Five Reasons to Ban Disruptive Children From Restaurants

Categories: The List

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A bustling tourist restaurant, Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey, California, really rankled some parents when it recently posted a sign prohibiting strollers, high chairs, booster seats, loud kids and crying babies. Restaurant owner Chris Shake says if customers don't like the rules, they can go somewhere else to eat, and he isn't concerned about the decision affecting business. But is it the right sort of business to be effectively banning rowdy kids from restaurants?

You bet your asses it is -- and here are five reasons why banning disruptive children from restaurants is perfectly okay. Maybe it's time that lazy, unconcerned, pushover parents stop ruining everyone's dining experiences.

See also: Ten best kid-friendly restaurants in Denver

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5. Poorly supervised children disturb other diners.
This point is an easy one to make, and it's hard to deny. Unsupervised tots running amok in restaurants create a messy, noisy, chaotically frenzied atmosphere and it's irritating as all hell to try and have a calm, quiet, orderly meal while other peoples' less-than-adorable special snowflakes are yelling, throwing food, hitting and kicking things and nosing around the dining room. Parents are generally not fond of strangers chastising their offspring, and even less pleased when they are called out for their poor parenting and terrible manners, so what are harried diners supposed to do when their meals are being disrupted?

Aside from grabbing the nearest screaming hell-spawn and giving them a well-deserved whuppin' (wishful thinking, but not a good idea) there isn't much that can be done, so having a kid-free restaurant solves this problem.

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4. Restaurants that are not kid-centered don't always have ways to entertain restless children.
Some parents lack either the common sense or foresight to keep their children entertained or focused on eating their food. Many child-friendly (or at least child-tolerant) restaurants offer coloring books, crayons and paper place mats, small toys and expedited kid's meals to help parents keep their shorties from morphing into diminutive demons. But some parents seem to forget that these are given out as a courtesy, that dining establishments are not daycare centers, and that restaurant staff members are not babysitters.

It's the parents' responsibility to keep their kids reasonably quiet and orderly during the course of their meal, but when parents can't be bothered to do this, there comes a point when restaurants have to act in the best interest of their clientele as a whole.

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3. Unattended children can get hurt and cause accidents.
When children aren't properly looked-after and in full grabby-mode after being fueled by an extra-large fruit juice or soda, then hot food, full beverage glasses, sharp dining utensils, high tables and chairs and small objects can be a recipe not only for disturbances, but for actual damage. Kids running around a dining room unchecked also have the potential to slip and fall, smack into servers carrying heavy trays of food and drinks, climb on furniture or decorations, and even wander off into kitchen, bar or food prep areas.

Children don't always have the coordination, social skills or, sadly, the home training necessary to avoid accidentally hurting themselves or causing mishaps.

For more reasons why banning unruly kids is okay, read on...


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304 comments
Erik Pritchard
Erik Pritchard

I have a well behaved kid and agree with banning kids. How did this turn into an anti woman argument? I don't wanna have to go tell a lazy ass parent (and it sounds like some of these defensive bitches in the comment thread are in the ones I'm talking about) to shut their little accident up. Go to family friendly restaurants or get a sitter you self entitled fucks. Believe it or not, the only person who gives a shit about your kid is YOU.

Elaine Pratt Pils
Elaine Pratt Pils

Parents have to eat too. Sitting at home leads to depression. Any child under 4 with traveling parents will go crazy in restaurants no matter how great the parenting. My daughter, Becky, Dallas/Ft Worth City Planner, shook up her share of restaurants in her day. Doug, San Antonio Sports Editor, threw food at people across Europe and had his butt spanked each time. They turned out ok.

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

Oh Brooke Austin, my excuse is when I go to a restaurant, I'm not loud, I tip well, and I'm courteous to the servers. If I were an asshole to them they would have every right to deny me service. Quit being a vapid twit

Shauna Stenzel
Shauna Stenzel

Unfortunately parents bring their kids to the bars that serve food too, I've seen it over and over it's very disturbing. If your child has a disorder then maybe YOU should take that in to consideration when going out to fine dining & maybe choose a more kid friendly environment where your kid can get disruptive without annoying people paying good $$ for their meal... ? Hmm, what a concept. If you want to enjoy fine dining, welp there is always a baby sitter.

Shauna Stenzel
Shauna Stenzel

Jenni: They are not banning GOOD children that have been taught to behave in public, only the bad, disruptive ones. If your kids behave then you are most welcome. :)

Shauna Stenzel
Shauna Stenzel

You CAN control a child's actions & outbursts!! By disciplining your child and making it LOUD AND CLEAR to them that they are to sit quietly and have manners or they will be in trouble! It starts in the home. You must be one of 'those' parents that can tune their disruptive child out, you are the reason we need MORE of these restaurants & signs!

