Recently a restaurant owner in Pennsylvania banned kids under six years old.
“We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers,” he wrote.
A few weeks earlier, Malaysia Airlines banned babies from the first class cabin.
I’ll admit that I’m often irritated when I see unruly kids running amuck. It is especially troubling when my wife and I make reservations at a nice restaurant without our kids and we are constantly being interrupted by other people’s kids. I’m also a frequent flier and I’ve been appalled by some children’s behavior.
However, I don’t think banning kids is the right answer. The bigger problem is parents’ failure to control their children. Some parents have told me that they avoid correcting their children’s behavior because they don’t want to be embarrassed if their kids fail to comply. In their minds, it’s better to save face than to make their children behave.
When I was a child, my mother clearly explained how I was to behave in public. If I misbehaved, the consequences were swift and harsh. But my mother also knew that she had to expose me to different situations so I could learn the proper behavior. Sitting still doesn’t come naturally to children and they often don’t understand many aspects of social etiquette. These skills must be taught by their parents and if the children cannot grasp the concepts, parents must have the courage to remove the children so they don’t disturb other patrons or guests.
My wife and I have taught our children the important of being courteous and mindful of others when we go out to dinner, to the movies, to church or to any other social setting. Of course they get out of line sometimes, but my wife and I only have to give them a stern look to correct their behavior.
Parenting is an active job. We cannot passively sit back and allow our children to torment other people with their temper tantrums and unruly behavior. Parents must be parents and correct bad behavior as soon as it occurs. A little embarrassment is a small price to pay for a well-mannered kid.
Question: Were the restaurant owner and airline right to ban children?