Dear Parents: You Aren’t That Special

706 Comments
baby-at-wedding Image via Shutterstock

Sitting at the pond, observing my four year old’s attempts at mastering the art of flotation, I watched a scene play out that I have seen time and time again: During swim class, there is no swimming in the area marked out for the lesson (which includes the dock), and every single day there seem to be parents who feel their children should be exempt from this rule.

Today, it was a mother who, upon being told by a lifeguard that they needed to be outside the buoys, responded “Well, we need to leave town in 30 minutes, and they want to play on the dock- they aren’t bothering anyone.” Except, of course, that they were, as they were about eight years old and running through the swim class full of toddlers. Plus, you know, rules.

Unfortunately, it seems as though more and more people feel entitled to break rules, be they unspoken or otherwise, when it comes to their children. The thing is, popping out a child doesn’t make them, or you, any more special than anyone else, and acting as though the sun shines out of that squishy little tushie? That just makes you a jerk. Here are some other places I’ve encountered parents who seem to think the world revolves around them and their children:

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1. The Movies. Don’t bring your beautiful three month old miracle to a 10PM showing of a horror flick. Your child WILL wake up and disturb others around you. No, you are NOT entitled to go see the film just because you want to. Hire a babysitter. Watching a movie in a theater is not a right, and disturbing others is just obnoxious. This also goes for bringing young children into late night shows where they will either be terrified or disruptive- just don’t.

2. Bars. I am shocked I even have to write this, but having witnessed quite a few people (especially in NYC) feel completely comfortable bringing their young ones into what should clearly be adult only establishments, and it makes me wonder what these parents are thinking? Why would you: 1. Want your child in that environment, and 2. Feel as though it is appropriate to bring them to a venue where other adults congregate to imbibe spirits and likely be away from children? You aren’t that special. Leave your precious snowflakes at home. (Obviously some bars are totally family friendly, especially in the early evening. I’m not talking about those).

3. Inappropriate restaurants. There are family restaurants. Lots of them. Go to those.

4. When there is an age/height requirement at a venue or attraction. There is a reason for it, and arguing (often loudly and at someone who likely had no hand in the decision making) about why your darling child who is a clear six inches too short to ride that ride should be allowed on it, just makes you an entitled brat. It’s called safety — no one is trying to personally inconvenience you by enforcing the rules. If you’re the person willing to argue and harangue people over the rules, you’re probably also the type of person who would sue if something then happened to little Johnny after you forced the issue.

5. Weddings or other events that are specified at “adult only.” Nothing is more irritating than hosting a gathering which is clearly labeled “adults only” and having a friend or relative decide that this rule does not apply to them. Couldn’t find a babysitter? Wanted your kids to see out of town relatives? It doesn’t matter. The host is the person who calls the shots, and imposing your little uninvited darlings on the event is both unfair and flat out rude. If you can’t bear to leave behind your kids, don’t go to the event- accept that your kids aren’t welcome everywhere at all times.

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6. Planes/trains/public transportation. No one would ever say you can’t bring your child on planes or public conveyances; that’s asinine and impossible. However HOW you bring your child is very important. Don’t be that parent that brings a high maintenance toddler onto a plane for six hours without being prepared for it. From my experience, no one gets upset with the parents (and are far more patient with the kids) who are actively trying to keep their baby/toddler/small person entertained and calm throughout the flight. People get pretty darn ticked off with the parents that seem to have no concern for their precious little bundle’s decision to repeatedly kick the back of the seat in front of them, or play their movie at full volume without headphones. Don’t be a jerk: Just because you are on an airplane doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to be a parent.

The moral of the story is that you and your offspring aren’t that special. Be a decent parent — nay — a decent person- and do the right thing.

Your kids will be better for it, and you won’t be “that mom” or “that dad” that everyone can’t stand.

Doesn’t that sound nice?

Related post: 10 People Who Make Parenting Harder

Comments

The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. 1

    dm says

    I think it’s RUDE to have “adult only” WEDDINGS, and I brought my 2 year old and 4 year old to one of those. My COUSIN was getting married and asked that no kids “under the age of 5″ attend. But older kids were allowed? My kids were behaved, it wasn’t an “adult” atmosphere at all.
    I never apologized, I thought it was ridiculous because because of who they invited, they were essentially only eliminating MY children from the event. No one kicked us out either. And no one died because my kids were there.

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    • 2

      Claire B. says

      That is a terrible, terrible attitude to have. #1, what gives you the right to tell your cousin (or any bride!) how to have her wedding??? #2, your kids are going to watch your actions and if you don’t teach them the importance of common courtesy and basic social rules, they are going to turn out like the egocentric and entitled people Lily is writing about. You certainly have the right to raise your kids the way you see fit, but please consider what kind of people you are raising them to be.

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      • 3

        MeggieB says

        I agree with Claire. It is unbelievably out of order to bring your children to a wedding that specifies “adults only” or “no children under 5″. I can’t believe anyone does that!

        And yes, I do have children, before anyone asks. Two of ‘em, and plan more :)

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        • 4

          Felicia says

          I agree with Claire too. I have a 2 year old. If I was invited to a wedding of someone close enough to me that did not want young children, then I would not bring my 2 year old. Respect the people getting married and their wishes on this one day. I would opt not to bring my child if I were offended by my 2 year old not getting invited.

