Banning kids from restaurants?

United States
July 14, 2011 8:05am CST
Ok, this should be a good topic for debate. So, let us get to it! I heard on Good Morning America this morning that yet another restaurant has banned children under 6 from their establishment. The owned said while the child may be the center of their universe for the parents the child is not center of THE universe. What do you think about this? Do you think it's fair? Should children be banned from a restaurant at any age? Should it be a certain TYPE of restaurant?
12 people like this
53 responses
• United States
15 Jul 11
I agree with the owner 100%. Parents today let their children run wild. When I first became a mother, if her father and I went out to a casual dining place and she began to scream, one of us would take her out of the situation. If it continued, the one remaining at the table would request doggie bags and pay the bill. I would NEVER subject anyone to my daughter's screaming while they are trying to eat. But parents today often think it's perfectly fine to let their kids scream--they tune them out! I was raised in the 70s and 80s...and my parents would make sure we didn't pitch a fit! I was brought up with "children were seen but not heard", and if we were heard, we got smacked! But parents now (in my experience) aren't very good at realizing that their child is annoying everyone else around them! I compliment parents with beautiful children, and offer praise if their child is well-behaved; if they're screaming, I don't look at them nor do I compliment their parents. If they truly need a break, perhaps they should invest in a babysitter! Or start training their kids at home on proper restaurant behavior!
• United States
20 Jul 11
And it's that type of behavior that makes me want to push for people to get parenting licenses--a similar idea to dog licenses! Why should they be allowed to procreate if they're going to raise a generation of whiners?
• United States
20 Jul 11
You are right. Too many parents now simply tune out their kids which only makes them louder and more irritating to those around them.
• Canada
14 Jul 11
I think an establishment owner has the right to decide who may frequent their establishment. I have raised two daughters and I have always been fine with the concept that there are places where my children are not welcome, either by law (such as pubs and bars) or by choice. People, unfortunately, do not always properly care for their children in public. A restaurant is not a playground and yet you see many parents who sit down to eat and give no regard whatsoever for the behavior of their children. I've had kids standing at my table, staring at me eating, crawling under my table, between everyone's legs, etc. I've had the unpleasant experience of eating at a buffet restaurant and watching people's children grabbing at and eating food from the steam tables with their bare hands (rather than serving utensils) - this is not only unsanitary but it's also dangerous to a child. We have all had meals disrupted by children who scream at the top of their lungs because they are bored and won't sit still while their parents dine. It's really just unpleasant. For some people, eating in a restaurant these days is a rare treat (because they may not really be able to afford it very often) and to have the experience ruined by someone else's unrestrained children is not right. From the time my children were very young, they were taught that if they misbehaved in a restaurant, the bill would be paid immediately (whether or not we were done eating) and we would we go straight home - and I wasn't kidding. I wanted them to respect other patrons regardless of whether we were eating at McDonald's or a nice quality "sit down" establishment. It has always been my experience that, when children are quiet and well-behaved, they are actually treated very well in almost any restaurant.