Laura Chapin
Laura Chapin

Do your research Margaux - it's legal... any suit would never make it to court. And by the way, this place isn't an isolated incident -it's taking place all over the country. Customers have had enough. You and I may have dined in public places when we were kids but I guarantee we were parented differently than most are now. And... as you've so well demonstrated, we live in a sue happy, overly sensitive country so it's easier for a company to institute an out right overall ban rather than ask individual people to leave based on a real time incident as needed.

Margaux Milchen
Margaux Milchen

I have no small children ..but..since I disagree, I will take my money somewhere else. Elitist bull. My parents always took us to the best places. We were raised correctly.

Keith Anderson
Keith Anderson

They should just simply state no thoughtless, irresponsible, narcissistic, self-indulgent parents (or their child rearing crap) allowed. I can't stand people who act like just because they managed to reproduce now the world must be their child's romper room and everyone should play Mary-fuckin-poppins for their kids.

Marcia Johnson
Marcia Johnson

I, for one, wish more paces would do this. I can't stand loud kids and trying to get around strollers.

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

Tabitha, Parents bring kids to bars all the time too, even after 8pm

Julie Eaton
Julie Eaton

my son is 9. he is no way ready to go to anywhere beyond a family geared eatery. now plenty of kids are. mine just happens to be a loud kid who has a hard time sitting still. so until he can i am doomed to paper napkins and sticky booths. i know someday he will be able to control himself. then we will give it a try. i just dont understand people who just sit and let their kid cry or be disruptive. when my kid takes it over the limit we are done. we ask for a to go box and out the door we go. my son learns a lesson and we save others from putting up with our crap. you dont need to train your kids in a five star establishment. try denny's first!!

Dalton Brown
Dalton Brown

Exactly. As a business you may refuse anyone for any reason. It's your business. Til you own a stake or have a say in the bills just stfu.

Dalton Brown
Dalton Brown

Fuck yeah. Take your screaming heathen the fuck outta here. Same with movie theaters .

Laura Chapin
Laura Chapin

Ugh no... to eat in peace IN A PUBLIC RESTAURANT where decent behavior is expected (yes, that goes for adults too) shouldn't require eating in a bar. You are one entitled woman. If your child has a melt down I don't blame the child, especially if they have a condition that contributes to it... but I do blame YOU as the (so called) responsible adult if you don't then remove yourself from the situation. You can let it "play out' without being so rude and insensitive to others. Why should a restaurant full of diners (and the staff) deal with it when you're clearly infringing on every one else's dining experience. Selfish selfish.

Tabitha Livengood
Tabitha Livengood

There are adult oriented places they are call bars they serve food too an I'm not talking about a crapy little bar either. There are actually high end bars that are for just adults. My youngest child has outburst that I can't control bc of him being SPD and ASD. so to punish me for something that is out of mine or anyone else control is just BS. These outburst come unexpectedly and again nothing I can do but let them play out.

Tabitha Livengood
Tabitha Livengood

I agree with you Skye Cameron. And as far as how a child acts and saying it's the parent Clara Madrid do you have children and if you do by chance do you have a child that is ASD or SPD? You can not control when a child is going to have an outburst just as you can not control what any other individual will do at any given moment. Things can change at the drop of a dime and a child can and will have a melt down. It has nothing to do with how the parent(s) have taught their child/children and everything to do with that child/children's surroundings at that time. So when you say that you have to parent a parent that's total BS. Yes I do understand not all parents are great parents but you can not blame the parent nor the child/children when YOU do know their life struggles!!!!!!

Jeremy Coss
Jeremy Coss

Carla, technically yes. That also includes white people on that list. Anyone is anyone. It's funny, no one really complains when businesses refuse to allow people in a restaurant if they are wearing gang colors or types of clothing because their safety is in question, take away a factor of kids and suddenly everyone is up in arms.

Laura Victoria Serdikoff
Laura Victoria Serdikoff

I do cook. After ten years dining alongside a critic, I am quite content to eat at home.

sheehanlv
sheehanlv

One of the best things about Denver is its casual, welcoming environment. No rigid dress policies. No harsh anti-kid policies. These are good things. It's allowed dining out to become an everyday activity, rather than a special occasion activity. It's also a tourist town. If you prevent families from dining together at your independent restaurants, you're encouraging tourists to spend their money at chains. Age restrictions not only scare away diners, but prevent a restaurant from attracting the next generation of diners.

Sarah Morehead
Sarah Morehead

Laura, or you could, you know, learn how to cook. Then you could eat as much as you want! Take your own advice.

Scott Davis
Scott Davis

100 bucks says the restaurant owner doesnt have kids.

Sarah Morehead
Sarah Morehead

I'm sorry if my preference to quiet dining offends you. Boo hoo. Disciplined children don't bother me. Brats bother me.

Giovanna Follo
Giovanna Follo

So it starts with banning rowdy kids. How about the sexist patron. The drunk patron. The one that acts to gays. The one who has too many tattoos. The list can go on. We are so against discrimination is this not a form of discrimination. By the way the smart parents don't like to go to restaurants that don't have food for kid, too dark of a venue, conversations where people swear loudly. We so need to be careful about this.

