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socks and cat

Controversy over no screaming children allowed

In the news lately is a Carolina Beach restaurant that has put a sign up that says: Screaming children will not be tolerated! The rule at the restaurant is that you can bring the children, but if they scream you have to either take them outside or into the restroom until they quiet down. This has increased business for the restaurant.

As luck would have it right in the area of the restaurant was a convention for parents of autistic children. And a parent of an autistic child got very upset at the sign and walked into the restaurant and confronted the owner. Autistic children can scream uncontrollably. So the mother of this child, who when interviewed claimed the restaurant owner is a bigot, is suing the owner for discriminating against her disabled child.

I disagree with the mother for the following reasons:

1. The rule applies to all children. The sign does not say autistic children screaming won't be tolerated. It applies to all children whether disabled or not.

2. No one is saying autistic children can't come in and dine there. They are saying the parent has to remove the child when it disrupts the dining experience of the other paying customers and wait outside until the child calms down.

3. Screaming children equals lost revenue for a restaurant. No one wants to come back to a restaurant after a bad experience like that. As a business owner I should have a right to remove anything that interferes with my ability to make enough money to feed and put a roof over the head of my family. I don't care how disabled you are, it doesn't give you the right to risk my ability to provide food and shelter to myself and my loved ones.

4. I think it must be heart breaking and challenging and sometimes frustrating to have a child with autism. But I think even with a disabled child you should still be courteous to other adults around you. I know it's extra work to have to keep walking your child outside to quiet them or wait for them to quiet down on their own. But it's part of being a parent to a disabled child. Please don't think everyone around you should suffer or be financially penalized to cater to your child's disability.


I agree with you.

If the child cannot function in public -- it is not fair to the restaurant to endure that to the detriment of all the other patrons there.

Just like smoking was outlawed because it impacted other people in a very real way...this too qualifies.
You know technically smokers have a disability too. Addiction is a disease - or so it is argued. I'm surprised smokers did not sue based on their addiction to nicotine being a disease.
The problem is their addiction involved:

a) Second-hand smoke and any health implications that behavior imposes on others

b) An addiction is still considered a *choice* since it's not essential. So your addiction is your problem but there is no legal justification for it being everyone's problem...

So they tried, but it doesnt work in a "rights" argument or an "equal treatment" argument.
I was unaware that they tried.
On an unrelated note -- what do you think of these pole-related tricks?

(Especially the 2nd guy)

I'm curious to your thoughts on this (yes, it's worksafe)
Oh woez, someone puts up a sign that makes parents be...you know...parents.

Learn to handle your child. If your child is autistic, learn to handle your child AND the child's condition. Yes, this means that you might have to suffer the inconvenience of taking your child outside to handle the problem. Oh the humanity! :P Your child NEEDS you if he/she is so upset as to cause that sort of disruption.

It's called being courteous to others, and being attentive to what your child needs in order to calm down, whatever that entails. Doubly important when your child has autism, or any other form of issue that needs specific types of attention.
I agree 100% with every one of your points, both as a business owner AND a frequenter of stores and restaurants as a patron.

My parents ate at a mexican restaurant a few months back on one of their business trips, and they can remember the name of the staff, the restaurant, the booth they sat in, the items on the menu, and exactly what they ordered to eat and drink because the evening is seared into their brain because of an uncontrollable screaming toddler. The parents tried to quiet her on multiple occassions, but they could not get her quiet. And they did NOT put their food in to-go containers and leave, they let her sit and scream while they sat and ate, I suppose in hopes of her tiring herself out and quitting. And the rest of the patrons had to endure it because the owners didn't feel they had the right to ask them to leave.

I have a sign in my store that says "Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten." I do not tolerate being used as a free babysitting service when the parents do not then come and spend money in my store. If the kid is in my store looking around while Mom/Dad are in the grocery, I'm fine with it so long as the parent/s then come in and actually, you know, buy/rent something from me that their kid has found. And especially if the kid is constantly knocking into shelves and sending displays flying and picking things up and putting them down in the wrong areas and even climbing on shelves because there's something they want that they can't reach.

