While drifting through my social media feed today, I came across a post from a parent. This parent was voicing his feelings about other adults parent-shaming him because his 3-year old was having a tantrum in a restaurant. Because she was having a tantrum, he took his child and left. The more than 200 comments that were made to this post got my attention more than the post itself.
Newsflash! Just because you have children, does not mean the world owes you anything or that the world must adjust to you and your children. I agree with one comment in particular. It said that there should be child free options besides bars for adult to enjoy. The person who made that comment was blasted and bashed by at least a dozen different people, and the negative commentary just kept going and going. I am appalled and disgusted by these reactions.
First, let’s get something straight. Yes, there should be kid free zones in public. I used to work in a bar. Signs posted on the doors said no one under age 18 allowed without parents. During the day, we expected children to be there. The lunch menu was great and we hosted family pool leagues on weekends. At night, was another story all together. We did not want children in the bar in the evenings or at night. Yet, people would bring their young children in to the bar at all hours, make the children sit and do nothing, all while the adults drank. On several occasions, the children would run wild, disrupt other customers, make messes, run into the kitchen area for staff only, and the parents completely ignored it! The parents just sat around drinking like nothing was going on! Against my managers advise, I called the local police on several customers one night. As they left the parking lot, they were pulled over. Got caught driving under the influence with minor children in the car. They deserved to get pulled over by the police.
When we go to a fast food restaurant, or anyplace with paper menus and crayons, I expect children to be there. I also expect those children to behave themselves. If they are screaming, yelling, having a tantrum, throwing food, running around like crazy monsters, please take your children and leave! I cannot count the number of times I have made my children leave because they were being loud, rude or refusing to sit at the table and behave. The result has been, as a family, we almost never go out to restaurants. My oldest has autism. If there is a TV on the wall, she cannot take her eyes off of it and cannot focus on anything, including her food. She will not notice that she is making a mess or that she is wearing her food. And she is 13. Now, I ask that we be seated someplace without a TV.
My middle daughter is ADHD. This child cannot sit still! She cannot stop talking! Ever. She is the main reason why we hardly ever go out anymore. Meal times at home are a fight because of her behavior, when we are in public, they are even worse. One time, A was bouncing around so much in a restaurant, that she almost knocked over the whole table. I started to cry in front of everyone and left. I did not order food, I did not eat. I sat in the car in the parking lot, alone; waiting for my husband and the girls to finish eating. That was over a year ago and now I can count on one had the number of times we have gone to a restaurant since then. Every time A asks to go out to eat, I tell her no because of her behavior. Yes, this makes her sad. No, I do not care.
I have walked out of stores and restaurants because I will not put up with other people’s children acting out and misbehaving. If you want a social life, go out to restaurants, bars, theatres, live shows, late night shopping trips, etc., hire a babysitter. If you have money to spend on these extras in life, then you have money to pay a babysitter. Do not bring your children to bars, do not let your children cry or disrupt everyone else in the audience, just because you want to see a movie. Do not become angry when other patrons give you dirty looks because your child is making a scene in public and you are not immediately removing your child. Society does not owe you anything just because you have children. Society does not have to put up with your child’s bratty behavior just because you want to go out. Stop expecting everyone else to put up with your children.
Some people decide not to have children. Does this mean they should not be allowed to patronize a quality restaurant unless they are willing to deal with your children? Some people find babysitters to watch their children so they are able to have an adult only evening. Does this mean they should only be allowed to hang out at bars?
Please consider the venue you are taking your children to when going out in public. Some places are just not suitable for children, no matter how badly the adults want to go. For those trying to find kid free zones, please remember that anyplace with a playland, kids menu or family orientated theme will most likely have children. Both sides need to pick their activities with more care and thought.