You knew I couldn't ask for your opinion without giving you my own, right?? Well, last friday's questions would be a novel if I answered them all together, so I'm going to split them up and give you my thoughts over the next little while. With less controversial posts in between. Ha!
Okay, so like I said, I first heard about the idea of Brat Bans on the radio. I was driving in my car and almost had to pull over because it made my blood boil so hard.
I love to go out without my kids. I mean, anyone who has or works with kids wants a break from the louder volumes and slower moving that come from most children. I get that. That being said, I think it's a TERRIBLE idea to promote times of the day (or certain days) when kids can or cannot come in a certain establishment.
If you don't want to be around children, then YOU change how you shop or go out to eat. When Mark and I go on a date and we don't want to be disturbed by other people's kids, we don't choose a restaurant like Applebees. And on the same token, we don't take our kids to places that are not kid friendly in their meal options or ambiance. These places know how to get the kids to not come without actually putting a sign on the door (hint: charge a fortune, have a super quiet atmosphere and don't have anything even slightly resembling chicken nuggets on the menu).
Same with shopping. Mom's shop during the day or early evening. If you don't want to go when they have their kids in tow shop at 10:30 at night. Or at 7:30 in the morning. It's pure bliss to be the first person in the store. (But I'll admit, that it's also fun to take a stroll through walmart on a saturday when I don't have kids with me, just so I can revel in it while I watch other people try to deal with their own kids. Unfortunately, when you do this, you still have to deal with walmart.)
Here's why my blood boiled at this story. To establish rules about when kids can or cannot go into public places makes them lesser citizens; it dehumanizes them. No one would be okay if an establishment discriminated against anyone else for their age, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. The only difference here is that the kids don't understand enough about how things work to speak out against it.
I'm SO tired of people seeing kids as a nuisance. "Things" that get in the way or have no place. They are part of what makes our society a society. Imagine a world without kids. We would feel hopeless!
Instead of trying to shoo them away we should instead teach them how to act. And as much as I think this is the parent's responsibility (and maybe it's poor parenting that drives us more crazy than the actual kids!), I think it's also everyone's responsibility. There are ways to help a child learn to behave in public without stepping in on the parent's turf. Even to praise a child who is doing well will help them continue this pattern the next time. We have been out to eat and stopped by an older couple who wanted to tell us how well behaved our kids were. Not only did that make MY day, but Mady beamed all the way home.
I think if businesses want to have positive experiences for their entire clientele they need to come up with positive ways to build into the character of the kids who pass through their doors. I would (and do!) remember a place of business who made me feel better or lesser about myself as a child and do or do not shop their as an adult because of that experience.
Those are my two cents on the subject. And I hope if you're childless (or have grown kids) you'll help end the discriminatory behavior against our kids by refusing to patronize places who have brat bans.