Feature photo by tacitrequiem
Last week, a restaurant in Pennsylvania bravely decided that it was not going to take children’s screaming and shouting and failure to act within decorum. They have put a ban on those citizens under six, a decision which has resulted in an resoundingly negative response from parents who feel their children are being attacked because of their age and their limited rights. At the risk of sounding a bit childish, that’s bullshit.
Now, I’m not saying all children are assholes, but most are. That’s not the issue. They can’t help but act like that because of what they are after all. For my own part, I remember being very problematic as a child, having travelled to Mexico every year for the holidays. Not only was I a nightmare at eating establishments locally, but as my mother never fails to mention, I was even more of a terror abroad. It wasn’t necessarily my fault though: Acapulco is hot as hell in mid-December, and I was an asshole. I feel the need to mention that in order to let parents know I’m not attacking the terrible children they cannot seem to control. Also, I want to let people know that I understand the need for this solution that has been employed because I was that kid they are trying to avoid.
My beef isn’t with the kids, it’s with their parents. You know the type of delusional, young, urban parents eager to rejoin the social circles that they were in before having deciding to add on to the national-another-mouth-to-feed clock. These are the parents who believe that their child is the most deserving and worthy and incapable of making any mistakes. These are the parents who threaten to count to three and end up at thirty three. These are the people who make me pro-choice.
I find that people have gone soft on children and completely replaced appeasement in favor of discipline. Yes. I was a right terrible ear-sore as a child, but my parents might have been burned out by my sister’s public behavior, which they reprimanded in a more traditional manner. Now, I’m not condoning child abuse, but there is a difference between striking your child and maybe pinching a tiny bit of flesh at the back of the arm or pulling at the short hairs in an effort to shut your offspring up. However this isn’t what this is about, although it is a big part of it.
Let’s call a spade a spade and recognize that this dependence on parenting and the culture that comes with it has effectively neutered many in the populous. Why must we consider the needs of children we never chose to raise yet have the unlucky fate of living in a village that need to raise it. If you are a stranger and have children, do not tell me to lower my volume as I relish in the telling of a particular liaison I might have had that week, or when I use an expletive or any other number of factors that will occur during a conversation between adults.
Many people may say that this is America and it is a free country and these parents are free to bring their tiny terribles to public places such as restaurants. The thing is, restaurants are not necessarily public places. In a country where this is culinary acceptable, we have taken the ceremony and wonderment that accompanied eating out by being accompanied with shushes and looks from parents concerned with the prospect of their children being exposed to what they deem as unsavory. People tend to forget that as businesses, they do have the right to refuse service to anyone. The outrage against refusing service to these children is stripping them of their humanity by ironically removing them of their relevance. Children are not some special interest group; they are children. More importantly they are your children, not mine. Unless you can find a way to keep their volume and behavior down, maybe go to Burger king instead of Blackbird.