From Pine View Farm

“Mamas, Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Mallies” 6

The largest mall in Delaware has banned kids who are not accompanied by adults on Friday and Saturday evenings:

Teenagers in the habit of whiling away weekend nights in Delaware’s Christiana Mall are about to get a new crowd to run with: their mall-walking parents.

As of July 11, unaccompanied minors will be barred from Delaware’s largest shopping center after 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

Christiana is the first mall in the Philadelphia region to move to a teenager curfew, which has spread into dozens of malls nationwide since its inception in the mid-1990s. No mall in Pennsylvania or New Jersey is considering a similar policy.

(Full disclosure: I don’t like Christiana Mall and avoid it whenever possible. When I have to go to a mall, I go to Concord Mall, the Small Mall That Has It All.)

(Aside: You know what a mall is. It’s a place with one or two department stores, 50 clones of the Gap, and one men’s store. Except Christiana Mall is a large mall. It has 100 clones of the Gap and a Williams-Sonoma–where you can pay far too much money for cooking equipment you will never need for dishes you will never cook–and one men’s store.)

Over at DelawareLiberal, liberalgeek seems to have decided that this is some kind of discrimination, even equating it with discrimination against black persons.

I’ve reared my share of teenagers.

Actually, more teenagers than I ever expected to rear.

And I think liberalgeek is missing the point.

The point is this: Parents shouldn’t use malls as dumping grounds for their kids, on weekends or any other times. Even if it gives said parents a chance to relive why they decided to become parents in the first place.

Furthermore, kids should not be left roaming around unsupervised for hours at a time, singly or in groups. It is not the job of a store or a group of stores or a mall to supervise other persons’ kids.

And if the parents are not using the mall as a dumping ground, but rather the kids are dumping themselves there, a whole nother list of questions arises, like, for example, say, “Where the hell are the parents?”

My kids were not allowed to go to the mall to hang out–at least, not until they got their drivers’ licenses and could go there on their own legally. And by then, of course, they had almost attained the age of majority. And they still had to have permission to use the family vehicle or they had to find their own damned ride.

By then they had learned to amuse themselves in ways that did not require hanging around at the mall.

(And, no, I don’t want to know what those ways were.)



  1. LiberalGeek

    June 19, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I agree with you, the mall is not a dumping ground.

    That was not my point, the point is that the mall is acting capriciously here and has banned a class of people based on a factor other than their behavior.  They are unfairly discriminating against good teenagers because there are a few bad teenagers.

    I never was a mallrat, but there has always been a subculture there.  It is full of teenagers that want to see and be seen.  They want to talk to their friends and they don’t want it to cost an arm and a leg.

    We don’t seem to have an issue if on Tuesday afternoon 100 Moms and their 2 year olds show up to have lunch with other Mommies.

    I don’t think that our views are incompatible, I think we are just addressing different issues.

  2. Dominique

    June 19, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Finally, a voice of reason!  They’re pounding me over at DE Lib.  The ban seems like a no-brainer to me, but the bloggers have turned it into a federal case.  Jeez.

  3. LiberalGeek

    June 20, 2008 at 2:08 am

    I’m here to pound you, too! 🙂

    And you are right, it is a no-brainer.  They have chosen the easy way out instead of a reasoned approach.

  4. Karen

    June 20, 2008 at 2:36 am

    They did the same thing in a mall in Aurora a couple of years ago. After the ban went into effect, the incidents of violence & theft dropped dramatically. Paying customers came back, & the parents who wanted to be part-timers got over it.

    This is the same thing as the restaurant in Oregon that won’t allow kids under 6 in.

    Any public "establishment" has the right to refuse service to anyone, & sometimes people forget that.

  5. LiberalGeek

    June 20, 2008 at 6:12 am

    I am not forgetting that.  I remember that this is what they used to say at lunch counters in Alabama.  I remember that the mall is sold as a part of the community and a gathering place.

  6. Opie

    June 20, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I think society has every moral right to grant privileges to children gradually as they age and mature. Most states decide that a 15 year old teen is not yet mature enough to drive alone, even if they could pass the driving test, but magically on their 16th birthday they are. We all know there’s nothing magic about that exact 16th birthday, but we also all agree the line has to be drawn somewhere.

    That’s what makes it different than a racial issue – it’s about maturity, not skin color.  I can’t honestly claim to have some quality that enables me to handle voting privileges better than the next 50 year old black man that walks by. But if at, say, 14 years old, the majority of teens are not mature enough to understand that a mall is intended to be a safe and inviting place for people to make a living selling things, then they aren’t ready to run loose in one yet. If some are, too bad… we draw the line somewhere.