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How do you deal with parents who get upset when you tell them you have an age limit for children

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Baygirl

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After a few years of allowing children we decided to change our policy to no children under the age of 7 (which we're debating on raising). It seems lately I've had parents questioning me and getting upset because of the policy.
How do you handle these calls when you get them? I feel put on the spot sometimes, but have learned to stick to my policy. We've been flexible in the past and ended up regreting it.
 

swirt

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That's a good question. We've always been "couples only" and have had very few people ever question it. I think it is probably harder to set a limit at some other more arbitrary age. 7, 10, 12 whatever...it probably seems more arbitrarty to people in general so they probably feel they are more likely to get somewhere by challenging it.
 

Willowpondgj

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"I'm sorry our inn is not childproof, we do not permit young children because of..... and we are concerned for their safety, let me give you the name of B&B or hotel xyz that takes young children, they are wonderful and I know they will take excellent care of you and your family..."
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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That is a really tough one to gracefully deal with and we've had to, so I can really sympathize with you. Only you can decide if the financial hit or emotional strain involved is worth it.
We actually once had a couple show up for their stay with a screaming, wild-eyed banshee infant unbeknownst to us. Full house weekend and unbelievably defensive and unapologetic parents to boot. This wasn't just crabby from lack of a nap kind of baby either.
We asked ourselves the following questions before we altered our policy which is now over 10 unless its the dead of the dead season, we can put them in our most distant room from others and we get a very good feel over the phone from the caller.
Our "family" room is on the far end of the house and has a second optional bedroom to it that is even further from anybody else. Its the only room we'll offer to folks with kids of any age and the parents are generally so appreciative of us being accepting that some of these kids add a joyful, friendly energy to the house that most adults just can't contribute.
Having 18" thick solid adobe brick walls certainly helps too. LOL
But we find most parents who enjoy B&Bs themselves, generally start training the kids early on to the fact that they are in someone else's home and good manners, reasonable volume control, etc. are to be expected.
Maybe our conclusions will help in some way.
1. How often do you get requests from guests with children to begin with in terms of a percentage of your total annual bookings?
Ours is very, very low so we felt the risk of putting off a few at the expense of our biggest demographic, romantic couples seeking peace and quiet was really low.
2. By excluding kids totally, can we financially survive and adhere to our mission of being welcoming to all?
No, we can't survive serving only adults. While the family portion of our total annual sales is small, its substantial enough that we'd miss it. We felt that taking things on a somewhat case by case basis like I described above, but with more thorough "vetting" of those who call about coming with their kids, we could make it work and not offend our primary demographic.
3. Is it any more trouble for us to have kids only from above a certain age?
Actually, we have more trouble with teenagers who are being dragged along and can't hide their discontent the entire time. We find parents who travel with infants actually work the hardest at being the best "family" guests for us, because the baby requires 24/7 attention from them. Their appreciation level for our acceptance of them as guests is also always very evident.
We have tons of toys, kids books, art supplies, etc. and despite being childless by choice, we interact with guest's kids in a very loving and kind of "the hip, cool aunt and uncle" who own a hotel dynamic.
We don't talk down to the kids, follow them around making sure they are "being good" or anything and the parents notice that respect we afford their children and are very relieved to know B&Bs like ours exist. They then tell their friends, that a B&B visit isn't off limits for the however many years until their kids "grow up"
 

Proud Texan

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I'm with Swirt. We have a No Children under 18 policy...period. We tried making exceptions, but have gotten burned every time.
 

JBloggs

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I think the actual age you chose is the issue, why age 7? Are 8 year olds well behaved and 7 not? If you have a no kid policy make it to the age of consent, like no children under 13 or 14. That is just my opinion.
We have one bed per room, so if there were a kid here it would be like the mother and daughter here for her 13th bday, a coming of age sort of getaway for her. Of course she was beautiful, respectful and thoroughly enjoyed every moment.
We had one instance where we broke our policy and the single boy was running up and down the stairs 50 times at 6am and slamming the front door. I finally caught him and asked him "WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS!!?" His reply "They locked me out of the room." NO MORE KIDS. It was not his fault. It was theirs.
Another time we broke the rule mother pleaded with me as he was 12 and going to band camp the next day. So mother and grandmother were staying here for the week while he was at nearby band camp. We go out to eat and we see them, mother and grandmother, where is the boy? I approach them, "Where is your son?" Her reply "Oh we locked him in the room." WHAT!!!
So, once again, it is the parents you have to watch out for, not the kids!
 

