put in the position to learn.

  4. by Joe

    On October 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    The advent of this movement is the indulgence of those who have borne children but don’t know how to be parents. Little emperors, bratz, au pairs, latchkeys; all this created the new generation of over privelaged offspring.

    if parents could actually be parents, none of this would be happening

  5. by Stephen

    On November 4, 2011 at 10:18 am

    @ALL. Grow up. Parents and kids have a right to be places too. If you want exclusive, join a Country Club. Stop being such haters.

  6. by Angela

    On November 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I completely agree with Stephen, the problem here is the parents are not PARENTING, as evidenced by the lady in the China shop with her children comment. Its a vicious cycle of parents not being able to discipline their kids for fear of CPS misconstruing, so the kids are running wild, then you have the backlash of the rest of the public saying “Control your kid”, which will usually require a direct and firm level of discipline by that time. I am a mom to 5 children and ALL my children are well mannered citizens when we are in public, but also at home, because I take my job as a parent very seriously and I am raising respectable human beings, and I have a home of structure and consequences. Its understandable that some folks don’t want to deal with kids, but is it really “kids” or is it “feral undisciplined kids” they are truly trying to exclude? My children would not dream of acting out like that in a china shop.

  7. by Carmen

    On November 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I am actually kind of mad about kids being ban, but I also undestand. Yes I have seen parents that come into a room and not yet pay attention to their kids. They let them run wild, but there are parents out there that teach their kids how to act. My parents taught us better and with one look we knew. I am now a mom and sometimes my 4 month gets cranky and cries. Excuse me!!! I am a new mom and I need to breathe too, I need to get out too. My husband and I need a night out and I would like my daughter to come out with us too. Honestly if it a fancy restaurant I probably won’t go there, but if a chain restaurant I will be there with my baby and maybe one day without if we need a date night. Yes she is mine child and you don’t have to raise her I do, but that’s life there are babies everywhere. I get it, If I had a horrible child who I can’t control I really won’t go out. I don’t want to be embarrassed either.

  8. by bgolfguy

    On November 18, 2011 at 10:25 am

    The only thing worse than parents who don’t control his or her children are the obliviots (oblivious idiots) who take his or her stupid dogs with them everywhere.

  9. by Auntie S.

    On November 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    As an aunt of several adorable children, I have to ask: what are parents thinking bringing kids to intimate,expensive restaurants, china shops, and kid-inappropriate movies?!? It’s unfair to the children to expect them to sit quietly through an expensive, grown-up dinner, to not play with pretty objects in a store, or not get bored during a movie that’s geared toward adults. At very least, parents need to remember to bring things to keep kids entertained while they wait for their parents. And believe me, my husband and I understand the need for parents’ night out and often volunteer to babysit for our siblings’ kids; we also understand that a lot of parents don’t have relatives nearby and/or can’t afford a sitter, but as an earlier commenter mentioned, they were the ones who made the commitment to be parents. To expect everyone else to think for you on how to handle your kids is unfair and unreasonable. Either plan ahead or stay home!!!

  10. by gabi

    On November 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Discipline your kids. That’s it. Children should be allowed everywhere with their parents, excluding certain movies, and bars of course. There is nothing wrong with disciplining your children. If you put your foot down when they even start to become unruly, then they will learn to be well behaved. Am I a parent? No, but I’m the oldest of 4, and basically the baby’s second mother. We were disciplined every time we deserved it and we were NEVER unruly and wild that we couldn’t be taken anywhere. Shame on the parents who let fear dictate their ways of parenting instead of putting fear in their children.

  11. by Trish

    On December 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I think most of you are missing the point, which is that because of the poor parenting of a “few”, now, EVERYBODY must pay…

    Is it fair? Maybe, maybe not, but for those who are Catholics or Christians, you know what it reminds me? of Eve and the forbidden apple, and the fact that just because she ated it, all her offspring inherited her sin and all of us MUST pay for it.

    So, now, considering your religion and the “bratban”, don’t come out saying that it is not fair, because, once again, we are paying for one man’s sin.

  12. by Trish

    On December 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    And I forgot, it is not about the brat ban either, I think that it is about time for people to snap into reality and take concious decisions regarding parenting, rather than feeling attacked… it is a “me me me” issue all over again…

    You don’t think it is fair right now for you that have well behaved kids? Well, take a minute to recall when you were single or didn’t have kids and remember how much you disliked missbehaved kids at the restaurant or at the store…

    It is unfortunate, yes, but it is time for us to open our eyes and make a change.

  13. [...] ?No Kids Allowed? Policies Spark Debate (Parents.com) [...]

  14. by Waiting

    On December 15, 2011 at 10:32 am

    My husband and I are fertility challenged and are currently going through medical treatments and it can be a relief to go to an adult only place where we aren’t inundated by babies and toddlers and kids to remind of us that ALL THE TIME. When you want to have your own baby and have been undergoing hormone treatments, it can be torture to do any type of errand cause I have the luck of running into every single pregnant woman in the city and if she’s not pregnant, she’s got a cute little baby. It’s not just about a little less noise or mess, for some people it’s a whole lot more.

  15. by D

    On December 15, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Some of the best adults I know are that great because their parents did everything with them. They rarely had baby sitters. their parents are very involved. They are highly educated and didn’t get into troubles that most teens do. They are now college grads that have successful careers and give back to their community.