A Restaurant Banned Kids Under 5 – And I’m Fine With It (Published in Kveller)

A North Carolina restaurant made news recently for banning kids under the age of 5. According to the news report, some parents are outraged calling it #discrimination, while others support the owner’s decision. The restaurant’s website clearly indicates that no children’s menu is available, and if the photo gallery is any indication, the establishment feels pretty non-child friendly to me, with its faux-marble statues and gold-gilded artwork. And guess what? As a mom who once took my kids out to meals, I’m fine with that. Isn’t it OK that some places are kid-free zones?

While it would be neat and convenient to package this decision as a hashtag and stand up for 5-year-olds who “deserve” to dine anywhere their parents please, can we just take a moment to think this through? Would such a ban exist if all parents insisted on a certain level of decorum at restaurants with a quiet ambiance? Of course, even the strictest parent cannot control aIl aspects of a 5-year-old’s behavior. But here’s what we can control: Our behavior.

And that means cutting our nice meals short if our kids are acting out.

Recently, I attended a working lunch at a casual spot in my town, when a loud wail nearly pierced my eardrums. I discovered an adorable, but unchecked kid climbing out of a high chair, about to hit the ground. The server caught me staring, and I was afraid she was about to tell me to mind my business, but instead she leaned in and whispered that she is exasperated and fed up, and wished the manager would step in. The parents at that table were enjoying Bloody Marys while their kids ran around visiting other tables, climbing the stone walls of the outdoor patio and drawing on the pavers with chalk their parents provided. (The server was outraged about this, too–who said the kids could draw on the floor?!)

I get it. Babysitters are expensive, and parents need to get out. But do parents have the right to go out when it infringes pretty seriously on the experience of others? And sure, the more we take our kids out, the more they learn, but at what cost?


3 Replies to “A Restaurant Banned Kids Under 5 – And I’m Fine With It (Published in Kveller)”

  1. Here and abroad we have, as never before, evolved into a “we vs. they” environment. This is a result of political as well as economic currents. Whereas in previous eras, one would be ashamed to assume victimhood status, today it is a badge of honor, whether on college campuses, political rallies and marches or in family restaurants. Our democratic societies have forgotten the collective “we the people” which can embrace norms and values that work for all; it’s also referred to as mutual respect. Acceptance of inappropriate child behavior evolves into unruly classroom and societal behavior.

  2. This is #discrimination fall out is the expected collateral damage we can expect as a result of turning everything into a victim-oppressor mentality.

    The child is a victim. The Restaurant, and anyone who thinks they are right, are the oppressors.

    That is of course interesting when you consider the same people that scream victim-oppressor and #discrimination are the same people that create and demand “safe spaces” for their “children” at Universities.

    Oh well… good for the owners. Nice piece Erris. And they should open more of these. There was a time when being a “discriminating” dinner was a good thing.

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