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    • 5

      kathy says

      Nobody kicked you out because they had more class than you. Once you had gone against their very clear request, they decided their happy day wasn’t going to be any more disturbed by your actions and kept quiet. I can, without a doubt, tell you that your actions did not reflect well upon you and you have probably been the topic of many a conversation regarding your misplaced sense of entitlement. Heaven help your little darlings- they may grow up exactly the way you want, and that’ll be just another generation of selfishness.

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    • 8

      Christi says

      Thank you for illustrating the author’s point, dm. Your tone and obvious disrespect for anybody but yourself shines right through. And if you think there is no difference between a well behaved 2 year old and a well behaved 5 year old, you’re delusional as well as selfish. Of course there is a difference. The likelihood of a 2 year old suddenly bursting into tears because of the sudden cacophany of applause at the announcement of the bride and groom, captured for enternity on the happy couples expensive wedding video is far more likely than with a child old enough to have learned basic reasoning and impulse control. But, hey… it doesn’t matter what I, or anyone else says. It’s your world and we’re all RUDE just for being in it.

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    • 10

      Trish says

      You are incredibly rude. It wasn’t your wedding, where you get to make the rules. People have a budget and an idea for how they want THEIR day to play out. Your children were not invited. Bringing them anyway and feeling no remorse was amaxingly selfish, and totally insane. It’s the same thing as deciding that you are just randomly going to crash a wedding to which you were not invited – would you show up at a stranger’s wedding to which you were not invited and think they were rude to not invite you? Your choices in this case were to get a sitter for stay home, not to randomly add uninvited guests to the guest list and increase the expense of that couple. Ridiculous!

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    • 11

      Andi says

      I had a no kids wedding because between my husband and myself we had 45 kids on the list! We both come from families where having 5 or 6 kids is the norm ( and they bring them to the events). We simply could not afford to pay for all those kids plus our venue was far too small and child unfriendly ( ponds and such). Perhaps before you judge you should remember its not about your or your family. Weddings are stressful enough and hard decisions have to be made during the planning. It was rude of you to bring people that were not invited.

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    • 12

      Wendy Martin says

      Wow, so you are exactly the person the author is writing about! Congratulations, now you know you’re a jerk! In the end, these all boil down to the same thing-it isn’t YOUR decision. Disregarding the wishes of the people footing the bill is awful. If you were so offended, you should have declined the invitation. If you think adult only (or specific age) events are rude, don’t have one.

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    • 13

      LLOkieLady says

      Oh yeah, cause that is classy. Forget that they are paying thousands of dollars for their special day. It’s all about you.

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for the next invitation.

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    • 14

      BeeMoney says

      Have you seen your COUSIN since the WEDDING? I would think twice before inviting you to future events. Their wedding was not about you or your children.

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    • 20

      Kaya says

      It doesn’t matter what you think or what you want. She said no kids under five. That’s it. End of story. You get to “not believe” in adult only weddings when you throw one not when others do.

      What you did was extremely tacky. It says a lot about the bride that she didn’t ask you to leave with the kids. She was gracious and don’t think there weren’t a half dozen people telling her that she should have kicked you out.

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    • 21

      Tif D says

      I think it is RUDE to ignore the wishes of the bride. It was, after all, her wedding and it should be just as she wishes. I bet if someone went against your wishes you would rip them apart due to your entitlement. This only reflected badly on you. If you did not like their decision you should have stayed home and not attended. It is never ok to go against what is specified on a wedding invite.

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    • 22

      Rachel says

      Congratulations on being a perfect example of the entitled all-about-me attitude that this article is talking about. I bet that you were belligerent too and lacked the sense to even fake feeling awkward. Are you also the type that demands menu changes and special accommodations for get togethers that you attend? Do you wail about , blurt and complain that you can’t afford a babysitter? Your response made you look like a super rude person.

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    • 23

      casy says

      You are that parent. It’s not your wedding and if people wish to not have children of a certain age they should be able to do just that. Regardless if your kids were well behaved or not the point is you tjink you are an exception to the rule. If it bothered you so much and felt like you were being targeted then maybe you should have stayed home.

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    • 24

      odbowes says

      Dear DM…grow up. You and your children are not special. And yes, people can choose to have ‘adult only’ events. If you are so offended, perhaps you should just stay home. A friend of mine was getting married and I replied to the invitation that I was coming with my 7 year old (there wasn’t a mention of ‘no children’ on the invite.) She called me and explained that her father was paying $60 a plate and that they were asking that children not attend. It was at a very nice winery. I completely understood and took my mother instead. Once again, dm, GROW UP.

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    • 25

      bombinabirdcage says

      I had a no-child wedding. I had one cousin show up with two young kids anyway. I promptly and privately asked her to meet us at the reception hall. I explained that every other parent made arrangements and she refused to. She does not get special treatment. Therefore, she was sent packing. If you cannot respect my request, you cannot attend. You sound like a spoiled brat.

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    • 27

      Patti says

      So, that’s funny…the ONLY kids that were asked not to attend were yours? And that doesn’t tell you something? You didn’t read the very obvious writing on the wall about that?

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    • 28

      otdina says

      Well, aren’t you special?

      No. That was not nice of you. Not classy, and just rude. It wasn’t your party.

