Monday, September 19, 2011

Still Conflicted

The wavering back and forth.... is it wrong?.... or  is it right?.... seems to rear it's ugly self again...and again...oh yeah...and again.   Yes, I am CONFLICTED.

I don't watch Dr. Phil very often as I find him to be the UBER hypocrite.

SIDEBAR TO MY REGULAR READERS:  Several times,  I have shared  within a number of the 165 posts that I have done this year: that DP bugs me.  Probably the post that take the most direct tact of my  disdain would be the one where Dr. Phil is boarding my imaginary bus heading for a cliff  in the post called  The Bus is Loading.

OK back to my point for today.  I was watching a Tivoed episode of Dr. Phil because they were going to discuss the subject of kids being barred from restaurants.  Now this topic is making me nuts as I can see both sides of the coin. 

Part of me is not OK with any group being banned from any public restaurant but the other part of me feels like some restaurants aren't intended for small children.  OH...and there are some parents that seem to ignore their screaming, run a-muck children and that fact is  currently  steering me toward  the pro-banning column.  I am trying to hold my course that banning all small children might not be the answer. 

It was quite apparent on the Dr. Phil show that there are clearly two sides and both sides are angry.  As the name of this particular show was The Brat Ban, it was clear from the get-go that there were going to be fireworks.  Call me crazy but I don't think you are getting off to a good start with a group of parents when you start by calling their kids brats.

One mother was VERY vocal that her toddler could go anywhere she chooses and it is her right to bring her child into any restaurant that she can afford to dine at. She might as well of just said "Screw the rights of everyone one else". Then...there were a lot of others in the audience that were vehement that she had no right to ruin their dining experience with a crying child.

From my perspective, I think there should be some expectation to maintain a nice atmosphere in a fine-dining restaurant.  So I certainly understand the point of view of the diners paying for "a white table cloth kind of dining experience". They are wanting and paying for a certain ambiance.  Is the way to get there to ban all children?  If not, how do you enforce children that don't behave.  For that matter, how do you enforce loud and obnoxious adults?  Wouldn't they be asked to leave?  See .....I am very conflicted on this.

I personally wouldn't take my toddler or now my grand-toddler to a nice restaurant.  We would be choking down the lousy pizza at Chuck-e-Cheese because that is where they could have some fun and fit right in.  Better yet, lets go to Red Robin.  I like their food and they give the G-Boys a couple of balloons and every one's happy.

Conversly,  if I went to a "white table cloth" kind of restaurant (I am talking without taking small children with me)  and someone's  toddler was making a fuss would I be angry?  I would try REALLY HARD to be patient.  They are children, after all.  If necessary, I might even ask to move to a different table.  I hope that I wouldn't let it ruin my evening.

Another point of view that was expressed was from a waiter that works at a high-end restaurant. (at least that is the impression I had).  He was on the side that children don't have a place in his restaurant and they need to go elsewhere.  He has a blog that is really quite interesting called  The Bitchy Waiter.  I loved some of his answers to the comments he received after the show aired.

SIDEBAR TO WAIT STAFF: I think there are occasions that within our family, we have been traveling and taken small children into restaurants that we might not otherwise take them into.  All I can say in our defense is that the tips were  WHOPPERS as we understand that children make messes. If there was a noise issue, we would be the ones outside walking them around while our meal turned to goo.

Just for is a poll that was on the Dr. Phil Show.  What are your thoughts????

1) You take your child out to dinner and they throw a temper tantrum. What do you do?

2) The child next to you is out of control and the parents are oblivious. What do you do?

Here is one of the poll questions that was on Dr. Phil and as of the time I was writing this post this is how the votes were shaping up.  What are your thoughts?

The child next to you is out of control and the parents are oblivious. What do you do?
Ask to be moved to a different table.

Ignore the child.

Complain to the server and ask them to talk to the parents.


Confront the parents.

There are 1000's of songs about crying but not one that crying in church or in nice restaurants.

The Good for the Day....Generally, I find small kids adorable.  I love being around little ones even if they are a bit fussy.

The Bad for the Day....crying babies causing me to be distracted and making me feel guilty that I am not being more tolerant.

The Weird for the day....I watched another Dr. Phil show that has me asking questions.  I really need to stay away from that show.  I will tell you about that one on another day.


Junebug said...

