Moms With Kids Banned from Restaurants, Cafes in Korea

More and more restaurants, theaters, and other places are not allowing customers who bring along their kids. Those customers have complained that this amounts to discrimination, but many others argue that it is simply the parents’ fault for not teaching proper etiquette.

Article from Hankook Ilbo:

“No strollers” Moms with kids are turned away at restaurants.


Mrs. Kim (32) was banned from a cafe for having a 30-month old daughter in a stroller. The cafe owner pointed a sign that stated, “Strollers are not allowed.” Exhausted from the hot weather, she asked if she could use the cafe if she put the stroller outside. However, the owner refused saying, “There are customers who are not happy with kids around.”
“Whenever I experience these things, it makes me feel sad as a mom raising a child,” said Mrs. Kim.

As No Kids Zones have become more numerous, mothers are getting worried. Not only fancy restaurants, VIP lounges of department stores, but also small cafes in alleys, and even saunas are banning kids.

Mrs. Lee (32), who is raising a six-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, wasn’t allowed to stay at a sauna in Busan because they said that preschool children are too noisy. She struggled to find a place to stay with her two kids.

Movie theaters are also no exception to the No Kids Zone. “Normal movie theaters are too dark and loud for kids, and it is hard to find one suitable for children,” Mrs. Lee complained. For people’s with strollers, there are movie theaters equipped with low or no stairs. However, there are only 4 of these kinds of movie theaters in Seoul and only 1 in Suwon.

Mums find it tough to find a place for themselves when they bring along their kids. Mrs. Kim (33) said, “it isn’t easy to find a kids cafe where children can have fun as much as they want. There’s no places for moms to be comfortable with strollers either.” Although there are about 200 kids cafes in Seoul, most of them are located near big apartment complexes. Moreover, as customers have to order per person, the price is usually over 20,000 won. If customers stay longer than 2 hours, they have to pay extra.

However, it is hard to criticize the owners for banning kids. In a cafe owners’ club online, there are many posts like, “I was startled when children were having cup noodles inside the cafe.”, or, “The cafe isn’t a daycare center.” Mr. Im(33), who adopted the No Kids Zone rule a month ago in his cafe, said, “The other day customers complained so much due to a noisy child. If kids are breaking the calm atmosphere, the number of customers will go down. This is why other cafes are also considering adopting a No Kids Zone.”

A sign reads, "Entrance restricted for children under the age of 5. "

A sign reads, “Entrance restricted for children under the age of 5. ”

Min-jin Park, an activist from the human rights education center Deul, emphasized that, “Though those spaces are commercial, it is clearly discrimination to regulate someone’s opportunity to use the place. Owners should not ban customers unilaterally.” Experts advise that parents should teach their children proper etiquette for being in public places. Won-young Lee, a professor emeritus at Jungang University, said, “Parents should not say ‘yes’ all the time to their children. Once children are able to understand what they’re told, parents should teach them manners so that they can live together with other people. That’s true love for their children. Something like storybooks for them to read would also be of help.”

Comments from Naver:


Whatever their children are doing, parents don’t care and just talk with their friends. Do you know how noisy it is? Don’t you know other people are suffering because you are leaving your children to do what they please..


I was shocked to see parents using a plastic bottle as a child’s toilet. They had enough time to go to the toilet…


I know not all parents are idiots but some of them should be blamed for letting their children do something f*** crazy.


Even myself, a mother who is raising a child, can’t focus on my class when people are bringing their kids along. Even in a movie theater, parents don’t take action right away if their children are crying. As parents, it’s your duty to take care of your children. A kids cafe is for children to play not for mothers to relax while neglecting their children. Also, I can’t understand parents sleeping over at a sauna with their kids.


Why do they do that? Those Kimchi bitches who are throwing smelly nappies just anywhere is number one in the world for bad manners, ke ke.


When I took the KTX train, parents didn’t care even though their children were noisy. I really wanted to punch them.


Have you ever thought about the reason you’re being turned away?


While I was arranging shopping carts as a part-time job, I found a smelly nappy in the cart. So insane… what exactly are they learning at home?


ke ke, that’s why parents need to control their children. If someone is saying something to their children they always say it’s not his business. I really like this change. Young mothers, you should know that you reap what you sow.


This is a reality triggered from an obsessive love by parents like my children are important so don’t be harsh to them.


