I must preface what I am about to say by stating that I live in a suburb that is very family-friendly. However, I have noticed an increase in children in places/events that were once considered adults-only. Although there are many kid-friendly places where I live, I've observed more and more parents bringing kids to upscale restaurants (the kind without kids' menus, highchairs or sippy cups) R-rated movies, and bars-- yes, bars! I've seen many young children --babies, toddlers and elementary school aged kids-- in these establishments after 9:00 pm.
I need to address bars specifically. I understand that parents want to enjoy these places, but bars are not meant for kids. I feel like I shouldn't have to say that, yet I am. A bar has nothing to offer a child. Children do not need to witness the adult behavior that goes on in bars: drinking, swearing, etc. Additionally, adults should not have to censor themselves because someone thought it would be a good idea to bring a toddler to a bar. Bartenders and staff often feel uncomfortable asking people with children to leave because they fear an ugly response or negative review on Yelp. I also doubt the parents are able to enjoy themselves while having to keep an eye on their child. Perhaps this is only an issue where I live, but I would love to know if others have experienced this as well.
My issue with restaurants is not with the kids, but the lack of supervision. Every time I go out to eat I see children running around the restaurant as if it were a playground. Keep in mind, these restaurants do not have play areas, so there is no reason for children to be wandering around unsupervised. This is dangerous. Waiters carrying very heavy trays of very hot food could trip over an unsupervised child and someone could get hurt. Again, management and staff are reluctant to say anything for fear of backlash. The response from parents is usually, "the kids get bored while sitting at restaurants." I understand this, however, restaurants are for eating and children must be taught how to eat a meal in public.
I've also seen an increase in parents brings babies and young children to R-rated movies. I'm not hear to tell anyone how to parent, but just because you can bring a baby to a movie theater, doesn't mean you should. Very young children do not yet know how to behave in a movie theater, and R-rated content is not for them. Get a babysitter, or don't go.
I'm not trying to be insensitive to parents or children, but I do think adults need their own spaces too. I feel like both parents and non-parents are losing their kid-free zones. We need these places to relax, have adult conversations and maybe enjoy some peace and quiet. I feel like more and more of my adults-only spaces are slipping away and being replaced with kid-friendly establishments. I don't hate kids, but I don't think they belong everywhere. Again, this could be unique to my particular area, but I would like to know what you all think about this issue.