It’s being called a “Brat Ban,” and it’s a movement to ban children from public places such as stores, restaurants and movie theaters.
Here’s some history of the movement from Babble.com:
“It started with an AdWeek story about so-called ‘brat bans’ — policies at stores, restaurants, and movie theatres that forbid or restrict children.”
“Within a day, the blogosphere was burning up with points and counterpoints. According to ‘Firecracker Mandy’ of the Childfreedom blog: ‘I hope the brat ban truly is an idea that is catching fire because it is long overdue, especially in the current climate of overly-permissive child-rearing that seems to have taken ahold of our culture with a death grip.’ ”
“Meanwhile, over at Yahoo! Shine, Piper Weiss mused about whether such restrictions are fair to parents and suggested that no-kids policies could threaten to turn parents into second-class citizens. ‘As businesses respond to their new breed of ‘first-class’ clientele, are parents in danger of becoming second-class citizens?’ ”
“Here on Babble, Strollerderby’s Monica Bielanko had this to say: ‘I am not at all cool with banning kids from anywhere. This is America for crying out loud! When did we go from ‘It takes a village’ and ‘Children are our future’ to ‘Get the hell out of here you loud, whining brat’?”
So we can discuss whether it’s legitimate or not for business to ban families with kids, but I am more interested as to why sociologically this is happening now. Why are kids less welcome out places than they used to be?
I, of course, have several theories!
While all of these have possible merit, I am more inclined to my fourth theory:
4. There are simply less families with kids under 18 as the Baby Boomer generation ages and as women wait to have kids, and the childless simply don’t want to be around people with kids.
So I went looking through Census tables to find the numbers that would tell us IF the percentage of families without kids under 18 has increased over the years making families with kids less welcome.
I couldn’t find the number I was looking for in the 2010 Census Report. They had it parsed 100 billion different ways but not the way I wanted it. I even called the Census Bureau PR folks but they couldn’t find what I needed either. (All of the stats majors out there look at these tables and see if you can find the numbers we need.)
However I did find a government report published in 1996 on expected growth of families that supports this theory.
In 2006, “Currently, slightly more than half of American families have no children under age 18 living at home; by 2010 3 of 5 families may have no children under 18 present. Although the number of families with children is projected to remain near 1995 levels, the number of families with no children under 18 is projected to increase by 28 percent (from 36 million to 46 million) by 2010.”
I then found a USA Today story from 2009 Census numbers that supports what was projected.
“The percentage of American households with children under 18 living at home last year hit the lowest point — 46% — in half a century, government data reported Wednesday.”
“The trend reflects the aging of the Baby Boom generation and younger women having fewer children, demographers say.”
” ‘Baby Boomers have been a big force in driving a lot of different population dynamics,’ says Rose Kreider, a family demographer at the Census Bureau, which released the data.”
“In 2008, about 35.7 million families (46%) had children under 18 at home, the Census figures show, down from 52% in 1950. The percentage peaked in 1963, when about 57% of families had children under 18 at home.”
So I think the Baby Boomers are getting older, are childfree and are crotchety in their new freedom. They only want to see kids when and if they choose and how dare you interrupt their dinner.
So what do you think of the theories? Why do YOU think children are less welcome out places such as restaurants? Do you think the Boomer generation has a right to expect and demand a childfree environment? What can parents do about this trend?