      You are more than entitled to not agree with the bride’s request not to include certain guests. If you don’t agree, you politely decline the invitation. If she asks why, tell her that you choose not to attend if you can not bring your children. But it was just wrong of you to ignore her wishes. It is her right to choose who attends and who doesn’t. Also, please remember that often the caterer doesn’t discriminate by age. He might make her pay the same amount per plate, even for young guests. In that case, she might want to save her money, and just have, say the ring bearer and flower girl attend, and no other children.

      I am a parent. I have two small children. If they are invited to a party, I bring them. If they are not, I don’t. It is simple. I am honored to be asked to attend someone’s party, and not nearly so rude that I would countermand their wishes just because I feel entitled.

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      • 29

        Barroness says

        My kids were the ring bearer and flower girl for my brother’s wedding (I also have a little one). While they attended the wedding my SIL asked that they not attend the reception due to space and the fact it would run late. I got a friend to watch them for the evening and they had their own “after-party”

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    • 30

      Cindy says

      Really??!! What an idiot!!! Were you paying $50-$100 a plate only to have your little “darlings” waste their money?? What don’t you understand about being told they AREN’T invited??? YOU didn’t pay for the wedding!!! If you want to invite all convicted rapists to your darling daughter’s wedding – go ahead. Someone else’s wedding is NOT your call!!!!

      People like you are why the schools are falling apart and the courts are so full – get it in your head – your kids aren’t that special to the rest of us… Grow up princess…

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    • 32

      Tracy says

      My cousin also had a no kids wedding. My son was approximately 4 at the time. I really wanted to attend the wedding and was, personally, quite angry that they wanted me (and others) to hire a babysitter in order to attend their special day. Ultimately, it was THEIR day and not mine and I simply stayed home. I could have chosen to go without my son but in my situation it was hard to justify the expense of a babysitter. I could have chosen to take my son with me – yes it was always an possible choice as it would have been with anyone – but I wanted to attend the wedding because I respected my cousin. Showing up WITH my son would have been a huge disrespect to him and his bride. So, I stayed home. That was 12 years ago. I still wish I could/would have gone but I am still certain that taking my son (who has ALWAYS been a miniature adult in behavior) would have been wrong. In fact, this weekend is my grandmother’s birthday party and they are having a dinner without kids to celebrate. My daughter, 4, would be super well behaved should I take her. However, I will likely make the decision to stay home rather than hire a babysitter. I will probably go see my grandma another day and take my daughter with me THEN.

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      • 33

        Sarah says

        While I thought it was nice that you chose to respect the bride and groom by not bringing your kid to the wedding I think it was kind of rude to say that you were angry that they wanted you find a babysitter just to attend their special day. Did it ever occur to you that brides and grooms shell out anywhere from $50-$100 a plate and probably extra for alcohol so you can attend their special day? Brides and grooms shell an expense as well just so people will come and join them for their special day and I hardly think them expecting you to get a babysitter so you can attend is hardly a bad thing. Just a thought.

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      • 34

        ppony says

        This would have ben me as well. We don’t all have access to babysitters and also, some of us have special needs kids we can’t leave w/ just anyone. Like I ever would anyway.

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    • 35

      Amber says

      I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but I would jump for joy if I were invited to ANYTHING where kids were banned for the night! Once in awhile it’s fantastic to have a night off. Look at these invitations as opportunities for stress-free grown up time! And, yes, it’s rude to bring kids to inappropriate places.

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      • 36

        Kimberly says

        I am with you 100% there, Amber. Who wouldn’t want to have a day without the kiddos. I probably wouldn’t take them anyway even if they had allowed children. My parents certainly didn’t take us anywhere like a wedding until I was six and that was only because I was a flower girl.

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    • 37

      Kylie says

      To be fair, I also don’t really enjoy no kid weddings/parties. But, you must respect the person who is paying for it! I recently went to a no kid anniversary part and all us parents (the majority of the crowd) thought it was weird since the guests of honor had kids themselves, and the host loves kids. (I went only because I had special permission to bring my still nursing, not able to walk baby, otherwise I would have stayed home and sent dh by himself). We’ll upon arriving we all learned the party was next to a very busy road, outside with no fence at all. So lesson learned. When they say no kids it’s usually for a good reason!

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    • 38

      Melissa says

      I had a kid free wedding. I can tell you for certain if you had of turned up at my wedding with kids you would have been shown the door pretty quickly.
      You are the rude one.

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    • 39

      Mf says

      I respond as a bride (in the last 2 years), as a mother (the last 8 months) and as a teacher (responding to your entitlement and that to which your children will have). I have no idea who you think you are exhibiting theses actions, but you really need to get over yourself.

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    • 45

      Josie says

      Rite on! If more than just ur lil ones were under the age limit it would b understandable. It seems like u were singled out. I hate when certain family members act rude and single out kids just because of who they belong to. I would have done the same as u. It makes me angry when some of my family members single out my daughters bro cuz hes not my child and i am no longer with their dad. Or on her dads side they do it with my daughter which makes me even more angry cuz shes 100% blood.

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      • 49

        Jan says

        You don’t know that your children (or DM’s children) were the only ones excluded. Did you see the entire guest list? Do you know all of the other side of the family? Don’t automatically assume the worst and make it all about you. Planning a wedding takes a long time, a lot of work, and many tough decisions. Any family event would most likely not purposely exclude certain people, knowing the repercussions would last for many years. Suck it up, Buttercup, the world doesn’t revolve around you!