Parents are screaming about their rights but what about the rights of none kid people? The world is already geared towards parents shouldn't a non-kid person have the right to go places sans kids? This ban can easily be looked at as the world being infertile cruel. Is there no place an infertile can go without the reminder of all the babies she lost? Can't an infertile dine at a restaurant to drown her sorrows of yet another failed IUI without being kicked in the chair? Isn't life kicking her enough? If a person pays $20 to watch a movie, should they have to listen to a baby scream in their ear the whole movie? (not kidding this happened to me)
People don't like me on this subject. I agree "children are children", therefore, I have no problem with the ban. A business has the right to refuse service to anyone. There is a growing trend of parents not giving a crap how their children behave in public. That is their right but it is my right and the rights of others not to have to endure abuse to ourselves when we are out and about. I've been hit, kicked, spilt on, screamed at, etc. (all abuse I grinned and bared politely because it is not their fault - they are just children) I wouldn't dream of taking my hypothitical toddler to a white cloth restaurant. He/she is a toddler! They can have rough days and be annoying. When someone else is spending $100+ for a meal is it my right to ruin that experience? There are stores that don't sell my size of clothing so guess what? - I don't shop there! If the restaurant doesn't serve to my specific qualifications - I eat elsewhere! With this horrible obsession most restaurants are currently having with cilantro, there are many restaurants waving a don't eat here flag at me. It is not as if there is not a restaurant next door or around the block that wouldn't happily take my business. There are plenty of places I'm not wanted or welcomed. I just go elsewhere. I can see why parents are annoyed. It is sad when some bad parents ruin it for everyone else. Welcome to America. I have to take my shoes off to board a plane because of bad passengers/murderers. I have to be searched and show my receipt leaving Wally World because of bad customers/thieves. That is how we operate in America. It has become an annoying, disturbing nanny state but if I don't like it there are plenty of others to choose from.

Nicky said...

Ah, you know my feelings on this one. Ban the behaviour, not the group of people. Let everyone enjoy the show, the meal, the whatever, by removing unruly elements - whether they be kid or adult. But don't penalize people simply because they have kids or are kids. Yes, we normally eat at family type restaurants when we go out, but very occasionally, we have a family event that is a little more upscale. Why should we be excluded? Why should our son? He generally doesn't misbehave or cry incessantly now, but when he did, we would leave.

You know, I'd really like to see what would happen if some celeb or VIP parents walked into one those restaurants. Seriously, do you think Brangelina would be told her kids weren't allowed in?

Bodaciousboomer said...

This is a hot button issue for me.

We were lucky. We never had to leave a restaurant with our kiddos because they acted up. Although we wouldn't have hesitated to do so.

What amazes me is how the parents can act so completely oblivious to the behavior.

One airline just banned kids from first class. I haven't heard how that's working out for them.

Two kids, probably 8 and 10 were running in Home Depot pushing one of those huge flatbed carts; and of course there was no parental unit nearby. I put the kibosh on that right away. That wasn't just annoying, but dangerous too.

Cheryl P. said...

I think that the waiter on the show (and I agree with that point) said if the high end restaurants have an age ban, there are still plenty of restaurants geared for children. I hadn't thought of it from the point of infertility but I certainly see you point of view.

I guess my coflict is there needs to be a ban on disruptive behaviors whether it is in restaurants, churches, movies or whatever but seemingly that is hard to enforce. I just don't get how parents can be so obtuse to the bad behavior of their children and not take some action.

Cheryl P. said...

I think every time this has come up, you are the closest to how I feel. I hate to ban a group entirely but still... I am not for allowing disruptive behavior. I am starting to feel though, that the parents that allow kids to be disruptive aren't the kind that would leave without making an even bigger disruption. I just don't get why parents are so inconsiderate of fellow patrons. (restaurants, church, movies, whatever)

I think I am getting closer to recognizing the right of a restaurant owner to set up a ban if he/she wants to BUT I don't think I would take my business there on principle.

You bring up a valid point about the celebs. You can bet the the Jolie-Pitt crew can sit in any restaurant and behave any way they want.

Cheryl P. said...

It is the parents that make me NUTS. Just like the lady in church that had the crying baby...why didn't she just remove herself and the little disrupter to one of the quiet rooms or go rock her in one of the nurseries. (she wouldn't miss anything as it is televised and available in all rooms.

