In some restaurants it’s no shoes, no shirt, no service. In this day and age you can add kids. Got Kids? No service. McDain’s Restaurant in Monroeville, PA has come under scrutiny lately because owner, Mike Vuick, has decided to ban kids under six years old from his restaurant. Some people are criticizing him for this action and yet others are applauding his guts for his no kids allowed rule.
Some people are calling McDain’s new rule discriminatory, over-the-top, crazy, absurd and anti-kid. Others are calling the rule enlightening, fantastic, precedent setting and shouting “it’s about time,” from the roof-tops. Which ever side of the fence you are on you have to give the guy credit for such a bold move that is sure to be polarizing to a certain segment of the population and his town.
Vuick however, doesn’t seem to care and he is not backing down from his stance as he has more than enough customers that agree with him. It’s kind of like that movie Network where the guy says; “I’m mad as hell and I ‘m not going to take it anymore.” According to the owner, many of his customers were tiring of eating at his restaurant in the midst of screaming, crying and food throwing kids. Some diners were even less enthralled with the parents that were either ignoring their own children’s behavior, condoning it or screaming at their kids in a public restaurant. He said that while kids are understandably the center of the universe of a parent it is not necessarily so for the rest of the dining public.
This has to absolutely be a sign of the times. I mean, many of us grew up knowing exactly how to act in a restaurant as kids and we passed that etiquette on to our own children. Most adults over 35 can well remember the wrath of mom and dad if you mis-behaved in a restaurant or any public forum. It was almost like you had private manners at home where you gave your brother a shove and yelled at your sister to get out of your bedroom and public manners where you didn’t utter much other than please, thank you and the meal was great. For many of us it was a treat to go out to dinner as children, and not the norm. For my own kids it was also a special event to have dinner out, so everyone had their manners “on.’
I too have witnessed the escalation of bad manners or no manners in children over the last 10 years or so and since I’m no behavior specialist I don’t have the answers. What I do know for sure is; it is never too young to teach children manners and make it a priority because parents that don’t will become more stigmatized than their kids–and places like Chuck E. Cheese will be getting a lot more crowded.