CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{September 26, 2006}   Noisy Kids Not Allowed

screaming-kid.jpgI was at an Olive Garden one night having dinner with my wife. We don’t go to Olive Garden very often because we consider the restaurant to be somewhat of a treat. We only go on special occasions when we feel we deserve the Olive Garden-type food. Imagine our horror as we were seated next to a family with a very angry kid.

It seemed like every minute the kid would scream at the top of his lungs in anger. His scream made my ears pulsate as if they were wanting to implode in order to block off the evil shriek. The pressure inside my head was so great with each scream that I grimaced in the same way I react when someone runs their nails across a chalkboard or plays with a bunch of styrofoam.

The family eventually left, taking the evil heathen with them. I did not say anything to the family to voice my disgust over the kid’s behavior, but I did give the parents and kid a few dirty looks.

Unfortunately, my encounter with the noisy kid is an all-too-common experience for many people. According to an article on MSNBC (No brats allowed!), many establishments are setting firm rules on the behavior of children. I suppose the logical argument would be, “If parents refuse to control their kids, we will.”

One of the statements in the article was that North Carolina started an online petition to establish child-free restaurants. The petition loosely compared noisy kids with unwanted cigarette smoke. I wish to expand on the cigarette smoke analogy and not give it the “loose” treatment.

Cigarettes used to be okay for people to smoke on airplanes, in restaurants, hotels, airports, government buildings, and a variety of other venues without a second thought of violating some kind of law or ordinance. Currently, smoking in many places is either against the law (or banned) due to various health concerns and customer inconvenience. My question is, would smoking be against the law had the smokers respected the rights of the non-smoker? I can only theorize, but I bet if smokers kept their second-hand smoke out of the lungs of the non-smokers to begin with, there would be no need for smoking legislation.

I’m not trying to compare kids to second hand smoke. I’m comparing the behavior of smokers and noisy kids in regards to their environment. There are places where it is generally accepted to smoke, e.g., bars, clubs, and pool halls. Likewise, there are places where kids are expected to be loud and obnoxious such as daycare, playgrounds, and parks. Just as the general public slowly grew intolerant towards cigarette smoke, the public may becoming intolerant towards noisy kids.

Granted, noisy kids are not toxic like cigarette smoke. No noisy kid is ever going to give someone lung cancer. The bigger point here is that when certain groups of people are inconsiderate of their environment, the public fights back (e.g., cell phone users).

Just like smokers, noisy kids belong in certain places. One of those places is not at an Olive Garden during dinnertime (especially my dinnertime).

Ronald Huereca


Lorraine says:

It’s very apparent Mr. Huereca and his wife do not have kids. Sometimes when they are young, it’s just hard to control them. Believe me, the parents don’t like to hear the screaming either. Put yourself in our shoes.

Jack says:

Child free restaurants? Hell, I’m moving to North Carolina!

Kelly says:

I don’t think you or I could ever be friends. You’re too uptight.

Jim says:

I don’t think there is anything worse than a child screaming in a restaurant and parents who don’t do anything about it. When my kids were small, all it took was a look from me and they would behave. It’s a little thing called control.

hard as nails says:

you consider olive garden a treat? i hate that place. i would rather even go to white castle.

Betty says:

If Ron doesn’t like kids, perhaps he’s the one who should just stay home. Parents have the right to go out with their kids to restaurants. What a jerk.

I have twin boys, and I cannot even count the number of times people made a point of stopping at our table in a restaurant to tell us how well-behaved our kids are.

On the RARE occasion that one of our boys was misbehaving, either my husband or I would take them outside, give them a few quick smacks on the behind , and return them to their seat to enjoy their meal.

It would NOT be right to bar us from a restaurant because we have kids. I say make a clear posting that brats will not be tolerated, and then when you get people in who can’t control their kids, you can tell THEM to leave.

I agree that far too many people refuse to control their kids, and it can ruin a meal for everyone around them, but I should not be punished for their stupidity.

Beth says:

Heather says it well. Parents need to keep their children under control. It’s not really that hard – you know – commonsense.

C.A. MacConnell says:

I was a collicky child. I didn’t get out much. My bro has about 50 kids, well, it sounds like it, I swear. He’s so used to it, when I’m talking to him on the phone, he pauses to scream, “Hey, stop jumping on your sister’s head!” then continues the conversation like nothin happened.

Eric says:

I come from a family of nine children. Lesson learned: I’m not married and I don’t have kids.

Jeff- or-ly says:

“just like smokers, noisy kids belong in certain places.”

I’m a smoker, Ron. Screw you.

Bill says:

I guess I’m a bad person, but I have to admit, I don’t like seeing little kids in restaurants even if they are saints. I don’t like there little high pitched voices, gets on my nerves.