I haven't heard how things are working out with the airlines, either.

Your other point about children...I excuse disruptive behavior more willingly from an infant as it really can't be helped but when your kid is not behaving at 8 or 10 that is just bad parenting. Kids shouldn't be racing around a Home Depot.

Margaret (nannygoats) said...

First of all, you realize, I'm sure that anything put on TV is for ratings, so they will make up controversy if they have to. Of course you can't BAN children in restaurants. I get all riled up when a crying child is not removed from the room by their parents when their crying is inappropriate. They can bawl their heads off all they want at "child-friendly" establishments. What pisses me off is that I had to behave myself when I was a child in public and yet so many children are allowed or entitled to cause a disturbance wherever they feel like it today. I like your point about how we wouldn't tolerate this in adults, so why should we tolerate it in kids? There are places where adults can make all kinds of noise, but there are places where this inappropriate, such as church or a nice quiet restaurant. In other words, it's a case by case basis and why can't people just be frickin' courteous of others?

Cheryl P. said...

No doubt in my mind that everything is slanted toward the ratings quest.
Still there are restaurants that are now posting signs saying children under the age of 6 are not allowed in their establishments.

It does all boil down to the fact that parents need to step up to the plate and take their kids to appropriate venues and in any venue people young and old need to be courteous of those around them.

meleahrebeccah said...

Yeah, I am not a big fan of Dr. Phil either. He's kind of a dick. However, I can ALSO see both side of the No Kids In Restaurants argument.

I never took my son to any fancy restaurant when he was little. I waited until he was old enough to know how to "act right".

My answers:

1. I take my kid OUT.

2. Ignore the screaming kid.

Leah Griffith said...

Cheryl, I don't do Dr. P. either. He comes off as being so full of himself. Anyway, I love kids too but I also believe in respecting the rights of others. Take the child away and calm them down. Simple;)
Another great post Cheryl!

Cheryl P. said...

This is why you are soooo awesome! Direct ....head on...right to the point.
I would not have taken my kid to a high end restaurant short of a invite that was not to be ignored. (wedding etc.) and if my little one felt the need to act up, we would go for a walk outside. For the most part I would be fine to ignore the screaming kid but if I just couldn't I would move myself. I am feeling less conflicted now. Thanks I needed that!!!

Cheryl P. said...

I think you, Meleah and I are all on the same page. Maybe we should all start a mommy blog together. It is always so nice to see your comments.

Madge said...

I like to talk to screaming bratty kids, when a stranger pays attention, it usually shuts them right up. I don't think banning all kids is the solution, but I don't see why they couldn't add a "child fee" to the bill, especially if it's not a kid friendly restaurant to begin with. Just because I think my grand kid is cute and charming doesn't mean that everyone else does, charge me an extra ten bucks to put up with her, and chances are I'll learn my lesson, and leave her at home next time. If it's posted at the door, I'll know to take her someplace else, especially if I hadn't been there before.

Madge said...

All good points Junebug, sorry you've had a hard time conceiving, I chose not too, and I feel the "non kid people" pain of children behaving badly, often but I too am sympathetic to the children, and not the parents. ;)

Sandra said...

Cheryl, I am in agreement with you on all points. I have four kids. Why in the world would I want them with me when I'm at a fine dining establishment? How much fun would it be to be pulling out Cheerios and squeaky toys to distract my toddler (thankfully I have no more toddlers left...not that I did anything to dispose of them, just that they got older, but you got that...) when I'm paying big bucks for surf & turf. And yes, I have brought them into fine dining establishments when I've had no choice, ie. travelling. And yes, why the hell don't people figure it out when they're children are disrupting others. See, if we were having this discussion face to face, I'd be nodding at everything you had to say. We'd get along so well!

Cheryl P. said...

We would get along great. I just love your sense of humor and your approach to things.

Yeah, what is it with people that are oblivious to their kids being disruptive. I have hauled my kids out of more than a few places. Especially, when they were kids and saw a toy in a store that they seemed to think they needed.

But I rarely took them to nice restaurants unti they got older and could be trusted, as that was my evening out.

Cheryl P. said...

You are so right about that. I think in most cases they are looking for some attention. Talking to the kids makes sense. (if the parents are coo-coo and get in your face) That is a great approach.

Money talks for sure. I suspect if there was a surcharge, most people would take their kids elsewhere.