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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

War on Brats - 11/20/05

Hmmm, very interesting. The main reason I won’t go to movie theaters any more than I have to is because of public rudeness. So, while I may miss the big screen experience of a blockbuster movie, it is usually ruined anyway by kids and adults, talking or kicking my seat, and kids running up and down the aisles. Restaurants are no different, and while the child bearing adults may feel they have the right to take a break, too, they don’t have the right to invade my rest and recreation by inflicting their ill-behaved kids on me. It’s the old argument about individual freedom. My freedom to swing my fists stops at the end of your nose, or considerably farther away than  that because ‘assault’ is crime and it is not the same as ‘battery’ which is actual contact.

So, what’s your opinion? Comments are welcome. —pseudolus


Cafe's move to boot bad kids kicks up skirmish between the childless and the child-centered.
By Jodi Wilgoren / New York Times

CHICAGO -- Bridget Dehl shushed her 21-month-old son Gavin, then clapped a hand over his mouth to squelch his tiny screams amid the Sunday brunch bustle. When Gavin kept yelping "yeah, yeah, yeah," Dehl quickly whisked him from his highchair and out the door.

Right past the sign warning the cafe's customers that "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices when coming to A Taste of Heaven," and right into a nasty spat roiling the stroller set in Chicago's changing Andersonville neighborhood.

The owner of A Taste of Heaven, Dan McCauley, said he posted the sign -- at child level, with playful handprints -- in the hope of quieting his tin-ceilinged cafe, where toddlers have been known to sprawl between tables and hurl themselves at display cases for sport.

But many neighborhood mothers took umbrage at the implied criticism of how they handle their children. Soon, whispers of a boycott passed among the playgroups in this North Side hamlet, once an outpost of edgy artists and hip gay couples but now a hot real estate market for young professional families shunning the suburbs.

"I love people who don't have children who tell you how to parent," said Alison Miller, 35, a psychologist, corporate coach and mother of two. "I'd love for him to be responsible for three children for the next year and see if he can control the volume of their voices every minute of the day."

McCauley, 44, said the protesting parents are "former cheerleaders and beauty queens" who "have a very strong sense of entitlement." In an open letter to the community, he warned of an "epidemic" of anti-social behavior.

"Part of parenting skills is teaching kids they behave differently in a restaurant than they do on the playground," McCauley said. "If you send out positive energy, positive energy returns to you. If you send out energy that says I'm the only one that matters, it's going to be a pretty chaotic world."

And so simmers another skirmish between the childless and the child-centered, a culture clash increasingly common in restaurants and other public spaces as a new generation of busy, older, well-off parents ferry little ones with them.

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