Mothers piled the trouble up for themselves; In a cafe they push tables with their strollers, don’t care whether their children run or speak loudly, and change nappies. They use milk which is meant for customers who order lattes, and ask for whip cream or toppings for free asking employees to “Be generous with the food.” A few days ago an woman said her child pushed a table lightly, the table fell down and a coffee on the table spilled onto the child. But it turns out she was lying. If people would maintain proper etiquette by themselves, nobody would say anything to the moms with their kids.


It is all because of women who think only their children are noble. As a mom of two children, I have seen countless stupid parents. Remember, spare the rod and spoil the child.


Just before I saw a mother and her child singing, clapping, and doing shit in the metro. His mother kept praising him, so he sang much louder. What a bi***, it was pissing me off.


Honestly I hate children. If children are noisy I scold them immediately. Sometimes I’ve gotten into an argument with their parents. Not warning their children right away, they excuse it saying children can be a bit loud in a restaurant. They are just spouting shit.


Children break the silence in a movie theater, run in a restaurant, and their moms sit in a cafe not ordering anything. Of course there are well-behaved children but the number of ill-mannered children is too high, which makes cafe owners ban them from cafes. When I was young, I ran in a restaurant. Then my parents hit me with a spoon, told me off, and made me go home. Don’t say that people these days have gotten weaker. Children don’t know what is wrong till they’re taught. From now on, parents should change what other people think toward them and their children.


Because of moms who neglect their children whether they are noisy or not, No Kids Zones have appeared. Our mothers in the old days didn’t act stupidly like them..


I understand how many moms feel but you should think and respect the rights of other people as well as yours. Feelings you had when you were young are feelings other people nowadays have toward your children.


There are insane parents who bring their kids to a classical concert. You know even dogs have a vocal chord removal surgery when they are barking too much, right?


All of this is because of stupid ajummas.

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  • dv6000

    Gee it’s no wonder Korea is on its on its way to having more old then young people

    • Chucky3176

      Lot of single people in Korea who don’t like kids.

      News released just 5 hours ago.

      Birth rate down back to 1.18 in 2013 after climbing up to 1.3 couple of years back. All time low since 2002. Average age of first time birth mothers now up to 32 years old. Raising one kid in South Korea estimated to be $38,000 a year on average, with few good facilities for raising children.

      • Hans mole man

        That’s cheap, in the USA it’s more like 200k for a middle class family from birth to college

        • Show Case

          38k * 18 = 684k. Thats over 3 times more than 200k…

        • Not quite

          USA is much cheaper. Americans don’t have to worry about paying for private after class schools, and sending the kids abroad to learn English (which means whole lot of money for room, board, tuition, air tickets, medical insurance, on and on with never ending education expenses).

          • Black_Plague

            Not sure what the norm in the US is, though in Korea, it also isn’t considered abnormal for kids to live with their parents throughout college/uni, and beyond that (minus the 21-24 months guys have to go through with their military service).

            That adds a bit more onto things, financially, on the parents’ part.

          • Chucky3176

            No contest really, Korea is far more expensive, even more expensive if you count the cost of marriage ceremonies that parents are responsible for. Last time I read, Korean parents on average spend $250K per wedding for their children. The old retired Koreans have sacrificed and given up their financial positions to their children. The problem is that the old traditional social cohesion where parents give up everything for their children when the children are young, and then the parents depend on their children for help when they grow old, is collapsing. We now have children who took everything from their parents, but won’t give back to help the parents when they got old. Now the old parents are left holding the bag. Thus one of the reasons why so many Korean old people are living alone in poverty.

          • 금정산

            $250K on average?! Is pretending to be rich really that important?

          • Abdiel Lawrence

            Unfortunately, yes. Keeping up with The Kims is the name of the game in Korea. The sad thing is that Koreans, like the Chinese, use to be frugal with their money. Now, everyone has 3-5 credit cards just so they can buy the newest smartphone or handbag.

  • bballi bballi paradise
    • Abdiel Lawrence

      Chilsung Cider isnt water either….but dont tell that to your co-teacher. ;-)

  • Judith Mopalia

    If you don’t allow kids into restaurants, how are they supposed to learn how to behave in restaurants? Instead of a global ban, remove kids (actually parents) who are disturbing. It’s reasonable to ask them to pay in advance, knowing that they will forfeit their money if the kids are a problem, although I don’t know what the legal status of this would be. Parents need to start their kids at family style neighborhood places and then move up to better restaurants. My child ate out all his life without causing a problem. It’s all in the training.

