OUR VIEW: No-kids zones

Aug 9 2011 - 9:14am

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Family night
Family night

There has been a spate of businesses sending clear signals to children that kids are neither appreciated nor welcome on their premises.

A few stores, airlines, movie theaters have implemented no-kids zones for various times, sections or days. Perhaps the best-known example is an eatery in Pennsylvania that has forbidden toddlers (5 and under) from the restaurant.

Some have protested, claiming that parents and kids should not be singled out as troublemakers, and argue that it's a form of discrimination. Not really, though; people aren't being banned for gender, sexual orientation or race issues. That would be discrimination. If a business seeks to cater to an older crowd, adults, teens, singles, etc., it has a right to set an age limit that assures an ambience and experience that its paying customers want.

Also, businesses that ban kids do so with the knowledge that such a switch could be a risk. If customers are not happy with a ban on kids, then they will let the business know by not patronizing the establishment. Any business that loses customers as a result of any switch will likely learn enough from that experience to change.

There's one more point that needs to be addressed. The fact is that some businesses are making this shift because some parents are not overseeing their children in a manner that respects the rights of those paying customers near them. Whether it's in a air jet, a movie theater or a restaurant, an entire costly endeavour can be very unpleasant when a parent fails to shush or take other action to quiet a tired, cranky child.

When parents fail to take these responsibilities, when they somehow believe that their child's loud behavior is "adorable" or "cute," that is rude parental behavior that need not be tolerated.

Besides, a shushing at a restaurant or elsewhere is an excellent teaching tool for little ones who are constantly learning about what's appropriate and inappropriate in life.

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