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      • 50

        BethC says

        Or maybe, just maybe, the determination was based upon the developmental level of the children themselves. Five year olds–Kindergarteners–have much better personal control and understanding of social cues/expectations than a 2 year old. Also, what makes you think NO ONE else had kids that age? DM knows the details for her side of her cousin’s family, but what about all of the couple’s friends, and the fiancee’s family?

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    • 51

      K M says

      That’s horrible! What a great example you are to your children. People are allowed to make rules for THEIR events. If you don’t like it, then don’t attend.

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    • 52

      Beth says

      Are you privy to their entire guest list? Do you personally know the family structure of every guest at the wedding? If not, how do you know that only your kids were excluded. Perhaps other guests had the class to either leave their kids at home, or if they couldn’t or didn’t want to get a sitter, perhaps they didn’t attend the wedding.

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    • 53

      Claire Webster says

      Wow. How rude are you. You were invited to someone’s wedding and then you decide you’ll bring your uninvited children! When its your wedding and your footing the bill then you decide. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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    • 54

      Sophia says

      So basically you’re one of the douches that this article is talking about. I would have kicked you and your little shit bags out if it was my wedding.

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    • 56

      says

      If what you say is accurate, and the bride and groom really were trying to “only eliminate” your children from their guest list (which I doubt is true-yet another example of your irrational opinion that every decision others make, is about you), I can see why. If your children are anything like their mama, then they too are entitled brats who think the world revolves around them. Not the kind of guests I would want on the day that was supposed to be about me and my hubby.

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    • 57

      tracy says

      The bride and groom are the hosts of the event so it’s their call who attends. I had a kid free wedding but said all or none as it was unfair to include some kids and not others. I would have sent you and your kids packing if you rocked up so rudely with them after being told no and then not invited you to future events. You get a babysitter or don’t go at all, simple.

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    • 59

      Tracy M. says

      That’s terribly obnoxious behavior on your part. Did it ever occur to you that the reason you weren’t kicked out is because no one wanted to make a scene? I’m sure that’s what you were counting on. You’re exactly the entitled person this post is talking about.

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    • 61

      ilmom says

      please post your name and location so your friends who aren’t yet married will remember to NOT invite you to their weddings. you are the rude one, entitled brat. seriously ,what is wrong with you? i sincerely hope that was a joke.

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    • 62

      Michelle T says

      Gotta agree with this. The adults can be as loud as they want and who is more likely to cause a ruckus, a well-behaved three year old or Uncle Drunky we all have? I think excluding children from what is supposed to be two people starting their life together and celebrating with their friend and families? Uh, how do you have families without kids, again?

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      • 63

        SEM says

        People are supposed to get drunk at the reception asshat! And people are not drunk at the ceremony which is where it would be a big concern that a kid misbehaves. And a reception with loud music and drunk adults is not somewhere a kid should be! Also maybe some brides and grooms cannot justify spending $100 a plate on a bunch of kids either. People have bars and alcohol at weddings so people can get drunk during the reception.so Uncle Drunky isnt going to be a problem is he?

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        • 64

          CS says

          Families does not always mean kids. A couple committed to eachother can be a damn family. A couple with pets can be a damn family.

          A group of friends living together may call themselves family. Get off your pronatalism / trad family nonsense.

          More and more people are in families without kids, get over it.

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      • 65

        holly says

        Uh, kids do not MAKE a family. There are plenty of couples that choose to be childfree that are still a family. And infertile people? Are they never to be part of a family? How ridiculous…just bc you define families by children doesn’t mean everyone does.

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    • 67

      says

      While I agree that it was rude of them to say no kids under 5, it was also rude of you to take your kids anyway.

      When I get invites that say no children, I assume I am not welcome either, and do not go. Furthermore, those people are no longer invited to anything I do. If my children are not welcome, neither am I. We come as a package.

      People want ‘no kids’ weddings are spoiled brats. You don’t need those people in your life.

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      • 68

        Nicole says

        I had a “no kids” wedding. I got married at a major league baseball park, and our reception was attending the game. I don’t have anything against kids, but my husband and I both have large families, and we had to cut off the list of invitees somewhere because we had a very strict budget. We did not get offended when certain relatives or friends couldn’t come because they either couldn’t afford a babysitter or didn’t want to. It was their choice. And no one was offended (at least not that I knew of) when they were told no kids allowed.

        I was always told the rule of thumb was that if the invitation has your name only (for a shower), or your and your spouse’s name only (for another event), your kids aren’t invited. Typically, if kids are welcome the invite will say “the So-and-So family” or “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So and Family”, or will have your kids’ names on it. When it doubt, ask. If it’s a blatant “no kids” thing, it’s really not about you. If you can’t or don’t want to get a sitter, then I guess you just don’t go to the event. No big deal. Now, if they person gets mad you chose not to attend because your kids weren’t invited, well, that’s another issue entirely.

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      • 69

        Aimee says

        You know the cord is cut at birth, right? You and your children aren’t physically attached to one another. It’s not a personal attack when an event is no-kids. And guess what? It’s OKAY to go somewhere WITHOUT them on occasion, healthy even. I have four children; 21, 18, 3, and 2. I don’t get the opportunity to get out alone, so when it comes, I TAKE it. It’s replenishing to the mind, soul, and body. My children are my life, but I deserve time and space to be more than just Mommy and so do you.