    • Jahar

      Not all need to be like this, but i think having “adults only” restaurants shouldn’t be a problem.

  • gravatar21

    Korea hates children. It’s a known fact

  • Ibby

    This should be done in MORE restaurants around the world. Of course it’ll never happen in the US because there’s too many “proud mommies” who get offended every time a stranger doesn’t want to hear their screaming babies. If you want to go out to eat as a family and not be judged for your screaming kids, take them to a child-friendly place, not an upscale establishment where diners pay good money for a nice, quiet meal that they can enjoy in peace. Entitled mothers who bring babies into nice restaurants and ruin everyone else’s evening (that mother in Alinea, anyone?) are the reason that kids these days are growing up to be entitled, spoilt brats.

    • Bryan Cheron

      Actually, there are “no children allowed” restaurants, hotels, etc. in the US, and the number is growing.

      • Ibby

        Where are these restaurants? No, seriously, I’d like to know where I should be dining…

        • ChuckRamone

          There are some bars and restaurants in NYC doing this. I agree it should be more widespread, especially with the rise in “hands-off” parenting you see these days. People just let their kids do whatever wherever.

    • Showdaddy

      Children shouldn’t be banned, but restaurants, etc. should have the right to expel misbehaving children. My son (3 y.o.) is usually quiet and calm in restaurants and indoor spaces. He knows it’s expected. If he starts to get loud, I take him outside, discipline him, and wait until he’s quiet again. I do not permit him to disturb others by running around or being loud.

      This is not a situation where ALL of a group should be banned. There should, however, be standards of appropriate conduct. Those parents and children who cannot abide by such should not be permitted.

      • Ibby

        Well unfortunately, the vast majority of parents are NOT like you, and generally just allow their children to yell, scream and disturb other diners. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen small children running around restaurants unsupervised, climbing on tables, or making a mess (that the servers have to clean up). Yes, it sucks that bad parents ruin it for responsible ones like yourself, but it’s just not practical to expect restaurants to deal with them on a case-by-case basis. Parents who can’t even be bothered to control their kids in public are certainly NOT the ones who are going to understand being kicked out of a restaurant.

        Remember what happened with the screaming baby in Alinea? Entitled parents got upset with the owner just for COMPLAINING about someone bringing a screaming baby into a 5-star restaurant that costs paying (adult) diners $200+ a head. Restaurants would never get away with kicking out unruly children.

        Besides, this idea of banning an entire group is not unusual. A lot of restaurants have a 21+ policy after a certain time because it’s just easier to check IDs at the door instead of making servers check every time someone orders a drink. Even in Canada, where the drinking age is 19, a lot of bars have 21+ policies because patrons aged 19-20 are more likely to get sloppy and unruly, and the bars just don’t want to deal with it. It doesn’t mean everyone under 21 is irresponsible, but it’s within the establishment’s to avoid potential problems by setting an age limit.

        Same goes for establishments or buildings that ban pets – even if not all dogs are loud and destructive, it’s still within the owner’s rights to ban them instead of dealing with misbehaving ones on a case-by-case basis. It seems that only parents of small children have a problem with these types of restrictions, when there’s really no reason that they should be entitled to special accommodations when plenty of other groups are not.

        • Nehemiah Jacob

          Dayum. You sound like a cool writer. Do you have a blog ?. Fan here :)

  • k.ftw

    WHen you read this article and that one..

  • good riddance

    Good keep those little boji kids out

  • Jessica

    Fine with me. Korea has got to be the WORST place for witnessing children behaving terribly in public. Several times I have seen parents change their child’s diaper AT THEIR TABLE in a restaurant/buffet. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen kids screaming and running around a cafe/restaurant while the parents do or say absolutely nothing. I hope this child ban trend continues.

    • Black_Plague

      Hehehe, now that reminds me of my aunt’s second son back in Korea, who would eat till he threw up when he was a toddler, and then eat again, regardless of what restaurant they went to.

      Awkward times.

    • Jahar

      Come to China. Small children urinating and defecating in supermarkets and shopping malls. And their parents find it funny.

