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Children in adult-oriented places: a collection of [random] thoughts!

23 Oct

I found this theme really interesting, and intriguing… almost poking on us, parents of our loving well-behaved little ones:

“Everyone loves kids, right? Right! Except when they don’t. This week, we’re particularly interested in what you think about kids in adult-oriented places. I think most of us can agree that it’s not a good idea to drag little Sally to a bar at 1AM, but what about a museum? A fancy restaurant?” [Michele M. from King of States].

at the museum

Well, as a parent of 3 little kids (oldest one just turned 7), moving every two years, due to family work requirements, having to adjust not only to a new country, as well as to new cultures, new languages, there’s yet the expectation that [shockingly!] my kids should also re-invent themselves and adjust/adapt to new social demands/requirements, showcasing the pristine behavior only found in movies about expat children attending boarding schools, spending their spear time learning an instrument and being part of book clubs!

Clearly, that doesn’t happen. It never did, and very likely, it’ll not happen in any future

This theme, discussing the pros and cons of having children in adult-oriented/adult-only social places got me thinking. And I began reading through what others had to say about it [I’m such a curious cat!].

I’m always searching for resources related to raising children in multi-cultural settings, I take part at parenting forums, I respond/comment on discussion lists, I blog about raising TCKs, and seek help for that…

I’m also the ‘household fairy’, you know, that one silent worker, that makes the breakfast show up in the morning, the lunch packs being ready before the school bus turns the corner… the ‘laundry fairy’, the intense PTA volunteer. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough time to ‘school’ my children on the ‘perfect social behavior‘ [whatever it is or means] – I’m still trying. And my children are also trying to learn, the best they can. They’ve been to restaurants, airports, family gatherings, embassy functions, social events, you name it!

So, answering the original question, should kids be allowed at adult-oriented places? PROBABLY NOT. And I’m stating that as a MOM, speaking my heart out from my life experience, as a mother, and a former teacher. NOTHING AGAINST children. Love them. Deeply. But in my very humble opinion, there are some adult-oriented places that little ones should no be taken to – and that includes some of our beloved evening pubs, bars and dining places – unless the latter is kid-friendly, otherwise, one should only take a [especially the very young ones] to a bar or pub, if looking for some unforeseen sickness, and a parental headache for the following days! 😮

making pizza, at a ‘kid-friendly’ restaurant!

But, should we, as parents, carry out our frustrations to a public setting? Would it be enjoyable to ourselves, and to others?

Kids deserve people to respect them. And, do you believe they [the children] would be receiving their deserved share of social respect, if others [adults] would feel uncomfortable with their presence? Tough call.

My parents always had to travel for work. We moved a lot. We were also three children, the only difference was that, being the oldest one (9 years older than the youngest), I was responsible for their social behavior.

A ‘quasi-responsiblity‘, if I could put it like that. And I remember getting the ‘rolled eyes’ from others, the ‘evil looks’ at restaurants. There was no nanny at that time. Two working parents. Going out to restaurants was a rare treat – we definitely had to ‘earn our way’. Today, I’m the parent. I’m the one flying with screaming  kicking bored wonderful children. 😮 The ‘looks’ towards me are still there. I can feel them. And I’m sure my children also sense them coming…

For all that, even if it’s hard, logistically challenging, last-minute need, try to find yourself a baby sitter. That’s my little 2 cents of advice, and one may do whatever it wants with it, even completely discard it. Just my humble suggestion…. Adult-oriented places are for adults only [clever conclusion, right?!].

Unfortunately, for the ones who would like to spend quality time with their children, tagging them along wherever they go, I’m sure there’ll be other alternatives… they’re called ‘kid-friendly places’. Trust me, kids don’t enjoy adult-only scenarios. I’ve been there. I’ve tried both ways, and I’d stick to the second one. It’s safer for the adult parent, the adult company, and for the children.

Good luck to all of us raising kids – what a tough job, man! 😮

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20 responses to “Children in adult-oriented places: a collection of [random] thoughts!

  1. eof737

    October 25, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Love the pictures… Parenting is such hard work and the rewards are worth it. 😉 TY for stopping by my blog. 😉

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    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 25, 2012 at 9:38 am

      You’re more than welcome! It’s a very interesting theme for a debate… Nor right/wrong answers. Each family is different. But you’re correct regarding the hard work of parenting, and its rewards.. Totally worth it! Glad you came by – it’s good to build a good network, especially with others that can discuss intriguing points like this one. Cheers from La Paz!

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  2. Marcia Clarke

    October 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Tough call here, parents need to spend time alone sometimes, dragging children to every adult event is torture for the kids. Find enough activities for the children to enjoy (such as zoos, museums, etc) helps; and having a sitter available for those occasions when adults are meant to have a good time are precious.

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    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 24, 2012 at 12:04 am

      I second your thoughts, Marcia – definitely a tough call… let children have their quality time. Let the adults enjoy the same. There’s a time and a place, and clearly, although inconvenient at times (for parents and/or other adult guests), the best place for a child is not a fancy restaurant/gala dinner/gala ball, after their bedtime! 😮 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion! 😮

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  3. teeceecounsel

    October 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I love the concept of your children friendly places. I agree with it. I wrote elaborately on this subject too. You could check it out. 🙂

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    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Thanks for taking the tine to check the post out! I’ll make sure to check yours out, as well! Good sharing!