Carla McCabe
Carla McCabe

So you're saying a business also has the right to refuse service to a black, Jew, gay, or disabled person? Wow, and here I thought our Declaration of Independence stated “all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness...".

Laura Victoria Serdikoff
Laura Victoria Serdikoff

A well-behaved tot can go feral unexpectedly. One doesn't become civilized overnight. There are hiccups along the way, and the only way to learn how to behave in a restaurant is to GO to a restaurant. Do you really want kids to learn how to dine out by visiting Chuck E. Cheese? Even the best parents can't prevent an occasional meltdown. Most parents do try their best and are mortified by an outburst. Lazy? Try exhausted. Because if you think it's irritating to be around a child for an hour, try it 24 hours a day. Babysitters? Sure, as often as possible. But children need to learn proper behavior, and they can't do that in their living rooms or Chuck E. F**king Cheese. Parents of young kids, try to dine out at lunch, weeknights or 5pm. Stuff some crayons in your purse. Box up your entrees if the kid has hit the point of no return and make a quick exit. Everyone else, order another goddamn drink (you're a grown-up. there are benefits) and get over it. You get to go home to a quiet house and a good night's rest. Quit your bitching.

William Sparks
William Sparks

Right on Jenn. I have owned many restaurants and today's kids are beasts.

Stacie Demchak
Stacie Demchak

Jason Beck You sound like a good dad. Give it a try. That's how my little one learned.

Stacie Demchak
Stacie Demchak

Charlene McCune What does that have to do with this article? Did you read it?

Jason Beck
Jason Beck

As a new father this is why we haven't gone to any restaurants as we are afraid our son might get loud, he doesn't at home but if he's not being fed at a constant pace he puts his hands in the air a grunts, not loudly.

Rose Dmytrasz
Rose Dmytrasz

A parent is responsible for their kids manners...throw them out and teach the kids manners

Eric Yetzer
Eric Yetzer

Are you a person of color other than white?

Shane Linart
Shane Linart

This article should be titled 5 Reasons Why Some Humans Should Be Banned From Restaurants. Replace "Child" with drunks, dog owners, high pitched cackling ladies, large parties, or whomever might not act in a prim civilized manner at all times. If Ms. Wohletz is such need of a quiet dinner devoid of humanity she should cook at home.

Kate Ternes
Kate Ternes

I agree with this whole heartedly. There are other places to take children for a diner out. I appreciate not having to listen to a child scream while I'm eating and not dodging them while I'm working. I also appreciate parents who teach their children good manners and make a point to catch them as they leave (after they've paid and tipped) to tell them how appreciated they are. I should have to explain to someone that their child should keep their shoes on because there could be broken glass on the floor (in a carpeted hotel bar) or that they should keep their child from climbing/jumping on the glass drink tables because mom and dad could give a shit. That's not what I come to work to do, and it shouldn't have to be. Bring your awesome, well mannered kids! Absolutely! Don't bring your wildlings and expect someone else to deal with them. Pretty standard etiquette don't you think?!?

Jesse Brecheisen
Jesse Brecheisen

Good, it's about time some restaurants finally crack down on disruptive children; it should also go without being said that a microbrewery is NOT an appropriate place to bring your children period, yet I can't count how many times I've seen them at any given brewery.

Joe Zigmond
Joe Zigmond

No problem. But, shouldn't the same apply to loud, obnoxious adults? Why do they get a free pass? #icallbullshit

Jonah Menzies
Jonah Menzies

Well, I have had enough of Jenn Wohletz's shitty articles. She makes Michael Roberts's blurbs seem Pulitzer-worthy.

Felicia McBain
Felicia McBain

I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that restaurants should not serve a party that is being disruptive, even children. I have an almost-5 year old and purposely did not bring her to any dine-in restaurants until I thought she had the proper manners to do so. On the one or two occasions that she misbehaved, we got take-home boxes and left before we had finished our meal; this is the only acceptable action for a parent to take if they cannot allow other customers to have a good time. It is not fair that I should have to suffer the unpleasantness of inconsiderate, pretentious assholes and their asshole kids when mine has better manners than most adults.

Pati Evans Espenlaub
Pati Evans Espenlaub

Not to mention that conversation is impossible in restaurants where children are allowed to speak at the top of their voices!

Jenny Koziatek Benz
Jenny Koziatek Benz

The phenomenon of bringing small children to high end restaurants boggles my mind. I am a parent, however when I am having adult time I don't want to be around other children especially at high end restaurant. GET a babysitter people!

no-effing-spam
no-effing-spam

Um, nope.  There are child-oriented places that will welcome your child and its uncontrollable outbursts.  You are responsible for the disturbance.  You are the one who should be inconvenienced, not everyone else.

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