Published on KSL (click HERE for the link)
“You are what is wrong with America today.” That is the first sentence from one of the hundreds of comments and emails I received in response to my recent column titled, “No-kids-allowed movement growing in popularity (http://www.ksl.com/?sid=21017551&nid=999&title=no-kids-allowed-movement-growing-in-popularity).”
Granted, I had put myself out there and described a time in a grocery store when I hadn’t handled my toddler’s atrocious behavior nearly as well as I (hopefully) would today. As a mom, there are few things more painful than having to actually make a mistake before learning from it.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about readers’ responses to the idea of banning children from businesses as a reaction to misbehaving kids (like mine at times) and imperfect parenting (again, like mine). As illustrated by the reader who feels that I shoulder the blame for America’s problems, readers’ responses to these “brat bans” were not only interesting and eye-opening, but tremendously diverse and polarized.
Since everyone is affected by this issue on some level, I thought I’d share some of the more (or less, as the case may be) enlightening comments.
“Every business who enacts this policy is my personal hero and will get my business.”
“I would like to get a list of those businesses that enforce these no kids allowed policies so I can avoid giving them my business.”
“Why should the childfree continue to be treated like second class citizens and continue to have to be subjected to people who refuse to control their children? When I shell out money to go to a movie, is it fair that I miss out on the experience because some parent brings their screaming child to the movie and chooses not to do anything about it?”
“This is just part of growing up. Older people love to armchair quarter back what others are doing, but think back to your own days as a young parent and you will find that things are really not that different.”
“The support for this type of movement is common in countries that have declining populations. Being less accepting of children can only speed the decline. Less children will mean less adults eventually and this trend seems to affect higher income brackets most. So the poor will populate, overall education levels go down, and the gap between the haves and have-nots increases. Sad to see us come to this.”
“Unfortunately the kids are getting painted with the broad brush when the majority of the blame should go to the thoughtless, brain dead parents who don’t even consider how disruptive and annoying their little sweetheart is to others. This is an opportunity to teach them how to behave in public.”
“For all those saying it is a parenting issue, I ask you how we should parent this generation? Our only option is time out. Everything else is considered child abuse. Disciplining is now so over analyzed that it is extremely hard to figure out how to do it. I wish I could use the techniques my parents used on me and just go with the flow, but everywhere I turn I am being told that it is abusive, psychologically damaging, etc. Please be compassionate to those of us that are doing our best.”
“It is a violation of the families’ rights to ban them from establishments for the sake of others. This whole ban idea targets a specific group of individuals and is wrong.”
“We should use common sense about where we take our children. An outright ban is unfortunate, but may be necessary in some situations. I have been in too many movies that I would never consider taking a child to, but someone else had no problem bringing their toddler, making the experience unpleasant.”
“Racial segregation is no longer acceptable, but age and class seem to be fair game. There’s something wrong with that attitude.”
“Rather than focusing on the term ‘ban’ I like to look at it as ‘guidelines for parents who don’t know when the kids should stay home.’ ”
“I’m completely supportive of this as long as:
— We can have old people free zones where I don’t have to try and get around the folks driving 10 mph under the speed limit.
— We can have cell free zones where I don’t have to hear loud talkers yelling into their cell phones about things that no one cares about.
— We can have perfume/cologne free zones where I don’t have to smell your attempt at a French bath.
Well if we really get down to it, there’s something that annoys just about everyone, so why don’t we just all stay in our own homes?”
“I agree that there are times and places where kids shouldn’t be part of the scene, but it’s really up to the parents to understand and respect that. I also think there are times and places where kids are to be expected and in those cases, it’s up to the childless adults to respect that. I definitely don’t want to live in a society where children and their parents are banned, but everyone needs to understand reasonable boundaries and I sometimes find that lacking these days. As if everyone believes a certain experience should be 100% geared for them and their specific needs. What happened to being part of a community made up of lots of different types of people?”
And finally, “How are our kids supposed to learn how to act in public, if they are not welcome in public?”
In a world where nothing will ever be ideal, I vote for tolerance and support of each other as we navigate through our lives — earnestly but imperfectly — as we try to build strong communities made up of lots of different types of people.
Didn't want to comment on the KSL story because I thought it would be lost in the… noise… but I think there are examples where it is appropriate to put an age limit on those who are admitted. An excellent example is the LDS Church with its policy of allowing children only 8 or older to attend general conference and many other (though not all) public events it sponsors at the conference center.
I am dealing with my first child, a new young daughter, who is starting to press her own will more and more each day. I hope to teach her how to behave well in public, and I hope for understanding from those around me during that process, but I will not be taking her to nice restaurants or cultural events that are age inappropriate as part of that.