Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Child-Free Zones A Good Place For Adults

Our Modern Society

Some public establishments, such as restaurants and movie theatres, are establishing child-free zones as a way to deal with children who are both rowdy and misbehaving. Equally important, it's a place, a sanctuary, if you will, where childless couples, single adults or parents with children can be and relax in a place where there are no children. An article by Sarah Boesveld in the National Post says:
As more and more businesses strive to cater to families, there has also been a recent rise in establishments trying to keep out the kids —positioning themselves as sanctuaries where adults can be adults, or at least get a little peace and quiet. This week, Cineplex announced the expansion of the theatre chain’s very own “adult space” — upscale, VIP theatres with roomier seats, where moviegoers can get a martini with their Bond flick, free from the presence of anyone under the legal drinking age. Last week, Air Asia introduced “quiet zones” on its economy class flights, open only to guests over the age of 12. Last year, a Pennsylvania restaurant made headlines for banning children under 6 after fielding customer noise complaints.

But what may be a selling point to some is discriminatory to others. The Atlantic magazine, somewhat jokingly, dubbed Air Asia’s quiet zone “baby apartheid.” At the end of August, a settlement was reached in a human rights complaint filed by an Ottawa mother who, in 2010, was turned away from a trendy restaurant because she brought her baby (the settlement details are secret, but the place now lets infants in).
The polarized reactions of the ongoing battle over public space and parenthood is telling of cultural shifts we may not be entirely used to yet, said Jean Twenge, co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, and mother of two. Having children is now seen as a choice, not a natural product of marriage as it was generations ago, she said. This is mostly good, “but the few downsides are that there’s not quite as much tolerance for children anymore,” she said. “Because it is seen as a choice and because some people have made a choice not to have kids, they’re not quite as welcome in a public space.”
At the same time, there’s a “growing minority” of parents who expect to be able to take their babies everywhere, she said.
I am going to weigh in on this; I am a parent with two young boys, aged four and ten, and I don't think they ought to accompany my wife and me all the time. We, at times, like to go to restaurants where there is an adult atmosphere, and where we can dine quietly, without interruption and the need to make child-like conversation. Dining in a "fancy" restaurant is an experience that my wife and I still enjoy, as it ought to be.

There are some things that only adults can enjoy. That's a normal response to both having children and being a mature adult. Restaurants and movie theatres and all kinds of public establishments have the right to establish rules to cater to an adult set. It's not discrimination; it's a restriction. And it's a welcome measure; ask any mature parent.

You can read the rest of the article at [National Post]