2 people like this
• Canada
19 Jul 11
Thank you, hardworker... I chose the name on a whim because it seemed to be what we do here I think you make an excellent point when you say "Eating out was a privilege ..." In many families, there is nothing special, fun or even nice about eating in a restaurant anymore. Parents are running through drive-thrus and kids are eating in cars on the way to here, there and everywhere. Parents with hectic schedules are foregoing cooking and sit-down meals at home in favor of whatever is the fastest and requires no shopping, prep or clean-up. Families seem to run themselves ragged, at times, with insane schedules and trying to keep up with everyone's commitments and activities. I think this also contributes to children's behavior in public. Kids are a lot more stressed and a lot less restrained than what I believe was the norm even as little as a decade ago. They are portable... expected to "fit in" to the schedule and family dynamic and not disrupt. If they do, it's often ignored just to "keep up the pace." How many people have you heard proclaim that "having a child is not going to change our lifestyle." But it does! Children should be a priority and this includes discipline and teaching proper behavior, manners and respect. I agree that one's tolerance in restaurants should be fitting to the setting. If I am in a fast food place, I'm not expecting a "dining experience" - but I agree completely that it doesn't entitle children to disrupt other people's meals. Many of these restaurants have play rooms where parents and kids can eat and there are toys and play sets to amuse the children. Why not lower everyone's stress and provide the children with an environment where they can enjoy the restaurant and so can everyone around them? I don't think it's too much to ask, at all, to expect a reasonable dining experience in a high-end establishment... just like I don't think it's fair to have to endure a screaming baby in a movie theater. I tried to match my children's age, temperament, likes and dislikes and, especially interest and tolerance, to the places I took them socially -- if I was the one making the decision about where to go. It was a privilege and a treat to go out for a meal and they were simply taught that, if they wanted more of the same, they had to behave. I thank you for the kindness of BR, too, hardworker Very much appreciated!
• United States
17 Jul 11
Thinkingoutloud.... first I love your name you chose. :) Second, you have an EXCELLENT response. I think it's sad that restaurant owners have to even think of banning children from their establishment. It's a sad decline of parenting in my opinion. As you stated about your children mine too were raised correctly with manners and respect. Eating out was a privilege that could and would be taken away at a moments notice. They knew to sit, face forward and eat politely. Even at a place like McDonald's. When I go out to eat at an establishment I expect the ambiance to be fitting. If I am at a place like McDonald's I expect to see lots of kids, for the volume to be louder and even hear a crying baby or child. However, I do NOT expect nor appreciate kids leaning over my booth, going under my feet at my booth or generally just running a muck causing problems. Now, if I go to a higher end establishment I expect quiet, calming atmosphere. If you have brought your kids fine. But I expect that they will behave and not interrupt my dining and experience which I am paying high dollar for. I expect if your child is crying that you will take them outside or to the restroom and for heaven's sake I expect them to sit down facing forward. Is that too much to ask?
1 person likes this
@jdyrj777 (6530)
• United States
15 Jul 11
Recently there has been a few cases where alchol was served to very small children. Supposed to have been cases of mislabeling. Those places should bann anyone under legal age. Really i would think that most places would loose business by banning children under six. Personally i wouldnt go into them. Parents should take their children outside when they misbehave. If the parents seem not bothered by their childs actions then staff should ask that famil to leave. Many children behave well. Why spoil it for the good kids?
1 person likes this
@jdyrj777 (6530)
• United States
20 Jul 11
Yes, i believe it does. My daughter does as they used to do back in the good ol' days. If one of her kids acts up in public she takes them outside for a few when they come back in the kid is acting good. As for me when i was rasiing my kids i had a hard time finding sitters so i would only go places kids were welcome.
• United States
20 Jul 11
I do see you point about punishing the good for the ones that act bad but honestly in this world doesn't that happen more than we would care to admit?
• Southend-On-Sea, England
14 Jul 11
I don't think children should be banned from restaurants, but it's sad that so many parents have lost the ability to correctly discipline their kids and they seem unable to teach them how to behave in public places. It's a nightmare hoping to go out for a nice meal and a quiet chat with a friend or whoever, only to have the whole experience ruined by little monsters who run around, screech, scream and generally wreak havoc, whilst their parents sit and smile or ignore the bad behaviour. I'm not blaming the kids....it's the parents....they really should be teaching their children what's appropriate behaviour for certain places. For instance, it's fine for them to scream and run around in a children's playground, for example, but not in a restaurant, library, church or wherever. A supermarket close to me has put a notice up stating that children running riot and out of control in the store will, along with their parents, be asked to leave. Should the staff encounter an aggressive response from parents or children who are asked to leave for uncontrolled, riotous behaviour, the police will be called in. It's so sad that it's come to that, but these parents really only have themselves to blame and as always, at the end of the day, it's the children who suffer as without kind, proper, firm discipline, they aren't going to grow into adults who can fit respectfully into society. Rant over! :-)
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jul 11
I think you said it all in your first sentence. I believe the responsibility lies with the parents. I myself have 4 children and have NEVER had a problem with one of them in a public place. They know better! (My oldest is almost 20 now and feels the same way I do about kids misbehaving and parents not taking control of the situation.)