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    • 70

      Sassyone says

      It is their right to allow any age guest to their wedding or wedding dinner. I am for that. So, I have to say it’s up to the wedding party not the guests who’s allowed to come and who must stay away. If they don’t want young children to the party then so be it. They are allowed that.

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    • 72

      BelCon says

      I agree that weddings without kids suck. All of my family’s events always include tons of kids of all ages and they always make the events so much more enjoyable, so to me it is weird to have a “no kids” wedding. Plus, when it’s a family event it’s harder to find a sitter since the people I would normally ask are all going to the wedding too.

      That being said…whatever the marrying couple wants, they get. It is THEIR day. It doesn’t matter if it’s no kids, or some ridiculous theme they ask you all dress up as, or if they decide to get married wearing nothing but saran wrap. Their wedding, their rules. Period. It is RUDE to tell them that what they want is ridiculous, and even MORE RUDE to blatantly disregard their wishes.

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    • 73

      Melissa Dant says

      Your comment is a perfect example of the point the author was trying to illustrate. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would think they are so special that they would disregard the request of a bride on her wedding day. Shame on you and I feel sorry for kids who will grow up with the same sense of entitlement. I bet you’re the one that yells at people in nice restaurants for giving you a dirty look because your precious darlings are ruining their $100 dinner. Get over yourself and learn some common courtesy.

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    • 74

      Lynnette says

      If you don’t like the rule, or feel that your kids were improperly excluded, then don’t go. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you don’t abide by someone’s wishes. Your attitude is why the author wrote this. Get over yourself.

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    • 76

      E says

      The funny thing about someone else’s wedding, is that YOU don’t get to call the shots. Just because no one died and you weren’t asked to leave, doesn’t mean it still wasn’t RUDE of you as a GUEST to disregard the wishes of the bride and groom. And yes, I’m sure as they were planning their big day they stopped and said, “let’s set the age limit for children at 5 years old so our cousin can’t bring her kids.” Because they couldn’t possibly have anything else to worry about while planning a wedding right? Please don’t flatter yourself with that assumption. I’m sure they felt that any children under the age of 5 might have a meltdown (as children under that age tend to do quite loudly) and disrupt the event, even if it wasn’t an “adult” atmosphere, who wants to hear a screaming child at their own wedding? Children 5 years old and older tend to be quieter (most of the time) with their tantrums, and easier to get under control…and are more self sufficient.

      You are obviously…one of “those” parents that thinks the sun shines out of her precious children’s tushies.

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    • 78

      Sarah says

      Well then you are a self entitled bitch plain and simple. And had it been my wedding I would’ve kicked your ass out. I had the same requests for my wedding that I paid for. If someone wants to request no children at their wedding then that’s their business. Is it your wedding? Are you paying for it? No didn’t think so. So get over yourself. Just because you laid on your back and got a man mustard injection and popped out a couple of kids doesn’t make you some kind of god that everyone has to bend over backwards and worship.

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    • 79

      ppony says

      I don’t like adults only weddings. So I don’t go where my family as it is isn’t welcome. I’m glad I wasn’t so exclusive when I got married 8 years before I and my first child. I find it rude as well.

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    • 80

      Anne says

      Alright so I’ve got a few points regarding “No Kids” weddings:

      1. At the risk of beating a dead horse I think that the majority of people, even if they don’t like excluding their children, can agree that it’s the couple getting married who has the right to set the rules. If you don’t agree with the request you don’t attend, you don’t bring your children to an event where they might not be welcome. You have two choices, find someone to watch them, or do not attend.

      2. Finding a sitter may be difficult, or expensive for you, I think most of us can offer some sympathy about that, but to the person who mentioned not even attending their Grandmother’s birthday because it was “No Kids”, it’s great that your children are well behaved, I’m sure that is a point of pride for you and honestly I’m glad you had the sense to respect the wishes of those hosting the events in question, still, it seems a shame that on point of principal you would choose to miss family events. But that’s just my opinion.

      Some examples of weddings I’ve been to and their child-policies.
      I’ve had two cousins get married and allowed children to attend, however in both cases the only child in attendance was my little sister (my Mom had her later in life so she was 4 & 8 respectively at those times), while she didn’t act out she was bored out of her mind. Being included was fantastic but there was nothing set up for her, the singular attending child. Everyone else were of the age when they didn’t have kids yet or their children were grown. I think there might have been a newborn at the first one but that’s hardly a playmate.

      My sister and I were in the wedding party the first time around and I think she enjoyed it on the day but the rest of the day meant little to her, she didn’t like the food (not a “kid friendly” menu and she’s quite picky), our cousin (the bride) didn’t pay attention to her, our parents were busy with the bride’s parents, and I was also hanging around the older bridal party as I was 17. Now my parents could have assigned me to be her companion but is that any more fair to me when I have people my own age (other cousins) to hang out with? In retrospect it likely would have been best to arrange a sitter for the reception which ran late and by the end of it she was miserable. She doesn’t remember the event anyway.

      For the second wedding again my sister was the only kid, luckily the food was “comfort/home-styled”, it was smaller and all prepared by our aunt, also she was better at entertaining herself. Still, she’s shy and it wasn’t until many of the stranger guests started to leave that she lit up and began having a good time… she was bored and whining during the ceremony, trying to get attention from the bridal party during the wedding and took over the dance floor by the end of the night. She remembers this, and had a good time, but I don’t think her life would be ruined by any stretch had she not attended.

