Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Children are people, and so am I.

Recently, Malaysian Airlines took the bold step of banning children from their first class cabins. Since then, several other organizations have jumped on the bandwagon, including other airlines, restaurants, and some movie theaters. For an interesting article on this phenomenon, check Yahoo Shine.For the counterpoint to the article, click here.

I have to say, I see this argument from both sides.

As a consumer and a broke-ass-but-making-it chick, when I spend money on a treat for myself, it's kind of a big deal for me. Going out to dinner or a movie is an unusual event in my world, so when I do so, only to find that there is a kid at the table behind me, continually throwing his Hot Wheels toy at my back and having it land under my feet, I'm annoyed. Yes, this happened, yes I glared at the mom, no she didn't care.

I've gone to movies (not kid's movies) and had parents who had screaming kids remain in the theater and drown out the film. When someone (rightly) got a movie theater employee to ask the person to step out and calm their child, they loudly refused, proclaiming that they'd paid to watch to movie, and that's what they were going to do.

When I worked as a server, I very nearly scalded and permanently scarred at least a dozen kids when they mistook my section for a jungle gym and raced around me, causing me to scramble to keep my tray from falling.

I'd like to say it's the parent's responsibility to keep their kids in check, and not the airline/restaurant/theater. However, regardless of where you stand in the debate, I think we can ALL agree that parents do not take kindly to having anyone suggesting they might NOT be in control of their kids.

But, on the other hand, a ban is condemning ALL parents and kids to the same fate, instead of formulating a solution to actually resolve the issue at hand.

There are many, many good parents who know what movies are appropriate to take their kids to, that teach kids to sit quietly at the dinner table (and *gasp* bring ACTIVITIES to keep them entertained!), and are respectful enough to remove a child having a tantrum from a situation that really doesn't need a tantrum.

There are many good parents who enjoy taking their kids out for the fact that it teaches them social skills. After all, how can we expect young people to know what's appropriate when they're teenagers or adults when they haven't been allowed to navigate life in public as a child?

Why should a well-behaved child be deprived of the chance to see Swan Lake because a counterpart in her age group couldn't be contained?

What's the cost on the flip-side when we prevent younger people from experiencing life in public, from being exposed to culture and cuisine in the adult world?

Honestly, I'd be supportive of a movie theater having a no-children-after-9-pm policy. Then I know that I can go see a film in peace. Besides, if you're bringing a small child to an adult-rated movie after 9pm, I'd offer that you may have some lessons to learn in parenting, anyway. I'd also be supportive of restaurants the exercise their rights to refuse service to anyone by refusing to serve the couple whose child just knocked over a table in my section.

There are, quite frankly, some places that kids SHOULDN'T be, and some parents simply aren't responsible enough to acknowledge that.

But punishing ALL children for the actions of a few bad parents? Not appropriate.

1 comment:

  1. *applause* I agree with you on every count and I have a little rugrat who throws his share of tantrums. I have the common courtesy enough to exit the premises if he is making a scene. It's the irresponsible parents who give kids a bad name.


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