@patgalca (17829)
• Orangeville, Ontario
17 Jul 11
And how does one discipline an infant?
@Galena (9112)
17 Jul 11
you can expect a baby to be noisy. so for this reason a more formal restaraunt may choose to exclude them. and if they are noisy and can't be calmed in a reasonable amount of time by the parent, then the parent should remove them from the situation where they are disturbing others. that's just good manners. nobody will have malice towards a baby for crying, but when a parent does not either succeed in calming them or remove them from ruining other peoples evening out, then people get annoyed. older children can be taught that if they don't calm down and behave, then they will be taken home.
• United States
14 Jul 11
This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Let me know what place this is so I remember not to patronize them ever...even when I don't have the baby. I suppose the owner can do what he likes, but I think this will highly affect his business. He should only get patrons that don't have children which is not many. I think any self respecting parent would be offended. But then, there are those that want to go out and not have to deal with children. So it could be looked at both ways I suppose. I'm going to have to digress on this one. It's like going to a club that for 21 and over, which I prefer. Don't want to dance with the kiddies, lol. Double standard I know, buy hey, I'm playing the human card right here, lol.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Jul 11
You are right this is ridiculous. But it wouldn't even be a subject for discussion if the parenting in our country had not declined so badly. Don't you think?
• Israel
31 Jul 11
There are places for kids and places for adults. If a kid at the next table makes a lot of noise or gets out of his seat in McDonald's or fast food joint it's OK. It's a kids place. In a place like Denny's I tolerate kids as long as they sit their butt down and stay by their parents. In in a nice restaurant I expect everyone to sit down and talk softly. I'm paying a lot of money and I want a pleasant meal. I don't want to hear a brat screaming or to have sticky filthy kids running around me or my table. Unfortunately because so many parents refuse to be a parent; take their unruly kids to inappropriate places; kids need to banned at many mid priced restaurants.
• Valdosta, Georgia
14 Jul 11
I think it is wrong to ban children under 6. Not ALL children are rude and disruptive. I make my children behave. They know they better not act like animals anywhere we go. My mother's church always says how quiet and well behaved my children are in service! They are always complimenting me for that because other kids there scream and act horrible. So, I think there should be a sign up in the resturant that says if your child is disruptive or overly noisy we can refuse to serve you. There you go. That would stop most of it and they would deserve it. But for someone like me with my kids it is not fair at all. I know how to be strict, my kids know who the parent is. I think this is another assumption and generalization... NOT ALL CHILDREN ARE BAD, NOISY or DISRUPTIVE!
@yoyo1198 (3641)
• United States
19 Jul 11
Would you be brave enough to ask the parents to take the unruly kids out of there? I think I would.
• United States
17 Jul 11
No, not all children are misbehaving. I agree with that. However, and unfortunately, due to the lack of parenting for children these days the kids that ARE taught correctly have to suffer. I like your idea but here is the question I pose to this thought: Would all managers be able to be that confronting and ask people with disruptive children to leave?
@peavey (16949)
• United States
15 Jul 11
At first I disagreed with banning children because they're part of a family and it doesn't seem right, but restaurants should have the right to serve whoever they want to. Of course this means that if they refuse service to 6 year olds and younger, they can refuse service to others based on age, gender, financial means or social standing. Why not? So they cut their customer base. It doesn't hurt anyone but them, so let them do it. If I had children under six right now, would I even want to go to a restaurant where I knew they were unwelcome? Nope. If they don't want my money, I'll go elsewhere, no problem. If enough people thought that way, they might not even have to serve anyone.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jul 11
Wow. This is an insightful post! I hadn't thought of your point of making other choices in refusing service based on different criteria. Certainly something to think about.
