Are kids allowed in meetings?
Tradition 3 states that the requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. So are young children allowed to attend with parents?
There is no single answer to this question. As with so much in A.A., the answer comes from Tradition Four which begins:
With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience.
Basically, the individual group decides at which meetings to allow children. An "open" meeting (open to the public) is perhaps more likely to welcome kids than a "closed" meeting (for AA members only). There isn't usually an easy way to know beforehand but few groups will turn away kids - unless they are disruptive to the point of interfering with the meeting.
Many (most?) groups do not have a set policy on children. The degree to which kids are welcomed can vary from meeting to meeting depending how the individuals in attendance feel about kids.
Some practical experience submitted by a reader:
In early sobriety I found meetings where my son could play in the hall while I sat/stood in the doorway. Many other groups, like my current homegroup, have use of a nursery. Other groups really don't have the room, structure, or patience for accommodating children. Learn to respect these groups and seek out the more kid-friendly ones.
Arrive early and ask if the group has a no-kids policy (so you can look elsewhere if needed), try to keep kids relatively quiet (I had no idea how to do this when I came in and many folks helped me), and find meetings that are welcoming to children and have adequate space for your child to be a child while you are learning to stay sober.
Sitting the kid in a nearby corner with a favorite movie on a handheld media player and headphones is becoming a common and effective strategy.