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Last week I had a link to an article about a cafe owner who caused a controversy by putting up a sign.

The sign in question said: "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices."

Apparently some parents in the Chicago neighborhood where Dan McCauley, the owner of the cafe, runs his business got peeved by that sign.

From the AP

To him, it was a simple reminder to parents to keep an eye on their children and set some limits. But to some parents in his North Side Chicago neighborhood, the sign may as well have read, "If you have kids, you're not welcome."

That one little notice, adorned with pastel hand prints, has become a lightning rod in a larger debate over parenting and misbehaving children.

"It's not about the kids," says McCauley, the 44-year-old owner of A Taste of Heaven cafe, who has no children but claims to like them a lot. "It's about the parents who are with them. Are they supervising and guiding them?

"I'm just asking that they are considerate to people around them."


It is a sentiment that people feel increasingly comfortable expressing. Online bloggers regularly make impassioned pleas for child-free zones in public, while e-mailers have been forwarding a photograph of a sign in an unidentified business that reads, "Unattended Children Will Be Given an Espresso and a Puppy."

I don't have kids so my statements are probably not going to go over too well for parents.

But is it that difficult to keep kids from wreaking havoc in public?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally evil. I do have compassion for parents with little ones; I'm talking toddlers and infants because there is only so much you can do once they start crying because of illness, a wet diaper or fatigue.

What about the older kids though? The ones who think it's OK to play a game of soccer inside the Old Navy store and knock me over while I'm looking at the zip-up fleece vests. Where is the parent in that case? Or the kid who keeps screaming and kicking at a restaurant because they didn't get the extra fries they wanted. Meanwhile the parents just glance at the screaming kid and continue on with their conversations with friends, briefly stopping for half a second to say, "Brandon, calm down," then only to turn back to the waitress and ask for more tea while "Brandon" proceeds to kick the back of your chair.

This line in the article made me laugh:
There needs to be a give and take," says Suarez, an associate professor of social work at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. "Children don't need to be allowed to run wild and free, but they do need to be allowed to express themselves."

Express themselves? That annoys me, when kids act up and adults say, "Oh, well little Johnny is just expressing his feelings of anger right now." You know what would have happened if I expressed myself by screaming or running around like a wild animal in public when I was a kid? Well, let's just say my parents would have done a lot of expressing in the car and at home alright...and for a good reason.

I know kids are going to misbehave in public, but parents, I ask of you, why can't you stop them from kicking soccerballs at me or knocking over my glass of Sprite?