This week’s writing challenge poses the thorny question of children in “adult-oriented” places. First we have to accept that a group consisting of everyone under the age of 18 is a pretty large cohort and where a seventeen year old might fit right in; a baby may be less welcome.
There are certainly places where very young children should not be found, but not necessarily for the reasons commonly attributed. An infant at the screening of a film intended for an adult audience could possibly experience harmful images and sounds. I suspect many people would look at this from the point of view of the adults in attendance and the potential for a young child to be distracting. I think that while that is most certainly that possibility, it is probably no walk in the park for the child either. You could however find yourself in front of a perfectly behaved child and behind an annoying-cell-phone-using adult! So for the child’s benefit let’s nix the idea of bringing them to adult movies (no, not those adult films!). I know some cinemas have “Mom and Baby” screenings that allow for the noise and distractions youngsters can contribute to the movie viewing experience, but that still doesn’t address the question of the film’s content and the subsequent effect on a child.
There are plenty of family restaurants with a variety of menus and prices: from fast-food to dining room elegance. People who choose to eat in one of these should expect children and have no grounds for griping at routine child behaviour. Options exist for the whole family to dine together. How does one tell? A good rule of thumb is the presence of child seats and crayons at the entrance.
Of course there are also restaurants geared to an adult clientele. People who choose to partake of a meal here have every right to expect a quieter environment without family noises. By the same token is it fair to ask a child to behave in an “adult” restaurant in a way that won’t disrupt? Again there are two ways to look at the issue.
Okay, that was the easy part given that options exist (i.e. movie screening times and family restaurants) but let’s take a stab at that old travel chestnut, children on planes. A family going on an overseas vacation has realistically one option – flying. So while I sympathize with anyone who has been bothered by an unruly child on a plane, you are stuck with the fact that the world is populated by people, and all the people I know were at one time children, and children will be children. It goes with the turf.
There are no viable options – no, the luggage hold is not viable – when it comes to planes and trains. A short jaunt by car is another issue, but planes – nope, no option there.
It isn’t all that clear-cut either: what about business class? Should a parent who forks over the excessive fare be allowed to bring a child into business class? I humbly believe that the adult restaurant concept should apply to business class on planes – economy is always an option.