      • Jdjjdjdjddjd

        I went to china this month. Saw it happen twice. At one point I was glad there was a one child policy because all the children I HAD seen were mostly an annoyance and loud.

        • Abdiel Lawrence

          They reversed the ban little more than a year ago. Next time you go to China, keep your head down and avoid the brown stuff. ;-)

  • MasterofYou

    As a parent I think the rest of you should suffer for those of us who Darwin has selected worthy of carrying our gene pool forward with children.

    • Guest

      Say what?????

      • Balkan

        I think he/she was being sarcastic.

    • Guest

      That statement has all types of wrong going on. DARWIN? Darwin has no say in anything, he’s a man like you and me. What the hell were human beings doing before he arrived on the scene? Don’t make me laugh with that evolution crap. Just have your babies and bring them up with MORALS and the world will be a better place. Plain and simple.

  • Bonnie

    This trend is a shame. I agree that children in restaurants can be disruptive in Korea (or anywhere, but I’ve seen it worse here). As a parent of a young child I actually appreciated how child-friendly Korea was compared to the US when I was living there (back in the US now). Rather than unilaterally banning children under a certain age, set an example by telling only those parents who are not taking responsibility for their children to leave the premises.

    • Ibby

      I’m pretty sure it’s not ALL restaurants banning children. Some restaurants are geared towards families and others aren’t. Why does it bother you that you’re not the targeted clientele of EVERY establishment?

    • Ken Morgan

      While on paper that is a fine suggestion to judge each case on its own merits. It won’t work, primarily because you are putting the onus on the staff to confront the parents. Some parents can see no fault with their children either being blind to it or ignorant to it.

      If a parent is quite happy to leave a child crying and screaming without bothering to do anything. What kind of reaction do you think they will have when asked to leave?

  • Chucky3176

    South Korea has got to be the most anti-family country that you can think of. And this restaurant banning is one small example of that. It doesn’t pay to have children. It’s nothing but expensive grief, pain, and hassles.

    It’s really no wonder why people don’t want to have children anymore in this country. If you think I’m exaggerating, I just read this Korean article today which says the budget to support multicultural families has increased by 4 times compared to 5 years ago, and it is now twice as bigger than the government budget to support the entire non-multicultural Korean families in Korea. These are incredible numbers of reverse discrimination I’ve ever seen anywhere.

    How does the government justify spending twice the money on about 250,000 families, compared to what they spend on 15 million non-multicultural families?

  • commander

    The entry ban for mothers with infants is adopted by some places not because they are mothers who are often painted as easy-to-suffer-from-discrimination underdogs by overzealous feminists, but because they are rarely apologetic when their vociferous children are going wildly around annoying others around, resulting in the reduction of customers and falling profits.

    The argument that in a nation who has alarmingly low fertility rate the ban is another disincentive to childbirth is the least persuasive one I have ever seen.

    The entry prohibition should be understood in the context that no one has the right to disrupt peace in public places.

    The absurdity in the argument is parallel to these: The refusal of some cafes to take in big pet dogs shows Korea’s poor pet culture; Some dance clubs in Gangnam or Hongik districts having age limits on entrants reveal the widespread ageism in the nation-all arguments that are preposterous.

  • Sid Driver

    I was talking to my friend Harvey about this. He’s traveled around the world and he said that he found out that only the stupid people are breeding. All those damn cretins do is clone and feed. But you know, maybe you shouldn’t trust this guy (he doesn’t even own a tv).

    Starbucks used to be my favorite place to go and study but now before I go in I always look in the window to see how many kids or babies are in there before deciding to enter. Parents with huge strollers filling up the lanes so you can’t walk past. Kids running around yelling, screaming, and even riding their push scooters in the cafe. This summer I watched so many times as the employees had to close the doors to keep the inside cool while kids run in and out and parents are too oblivious to notice. I’ve seen diaper changes on the tables and couches… and my favorite was watching with a friend as a mom told her little boy to pee in the bottle.

    It’s just ridiculous… and it sucks for the good parents because the truth of it is that it’s just a few bad eggs that spoil it for everyone.

    • Jahar

      does your friend own a tv?

  • JungBlackjack

    OMG this is one of the many reasons why I love S Korea! I get mad every time I see parents indulge and treat their undisciplined and ugly kids like gods and expect others to adore and respect their kids like they do. I’m glad that no child policies are spreading and I hope parents to become more rational and respective to others

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