Let's get this out there early on: Discrimination against someone because of their age is not cool.
So why does there seem to be a trend in businesses not allowing children in their premises or charging them extra?
From restaurants to salons, some businesses pride themselves on the fact that they discriminate against people and I'm not entirely sure when this became cool or even remotely acceptable.
Ask yourself: is this really the society you want to be in? Is a society that doesn't value their youngest and treats them as something to be ignored and shoved aside a society with a bright future?
Then, regardless of your answers to those questions, ask yourself something else: how would you feel if, instead of "no children allowed", a business said "no old people allowed"?
Would you be right behind that? Would you join the choir of "their business, their rules?"
Here's the deal: Children exist, you just have to put your big boy or big girl pants on and deal with it.
Barring children from places for any reason other than their own safety is, no matter what guise you want to put it under, an act of discrimination and, for that reason, an attack on their rights.
So why are so many people so quick to applaud businesses who choose to do this?
Why is it so easy for people who don't want to have children to make jokes about how children suck the living daylight out of you (which, I'll admit, they sometimes do)?
Why is it socially acceptable - sometimes even encouraged - to talk about children in such terms?
It's a bad enough sign of how society feels about its future when you see a business like a restaurant without highchairs or change tables, just hinting at how they'd rather not have children in their premises by not even remotely catering to their needs.
But when they go even further and just outright ban children, it might be time to take a break and assess what we're all doing here.
I can see where it comes from. We, as a society, in our regular lives, act as if this kind of behaviour from businesses is okay.
We make our own jokes about hating kids. Every time I fly somewhere with my toddler, someone makes a joke about sparing a thought for the others on the flight (forget the others on the flight, spare a thought for me who put up with a tantrum in and out of that plane).
What message are you sending to these kids? You are not worthy of being taken certain places. You are not wanted here. You are not liked by these people. You are a nuisance.
I'm no child psychologist but I'm pretty sure being bombarded with these messages, however subtly, doesn't do much for a child's sense of self worth and their confidence.
How do we expect children to grow into well-rounded adults if we don't let them experience regular life with their families? Why is this archaic "seen not heard" mentality still acceptable?
I don't even care if you've crunched the numbers and they show banning kids is great for your business. Financially good does not equal morally good.
You can't keep children at home or only at Chipmunks until they're 18, for the convenience of others.
Surely we all benefit from a society that is mixed and inclusive, a society that caters to everyone, that accepts us all, whatever our age (we all know adults with mental ages way lower than some children and they're still allowed in restaurants).
But we can all benefit from our interactions with children and they will only learn how to behave in society if they experience it everywhere (that includes cafes and restaurants and hotels and everywhere else their parents feel like taking them to).
What we need is more children in all spaces of society. We need children in cafes and restaurants and parks and shops, all days at all hours.
More than ever, we need their joy everywhere we go. Sure, we could do without some tantrums but what we can't do is go without their giggle and their funny outlook on things.
It's like birdsong and we need more, not less, of it.
And they need it too. They need to feel accepted, they shouldn't grow up with their existence restricted to a certain number of places.
A city is only liveable if all citizens can enjoy it freely. A country is only liveable if it accepts everyone everywhere.
A society is only truly social if we understand children are one of its most important pillars and can't be shoved aside because you think it's cool to say you don't like them.
It's not cool and you're acting like a really spoiled child for doing it. Grow up and let them grow up around you.
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