EmptyNest

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You should not feel put on the spot. It is your business and unless there are laws in your area that prevent you from saying so...you can set any rule you want. Just tell them it is your policy and move on. No explanations needed. We took no children and if someone complained..to bad...let them go somewhere else.
 

egoodell

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Karen said:
After a few years of allowing children we decided to change our policy to no children under the age of 7 (which we're debating on raising). It seems lately I've had parents questioning me and getting upset because of the policy.
How do you handle these calls when you get them? I feel put on the spot sometimes, but have learned to stick to my policy. We've been flexible in the past and ended up regreting it.
If you can legally refuse children I have learned just do so. Do not explain. If you explain that gives them room to argue. If they are going to argue with you that will tell you their kids will also be a problem. We don't take anyone under 21 as we are "wine country" with sparkling wine in the rooms.
I do not have the time to pick out cheerios from the creases of the couch.
It's your home and you don't have to apologize. Just tell them that is the policy period. Do you have a two night minimum on the weekend? How do you explain that when they want just Saturday? Explain no kids in the same manner.
In my town the inns that take children all, I believe, take them 12 and older.
Riki
 

wendydk

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We learned our first summer why most B&B's don't take small children. Had a family show up with 1.5 year old and about 3 yr old. Parents screamed and fought out in the car before even coming in and the kids were noisy, and left their crap all over the guest parlor...which of course the parents never bothered to pick up. My heart leapt into my throat every time I walked out there and saw their grubby hands on something fragile. Now our website says "12 and over".
I have made exceptions to that for kids as young as 6...but then we only have one room with two beds, and three persons is the most we allow in that room. Since that first summer, nary a problem except that DH guests all excited about whether or not they're going to eat his brekkie.
As with the dogs we've had stay, the vast majority of the kids under 18 we've had have been quiet and polite. Of course, there was the one gentleman I mentioned on another thread who was so mad that I wouldn't allow him to stay with an infant that he posted nasty fake reviews all around that I had to clean up after. I find him to be the exception to the rule. Nowadays when someone calls with little ones, I recommend that they stay at one of the two area family resorts that have indoor pools and game rooms, etc.
 

The Farmers Daughter

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We have a cottage that is pet and family appropriate. The main Inn welcomes children over the age of 12. In dealing with calls of this nature, deplomacy is the key. I will explain that our environment is not condusive to young children. We have steep staircases and fine antiques. Also in my State, children are not a 'protected class' so accepting them is at our discretion. Also most of our bed rooms have queen beds, so we are just not set up for children. Most people understand this when explained. lol! unfortunately the truth is often more like: People have come here to escape from their children, so they don't necessarily want to deal with someone elses kids.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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We allowed a child who we knew from inn-the-womb so to speak, so we knew they would make sure she behaved etc. Both professors ar Univ MD. They stayed in the cottage, so should not have been that bad right?
At the table, full house, this little girl who screamed incessantly was removed to the parlor to roam on her own. I told Dad he needed to supervise her (I have that gift shop area with handmade items not to mention tons of antiques and things she has never seen before).
So he brought her back to the table where she actually jumped up from sitting on her shoes on the chair and got on top of the table full of place settings, during the meal. Dad continued to talk to who was near him and ignored this. Yes, steam was coming out my ears like a steam train in motion!
So it is not age, it is parenting skills/styles/discipline. She got on the table because Dad was ignoring her, we all saw that plain as day. Fortunately they were only here during breakfast, gone the rest of the time.
 

gillumhouse

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I take 2-legged animals but not 4-legged. I get a different demographic I guess. I have had more breakage from adult guests than kids, the picky kids were fulfilling Mom's announcement on arrival that the kid was a picky eater (with kid hearing of course so had to be picky to validate Mom), and the only one I really wanted to smack was a 21 year old going to the Nationals to compete and Mom was paying the freight for everything. If any of my children - at any age - ever spoke to me i the way she spoke to her mother, they would be looking for their head. It is sad that any parent brought their child up thinking that kind of behavior is acceptable.
That said, the answer is, "I am sorry but this inn has a no children uder the age of __ policy out of concern for the safety of the child." You need not elaborate to say you fear the urge to drown the little monsters may become overpowering.
 