• United States
15 Jul 11
I think it is a great idea. The sad thing is All of this could be avoided if parents could get their kids to be quiet. I'm all for this at posh restaurants , but at family style restaurants ? They can't. I heard the restaurant gained more customers! so the ban worked.
• United States
20 Jul 11
I don't think it's happening at family style restaurants. I think it's only upper scale establishments.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jul 11
Me too. Why would a family style restaurant ban children?
@youless (109334)
• Guangzhou, China
14 Jul 11
I will be very disappointed if there is a restaurant that will ban children. As I have a child and I pay attention to have a family time together. So if my child can't go to the restaurant, we won't go there. And this restaurant will lose the potential customers. I can understand that sometimes the children may cause troubles. But after all, one day they will grow up and will be your customers. So they will lose these customers and this is very stupid. McDonald's does a good job in this aspect because children all like going there. I love China
@Galena (9112)
15 Jul 11
a lot of people though, will go BECAUSE it's a child free zone, so they can have a quiet, grown up evening to rlax. I've read that the place in question has seen a rise in profits. some people will chose it over other places because they know there won't be any children there. yes, they lose custom from people wanting to dine out with their child, but they'll gain customers that want a grown up, more sophisticated atmosphere.
@CTHanum (8234)
• Malaysia
16 Jul 11
I agree with Galena. Not every restaurants have the same policy like McDonalds as we know that kids are one of the great customer of Mcdonalds so they will not follow the rules of banning kids for sure. I think the management of the restaurant have thought of the consequences the bad and good of having that rules. It sounds like no one will agree with it but I am sure they can gain more customers with it.(^^)
• United States
17 Jul 11
@ Youless, I see your point about the family time and I personally think that if your child is well behaved then there should be no problem. However, here in the states so many parents have forgotten or just plain neglected to teach their children manners in a restaurant. They run wild, sometimes crawling under the table of complete strangers and more. @Galena, I agree with you. I know if I am going out on a date with the hubby I will definitely pay a little more to go to an establishment that would be guaranteed to be quiet and stress free. @CTHanum, I agree.
@mommyboo (13176)
• United States
16 Jul 11
Apparently this WAS a specific type of restaurant, but I still disagree with this. To me this is AGE discrimination, which is against the law. I think this was one of those fancy places where generally people are not going to be bringing kids anyway, but I see some issues with this. First of all, the BIG HUGE AGE DISCRIMINATION thing going on. I don't think this is okay, it's like saying 'we don't want any senior citizens here'. Think THAT would get peoples' hackles up? Why is it okay to exclude children when very old people could be just as disruptive? Then what about couples who have a new baby? I know that my husband and I went out quite a few times with a baby and she slept THE WHOLE TIME. Not only did she not disturb us, she didn't disturb ANYBODY. Except for the presence of an infant carrier with a small blanket blocking the light, nobody would even know we had a baby with us. I also have a few things to say to the people who complain that all kids are brats and loud and disruptive. SOME OF THEM ARE NOT. I am offended that the owner of any establishment would ASSUME that ALL children are that way and therefore put a blanket rule to exclude ALL children based on the bad behavior of SOME. If the place is a BAR, I can understand banning children, but that's a well understood legal thing. I could also understand if they state 'no minors after 8 PM' or something similar. An all-out all-hours ban is ridiculous. Nobody is saying that children are the center of the universe, but neither are adults, especially arrogant ones who believe they deserve the right to move about the world without having to see children. If the children are misbehaving, the parents should take them home, and any establishment should reserve the right to ask such patrons to leave. I believe that is perfectly legal. I just do not believe that people should be punished BEFORE they commit a crime. A better idea entirely would be to post a sign which says 'any person who is obnoxious, destructive, disruptive, loud, or throwing a tantrum will be asked to leave this establishment and not invited back'. I have encountered more ADULTS who fit this description recently than children. I think these adults need to be made aware that their behavior is noted and not appreciated. It is my sincere hope that this restaurant suffers by having fewer patrons in the future. I certainly would not take my business there.
