RIGHT ON! I just saw a report on the Today Show (I don’t have cable, so my morning news options are limited) about restaurants in the Chicago area who are enacting rules for children who are dining in their establishments. One coffee shop has posted a sign politely asking parents to ensure that their children use “inside voices”. I say, “IT’S ABOUT TIME!” Don’t get me wrong, I love children. My husband and I want a house filled with children…but we, unlike so many parents today, plan to teach our children to behave.
Working in the customer service industry I can remember wanting desperately to be able to admonish parents to get their kids under control, so I am glad that stores and restaurants are taking the initiative to not only teach children how to behave in public if the parents aren’t going to, but also to ensure that patrons who are irritated by the behavior of out-of-control children are not driven out of their minds when trying to eat or shop. I can remember, when working at Victoria’s Secret, being on dressing room duty and seeing a couple of little boys sticking their heads under the doors to see the women in the changing rooms. The mother said and did nothing – and neither could I for fear of insulting the mommy who thought her little boys were “just being boys” (and thus losing my job.)
The funny thing is that the parents with the monster children are upset that anyone would ever dare tell them how to raise their little darlings…they’re staging boycotts and whine-fests. I like the boycott idea…if you can’t keep your children under control and you don’t like going to places where the owners force you to keep your children quiet, then that’s just fine with me. I would never advocate the state coming in and telling you how to raise you’re children, but business-owners have every right to say “keep your children under control, or leave.” Don’t like it? Go someplace else.
I have recently heard that some establishments, however, are banning children altogether. With this I do not agree. We cannot punish the entire population for the flaws of a few. I have a number of friends whose children are better behaved than a lot of adults I know, and to forbid them from frequenting certain establishments is ridiculous.
So, business owners, my suggestion to you is to take some initiative and set up some behavior guidelines for children (and maybe grown-ups, too) who enter your establishment. “Inside voices” is a nice requirement, as is not using the store as a playground. But don’t dare ban children altogether, or you may miss out on some wonderful patrons.
And parents, children need rules (oh, and they actually need to be forced to follow them). Swallow your pride and admit it if your kids are out-of-control. There is nothing good about letting your children do what they want…how will they learn to be productive members of society if they don’t understand that certain behaviors are simply unacceptable? (such as peeking under the changing room doors at the Victoria’s Secret.)