Baygirl

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I totally agree that it is the parents and how they handle their children. Like I said, in the past we have let the kids stay and it's the parents that tune them out when the kids are disturbing other guests while having breakfast. Parents think the silverware is a good toy for the kids to use to bang on the table like a drum.
I'm not sure why we picked 7, but it seems to work. They comprehend when you tell them no running inside or up and down the stairs. (well most of the time they comprehend)
I have been telling parents that toddlers will be toddlers and guests are coming here for a quiet getaway. Most understand but it seems the last few calls we have been challenged on the policy. I had one lady ask if she brought letters from friends and neighbors saying that her kids were well behaved, would I change the policy for her??? NO, sorry!!!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I totally agree that it is the parents and how they handle their children. Like I said, in the past we have let the kids stay and it's the parents that tune them out when the kids are disturbing other guests while having breakfast. Parents think the silverware is a good toy for the kids to use to bang on the table like a drum.
I'm not sure why we picked 7, but it seems to work. They comprehend when you tell them no running inside or up and down the stairs. (well most of the time they comprehend)
I have been telling parents that toddlers will be toddlers and guests are coming here for a quiet getaway. Most understand but it seems the last few calls we have been challenged on the policy. I had one lady ask if she brought letters from friends and neighbors saying that her kids were well behaved, would I change the policy for her??? NO, sorry!!!.
Karen said:
I totally agree that it is the parents and how they handle their children. Like I said, in the past we have let the kids stay and it's the parents that tune them out when the kids are disturbing other guests while having breakfast. Parents think the silverware is a good toy for the kids to use to bang on the table like a drum.
I'm not sure why we picked 7, but it seems to work. They comprehend when you tell them no running inside or up and down the stairs. (well most of the time they comprehend)
I have been telling parents that toddlers will be toddlers and guests are coming here for a quiet getaway. Most understand but it seems the last few calls we have been challenged on the policy. I had one lady ask if she brought letters from friends and neighbors saying that her kids were well behaved, would I change the policy for her??? NO, sorry!!!
You have never met my nieces and nephews - to this day have never looked at me, or answered when spoken to. 13, 12, 10, 6. Yes, they have a stay at home mum and a dad in the picture. They are the worst behaved children you will ever encounter in your entire life. Your nerve endings poke out of your skin all over your body within 2 minutes being near them. THey have no boundaries whatsoever. If there is not blood and tears and screaming, you have not seen them.
When the parents are near they are the worst behaved kids in the world. When they are not around the parents they still do not acknowledge you or really listen, but the behavior is 10 times better (still not acceptable to this Mum). My kids stand or sit nearby with their jaw on their lap - they look over at me with this look "She's gonna blow!"
So then there are my kids, who some of you have met and have stayed at your B&B, who just this morning - the little buskers - made some money playing Irish fiddle tunes for our guests. They appreciate what you have there and respect your home and business. They loved the Gillum House doll collection, never touched any, They loved being treated so nice, and the nice meal and table settings just for them. Being told a library was across the street was a huge hit with them!
They are B&B kids, but I would never call or ask a B&B told allow them to stay there if the policies said No kids!
Why stress everyone out over it!?
 

