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Restaurant bans kids under 6. Discrimination or smart move?
At McDain’s Restaurant, in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, kids don’t eat free. And starting next week, they don’t get to eat at all. Mike Vuick, owner of the Pittsburgh area eatery has just announced a ban on children under 6 at his casual dining establishment.
After receiving noise complaints from customers about crying kids at neighboring tables, Vuick decided to institute the policy, which will go into effect July 16.
In an email to customers, Vuick explained: “We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.”
The owner of the “upscale, casual and quiet” restaurant explains to WTAE Local News, he’s got nothing against kids in general, but their endless screams at public dinner tables are “the height of being impolite and selfish.”
Last year, North Carolina’s Olde Salty restaurant made a similar decision. Owner Brenda Armes posted a sign that read “Screaming children will not be tolerated”, making it clear to parents when their kids scream, they’ll be asked to take it outside. Armes said the move has boosted business, and Vuick is confident his ban will benefit McDain’s as well.
But not everyone is on board. Some Monroeville locals are offended that they’re being singled out for having young kids, and pointing fingers at noisy adults.
“If they’re so concerned about noise, what do they plan to do about the loud people at the bar?” asks one local resident.
It’s not illegal to ban kids from eating establishments, but some parents consider the move discriminatory, and potentially a violation of rights for certain special needs kids. What do you think: are kid-free restaurants a great idea or flat-out wrong?
No, it is NOT discrimination! It would only be discrimination if the restaurant were banning all members of a certain religion, race, gender, or sexual orientation. But children younger than six can always wait until they are older to go to the restaurant.
But even more telling are some of the comments that were left on the article:
Posted by IND Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:01am PDT
I think this is great. I work hard for my money and when I want to go out to a nice quite, relaxing dinner, listening to crying children is the last thing I want to hear. Also, there used to be a time that if you went out to dinner a little later in the evening, there would be no children as they would be home in bed; however, it appears that parents these days drag their kids out at all hours of the evening — no wonder they’re screaming — their tired!
Posted by Elise Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:09am PDT
Parents need to teach their children the proper behavior in public. Parents are to blame on this issue.
If kids can’t behave then yes don’t take them out. I have 5 children and they knew how to behave properly at all times . They were never banned , we received many compliments on them. It can be done.
Posted by BonnieM Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:12am PDT
I personally am driven nuts when I hear kids screaming and the parents do nothing to stop it! And it is the parents I want to strangle!
We wouldn’t have to have rules that some find offensive if people would just think of someone besides themselves once in a while. I took my kids into restaurants when they were young, and if they misbehaved they were taken outside and talked to in private. If they acted up again, we would leave. Then they would be left with a sitter the next time we went until we could be assured they would behave with manners. It isn’t rocket science, it is called consistent good parenting.
Indeed, people who have small children should not feel entitled to take their children with them everywhere they want to go. That’s selfishness, and selfish parents produce selfish children that are even more arrogant and stupid when they grow up, causing our society to enter a downward spiral. Adults who do not have children should have places reserved for them, just as there should be places set aside for parents with small children. The stigma attached so often to childless couples should be eliminated as well.
And parents, you are not loving your children when you fail to discipline them so they will be forced to behave respectfully in public. Instead, you are being cowards. And it is NEVER too early to start training them. As soon as they learn how to talk and to understand what you say, you must have an attitude of ZERO TOLERANCE for any hint of disrespectful behavior. I’m sure if enough parents do this, fewer places will feel the need to ban small children and all will be happy, including the children themselves.
I agree that children do not need to be go everywhere, and that there shouldn’t be a stigma for those who choose not to have children.
However, I find the tone of this post to be much nastier than it needs to be to present that opinion. Sentences like this: “That’s selfishness, and selfish parents produce selfish children that are even more arrogant and stupid when they grow up” are unnecessarily confrontational.
I was also bothered this: “And parents, you are not loving your children when you fail to discipline them so they will be forced to behave respectfully in public. Instead, you are being cowards. And it is NEVER too early to start training them. As soon as they learn how to talk and to understand what you say, you must have an attitude of ZERO TOLERANCE for any hint of disrespectful behavior.”
Talk about arrogant. Just because a child is misbehaving in public doesn’t mean parents are not doing their job, my friend. It doesn’t even mean that the child is being disrespectful or bad.
Read some books about child development different ages and I think you’ll find that the whatever your idea of children being “forced to behave in public” is may not be developmentally appropriate.
I do have behavior standards for my children, and what I expect of them is different in different situations. And yes, I’ve sometimes left with them rather than stay in a place where they were disturbing others.
But I’m careful to stay aware of what they’re capable of at various times, to give them a break when they deserve it, and not to punish them when their behavior – though possibly not desirable – is not unreasonable for their stage of development and is not motivated by disrespect or defiance.
Your objections are noted. Since I don’t have children, and I know you do, perhaps my view was not properly balanced. I certainly don’t think children should be punished with violence for occasional acts of misbehavior. I just think rules should be made and enforced with absolute consistency. One thing I do know about children from having been one: They have a natural contempt for hypocrisy, even from their own parents.
“They have a natural contempt for hypocrisy, even from their own parents.”
I’M IN ABSOLUTE AGREEMENT.
Need that on a t-shirts, don’t we? 🙂
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I would add that I think it’s pretty good that parents bring their children to restaurants other than McDonald’s and Co. I’m not talking super fancy restaurant, but I think good taste and healthy eating habits start when you’re a young child.
My parents would take me and my brother out for dinner once in a while when we were little kids, and I remember being very annoyed at the chicken & fries children’s menus everywhere we went, so I’d order an adult’s menu. Order it myself, because my parents thought it was an important social experience.
That’s part of a good education, to my eyes. Just like going to museums for instance. And yes, kids are kids and they’re gonna be loud and ask awkward questions and require permanent attention. But when I have kids myself, I’d rather be embarrassed once in a while, and maybe have to leave if they become too much of a disturbance for everyone else, than leave them at home watching TV with a babysitter everytime I go out in a world I should be helping them discover… That’s just my opinion.
I guess what I’m saying is, I would definitely not like being banned for a public place because I’m bringing my kids there – because I would only bring them there if I think they can behave. And if they don’t behave, then I’d expect the benefit of the doubt (i.e. for people not to assume that I’m a bad parent just because my child is not completely silent), and a little bit of clemency, because some people seem to get annoyed before the poor parents even have a chance to calm their child down.
But what about misbehaving ADULTS? Because I see a lot of those. Why not throw out these obnoxious people who have loud cell phone conversations in the restaurant, the museum, etc? Those who insult the staff?