Heather says:

Bill: Whatever you do, don’t ever go to Chuck E. Cheese. I can’t stand that place, and I love kids.

I have to admit, there is a pitch that little kids can hit, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a squeal of anger or a squeal of delight, it can be like an ice pick through your brain.

When my boys were 2, Connor went through a very short phase of screeching when he wanted something. It only lasted about five days because the moment that ear-piercing sound started coming out of his mouth, I would scoop him up, set him in his bedroom, and close the door until he was finished crying. Screeching never once got him what he wanted, and it didn’t take him long to figure that out.

Another family member, in spite of my advice, would quickly hand her 2-yr-old daughter whatever it was she was screeching for, just to make her stop. It took that girl YEARS to grow out of screeching. My head hurts just remembering it.

Bill says:

Alright, good. Thanks Heather. I feel better. I really don’t want to be his horrible person, you know?

The Little Woman and I reared a perfect child who recently turned 32.
The secret to our success was that we never felt the need to “control” her nor to “swat” her, although, being human, we may have lapsed on occasion.
Our theme was, “If it feels good, do it!” Still is!

It seems to me many parents are overwhelmed by their children. They resent their existence, seeing it as a burden?
They should simply speak to them as fellow maroonees on planet Earth.
As Red Green is fond of saying, we’re all in this together.

Heather says:

David: I think different techniques work for different kids. I was a pretty mild-mannered child, and it sounds like yours is also. Most kids, however, are far from perfect, and they need consistent boundaries in order to make their presence bearable for, let’s say, fellow diners at the Olive Garden.

I used to host children’s birthday parties at the Cincinnati Zoo, and I often got to see first hand what happens when permissive parenting is practiced on the wrong kind of kids. I stood in wonder one time and watched a five-year-old boy ruthlessly ignore his father until the father finally gave up and walked away. I gave one firm order to the same boy, and he was a perfect angel for me for the remainder of the party.

I try to give my boys as much room as possible to be their own people, but they have to stay inside the boundaries of acceptable behavior, and they are not the kind of mild-mannered children who would behave well if they were not kept in line. Don’t get me wrong,I admire their pluck, and I’m convinced it will get them far in life, but not without a solid foundation of self-control and respect for others.

C.A. MacConnell says:

I painted a bunch of kids’ faces at the zoo this weekend. They were awesome. Kids love you if they think you’re a cool teacher or a face painter. Heather, don’t kill Chuck E Cheese. I dig it, but I only like going with a group of adults. And I go for the competition. I love Skeeball. the za, well, i’m not sure it’s really pizza. more like a cracker with silly putty and some jelly. Yes, I’m on Flu medicine.

Flu medicine sucks.

But face painting is soooo fun. I had so much fun hosting parties at the zoo. I wish I could have kept doing it, but when the zoo levy was voted down in ’97, they cut the party program.

I love crowds of kids, but I can’t stand Chuck E. Cheese because of all the lights and buzzes and screaching. I have migraines, so I just can’t tolerate that kind of overstimulation.

“I try to give my boys as much room as possible to be their own people, but they have to stay inside the boundaries of acceptable behavior”

In addition to “If it feels good, do it.” I also subscribe to infanticide. It’s just a good thing the former won out, because the latter would have put a damper on the occasion of the discovery of our perfect daughter’s birth parents a few years ago. They might not otherwise be the excellent friends they are today.
I don’t know. What do you think?

Heather says:

Infanticide? That would certainly put a damper on things.

My mom was adopted, but she never seemed interested in finding her birth parents. My curiosity about the missing family history was piqued when I became pregnant with triplets. Maybe my mom was a twin or something, who knows?

Now as far as “If it feels good, do it,” I like the idea, but I just can’t subscribe to it. As much as I have rebelled against my dad’s strict conservative catholic upbringing, I just can’t bring myself to throw caution to the wind.

I firmly believe that most actions done with good intentions will reap goodness in the long run. I’m glad your perfect daughter found her way to a loving home.

You are the mother of triplets? Wow!

I hope we can continue our dialogue on another thread, but what I’m saying to you is:
1. Throw caution to the wind. Then knock your hands together a few times be sure all the caution has been thoroughly dusted off.
2. No good deed goes unpunished.
3. So the only answer is to do what feels good and right, and to do it now.

Heather says:

Ha! Good advice, I’m sure.

One of my triplets didn’t make it, so for the most part, I call them twins.

I have managed to rid myself of a few pesky neuroses, which were all in the name of caution. They turned out to be more trouble than they were worth. I feel much better now.

As for getting rid of caution altogether… it really does’t sound like a bad idea.

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