egoodell

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I totally agree that it is the parents and how they handle their children. Like I said, in the past we have let the kids stay and it's the parents that tune them out when the kids are disturbing other guests while having breakfast. Parents think the silverware is a good toy for the kids to use to bang on the table like a drum.
I'm not sure why we picked 7, but it seems to work. They comprehend when you tell them no running inside or up and down the stairs. (well most of the time they comprehend)
I have been telling parents that toddlers will be toddlers and guests are coming here for a quiet getaway. Most understand but it seems the last few calls we have been challenged on the policy. I had one lady ask if she brought letters from friends and neighbors saying that her kids were well behaved, would I change the policy for her??? NO, sorry!!!.
Karen said:
I totally agree that it is the parents and how they handle their children. Like I said, in the past we have let the kids stay and it's the parents that tune them out when the kids are disturbing other guests while having breakfast. Parents think the silverware is a good toy for the kids to use to bang on the table like a drum.
I'm not sure why we picked 7, but it seems to work. They comprehend when you tell them no running inside or up and down the stairs. (well most of the time they comprehend)
I have been telling parents that toddlers will be toddlers and guests are coming here for a quiet getaway. Most understand but it seems the last few calls we have been challenged on the policy. I had one lady ask if she brought letters from friends and neighbors saying that her kids were well behaved, would I change the policy for her??? NO, sorry!!!
You have never met my nieces and nephews - to this day have never looked at me, or answered when spoken to. 13, 12, 10, 6. Yes, they have a stay at home mum and a dad in the picture. They are the worst behaved children you will ever encounter in your entire life. Your nerve endings poke out of your skin all over your body within 2 minutes being near them. THey have no boundaries whatsoever. If there is not blood and tears and screaming, you have not seen them.
When the parents are near they are the worst behaved kids in the world. When they are not around the parents they still do not acknowledge you or really listen, but the behavior is 10 times better (still not acceptable to this Mum). My kids stand or sit nearby with their jaw on their lap - they look over at me with this look "She's gonna blow!"
So then there are my kids, who some of you have met and have stayed at your B&B, who just this morning - the little buskers - made some money playing Irish fiddle tunes for our guests. They appreciate what you have there and respect your home and business. They loved the Gillum House doll collection, never touched any, They loved being treated so nice, and the nice meal and table settings just for them. Being told a library was across the street was a huge hit with them!
They are B&B kids, but I would never call or ask a B&B told allow them to stay there if the policies said No kids!
Why stress everyone out over it!?
.
JunieBJones (JBJ) said:
You have never met my nieces and nephews -
On my side of the family my neice and nephew were monsters until they both became teens. I would not ever have had them in my B&B. Screaming ordering the parents around ("children are people - we will talk and reason with them"...) ick. By some miracle - they are now one in college and one in high school - polite as far as I can see.
On DH side there are also those I would not let in my B&B. We had a family reunion and stayed in a B&B and the teen monsters unplugged and messed with the TV to get their computer games hooked up. They could not get them to work and left the TV a mess. You know how much it costs to get Best Buy to come and figure out and get a tv hooked back up?? And I'm here with my computerized showers - I could just think what they would do with those things.
They also did not eat at the family BBQ and demanded something to eat at 8pm that evening in a town that closes up at 6pm. I was so embarrassed - the mother was cornering the B&B owners demanding food for her kids.
Nope. Not me. I have enough to deal with. I take kids that I KNOW only, and that is only when my regular guests are not here. Juni's kids are welcome!
Riki
 

YellowSocks

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Karen said:
After a few years of allowing children we decided to change our policy to no children under the age of 7 (which we're debating on raising). It seems lately I've had parents questioning me and getting upset because of the policy.
How do you handle these calls when you get them? I feel put on the spot sometimes, but have learned to stick to my policy. We've been flexible in the past and ended up regreting it.
If you've regretted it, then don't do it!
I've regretted waiving my extra person charge, so now I only waive it for people who don't ask me to waive it!
It's your policy. Set it where you're comfortable. If they don't like it, they can stay somewhere else.
I have twin boys, age 5-1/2 (the ds5x2!). When we travel I peruse the inn policies and if they say they don't take kids, then I don't ask them to take mine. I would be dubious of people calling and asking me to bend my stated policies. Heck, even when the policy is that they take them, I have still called to make sure they are ok with mine.
Mine are raised in a B&B, and pretty well behaved overall, but they are still kids and I respect that kids don't fit the atmosphere of many B&B's. If someone doesn't respect that, you don't want them to stay there!
As others have said, simply state that your policy is to accept children over the age of x. Period. Don't explain, don't justify, don't elaborate.
I am annoyed when people say, "My inn is not child proofed." Well, neither is mine, nor has it ever been, even when they were little. Neither was any hotel room I ever stayed in with my kids. When they were babies I traveled with outlet plug covers and a pack-n-play. Mothers of babies constantly go into a world that is not baby proof and they simply watch their babies carefully while not at home. And "child proofing" only applies to the littlest ones... the babies that will put things in their mouths or stick their finger in an outlet. All that to say, "my inn is not child proofed" is not a valid reason for not accepting children. The fact that it is your policy IS!
We take kids (since we have 'em!). The other inns in my town handle these calls by referring them to me. Is there another B&B in your area that you could refer callers to?
=)
Kk.
 

