As the mother of three and a travel writer, I am intimate with the term family-friendly. There are so many resorts and hotels that cater to families, that it seems ridiculous that some parents try to flout rules at ‘adult only’ resorts, sneaking in their children and becoming indignant when they are asked to leave.
I remember someone telling me that she was lying about her ‘mature’ 15-year old’s age to bring to her Twin Farms, in Vermont. The website states “TWIN FARMS IS NOT AN ENVIRONMENT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18.” I would love to go there, just not with my kids.
I’ve overheard people demanding ‘child free’ zones at exclusive restaurants. I agree that kids can be loud and annoying. But adult patrons can be equally offensive. There are loud cell phone talkers, nit picking complainers, and disgusting eaters. My meal at Union Square Café was almost ruined when the elderly gentleman at the next table ordered meat; when the steak knives were delivered to his table, we should probably have moved. He made loud sucking noises, spit out a few unchewable bits and picked his teeth. He was more offensive than a sippy cup-wielding toddler would have been.
The very people who are offended by your offspring are often the same ones illegally pulling out cigarettes or cigars after a meal. My kids know to never light up in a New York City restaurant, but many adults feel this law doesn’t apply to them.
I don’t know why some parents feel they have to bring their children to adult only hotels. There are so many hotels that actively court the family market, and others that are passively welcoming. But if a hotel doesn’t want children, why would you insist on bringing them? It can’t exactly be fun for a kid to be at a hotel where no one (except his over-indulgent parents) is happy to see him. I admit I have taken my kids to places where the welcome mat wasn’t rolled out and they haven’t enjoyed themselves. When MOMA was temporarily in Queens, there was not much for kids to do outside the family programs; when we went, the Prada crowd who had made the pilgrimage on the #7 train didn’t smile benevolently at my high-spirited five year old; they regarded her with contempt. And all she was doing was talking about the paintings.
At Theatreworks, one of the top children’s theater companies in New York, kids under 4 are not allowed in. But sometimes parents ‘sneak’ younger kids in, and I have seen ushers ask parents to remove shrieking toddlers. On the other hand, The New Victory lets you bring any age child to a show, but the most disruptive audience member I’ve seen was the famous actor I was once seated next to, who talked on his cell phone throughout the performance.
My kids were once scolded in a community pool. Their crime – splashing water during ‘free swim.’ This pool reserves certain times for adults only, but this was the general time, and they were enjoying the water, in the water. Call me crazy, but I think there’s an expectation of getting wet in a pool (they weren’t, by the way, splashing anyone in the face, they were merely churning up water while dunking under).
Many movie theaters forbid children after 6pm, which seems reasonable to me; what is unreasonable is an adult shushing kids at a matinee of How to Train Your Dragon. Strangely, some adults who go – alone – to matinees of children’s movies, then expect complete silence in the theater. What’s next – child-free hours at the Magic Kingdom?