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If you want your kids to run wild, go to Chuck E. Cheese
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If I'm ever in Monroeville in Pennsylvania, I intend to stop at McDain's Restaurant.

The restaurant that bills itself as "upscale casual" is getting ready to ban kids six and under. Owner Mike Vuick noted that the restaurant is "not a place for young children." He pointed out that many of that age "can't control their volume", can't sit still, cry, or throw food. Vuick made it clear he's not anti-kid. His problem is with the parents. Vuick noted that babies can't be expected to be quiet, preschoolers have "increasingly poor manners" and parents become offended when a staff member asks them to quiet their child.


The issue is with a few parents, not the kids.

Back more years than I'd like to remember we were in Isadore's for our anniversary. There was a child who was not having a good time and was crying periodically at the top of his lungs. It was extremely disruptive.

The owner - displaying complete class - explained to the couple dining with the child that they would need to leave. There was no big scene.

It is clear Isadore's isn't McDonald's. Diners have a right to expect a certain level of decorum.

Everyone has their share of stories about oblivious parents who ignore their children going bonkers in a restaurant as if it were Chuck E. Cheese. The worst for us was at Tony Roma's in Modesto. There was a party of eight adults who for reasons that became quickly obvious sat away from four young kids to an adjoining table.

Not only were they running wild and using the table and chairs as a de facto jungle gym but they were ripping napkins apart and taking the caps off salt shakers and pouring out the contents. The waitress did her best to contend with it while the parents completely ignored the results of their parenting skills.

It was so disruptive that all of the other diners around us were virtually staring at the free-for-all.

Just as people shouldn't have to tolerate loud mouths on cell phones in a nice sit-down restaurant neither should they be subjected to out-of-control kids diluting their dining experience.

It isn't that tough to control the situation. Whenever we were in a place like Tony Roma's with our grandkids and they were acting up, one of us would take the grandkids outside until they calmed down.

And the problem with that handful of parents that decide parenting is an option in public places is not limited to restaurants.

Back when Safeway on South Main was Pak-n-Save, we entered the store one day and immediately heard a loud piercing scream. Five minutes later, we could still hear it. Then we noticed the source. A mother was pushing her child in a cart down an aisle oblivious to the temper tantrum.

When we asked if she could calm her child down, she told us it was none of our business. She added the caveat she wasn't about to beat her child like my parents must have done me to get him to behave.


My parents never laid a hand on me. But they made it clear that certain levels of behavior were unacceptable in public. All they had to do was give us that look and we knew to fall in line.

There are a lot of solid parents out there who are engaged with their kids including teaching them how to co-exist with other people. The problem is the ones that believe the principle of laissez-faire applies to children.

One doesn't go into Chuck E. Cheese to see Emily Post etiquette trainees. Nor should you be subjected to children honing their skills to get on "Kids Gone Wild" when you're in a restaurant where they don't serve drinks in a paper cup.