      This passed summer a third cousin was married and she had a “no kids” policy. The venue was a stunning and expensive country club, the space was relatively small and wine was flowing, at least one third of the guests got drunk. The bride was 23, the groom 25, the guests were all of a similar age (myself included) and the entire concept was like a big rowdy party. That’s what they wanted. This wasn’t really a family event, most of the older guests and relatives left shortly after the dinner leaving the younger ones to party it up until about 2AM, the atmosphere became more of a nightclub than a wedding reception. Again, that is what they wanted. Was that the right place to bring children? No. Only 1 or 2 guests attending even had children (not including my little sister who was left off the guest list and also our parents were working), what was there for them to do?

      A friend of mine got married similarly at a very fancy high-end restaurant, again her wedding was “No kids”, the food not only pricey but also “foodie”, strange mixes of ingredients that even I turned my nose at. The menu was not what children would want to eat, the venue and theme were all adult-centered.

      I have to admit I don’t understand people who say children at weddings are more enjoyable. I don’t have kids, though I have friends who do, and relatives who do, and when I get married it will be child-friendly because there are enough parents in my social circle that I wouldn’t object to them bringing their families. That being said, knowing this and planning for it, the wedding will have a selection of child-friendly food & activities to keep them occupied so they aren’t running around creating a disaster on my special day.

      But if your child or children are the only ones attending, who is having them there a joy for? The focus shouldn’t be how cute your kid is dressed up at a wedding, if they’re a relative of the bride or groom the boundaries should be set that the children aren’t going to be getting special attention on that day. They should be of an age to be quiet during the ceremony and polite at the reception. I’ve been to weddings were unruly children trashed centerpieces, peed on the floor, ripped the bride’s dress and just created general chaos. As much as you might cherish your child, weddings are stressful enough without a rogue element like an unpredictable little one potentially going nuts.

      For those of you who insist your kids should have the right to attend, close your eyes and imagine all the havoc a child could create in any given situation, no matter how well-mannered you like to think they are. Just picture the worst of worst case scenarios. Reasonable or not in the mind of most brides, everything is as worst case scenario level and for some doing the damage control to accommodate a handful of children, many of which likely are too young to even remember the event is just not worth it.

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      • 81

        Courtney says

        I did a half and half kind of thing at my wedding. The ceremony we planned was a little on the long side, and kids generally hate trying to sit still for these kinds of things. We paid for two baby sitters during the ceremony, and put any kids in another room at the venue. We also let people know that we expected the reception to start at X time, if they felt more comfortable just showing up for the reception rather than having their kids off with the sitters we hired (ceremony & reception in different parts of the same venue).

        Our reception was a buffet with some fancy stuff and some kid-friendly foods. I also had a table off to the side that had crayons and coloring books. What I didn’t plan on were the disposable cameras. We put them on the dining tables thinking the adult guests would use them, but the kids nabbed the cameras almost immediately (there were about 8-10 of them and all within about a 4-year age range.) It kept them busy and entertained for the bulk of the reception, but I wish I had realized that only little kids had the cameras before I paid to have them developed. 10 cameras worth of random pictures at odd angles with tiny fingers in the shot.

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    • 83

      Brandi says

      I do agree that no kid weddings are completely inconsiderate of the people y are inviting to.. Especially if you got a destination wedding on top of that yeah don’t expect anyone to come then sorry

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    • 84

      Althea says

      Wow! Did you bring any other unwanted guests? Maybe a couple of the bride’s old boyfriends? After all, the wedding was all about you and it was your responsibilty to decide who SHOULD have been invited and to make sure they were in attendance.

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    • 85

      Vena says

      How inconsiderate, rude and disrespectful of you DM. Shame on you for not respecting someone’s wishes on their special day. Have you considered that perhaps while you love your children, you also have a biased opinion of them and see them through rose colored lenses? Perhaps to other people your children are obnoxious brats.

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    • 86

      ilona says

      Guess what it’s not a party event for your kiddies, it’s the bride and grooms day, at the reception there will be drinking, it’s going to last late into the evening, the menu isn’t kid friendly and it’s going to cost the wedding couple extra to cater to your rudeness they will have to pay for the extra seating and food for your uninvited brood, if the invite says NO KIDS do not bring your kids, it’s only an entitled moron who brings their kids to an adults only planned event, go take your kids to Mc Donald’s and get them a happy meal, ponder on your own rudeness, bloated sense of self entitlement, the grow up and get some manners.

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    • 87

      Kat Akin says

      If your kids were really the only ones shut out of the wedding invatation, that was pretty much done on purpose. New flash….maybe not everyone thinks yours kids are as wonderful, special and well-behaved as you do.

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    • 88

      Elisabeth says

      Well, that was horrid and classless of you. You’re the kind of parent other parent’s hate. What other rules do you intent to break, what other people do you intend to run over, because your speshul snowfaykes and teh spehsulest? I’m sure they’ll grow up to be fantastic people with that attitue.

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    • 89

      teacups says

      Your attitude is horrible and selfish and narcissistic and thoughtless and inconsiderate. I can safely guarantee you that just because no one stopped you at the door and refused to allow you to enter, or no nice person walked up to you and asked you to leave, did not mean they weren’t absolutely fuming. And you did a great rudeness to all the other people who DID shell out for a babysitter, in following the edict of the bridal couple. You were rude and thoughtless and I can promise you you created alot of resentment.

