There was an article a couple of weeks ago in the Daily Local News about restaurants that have begun to prohibit little children from entering the establishment, even with the presence of a parent or a chaperoning adult.
The restaurants mentioned in the story as to banning little children were not local restaurants. But when I read the blurb I thought it was interesting because I know and go to dinner with people who hate it when little children are around.
A favorite "hang-out" of mine, Pizza Hut gets a lot of children in there. Of course, the children are usually accompanied by an adult, but that doesn't guarantee a well-behaved child. At times it begs the question, who's minding the children?
On one particular visit to the restaurant, I was with my friend Nancy and her (adult) son, John. A couple and their two kids were seated at a table next to our booth. Well, the little girl was carrying on to the point of it being a nuisance. Nancy and I kept looking at each other as to say when are the parents going to rein her in. Finally, the little girl yelled a piercing scream - the kind that is hurtful to the ears. After that, the father did grab the girl and took her outside. When they returned, she was better behaved, but our dinner was already ruined.
"I think they should only allow children on one side of the restaurant," said Nancy.
I suggested she make that suggestion to the manager, but she didn't. She didn't want to make waves. And, besides the way the restaurant is set up, you can usually hear a child who's acting up way across the room.
Then, there's the matter of the jukebox at Pizza Hut. The kids love to go, put a quarter in and play a song; at times they're constantly up and down, running back and forth from the table to the jukebox.
I know when I go to the restaurant with my friends Beverly and Les and we pull in to a full parking lot, Les laments the likelihood there are a lot of kids inside.
"Just because there's a lot of cars doesn't translate to a lot of kids," I reasoned. Sometimes I've been correct, other times not.
Most times we seem to time our visits just right so that we're there in between the restaurant's busy times and in between the times the parents are likely to pile in with their children.
I think it's sad you have to worry about whether you're going to encounter an unruly child when all you're trying to do is go out and have some pizza. It wasn't always like that; once upon a time, children behaved themselves and if they didn't, they were disciplined.
But, unfortunately, we live in a time where discipline is lacking, as is respect for other people. In most cases, the parents are clearly not in control of their children and it's often left to restaurant staff to chaperone or rein in the child, which of course is not their job.
So, I can hardly blame restaurants that have taken the hard line and gone so far as to prohibit children from entering. Sure, some parents are likely not to be too happy about it - one restaurant owner who was quoted in the article said he had received nasty letters in response to his sign saying children weren't allowed, but the response from his patrons overall had been positive - but when you think about it the parents are to blame if they can't control their children. Why should one child ruin it for everyone else? I don't think they should.