We Have Weird Ideas About What’s Appropriate for Kids These Days

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Peter Holley has this story up today:

The final straw was a little girl using an iPad with the volume on high, a device her parents refused to turn down despite repeated requests from the staff at Caruso’s, an upscale Italian restaurant in Mooresville, N.C….“Finally, we had to ask them to leave,” Nunez told The Washington Post.

“That was the incident that triggered the entire thing.” “The entire thing,” as Nunez puts it, is the restaurant’s strict ban on children under the age of 5. It went into effect in January, drawing passionate applause from some diners online and angry condemnation from others.

So what does everyone think about banning small kids from an upscale restaurant? I am informally forbidden from commenting on stuff like this because I have no children and am therefore assumed to have no understanding of the vast stresses involved in raising kids.1 Fair enough. I’ll keep my mouth shut.

Except for this. Thirty years ago, this wouldn’t have been an issue. There were places that were appropriate for small children and places that weren’t. McDonald’s? Appropriate. Denny’s? Appropriate. That little Italian place on the corner? Maybe. How well behaved are your kids? Morton’s Steakhouse? Inappropriate. It’s a grownup place.

This distinction seems to have died out, and I’m not sure why. A lot of people think it has to do with this:

As the number of small children has declined, they all become precious snowflakes who deserve constant attention and only the best things in life. For what it’s worth, I don’t buy this. I don’t have any particular reason. It just doesn’t seem right.

And yet, the distinction between places that are appropriate for small children and those that aren’t sure seems to have gotten bolloxed up. At the same time that lots of parents take their toddlers to upscale restaurants and R-rated movies, older children are all but banned from walking alone to a nearby park lest some busybody call the cops to report this obviously reckless parental neglect.

I dunno. I’m not a parent, and my cats don’t do a damn thing I tell them. What’s going on?

1I also have no experience with the vast stresses of running a restaurant, but no one ever seems to care about that.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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