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    • 91

      BethC says

      What is unbelievably rude here is your decision to take your kids to the wedding anyway. If you were offended by their exclusion, then you could have opted not to go. I work with young children for a living and have two of my own. Even the best behaved children do not behave exactly as you want them to 100% of the time and you can’t always know what is going to set them off. What you may think is “fine” may not be fine to others (loud laughter, running and giggling, etc). That wedding was not YOUR day, so you had no right to violate the bride and groom’s wishes. I almost wish that your cousin would show up at your kid’s birthday party with a crew of loud, trashily-dressed adults, a bunch of booze, and start making out in the corner, just so you could see how it must have felt to them. No one said anything to you because they didn’t want to start a fight on a happy day, but don’t for a minute think that no one was upset by your selfish choice.

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    • 92

      Christina Mauthe says

      Horribly rude and inconsiderate! When my husband and I were invited to a “no children” wedding, we at least asked about bringing our 9m/o because we were from out of state and everyone we knew would be at the wedding. If we hadn’t found someone we trusted, we would not have gone. (The bride did have us bring her later on. It turns out, there were only certain children they did not want at the wedding.)

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    • 93

      Barbara says

      It’s not rude at all! If I want to drink, dance, and be merry with loud music at an event, I shouldn’t have to worry about whether in going to step on a small human or have to get a lecture from a pissed off mom because I’m saying things inappropriate for small ears.

      Not everyone enjoys the company of children.

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    • 94

      Ian jacobs says

      I think it’s rude that you chose to ignore the bride and groom’s wishes. Next time you might just find yourself without an invitation. But, I’m guessing that wouldn’t stop you from showing up with your brood of rugrats anyway.

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  2. 95

    Claire B. says

    Hi! It’s sort of funny that I read this, because despite being married, I have no kids and no plans to have them anytime soon. But a friend sent this to me, because this is a HUGE hot-button issue for me – parents or not, it seems that a lot of people today think that they are just to special for the rules. Whether it’s cutting in line at the train or letting their kids run rampant at a nice restaurant, I just wish people would just accept that everyone needs to maintain common courtesy, no matter who they think they are. Especially if they are parents! How will kids grow up knowing how to behave well when their parents are constantly teaching them that they are too important to follow the rules?? Thank you so much for shining a light on this issue – I hope I have friends like you when I become a mom.

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    • 96

      says

      I agree. As a teacher, I applaud this piece. My colleagues and I were talking about why some kids just don’t follow the rules that we explicit talk to them about, and we concluded that it comes from their parents’ disregard for the rules. So the next time my friend and I had carpool duty, we kept track of which parents broke the rules of drop-off (e.g., dropping kids off where they shouldn’t, cutting in line, etc.). Sure enough, a lot of the kids we had problems with had parents that broke the rules too.

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      • 97

        says

        As a fellow teacher, I completely agree! Many times when there’s a problem student, I meet with the parents and everything suddenly becomes clear. Several years ago, during American Education Week, I had a mother bring her toddler daughter to my class. While I was teaching, she allowed her toddler to sit in my chair at my desk and play on my computer, without asking me. I didn’t know what to say! I didn’t think I’d have to correct kids who aren’t even my students, let alone their parents!

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      • 99

        says

        I too, am a teacher, and students who think that sitting in my classroom earns them an “A” is my absolute biggest educational issue. Entitled children come from entitled parents. This has been proven, over and over again.

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        • 100

          AS says

          My mom’s a teacher as well, and this is one of her biggest issues! I’m glad someone else can relate! Last year she was literally harrased by a mom who thought her daughter deserved to pass a test that she had clearly failed. It got to the point that the principal called my mom into the office to try to get her to change the grade so she wouldn’t have to deal with this obnoxiou mom, my mom chose to have a meeting with the parent instead where she explained how the way things work in her class (and the way they worked in my home) is that you if you want the best (grade, etc.) you have to work the hardest. I can say she instilled that in us, learning to work my butt off to get what I want has gotten me far. Props to awesome teachers like you everywhere!

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          • 101

            t says

            AS- kuddos to your mom for not giving in to the stupid principal. I, too, am a fellow teacher and have had more than one administrator respond the same way when dealing with difficult parents. Makes me so angry because they are only perpetuating the horrific entitlement behavior not to mention the fact that they are NOT BACKING THEIR STAFF!! So infuriating! And in my experience, it is SO true…the kids that show disdegard often are a direct reflection of their parents.

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    • 104

      Kandi says

      Oh honey, it’s not your party, it’s not your rules, it’s not your money.

      Leave your kids at home with a sitter or stay home with them. If you can’t see the problem with your actions, I hope your kids learn their manners elsewhere.

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      • 112

        AN says

        I don’t see what is so wrong with talking to my child in public… I do it all of the time, both with my two year old and my 4 month old. It isn’t for anyone’s benefit but ours and I can’t help if other people can hear us. I don’t think ANYONE can talk quietly enough that NOBODY can hear them.

        How bitter do you have to be to “hate” people who talk to their kids in public? Or who look at their children adoringly? WTF?

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        • 113

          Krys says

          That comment wasn’t directed at just talking to your children. It was directed at the people who talk in the loud sing-song voice, the one that screams “look at me and my child!!!” Those are usually the people who have major issues going on behind the scenes and are trying extra hard to put on that perfect facade.

