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Public Signs are Everywhere but are they Necessary?

PUBLIC SIGNS ARE EVERYWHERE BUT ARE THEY NECESSARY? –  You’ve been out shopping all day at the mall, when you realize you not only skipped lunch but that it is almost dinnertime. As you head to the food court you pass the adjoining play land where children are running and screaming.

It’s noisy, but it is happy noise. As you stand in line to get your food a mother struggles with her toddler. He is pulling hard to break her hold on his arm and crying that he is NOT hungry. HE. WANTS. TO. PLAY! As his cries escalate, his mom gets more embarrassed and frustrated. He frees himself and begins running around uncontrollably.

On a plane headed to your sister’s wedding, a family with three small children board and settle in behind you. With all the excitement of take-off, their laughter and squeals warm your heart. Then they start kicking your seat; over and over again. You turn, tell the parents and assume it will stop.

It doesn’t  Then the fighting starts because one child won’t share the window, the book or whatever, you can hardly tell what they are saying amid the screaming and crying. It’s going to be a long flight.

Minor inconveniences or too often occurrences? It appears that for some businesses, unruly children and ineffective parents are forcing them to place limitations on what type of customer utilizes their services.


Parents please be considerate of other customers using the food court. Screaming children will not be tolerated in the centre. Centre Management

This sign which is posted and clearly seen as soon as you enter the food court of a popular mall in Australia, is one example. A Pittsburgh restaurant, McDain’s, has recently placed a ban on children under the age of six from dining in the restaurant and is joined by many restaurants now doing the same.

Several weeks ago, Malaysia Airlines announced that it would ban infants from flying in the first-class cabin and last February rumors circulated that Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Emirates Airlines have been under pressure to consider adult only zones (first or business class) and even child-free planes in response to a survey that listed unruly children as the No. 1 travel-related complaint of passengers.

It is important to note that each of these businesses is addressing noisy children who are allowed to run around or act up with no obvious parental supervision. This is not an act of discrimination against small babies, toddlers or their parents who are doing their best to meet their needs. Author

Do businesses have the right to prohibit certain customers and at what point do we say it is not good business sense but discrimination?

There is a responsibility upon businesses to provide an appropriate atmosphere for their customers and although recent events have seemed to center around children, rules of conduct apply equally to teens and adults.

Rowdy behavior, too loud voices, drunken revelry all can ruin a movie, meal or concert. Bouncers in bars/nightclubs control the masses, librarians hush giggles and encourage whispers, and everywhere we go there are rules of society that the majority of us follow.

Businesses are in business to make money they depend on repeat customers. Customers rely on the services they provide and will take their money elsewhere at the drop of a hat.

Public Sign - Help or Hindrance - Image 1

Will you be looking for such establishments or avoiding them based on the grounds of “parental rights?”

Parental rights involve many things like making decisions about food, school, health and friends for starters.  Your rights as a parent also include shaping and encouraging your young child to behave in a manner acceptable to society that will allow them to grow into productive adults.   It also assumes that the person making these decisions will be responsible for the outcome should the choices made be poor ones.

Public Sign - Help or Hindrance - Image 2

To force a business to post a sign restricting children or their activities is not a reflection on the business but on our society.  I for one see this as a positive step and think it is about time that someone has the courage to put their foot down and say “No more.”

Parents have been getting lazier and less able to handle their children over the past 20 years. With a cell phone permanently glued to their hands or their ears, most parents are paying less and less attention to their offspring today and seem surprised and ill equipped to handle conflict when it does arise.

Public Sign - Help or Hindrance - Image 3

Discipline and spanking are foreign concepts to many younger parents and although there are some who will use positive reinforcement as a training method, too many are willing to simply let the kids do as they wish with the belief that good behavior will happen as they get older.

Here’s a secret: Good behavior doesn’t just happen, it needs to be taught and teaching begins in the home.  For today’s daycare workers and pre-school teachers, the pay doesn’t begin to compensate them for reigning in the undisciplined children they deal with every day.

Too often, these caregivers are the very people who begin to create a structured environment and teach basic manners for thousands of children. We have handed over our parenting rights and turned these institutions into training centers for the next generation.

Until the tide turns and parents begin to take full responsibility for raising their children we can expect to see more signs popping up where we do our business.   Before you get all worked up about signs that may be posted where you travel, remember there are some signs that apply to everyone.

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