Ahhh, toddlers and public tantrums, eh? One of the great joys of motherhood… ?
Now, we can totally appreciate that it’s not much fun when someone else’s toddler throws a screaming wobbly near you (we’ve done no end of cringing at our own children’s public meltdowns) but we were really surprised to hear that a café owner in Suffolk has apparently said that, if a child kicks off on her premises, the parents have 5 mins to get their toddler under control – or the café staff would do it for them!
The ‘you’ve got 5 minutes’ warning, was, according to the Ipswich Star, posted on Facebook (it’s since been deleted) by the owner of the South Kiosk at Martello Park, Felixstowe.
Reports say the post read: “Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming?
“We will give you 5 lenient minutes to ask the child to stop screaming and then we will ask the child ourselves.
“If that means you, too, having a tantrum about our having to speak to your child, and hurling threats about not returning – that’s really OK with us. We have a duty of care to the rest of our customers.”
Woah! If this is indeed what the café owner wrote, we’re really not shocked by the livid reaction of some mums on Facebook.
“Why don’t you take a lenient 5 minutes to have a word with yourself for being hideously insensitive and condescending?” said one.
And another said: “Thank you for your kind and understanding post. I’ll make sure my family (including our autistic daughter) never darken your doorway.”
‘Parents have no respect for people around them’
To be fair, some people did applaud the cafe owner’s point of view, with one writing in a forum: “I applaud the decision. Too many parents these days seem too scared to tell their children to behave and have no respect for the people around them.”
And, according to the MailOnline the café owner, Kim Christofi has since defended her position, apparently saying that her café is very child-friendly (offering free Ribera, among other things), and adding: “In this situation, we initially do not get involved because we anticipate that the parents will step in.
“Unfortunately, the parents did not and that led me to go and have a quiet word with the child, gently and sensitively.
“To completely ignore this hysterical screaming would have been quite frankly unkind and uncaring to the child.”
Well, that may be true but maybe the parents were deliberately ignoring their child’s meltdown? As many of us tantrum-weary parents know, sometimes, it’s the only thing that works! There can be drama without an audience after all…
We also wonder whether the café owner’s ‘quiet word’ with the tantrumming child had any effect? Have you ever tried politely asking an incensed 2-year-old to stop crying? LOL ?
But more to the point, what do you think of all this? Was the café owner out of line to say she would intervene to stop a child screaming when the parents didn’t? Is it ever OK for another adult to ‘discipline’ your child without permission?
Maybe you think the café owner had a point in wanting some peace and quiet for her other customers? But, in that case, would it have been better to say “we’ll ask you to take your child elsewhere till he or she has calmed down” ? That certainly seems a bit more reasonable to us.
Images: Facebook / Getty