Stop Discriminating Against Kids and Parents

By KyAnn Lewis, Editor

I was offended this week when a Pennsylvania restaurant made headlines for banning kids under six, but I wasn't surprised. More and more, kids (and, by default, parents of those kids) are being shut out and discriminated against. If it's not restaurants, it's airplanes or something else. I reached my limit yesterday when I noticed that #youngkidsshouldbebannedfrom was a trending topic on Twitter. Of course, many of the comments were extreme. The story on Yahoo! Shine about the restaurant banning kids has over 20,000 comments and is "Most Popular" on the site, four days after it was published. If you have kids, don't read the comments. Apparently we're bad parents for taking our kids out to restaurants and anywhere else. One Twitter mom, Elizabeth@Split Milk said it perfectly, "By the way, when you say #youngkidsshouldbebannedfrom a place, you also mean mothers should be banned."

As a mom of a three-year-old, I'll be the first to admit that my child doesn't always behave the way I'd like her to when we're in public. Personally, as parents we are hyper-aware when our daughter is misbehaving, and in an effort to avoid stares and glares, we remove our child from the situation until she calms down. Do all parents do this? No. Do some parents let their children run wild? Unfortunately. But is it possible to control everything your kid does? No! They are kids, not little robots.

I don't understand the backlash against kids. Do I need to remind you that we were all kids once? I guarantee that each of us threw a tantrum at some point and, gasp, it might have happened in a public place.

Related: A Mom's List of Restaurant Gripes

I believe our child has a right to fly and we shouldn't have to sit in a certain section of the airplane. I believe children should be allowed at restaurants and not just at fast food chains. Overall, I don't think kids should be discriminated against even if they sometimes cry and make noise. As a civilized society, why should we tolerate discrimination against anyone?

Perhaps that's why I was floored by #youngkidsshouldbebannedfrom on Twitter. I'm including a few of the choice comments here (with spelling and grammatical errors included).

  • A guy named Phil Torcivia declared that kids should be banned from "restaurants, my front lawn, skateboards, public pools, young parents."

  • Someone named NuNu Taylor said, "Takin flights! While the parent is on the plan the kid shud be shipped via Fed Ex!"

  • Allilyah X feels, "all supermarkets theres really no use for them whilst shopping the screaming/crying only mkes you wanna box em!"

  • Chris McCabe says, "everywhere! Despise them!!!"

  • And I loved the comment from LL Prater, who said, "Don't ban them. Just require a muzzle and leash whenever out in public."

There were thousands of comments on this subject so this is a very small sampling, but the sentiment was clear - a lot of people think kids just don't belong in public.

Related: Top 10 Signs You're Ruining Your Kids' Social Lives

As parents, we make an effort to expose our daughter to arts and culture. We don't confine our dining to fast food (because critics would judge me for that, too). She knows what she likes to order at a Thai restaurant. She can use chopsticks. She also knows it's polite to say please and thank you and to use her inside voice while dining.

Outside of what and where we eat, we try to make her a well-rounded citizen by showing her the world around us. She has a passport and has traveled abroad. And, yes, that means she's flown on an airplane. In fact, she's probably flown more times than a lot of the grown-ups complaining about kids on planes. Of course, she does plenty of kid-friendly stuff, too, like bounce houses and theme parks, but we've even received eye-rolls at amusement parks from disapproving adults who seem surprised to see children at Disney World.

Limits and Common Sense

It's too bad that a certain section of society would rather have us keep our kids locked up indoors until they've reached a suitable age to be introduced to the public. By the way, what is a suitable age for children to be set free into the world? I see plenty of rants about tweens and teens, too, after all. Will our kids be ready for this world if they're not exposed to it?

Related: Is It Ever OK To Lie About Your Kid's Age?

Are there places that are inappropriate for young kids? Absolutely. Like maybe the bar, happy hour, the spa, tanning beds, an R-rated movie (I saw a young kid at Black Swan!), Facebook, you know, that kind of stuff. Do I take our daughter out to a fancy restaurant on a Saturday night? No. After all, I respect that grown-ups on a date night might not want to hang out with my kid. I just don't think they should plaster signs outside that say "No Kids Allowed".

I try to exercise common sense when it comes to my child. I respect that not everyone thinks she's as cute as I do. But this bias against kids - and their parents - has gone too far. I have to say that I've encountered plenty of rude, smelly, loud, obnoxious adults in all of these places where kids are alleged to be the trouble makers. C'mon people. Have some tolerance.

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