Can Age Restrictions Really Help Curtail Screaming Children at Restaurants?

There are certain things in life that require age restrictions.

For R-rated films, children under 17 have to be accompanied by an adult or guardian to watch them. For the legal drinking ages, some countries only allow people 18 and up to consume alcohol, whereas few others (like in the USA) only allow those 21 and over to do so likewise. Many cruise ships determine which places people of a certain age can or cannot go, such as casinos and “quiet pools” reserved for adults.

But should putting tabs on ages curb and prevent many a diner’s pet peeve: screaming children at restaurants?

Should a policy restricting patrons to be at or above a certain age prevent fellow ones from having to put up with their antics? Should dining venues post rules on how old patrons are to eat? Do people agree or disagree with decisions on those policies?

Seriously - Who Wants THIS at your Restaurant?

A Need to Ban Them

Many diners deal with children’s lack of behavior when eating out. They have to cope with children tap-dancing on centuries-old floors, cereal in their finest wine, and peas in their hair.

But the usual distraction is the cacophony of many a discordant choir of screaming banshees. Some of the lyrics of their squalling cantata include, “Daddy, I want some candy!" "Mommy, I’m hot!" "Uncle Bob, I want to go watch TV!” Some people have to raise their levels of noise above normal to keep up with small talk.

Even some restaurant owners have their reasons to put tabs on age. Mike Vuick, owner of country club restaurant McDain’s, had his own since imposing a policy only allowing patrons 6 and older in summer 2011. He agreed that there’s "nothing wrong with babies,” but said that ranks of parents “can't control their volume.”

Dieter Hein, of Hacienda (a German restaurant where only diners at or above 12 years old can dine), agreed, “I don’t hate children, but I have had too many negative experiences* in the past.”

* with screaming and misbehaving kids

...and THIS?

The Dessert Looks Good...

...but it's one of the things that don't seem too right for a family restaurant, don't you think?
...but it's one of the things that don't seem too right for a family restaurant, don't you think? | Source

The Perfect Place to Outlaw them Agewise

Usually, the restaurants that are “just right” to impose many a “no children policy” are those that are considered fine dining.(Read the discussion: it means fancy restaurants.)

Some of them have décor reminiscent of the Regency, Baroque, and/or Victorian Eras. Some others bedeck them with modern elements that are still elegant for their types. Waiters usually serve in tuxedos. Live music by palm court orchestra, string quartet, or harp or piped-in classical music accompanies the dining mood.

But the main focus of all highly upscale restaurants is the cuisine that wouldn’t suit a pre-adolescent, hamburger-loving crowd. Some of them serve high-end fusion cuisine while some others serve haute cuisine (codewords for really fancy French or at least French-style cuisine).

To preserve their customers, they either allow children to be at their very best behavior or to make them wait it out until they are at a certain age. Patrons of such restaurants can’t really tolerate dresses ruined by hunter’s sauce-covered beef or Gruyere-smothered potatoes au gratin. They also don’t need traces of ring-shaped cereals in their vintage wines or their piercing screams peppering the background music.

It Bans Kids Under 10, and It's AT DISNEY!

Take a look at Victoria And Albert’s, for example. It has décor and table elements that scream Victorian era in your face. Guests dine on fine linen-draped tables in their finely-carved chairs, receive long-stemmed roses (for the women), and listen to a live, glistening harp. Men have to wear suits and/or evening jackets and women have to wear very dressy attire.

The menu is a 7 to 10-course, prix fixe celebration of highly upscale American cuisine. Think crème brulee and Kobe beef – no macaroni and cheese or hot dogs! A policy on age says it best, “Guests ages 10 and above are invited to dine at this establishment.”

Believe it or not, it is located at the Walt Disney World Resort! Most people wouldn’t expect such a fancy restaurant in a vacation destination where kids whine when queuing for a photo with Mickey Mouse. But lo and behold – it’s situated at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, the finest resort hotel in the complex.

What an ideal place for adults to indulge in fine food without cereal in wine!

See? Even Places as Casual as this Bans Kids!

Even casual restaurants also play the age rule game. The aforementioned McDain’s seemed dowdy for a fancy eatery. It serves casual cuisine with beer-battered chicken and sundaes, a bar with TV set, and furnishings that look like any casual venue in your neighborhood. But it only has allowed kids ages 6 and up since 2011.

The Sushi Bar in Alexandria, VA, serves only patrons 18 and older just to make it a cozy dining experience.

Another Example

Palo, taken onboard the DISNEY WONDER, disallows Guests under 18.
Palo, taken onboard the DISNEY WONDER, disallows Guests under 18.

Some Parents Don’t Agree with “No Children Allowed” Rules

There are some parents that don’t agree with age-related rules at restaurants. Some want the whole family, including under 5’s, to dine with them. Some can’t afford a babysitter or relative to watch over them while they delve into gourmet cuisine distraction free. Some are adamant that their kids all behave like “little angels.”

But the thing about those policies on age at restaurants is that it irks myriad parents of autistic children. Whether he or she is six or not, he or she would be subject to a lot of sensory cacophony. Elements include the bright lights, hubbub of people chatting, and food that doesn’t suit his or her palate or preference to texture. All of them can spark a meltdown, which includes the screaming.

Even with therapy, some of the parents whose kids have the disability are disgruntled because their kid is younger that the posted age. One mother of such a child wrote, “The majority of our kids start therapy under the age of six, so we can’t have restaurants telling us we don’t belong.”