Morticia

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Do guests call and ask if you allow children or are they already prepared when they call by knowing you don't and wanting you to make an exception? We find that most of the 'make an exception for me' callers have failed to prepare and are now finding they cannot get accommodations where they REALLY want to be. So, at best, we are the 'fallback plan' so there is absolutely no buy in to our policies in regard to anything. Should an opening become available where they really want to be, they will cancel in a heartbeat.
However, we take kids of all ages, even tho we 'recommend' children who are able to sit still during breakfast and not run thru the house. We've had many a 2 year old who was wonderful and many an older child who was not. Babies make me cringe because you cannot quiet a baby at 2 AM if they don't want to be quieted. So we encourage those families to take the farthest rooms.
I just had a call from someone who wanted to put 7 guests (3 kids in that mix) into 2 rooms. I referred them elsewhere and they booked 4 rooms at the other place.
The best way to handle this is to state the policy and then shut up. Do not defend, do not justify, do not explain. Reiterate the policy if you are questioned. It's awful, isn't it, that the manipulators are the ones who make us question ourselves. And if we give in to them, they make us question ourselves later on for why we didn't stick to the policies to start with!
 

ginocat

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We can't legally refuse children. I have a 2 people per room policy and that includes children. If they are old enough to have their own room then they can stay. I do serious screening and NEVER say I don't take children. Often I simply have 'nothing available' because 'silly me' I've looked at the wrong month or something like that.
 

gillumhouse

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I can attest to the fact that JBJ & Socks have good kids. I always teat kids as people because the ARE people. I even have a kid set in my silver (knife, for, and spoons).
JBJ, your kids were old enough to have touched had they wished so, I removed them from the room when Socks came as I do with little ones because it is not fair to leave attractive temptations.
My place is anything but child-proof! I have one doll in the dining room, sitting on the end of the shelf - no kid have EVER touched it. I have a cloth body doll that I give to kids saying, "This is yours to play with - WHILE YOU ARE HERE." That seems to takr care of the "touch" issue. I keep blocks and a couple toy cars for kids and I also have a pac n play and a high chair. Do I encourage kids? No but I will take them.
I make VERY few exceptions to 4-legs (perhaps in the middle of winter if they are traveling with horses and my daughter's "children" (2 Chinese Pugs) are always welcomed - but I know they will not decorate ANY part of my house) because I do not want those problems - a walk through the grass can bring in fleas that take forever to get rid of. Our daughter puts her boys on flea meds before they come to keep that from happening. We do have allergies and I state due to allergies.....
 

Samster

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Karen said:
After a few years of allowing children we decided to change our policy to no children under the age of 7 (which we're debating on raising). It seems lately I've had parents questioning me and getting upset because of the policy.
How do you handle these calls when you get them? I feel put on the spot sometimes, but have learned to stick to my policy. We've been flexible in the past and ended up regreting it.
If you've regretted it, then don't do it!
I've regretted waiving my extra person charge, so now I only waive it for people who don't ask me to waive it!
It's your policy. Set it where you're comfortable. If they don't like it, they can stay somewhere else.
I have twin boys, age 5-1/2 (the ds5x2!). When we travel I peruse the inn policies and if they say they don't take kids, then I don't ask them to take mine. I would be dubious of people calling and asking me to bend my stated policies. Heck, even when the policy is that they take them, I have still called to make sure they are ok with mine.
Mine are raised in a B&B, and pretty well behaved overall, but they are still kids and I respect that kids don't fit the atmosphere of many B&B's. If someone doesn't respect that, you don't want them to stay there!
As others have said, simply state that your policy is to accept children over the age of x. Period. Don't explain, don't justify, don't elaborate.
I am annoyed when people say, "My inn is not child proofed." Well, neither is mine, nor has it ever been, even when they were little. Neither was any hotel room I ever stayed in with my kids. When they were babies I traveled with outlet plug covers and a pack-n-play. Mothers of babies constantly go into a world that is not baby proof and they simply watch their babies carefully while not at home. And "child proofing" only applies to the littlest ones... the babies that will put things in their mouths or stick their finger in an outlet. All that to say, "my inn is not child proofed" is not a valid reason for not accepting children. The fact that it is your policy IS!
We take kids (since we have 'em!). The other inns in my town handle these calls by referring them to me. Is there another B&B in your area that you could refer callers to?
=)
Kk..
I agree and disagree about the child-proofing thing. We have railings upstairs that are low by today's standards. I would worry about young children. Especially young, active children.
We have 12 and above for kids in our policies. We also have a max occupancy for each room, so I don't pack them in here. I have had people go on and on in email inquiries and on the phone about how well behaved their young child is. Seems like as soon as I ask them if sitting down for a 3 course breakfast with crystal, silver, and china would be something that their child AND the other guests at the table would enjoy, then fine. I guess they don't think so, because no one has booked yet.
I actually just referred a family with teenagers (who would have been fine) to a hotel with a pool. At the end of July it will be hideously hot and the teenagers will probably be a lot happier there for their several day visit. :)
 

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