The lady that runs this business is PERFECTLY entitled to refuse service/ask to leave parents of screaming children, because it costs her money and makes people not want to come back, because every time they're there, someone has a screaming brat they don't want to shut up. It personally gives me a migraine for a child to cry for more than a few minutes. And there's a difference between a hyper/happy child, a fussy/sleepy child, and demon-spawn screaming brats. This sign applies to the last category.
Ha! Good on 'em for sticking up for the vast majority of people who would like to have a quiet meal. They aren't kicking kids out, they're asking parents to take the kid someplace private if it's making a ruckus. That's entirely reasonable... and kinda sad that they have to *ask* parents to do something considered to be common courtesy.

As for the lawsuit, good luck. They're a business and have the right to refuse service if it materially harms their biz. This isn't discrimination, as kids who are being quiet aren't asked to leave. It would be easy enough in court to ask if an unruly adult would be asked to leave til they were under control. Consider it precedent.
It's tough having little kids. :)

I used to take mine to only noisy restaurants or ones that were designed for little kids. My daughter when she was two might let out a shriek here and there. Dragging her out could sometimes send her into hysterics, so I walked a balance between taking her outside or dealing with it in the restaurant.

But I see no reason why a restaurant can't ask only for quiet little kids. I would just not have eaten there when my oldest was a toddler. Now that she is seventeen, she hardly ever loses her shit and screams at me.

Things like this really make me angry because ultimately it ends with harsh treatment given to the child. At the very least a perent deriding the child "We can't even go out to dinner as a family because of YOU!" Children lask the emotional experance to deal with things, that's why they act out. It is up to us as mature adults to understand that and have some compassion and empathy. if you really wanted to you could ignore the screaming child at the other table and compartmentalize the situation. But that would take some discipline on your part, and who needs that? There are other things that would disturb your plesant night out. Someone may have a heart attack. Should we ban all heart patients from resturants? Going out in public is unpredictable, anything might happen. That's part of the fun. If you want to have control over your environment and ensure that nothing unpleasant will occur, then stay home.
There is a difference between wanting control over your environment and paying for an experience. When I pay a restaurant for their services I'm not just paying for the food, I'm paying for the relaxed atmosphere where I can have a conversation with the person with me without worrying about stopping to clear the table, do dishes or deal with a child. If your child is screaming then I am no longer getting the service I paid for.

In public I expect to have to deal with screaming children. But a restaurant is a privately owned a business and as a business owner you have a right to have control over what goes on as long as you are the one paying the mortgage or the lease on that property. Since when does the public get to decide what kind of noice you have to tolerate on your private property you pay rent for.

It's not that we don't have empathy. But at some point you need a break from everything around you that stresses you and requires empathy day in and day out and that's when you pay for a peaceful dining experience. If it's not peaceful then why pay for it?
A restaruant is a private business but it is also a public accommodation.That is why children can not be banned. Don't confuse that with a private club. If you want have a restaruant experance with no loud talking/laughing/children screaming then make arrangments to book a pritave room. The fact is when you go out in public you have to deal with "the public" I notice that the word "courteous" keeps popping up in this thread IE: Having a crying/screaming child in public is discourteous. I would love to have someone explain how walking up to a stranger and scloding them about how they deal with thier child "Hey! Control your child!" is courteous. And by the way The parents of the screaming child are paying to be there too. I'm sorry dearheart. This just seems like grownups picking on children cause they don't act like little robots that can be turned on and off with a switch
P.S. A family with 4 or 5 screaming children is putting more money in the restaruants till than you and your date. Just a thought.
They're not banning children, and if they feel there is any risk of the court interpreting it that way, they'll just cross "children" off the sign - "Screaming will not be tolerated".