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  4. Cherise

    October 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    At an early age, we did tell the kids in our family that if they want to go out with us … they need to behave

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    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      Absolutely, Cherise! And, you know our family and our kids… And you know the way they behave! Very hard call, though!

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  5. Cherise

    October 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I have an 8 yr old niece in CA (both parents run their own companies) & twin 8 yr old nieces (Dad works & mom raises kids and is a recent cancer survivor) Both families love fine dining restaurants & museums … so they take the girls with them. My nieces are well-behaved when we dine out & are old enough to read the menu & ask server questions as they decide what to order! All 3 girls love to dress up and go out.
    We have always taken the children in our family out to dinner with us … boys wear collared shirt & khakis, and girls wear dresses. We teach the kids about the different utensils, manners, names of vegetables they are being served, types of cuisines & etc.

    Maybe because Charles & I do not have kids … we (and my mom) are extra adults to help keep kids calm while dining out at fancy restaurants. Or maybe kids are afraid of us because we are strict, or they are super happy to be included in spending quality time with family & friends in the adult-oriented place, or they enjoy the attention they get when they behave like perfect angels … I don’t know.

    But I do go out of my ways to praise other children & their parents when the young kid is well-mannered. My neighbor has a 7 yr old son and he will hold the elevator open for us & ask us what floor we are going to & push the elevator button for us … he’s always polite & has better grammar then me because his parents never allowed ‘baby talk’ and believe their kid should always speak properly

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    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Oh, Cherise… I wish I knew, somehow, what we’re doing is the right thing… But who is in position to tell us? Thanks for always being so present, and so supportive… R.

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  6. Marie

    October 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I agree with kid-friendly places. It would be better for the kids, that’s for sure. But, what if your favorite restaurant is a kind of fancier place? Even though kids are welcome, should you never go there because of the stares you may get from people?

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    • 3rdCultureChildren

      October 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      Marie, it’s a difficult call, but, dinner time, normally is past kids bedtime… Would you enjoy, as a couple? Couldn’t the kids stay with a friend of the family, for the evening? If the place is fancy, it’s another reason to look for alternatives for kids… Just my thoughts… I totally understand and relate… Very hard to compromise.. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! 😮

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      • Marie

        October 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

        For sure kids could be babysat! I’m sure a lot of kids would prefer that to sitting at a table with nothing to do. But it seems like a lot of people are saying that children should ALWAYS be left at home, which we all know cannot happen all the time, right?

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        • 3rdCultureChildren

          October 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

          I agree with you, and it’s not a type of question that would have an “always” or a “never” answer. There’s a pretty large grey area over here. It’ll all depend on the parents judgment, what they really want to get out of the situation: a date, as a couple, dinner with friends, a tour/visit to the newest hotspot, time as a family, etc… We do know, as parents, that it’s impossible to assume that kids should ALWAYS be left at home – it depends on their current situation, if they’re emotionally ready for either way – to stay home or to be taken out with the parents, sharing the spot with other adults… I myself, have experienced a bit of it all. I’ve passed on a lot of invites, for not being able to bring the kids along. I’ve had people baby sit for my kids. I’ve had family/friends stay over and entertain my little ones, in exchange of the same favor, when their turn came along… I’ve stayed with the kids while the husband would “represent” the couple at an adult-only event. And we’ve taken the kids along with us, enjoying time as a family, at a ‘kid-friendly’ scenario. I’ve done it all, and I’m okay with the decisions we (the parents) have been making along the way. Sometimes, it doesn’t please all parts, but, let’s be realistic: it’s pretty hard to please everyone, even among us, adults… There’s a lot of non-realistic expectations being built around the “right behavior” or the “acceptable behavior”… I believe that nobody really knows the right answer… we’re all trying… and learning from our endless mistakes…
          At the end, I continue to state that it’s dependent on the parents judgment, what they believe is best for their own children, and for themselves. No outsider is in position to judge… I guess, right? 😮

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          • Marie

            October 23, 2012 at 10:23 pm

            You’re so right 🙂 You’re so lucky to have experienced it all, good and bad! It definitely makes you a more open minded individual. Kudos!

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            • 3rdCultureChildren

              October 24, 2012 at 12:14 am

              Thanks, Marie – but it’s still not easy! Oh, boy, how hard it is… Getting their [the children] teary eyes when we [the parents] need to go out, for a work function, event, or simply for one hour on a ‘catch-up date’ (“how was your day, honey?”) is heartbreaking… There’ve been times I just turned back and stay home, to avoid the confrontation… And there’ve been moments where I gotta say “mommy (or both) really need(s) to leave, but I promise I’ll be back before you start missing me/us… So very difficult… No formula, no right answer, no magic move… But thanks again for your impressions and support! Much appreciated! 😮

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            • Marie

              October 24, 2012 at 12:16 am

              Oh gosh! No children of my own yet, but I can bet it’s extremely difficult!

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            • 3rdCultureChildren

              October 24, 2012 at 12:18 am

              …and yet, a fantastic (thankless, endless, nerve-wrecking!) job! That’s why we do what we do! 😮

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