Should Certain Restaurants Put Age Restrictions?

  • Yes! I'm so sick and tired of screaming children ruining my meal!
  • I don't mind them, but yeah...
  • No, I believe all restaurants welcome kids of all ages.
  • Undecided
See results without voting
Dude, That's Rude!: (Get Some Manners) (Laugh & Learn)
Dude, That's Rude!: (Get Some Manners) (Laugh & Learn)

Read this to your kids! It makes you and them laugh as they learn etiquette!

 

Is Etiquette a Better Solution?

Restaurant patrons’ biggest reason for complaints is the lack of good manners in their children. But is it just as effective as raising bars for their ages? The answer is a resounding yes.

Parents don’t need to enroll children into charm schools or finishing schools that drain them financially to better their etiquette. They just need to teach them basic table manners. They need to convince them to eat with their mouths closed, put their napkins on their laps, and so forth. Some parents even make them wait until they are of certain age to dine out.

Parents with autistic children need further planning. They should ask their teachers or therapists to write social stories on eating out as well as having them look at pictures of the desired eatery. It’s not really that complicated to better their behavior before eating at a restaurant.

Programs Like this Help Autistics Behave Better when Dining Out

Should children be barred from certain restaurants? Can doing so allow adults freedom from their misbehavior both visual and auditory? Can policies on age allow them a peaceful meal? While a few disagree, many people wholeheartedly agree that such rules make eating out a pure pleasure.

After all, many of them want the little screamers in restaurants meant for them, like fast-food chains with playgrounds, rather than the place with the stuffiest yet most enjoyable cuisine ever.

But parents are strongly urged and required to teach their kids table manners. It will save them and other diners extra grief in the long run.

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Comments 9 comments

Monisajda profile image

Monisajda 5 years ago from my heart

I have two young children and I don't think it is a great idea to take them to fancy restaurants. Even though my 7 year old behaves like a lady she is rather an exception to the rule. Her younger sister can act very ladylike in a restaurant, too but I don't feel comfortable taking them places where wait for the food is too long, it is just asking for trouble. I prefer to take them where the food is faster and children are OK to be.


How-To 5 years ago

@like monisajda said, it is very right you take your kids places where they can easily adjusted not where you need to wait for food to cooked. It is the age of having fun, not sitting like idle, i like to see lil kids have fun, not being too serious what other will going to say about them.

http://www.answersfm.com


talfonso profile image

talfonso 5 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL Author

Thanks for the comments! I believe that kids should be taught table manners first, then dine out when they are mature enough to mind them.

And Monisajda, I agree that fine dining restaurants are not kid-friendly places. If they can't help but scream like banshees, they'd rather run around at Chuck E Cheese's than a restaurant with dress code that requires semi-formal attire and haute cuisine.


Stephen 4 years ago

I don't think banning based on age is the right approach. However, I think the kids that go to nicer restaurants should practice their table manners first.


talfonso profile image

talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL Author

Well, there are owners who have the right to single out individuals agewise. It's pretty much their measures of maturity of children who would patronize them without disrupting the formal atmosphere. So banning based on age is feasible only if the service is visually and overwhelming in culinary aspect too much for kids. A good example would be a French restaurant with Baroque décor with a fancy menu.

I agree that age doesn't matter, as long as children practice good manners at meals. Doing so beforehand and consistently would save those wanting a quiet meal some grief.

But then again, let the owners decide it age restrictions are suitable.


bethperry profile image

bethperry 4 years ago from Tennesee

talfonso, great question and very well written arguments from both sides of the issue.

I personally support the choice of restaurant owners who want to implement age restrictions. Their businesses are their businesses and if they want to set a certain mien for their patrons they should have the absolute right to do so. There are a lot more -and always will be- restaurants that are aimed at the family dining experience. And as a mother of four I can honestly say it would be nice to spend a dinner with my husband at a place where we aren't going to hear the dulcet, charming sound of "I HATE GREEN BEANS!!!" or "SHE BREATHED ON MY HAMBURGER!!!" So if one of these age-restricted restaurants opens 'round here they certainly have my support!

Voting up!


talfonso profile image

talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL Author

Well, I know how it's going to not sit well with some parents, but I agree that restaurants have the right to determine whether it's a good place to bring the kids or not, whether the food is casual or that fancy French haute-cusine. The restaurant in the Pittsburgh metro area attracted more customers despite banning kids under 6 and being a casual (but upscale) restaurant.

But kids still need to learn their manners, kid ban or no kid ban. It's much, much cheaper for parents to teach them instead of sending them to finishing school.


Window Pain profile image

Window Pain 4 years ago

I grew up in Canada, but with German parents. It blows my mind the way some parents let their kids carry-on in restaurants. Sadly, one of my best friends is such a parent. His two boys are terrors already banned from many of their local restaurants.

I thought they were kidding until I ate at their home. Their 4-year-old grabbed my plate of food and hurled it at the window. The parents said nothing and just served me another plate of food - which I had to guard like a prisoner from their marauding monster, who was making faces that would've scared a Maori Warrior.

And, I believe ear plugs should have accompanied the cutlery.


talfonso profile image

talfonso 4 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL Author

Gee, I'm so sorry to hear that! Don't you just HATE that when kids throw caution to the wind (which means forget their ETIQUETTE) and cut loose in a restaurant. Am planning for dinner at Victoria & Albert's at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at WDW an hour from home. Sure, it's in a tantrum hotbed, but at least the restaurant alone requires Guests to be 10 and over!

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