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Your kids (and therefore YOU) are not welcome here

Have you noticed this anti-kid movement gaining steam in recent months and weeks? Large corporations and small businesses alike are beginning to impose bans on small children, preventing parents and children alike from patronizing particular establishments. Hey, we live in a free world and capitalist society and businesses are allowed to admit whomever they please on their premises. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that local pubs hung signs reading “No dogs No Blacks/No Irish allowed” in their door ways. I grew up accustomed to racial bigotry and it’s never really bothered me – but these are KIDS!

It all started with Malaysia Airlines instituting a policy saying they would no longer allow infants and children in first class. I’m not unsympathetic to that at all. If I paid 4 grand for a one-way ticket to Dubai, I expect to travel in peace in comfort as well. But from there, it has snowballed into restaurants, hotels and even grocery stores banning children before they hit the threshold. Having been single and childless not too long ago myself, I understand the impetus – that being many children are incapable of self-control and silence and that any good business owner wants their paying customer to enjoy their shopping/recreational experience. Rowdy children certainly do little to provide a serene atmosphere; but I don’t think an all-out BAN on kids under 6 is the answer! Surely if we employ a bit of common sense there can be some sort of compromise.

Take my kids for example: all four of my lovely, loquacious children. I know my children are outdoor kids, and so I do my best to keep them precisely in that environment – outside where they can run and scream to their hearts content. I don’t take them the Ritz for dinner (can’t afford it) and I would never take them to the Fox Theater (can’t afford it) unless there was a 6 week run of Tinkerbell and the Lost Acorn, where I would expect 80% of the audience to be 10 and under. I’ve been that parent in Barnes & Noble who’s had my four year old running helter-skelter all over the book nook and as a result had steely eyes glaring at me. I have enough shame to make my purchases quickly and then leave, explaining on the way out that because of his/her unacceptable behavior we now have to leave the premises and cut our fun short. Next time, my child does better. Do you ever wonder why some 4 year olds are capable of sitting peacefully and respectfully in church or at the library? It certainly isn’t because they were born that way, but rather because they were bred that way! Social interaction with other adults is key for that child to grow into a personable and responsible adult in the future…and turning 6 does not magically make that happen.

A ban on kids does not affect me personally, because I don’t have enough discretionary income that would allow me to ferry my children to establishments in which their presence would be a distraction (like the Ritz). My behavior will largely remain unchanged. I do feel for those parents – like the Jolie-Pitt family – that want their children to accompany them to such places however. It just seems so…rejecting.  It’s like you’ve got lice or bad body odor.

“You’ve got kids? Ugh. GROSS.”

On the other hand, who’s really going to ask Angelina and her latest designer orphan to leave their table at Flame in the event of a baby meltdown?

And like those “No Dog/No Blacks Allowed” signs of old, the signs are everywhere that kids are best kept out of sight and mind; until they’re needed for something useful like fueling an advertising campaign or busy being not born at (i.e. abortion). The irony today  is that Fido stands a better chance of getting into Whole Foods than Jr. does.

But businesses be warned! This generation will remember this day when THEY are the ones with the discretionary income and YOU are trying to coax those dollars off them. Nobody likes a hypocrite.

What do you think? Is a ban justified or should we all just try to get along? We were all kids at one point after all.

This article has 5 comments

  1. Saturday

    Malaka, I have to disagree with you. i love kids but i can’t stand parents who cannot control their children. Now lets be clear, parents of newborns who can only communicate through crying have my sympathy. But the other situations dry me insane. Parents are exhausted and sometimes want a break from their children, so they leave them to run buck wild in the aisle of planes. do you know how annoying that is??? I worked at a retail store which sells plates and glassess. why did some parents think it was ok for their children to play hide and seek in the store. I spent more time restraining children from running into a glass table whilst the parent got lost in retail therapy. Parents can be pretty selfish, they are used to their children’s noise and antics so they assume everyone can tune the noise out. Tell me why this woman on the bus watched her child hammer the iron railing with her toy. The noise which went on for 30 mins was driving everyone mad, you would think, the mother would tell Jr. to stop. no she didn’t , she had blocked out the noise and we had to suffer through it. back to the mall. when parents get to the mall, they really believe it is the appropriate place for their toddlers to practice their 1st steps. Do you know how many times i have almost trampled on babies. We are in an era where children are worshipped from day 1 to…..Parents have lost their ability to offer a balance between love, structure and discipline and i cannot stand it. As a result children as old as 6 cannot conduct themselves in public. I am not upset at the children, it is those who are supposed to raise them that piss me off. If children are to learn how to behave, i believe the lessons should start at home and not in public

  2. Malaka

    Yeah, but that’s my point. The onus is on parents is to raise children properly, meaning giving their children the ability to behave “acceptably” in public. How many teenagers have you encountered who equally don’t know how to act in public? How many hoodlums have also encountered on the bus…talking too loud and disrespecting other passengers? Do we ban them as well? i don’t think you can put a ban blanket on every child under six because you assume that they are automatically going to be a nuisance. That’s the essence of discrimination.

    I have also worked in retail, and I’ve had to ask kids to come out from under the risers when their parents are NO WHERE to be found. Had I dared to put a hand on Jr to pull him out, I might have been arrested for assault. At the same time, I’ve seen a good number of 3-4 year old who are capable of self control. Any parent with any amount of shame doesn’t want people in the bus/mall/store staring at them with disgust. But I do agree with you: there is more than a fair amount of baby worship in the West. The sooner it ends, the better.

  3. Saturday

    The difference, is you can address most teenagers and ask them to keep it down and they will. (most of the time). To get to a belligerent child you have to talk to the oblivious or obnoxious parent. Wait for the drama they will unleash on you. They become defensive instead of sympathetic. they feel judged and ish. Bottomline is a child that is unruly in public (providing they don’t have a medical issue) and in front of their parents, knows they cannot be controlled by the adult and that is why they act that way. in 10 years these toddlers become the raz clots that torment my public transport. Maybe this is not about children, Maybe the solution is for me to get a car or a private jet , or a cook. until then it is sshhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    PS. you sound so much happier in south africa than america. very happy for you. hope hubby, and the children are doing great

  4. Malaka

    “The difference, is you can address most teenagers and ask them to keep it down and they will. (most of the time).” – You clearly have never ridden MARTA. The Canadian transit system must be a utopia!

    Yes, much happier here than in the States, but alas all good things must come to an end. We leave to go back in a few weeks ;(

  5. David S.

    The difference is that to a certain extent teenagers can be held responsible for their actions so they have some incentive to behave well. If a teenager misbehaves in the bus he can be thrown off the bus, fined or arrested. You can’t have a 5 year old kid arrested for causing a disturbance in your store, or for that matter even for smashing a $300 vase. You can try to hold the parent responsible but you have no guarantee that the parent will also turn around and punish the kid which means that kids have no deterrent and no incentive to behave. Teens do.
    On another note what is with all this new crap at the bottom of this box? I haven’t seen any of this before. Facebook login? Twitter login? Are they serious? One comment that I am trying to leave. At this rate a facebook login will become like the internet equivalent of a social security number.

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