I think the mother will lose the court case.
Actually, I don't think she'll lose in court, because I don't think she'll take it to court.

But if she were to win, it would not be a victory that prevents restaurants from doing this. She might win her exception for people with medically diagnosed screaming disorders, so she can bring her kid, while the business gets to keep their sign up and their policy in place. So everyone wins! But in that hollow way where the real winners are the lawyers.
No one is asking children to be little robots. They're asking adults to take their child into the restroom or outside until the child calms down.

I think our point of views are irrelevant any way. The rule is in place in the restaurant and the sales have gone up since the rule was put into place (according to the news). End of story.
Children aren't banned. Screaming is banned. Sign would probably be better worded as "screaming persons of any age will not be tolerated", but screaming adults is already not tolerated, as a general rule.

If the parents mistreat their child, well, that's bad. But it's no fault of any sign.

With a Child with Autism

I agree and disagree

Most of you know Macieo my little boy it is hard being out with him at times he doesn't scream but when he was younger about 2 or three it was a nightmare we end up having to leave because he didn't understand but with other children I see them being a brat from hell and the parents don't anything about it sometimes kids even with Autism are super hungry and can't wait like we do to eat or the place is to overwhelming to been in. So for me lucky the places I go to go give him crayons to draw I always have some of his toys or a snack while we are waiting. But to be fair some kids are just brats and your post made me feel it was all about disability I'm pretty courteous to others but I think the woman might had misunderstood the sign or she wants to make aware.

Re: With a Child with Autism

I was reading the blog about this I like what this woman said she has 2 kids with Austism. Many special needs kids yell or scream because that is the only way they have to communicate and I can understand that, but there is a huge diffrence between a child with special needs yelling and having a tantrum and a child who is just doing it for attention past the age of 6 or 7. Toddlers are great for crying and tantrums, thats why all those baby books suggest not shopping all day with no breaks, or being out past nap time, or taking your child home after well baby shots not out to shop in the mall for 4 hours. Toddlers throw fits usually out of a physical/pyschological need, tired, hungry, thirsty, needing to go to the bathroom, stranger anxiety etc... There are also plenty of rude adults out there, common courtesy has seemed to go out the window.
and this one.
It is a parental responsibility to govern your children's behavior. However, it is a restaurant manager's responsibility to govern their patrons' behavior. Putting up a sign is a passive-aggressive approach that only serves to anger people. Why not take down the sign and politely ask patrons with screaming children to take them outside. They will either be so humiliated that they will immediately leave or they will take their children outside, calm them down, then return to their dinner and never go back there again. Either way, problem solved.

and this one makes you wonder...sigh
As a mother of a child with autism this makes me nervous that one day we will not be able to go anywhere with our child. He doesn't speak, but does scream when happy and at times sad. It feels like people want families like mine to be hidden away so they can live in what they deem to be a perfect world. A world free of problems. The world isn't perfect so stop trying to discriminate against those who can't help themselves. Tolerance seems to be dying in American society.

Re: With a Child with Autism

You said: Why not take down the sign and politely ask patrons with screaming children to take them outside.

Because not everyone is as nice as you are. Some people will cuss you the hell out if you try to suggest something to them while they are mad at a screaming child. I think any staff member asking this (even polietly) is at risk of some verbal abuse and as an employer I don't want to put anyone that works for me at risk of that kind of abuse. It's better to give customers some warning about what the rules are in advance rather than have to risk a verbal confrontation every time you ask some one nicely to please step outside.

Re: With a Child with Autism

I didn't say that it was from the blog I found read it carefully the point was I felt a little offended by somethings you said since I do have child with Austism and I do agree to some level some parents just don't care to deal with

Re: With a Child with Autism

I'm sorry for offending you. I admire anyone who can be a good parent regardless of whether a child is disabled or not. I certainly don't have the patience to be a mother to a baby or an infant or a disabled child.

Re: With a Child with Autism

hugs well you do know how to get people talking lol!! it was okay. You made good points