@coolcoder (2018)
• United States
16 Jul 11
You hope this restaurant suffers? Seriously? What about the employees who'd lose their jobs were this to happen? Somehow I don't think that your hope is going to be fulfilled, because there are too many people who relish the peace and quiet while they eat.
@yoyo1198 (3641)
• United States
14 Jul 11
Absolutely a good idea. More restaurants should do this. When I go out, which is seldom, I want to eat in an atmosphere free of noise and stress. Too often have I been forced to eat with small kids running around, sitting and whining, babies crying, throwing food all around, and just all manner of inappropriate behavior for a public place. I've refused to go back into establishments where I know there will be kids. It's bad enough that we have to deal with there shenanigans in groceries, movies, hairdresser's etc. A restaurant that will afford us a little peace and quiet for the duration of a good meal will receive my patronage over and over.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Jul 11
Hear hear! YEA! I agree completely. I too want a calm, peaceful, stress free dinner when I go out.
@veronizm (907)
• Philippines
15 Jul 11
I think it should just be a certain type of restaurant, and not all restaurants. I mean like for a fine-dining restaurant I guess it's understandable for the management not to allow kids inside the restaurant. In not-so-fancy restaurants though, like fast foods (McDonald's, Jollibee, etc), I think it's okay. I think the reason why the restaurant owners do this is because children, especially those throwing tantrums can be pretty disturbing and annoying to some customers who just wanted to have an enjoyable and relaxing meal, as well as to some businessmen and professionals having business lunch/dinner meetings. I do believe though that it should be the parents' responsibility to calm their children or bring them outside for a bit in order not to disturb the other customers. However, not all parents recognize this so perhaps that's why the restaurant owners have decided to impose such measures. I guess that when we have children, some things change. Like some privileges are no longer applicable and we have to understand and accept that. Like dining in fancy restaurants for instance.
@veronizm (907)
• Philippines
20 Jul 11
Yeah me too. If it's a family restaurant then I don't mind if there are kids around. I won't even be bothered that much even if they'd come to my table. As long as they don't steal my food!
• United States
20 Jul 11
I know that I for one will get up and leave if there are noisy disruptive children in an upper scale restaurant. And I will be sure to explain to the manager on the way out why I am leaving too. Now if it's a family style restaurant it does not bother me as much because of the setting. As long as the kids are not at my table bothering me then I won't say anything because it is after all a family style establishment.
@DualWebs (27)
• Lithuania
15 Jul 11
Well, in my opinion, children under X (6 as you said), should be banned from entering restaurants ALONE. But I'm concerned not about the children until 6, but about teenagers, who rather choose restaurant or cafe to spend the "free time" than to go to school. My classmates used to go to restaurants and cafes during lessons. This is not OK. That's why they never graduated... A child is a child and a scholar is a scholar. Child always has much free time, but scholar should go to school and not to restaurants or cafes. They are risking their future. That's all. Hope You got the picture.
• United States
20 Jul 11
Thank you for pointing out the point of view of older kids going into restaurants. It's an interesting point!
@wgacar (1)
• Vietnam
16 Jul 11
what? Some kind of racist?
@Galena (9112)
17 Jul 11
racist in what way?
