To ban or not to ban?

If you have been following the news, you would have not missed this piece of news that ruffled many feathers. A certain casual cafe has taken a stand to ban families with young children. This is the exact sign found on their website:

Naturally, this has led to everyone having an opinion on the restaurant’s stand. Some are for it and applaud the cafe, others say that it reeks of discriminiation.

Now, obviously, we do not have children of our own yet and when we dine out, we would very much prefer our dining environment to not have one (or a few) of these:

No, I do not have anything against little goldie hair young girls, silly. I’m talking about screaming babies/toddlers/kids (BTK for short). I don’t get why us, paying customers as well, need to be subjected to the antics of these kids. Yes, I do know that BTK are rather unpredictable and they may start a screaming/yelling/screaming fiasco in the middle of a nice restaurant without warning. I also truly understand that sometimes, despite best efforts of trying to calm said BTK (which includes baby talk and basically acting like a complete monkey in a public place), said offspring continues to scream his/head off.

I do, however, take offence at how these parents react or behave towards their screaming BTK. I have, on occassions, witnessed how parents play the deaf game and continue with their meal nonchalently, ignoring the daggers from fellow diners.  Perhaps they are playing the ‘let’s ignore our screaming child and pretend he/she’s not ours at this point’ game so that BTK will stop the screaming. I’m not a parent and obviously have no idea what are the rules (if any) to this strange game. Other times, said parents end up in a screaming match with the child too. That’s when you can start a bet to see who gives in first.

[Side note: On an episode of ‘Super Nanny’, she told a mother sternly that in a parent-child relationship, there is only ONE parent and ONE child. This means that the screaming should be left to the real child, i.e. parents need to take control and not get into a shouting match with the child despite the strong urge to do so. Good advice, I say!]

I have been to many meals with the BFF and her hubs. Whenever the lil’ one starts to fuss, one of them will quickly pick her up to soothe her and if this doesn’t stop her from crying, one of them will take her out of the restaurant until she falls asleep or quietens down. Isn’t that the right thing to do? Isn’t that like, basic manners and consideration for fellow dinners who paid to enjoy a nice meal? They happen to share the same space as you but it doesn’t mean that they need to put up with your screaming BTK!

Let’s get back to the cafe banning young children.

I say it is a great move. They have many other branches you can take your child too so I don’t see what is the big deal. If you decide to boycott this chain of cafes because you are slighted, there are loads of family-friendly restaurants you can take your young child too where you will be welcomed (with baby chair, kids’ meals in tow and other fellow screamers).

I don’t get the whole ‘this is discriminiation!!!’ discussion. You can’t argue that this is like banning dark-skinned people from public transport or banning females from men-only places. That level of discriminiation is based on the colour of their skin or race. It has nothing to do with them being annoying or loud. Two completely different scenarios! That is discriminination because you are saying that because the person is of darker skin, he/she can’t eat at the establishment.

What is your take on the matter?


5 thoughts on “To ban or not to ban?

  1. My partner gets really ruffled by screaming BTKs especially on planes and at dinner places, although I have to admit I have the patience of a cow when it comes to this. I get more annoyed by the loud parents you described in this post.

    I have to say I am totally with you on this one.

  2. Oh I LOVE the ambience at PS Cafe at ASH – helps that it’s located just behind my office too. It’s positioned differently from other branches of PS Cafe – it actually has an air of a chillout club on Fri and Sat late nights. I dare say that I wouldn’t enjoy or patronise this place too often if it were swarming with noisy kids (and parents.) It’s not as if PS Cafe is banning kids totally at ALL their cafes – if you wanna bring your kid, just go to the other branches. Duh.

    That said, I noticed that PS Cafe at ASH attracts a totally different late night crowd altogether. My friends and I couldn’t help but sneak glances at all the dating male+male couples peppered around us 🙂

  3. Sorry screaming babies or kids, I’m for the ban! Even if I have kids some day, I do appreciate cafes who put in effort in maintaining the ambience for their dinners! Parents can always bring their kids to other family friendly eateries!

    I’m hoping that airlines place some bans to certain flights or part of the cabin too! Screaming babies on a full service flight is just a waste of money if all u get is sleep interruptions or noise disturbance. Hah

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