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          • 114

            says

            Yeah, and I bet you’re the first to judge when a kid is misbehaving. Oh no, a parent is having fun in public. Oh no. Your perfect tranquility is being disturbed by a Mom playing with a kid. Whatever will you do? Oh, I know. STFU and leave.

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        • 115

          SEM says

          The author is not saying not to bring your kids in public. The author is saying there are certain places where a kid should not be. Like at bar or late night horror movie. If I was at a late night horror movie and someone brought their kid and they kid was being disruptive like a kid would be during something like that I would not be happy. And my wedding I asked no kids be there and I had my reasons and that was also my right. Just because I did that did not mean that I dont like kids I just felt my wedding was not appropriate place for them.

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    • 116

      Bill says

      Oh God, I hate that!! I will purposely look away when that happens and show absolutely no acknowledgment of their little “angel”. So we’re all supposed to stand around in amazement because your kid claps and laughs when you make a funny noise? So irritating.

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  3. 119

    says

    I agree with all except the plane one. My son is autistic and no matter how prepared I am … There is always one meltdown. Traveling is hard. It’s harder on kids. It’s even harder on special needs kids. But it has to be done. So stop judging us. We’re really tired of having to tell our kids to stop kicking the seat, too. But your “helpful” suggestions about how my kid just needs disciplined – yeah those aren’t really helpful.

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    • 120

      n says

      Chances are though, you’re trying to do something to assuage the situation, and that’s all that’s needed.

      My husband was on a flight with a fairly small baby and clearly new parents. Baby screamed….the whole flight. Hubby noticed baby looked a lot like our two did when they had gas pains, and politely suggested to new mom and dad that maybe their child had some gas pains and suggested trying to keep burping. He was very sympathetic to the stress of baby crying. Mom and dad replied with doing…nothing except saying “shhhh baby” and “I don’t know why she’s doing this.”

      It was a very unpleasant flight for him and he was irritated, because they did absolutely nothing to help calm their baby.

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      • 121

        hjames says

        It doesn’t matter if your husband was an experienced father of 25 children, no other parent has to follow his “expert” advice. They WERE trying and unsolicited advice is rude.

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        • 122

          Krys says

          Sorry, not everyone is a perfect parent like you. When I was a new mom and having problems calming my son, a more experienced parent nicely offering some advice was welcome. The husband was polite about offering some advice on calming a baby. If everyone had your attitude, then new parents wouldn’t benefit from advice of those who have been there. It’s not always a bad thing, you know.

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    • 126

      Corinne says

      Totally agree with you! I do like this article, but it is a little bit judgemental. As a mother, you must teach your children to behave, but it is ridiculous to blame yourself for every little “bad” thing your son, mostly without meaning it, does.

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    • 127

      says

      The author is CLEARLY not discussing children with special needs- in fact, the author doesn’t seem to be discussing children at all, rather the focus is on parenting (or lack thereof). Any parent who makes a good faith effort to help they child act appropriately in society isn’t included in this post.

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      • 128

        sandnsons says

        The problems is there are so many special needs that are invisible. I also have a child with autism. Most people have no idea and mistakenly interpret his behavior as a discipline issue. For example, my child has a fascination with doors and will either open and close them repeatedly or insist that propped opened doors need to be closed. I’ve been chastised by people who are bothered by him messing with doors in situations where he isn’t hurting anyone or anything and they don’t think I’m doing enough about it. I get that it can be annoying. He does it at home ALL THE TIME. But the alternative is him esculating into a kicking, screaming meltdown. I try not take take him places where he will be a problem but sometimes it is unavoidable. I wish.more people would recognize that sometimes patents are being low key in an attempt to keep a lid in creating an even bigger.issue.

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    • 129

      Mindi spenner says

      I don’t think that’s what the author means here. It’s the parents that don’t prepare or try anything. For instance, my friend just went ona flight and she said the parents seated themselves ina different row from the children. How do you think that went? When I travel with my 4 kids, I don’t expect perfection but you can bet I have a bag of tricks- videos, headphones, toys, snacks- the GOOD stuff- not apples and crap I bet you do the same. People see me working it- like you do. They see you working it. When they see a parent have drink first thing, hand their kid a DVD and then check out for the rest of the flight- that’s when they deserve some hatin’. It is an enclosed space. It is stressful for kids. It is our job to entertain them and work the flight. If we ignore them, it will go to hell. It sucks but it is what we have to do. I envy the businessperson who has that drink and settles in- but whatever. I can’t promise quiet from my kid but I will try to keep my kid from kicking the seat by engaging with them- may or may not stop them but at least I tried. I bet this is you too. This is the difference about which the author is speaking.

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    • 130

      Maria says

      So if your child with special needs is unable to NOT kick the seat in front of him, shouldn’t you buy a seat in the first row? Fairly simple. If another child with special needs was seated behind your child and repeatedly kicked his seat, causing him to meltdown, wouldn’t you be upset?

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    • 131

      ppony says

      I can relate!! My youngest is ASD. We do a ton of pre-planning and prepping. We pay more to get early seating or certain seats to buffer others. You just never can product what may set them off. You just do your best to distract and calm them when it does. So far, we’ve done well. Only had one instance of crying for about 3 minutes until I calmed him down.

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