@rowantree (1187)
• United States
15 Jul 11
I like the way you worded your question. Yes, it should be a certain TYPE of restaurant. I have no clear cut answer on this. I understand the restaurant's point of view...misbehaving children have gotten out of hand, it's a growing problem for that restaurant & they are consistently having regular customers complain. Here's where the TYPE of restaurant comes in. If it's a somewhat quiet establishment, then by all means, ban children. Although I wonder what age limit they've placed on the children...do they ban up to school age or say, to age 10? There are plenty of family friendly restaurants that you can take your children to in order to teach them the proper behavior. Good manners start at home, but kids definitely need to experience eating at restaurants in order to really learn what's expected of them. I think it's very sad that so many parents aren't willing to teach their children good manners and take them to restaurants expecting the restaurant staff and fellow customers to make exceptions for their children. If I'm going to a quiet restaurant, there's a reason for that - I expect it to be QUIET. I don't expect to have to deal with your child running up to my table to say "hi". I don't expect to have to see children running around the tables, interfering with the wait staff. I don't expect to have to sit through you yelling at your child over & over to come back to the table. The kids aren't the only ones misbehaving here, it's the parents as well!
• United States
25 Jul 11
I agree! It all has to do with the TYPE of restaurant. I mean we aren't talking about banning kids from McDonald's here. I feel if you go to a place where it's geared for kids then there is a certain level rowdiness and I would even say Kid fun. If it's a family style restaurant such as Jim's or Denny's I would expect the noise level to be that of kids talking/playing maybe even cryings. But not a kid running around the place poking their noses into another table. If it's the type of establishment that is geared towards adults having a nice quiet meal if a child is there it's definitely seen but not heard. If that child starts acting up leave and do so immediately. It all has to do with TYPE of restaurant. You are right. We are so on the same thought process on this one!
@applefreak (3130)
• Singapore
15 Jul 11
I totally agree with the ban. I can only wish this happens in my country too. I agree with an earlier post that parents have lost their ability to control their child(ren). Too many a times I've had my dining pleasure spoiled by a screaming child. Or have a child run into my chair, and running off without as much as an apology. If parents can't control their children, then they don't deserve to dine outside!
• United States
25 Jul 11
I agree with you on most except I don't think parents "lost" their ability to control their kids. I think they just simply don't "take" control of their kids. I suppose it's a matter of wording though. :)
@daeckardt (6237)
• United States
16 Jul 11
I think instead of banning kids, there should be a separate section, just like some restaurants have a smoking section. Families have a right to dine together, but adults have a right to not have to be exposed to misbehaving children. I think if it is a really fancy restaurant where formal attire is preferred, maybe they can get away with it; but most restaurants cater to families and should not ban children.
• United States
16 Jul 11
Great idea they should have separate seating areas. Isn't this what some do at home too where they have a separate seating area for all guests? Great idea.
• United States
15 Jul 11
I think if it is a high class restaurant where people expect service, food and atmosphere to be perfect, children should be banned if they are under 13. I work retail and it seems to me that parents do not take control of their children like they should. Kids need to be taught good manners no matter where they are at. I agree with the owner when he stated that the child is not the center of the universe.
• United States
25 Jul 11
Thank you for making your point! Under 13 sounds like a good age. I mean if someone is paying higher dollar for an evening out with a calm atmosphere then that isn't the place for a rowdy child in my opinion.
@K46620 (1986)
• United States
15 Jul 11
It's up to the restaurant, and it's okay with me. Restaurants try to serve their customers, that's the only way they make money, and certain customers want to go to places where there are not young children spoiling the experience with noise or whatever else.
• United States
25 Jul 11
You sound like an easy going person which is great. We need all types of people in the world to balance out. The problem is having an easy going manager of a high end restaurant allowing the kids to run a muck!
• United States
15 Jul 11
I don't think this is fair at all. Some children under the age of 6 are vary well behaved . M y child has manners and is vary well behaved in a public place specially a resistant. I think this Old fuddy duddy should step back and rethink his decision . I mean it is nice to go into a place that don't have children but people need to reinitialize that they were once a child and no matter where you go your gonna one, two or maybe five.
• United States
25 Jul 11
I don't think it's fair for the kids that have been taught to behave either. But sadly it's a situation where others have ruined it for them. A loud rowdy kid running all over the place during a meal out is NOT my idea of a good time at a restaurant.