Friday, September 10, 2010

No Screaming Kids Allowed!

So, a restaurant in North Carolina has taken a stand against the noise created by young whippersnappers and put up signs proclaiming, "No screaming children will be tolerated."  According to the article I read, if a patron's child gets too be too loud, the patron is asked to remove the child until they calm down.  If the child does not calm down to an acceptable level, the patron and the child are asked to leave. 

Discrimination?  Some parents are arguing that this kind of policy is discriminatory, that it doesn't take into consideration children with special needs like autism who may have little to no control over their volume or outbursts.  To me, this seems like a bit of a stretch.

As the mommy of two very loud, very energetic boys under the age of 3, I am well aware of the disturbance young kids can make in a restaurant.  In my opinion, the responsibility falls squarely in the laps of the parents to do two things:  1.  Keep your children's behavior under control  2.  Choose an appropriate dining choice.

1.  I don't care if I am eating at McDonald's (which I never do) or at a picnic table in the park, I expect my boys to behave.  Isaiah is well aware of what behavior is appropriate and what is not when we were eating out.  He knows he has to sit down, use a quiet voice, use manners, and be patient.  If he launches into a tantrum or misbehavior, my husband or I is right there to stomp on it and remove him to the car or the bathroom if need be to correct it.  If he can't get it together, we leave.  Simple as that.  There was a good chunk of time were we did not ever go out to eat anywhere because Isaiah simply could not handle it.

2.  Of course, Micah is still a baby, so his behavior is much harder to keep under wraps.  It's important for parents to understand their children's limitations and to choose their dining options carefully.  There is no way on earth I would go out to eat at a fancy steak & seafood restaurant with my children.  I understand that other diners are there to spend their hard-earned money on a nice, relaxing night out and the last thing I want to do is spoil it.  On the other hand, if I bring my kids to a casual, family dining, Mom & Pop joint (like I do very regularly - I work at one!), I expect fellow patrons to understand that my kids are kids and to not get offended or upset when Isaiah comes running out of the bathroom proudly announcing he made a big poop (which he has most certainly done) or when Micah starts to chuck his food on the floor when he's finished. 

Where do you stand on this issue?  I think this could be a really interesting debate topic and I'm intrigued to see what you think.  Care to weigh in?

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