A line in the sand

In affluent Lake Forest, Illinois, a section of Lake Michigan beach is reserved for adults only, reports the Chicago Tribune.

“We’re creating a quieter space for those adults that are in search of that type of atmosphere,” said Sally Swarthout, program manager for the north suburban city’s Parks & Recreation Board, which created the 21-and-older beach at the request of several residents. About a quarter of the city’s nearly mile-long beach is now for adults only.

I grew up south of Lake Forest in Highland Park. On the weekends, the beaches swarmed with kids building sand castles, burying each other, jumping in the waves, even swimming. My mother would bring a picnic lunch: I remember the hard-boiled eggs. I guess we were noisy, but it was the baby boom and people expected to be around children. Now it’s the adult baby boomers who want peace and quiet.

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  1. I have five kids and I love the idea… then again with 5 kids even the thought of a kid free zone makes me smile.

  2. As a non-parent I suppose that I lack some empathy, but I am absolutely sick and tired of kids running amok while their parents pretent that there is nothing that they can do about it. I remember my own parents (I am 48), and if I tried some of the crap that these kids take as their due, I would have suffered mightily for it.

    Yes, I know…times have changed (not always for the better, I might add…the link above is most insructive), and kids are kids. The problem is that parents are no longer parents, but all too often enablers of the the worst sort of disruptive behavior. If they aren’t going to keep their kids under even a modicum of control, I look forward to future efforts to segregate them (and their ill-behaved spawn) from the rest of the civilized world….

  3. The problem, as I see it, is not with children, it is with some parents. (And I suppose, some adults).

    Parents who don’t watch over their kids are putting their kids in danger. Parents who don’t make an effort to control their kids in public settings (and the expectation at a beach is different than the expectation in a sit-down restaurant – but still, I don’t like going to the beach and getting hit repeatedly with wildly-thrown balls without even so much as an “excuse me”) are what are leading to some adults demanding “child free zones.”

    I have no problem with children provided there is some minimum standard of behavior, but in the past year I have seen:

    Children running and throwing a rubber ball – with no regard to the other people around – in a supermarket

    Children running and screaming between the tables in a semi-formal restaurant

    Children wandering over to other people having a picnic in a park and just STARING at them (I don’t know if the child was hoping to be given something to eat or what but it was unsettling)

    Children running across a crowded parking lot without looking out for cars – potentially extremely dangerous for the child, and tragic if they were to get hit.

    While I agree that some of the people who want “no kid zones” are probably being a bit sour about it (and it’s an interesting thought that a lot of them are Boomers who would have, as children, expected to be allowed to roam where they now want to exclude kids), I think also it’s the 1% or so of neglectful parents who are spoiling the experience for the rest of us.

  4. “On the weekends, the beaches swarmed with kids building sand castles, burying each other, jumping in the waves, even swimming”

    Here’s a modest proposal for adults wanting children free beaches- go to the beach during the week!