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Out of control Children/Parents

(61 Posts)
Marmight Tue 24-Nov-15 09:16:39

An interesting article by Janet Street Porter in, draws in breath, the DM. I don't offer agree with her but in this instance, AIBU in agreeing? I don't think it is particularly a new phenomenon, but are the 'it's my right' mums and their little tin gods little darlings taking over public spaces! Many years ago when I ran a coffee shop, I often had to remonstrate with small children who were running wild, spreading sugar all over the floor, swinging from the curtains and generally misbehaving while their doting mamas carried on chatting, totally oblivious to what was happening.

TerriBull Tue 24-Nov-15 09:38:03

I haven't read the article, but I think it's fair to say many of us have experienced the "coffee shop" scenario. One incident that springs to mind, a couple of years ago we were in Costa Coffee, Esher, two young children under five, with dad, were running riot round and round the tables, the shop was quite busy with customers carrying trays of hot drinks. Benevolent father just smiling at his offspring as if they were a complete joy to behold. In the end, one of the staff, and this doesn't happen very often because I find they are generally not very proactive in remonstrating with parents, actually came over and asked him to leave, which he did. This was a particularly extreme case. I did also witness a couple of very young children having a race against each other in not so crowded Marks cafe, still dangerous imo, oblivious mothers not taking any notice.

I would just like to add that I live in a communal development by the Thames and we have wonderful gardens where the children play outside in the summer, some of the older residents complain about the noise. My attitude in these circumstances, "is stop being such a grouch, they need to play outside and expend some energy" In cafes and restaurants it's unacceptable and I wouldn't have allowed my children or my gc to behave in a way that they would annoy other customers.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 24-Nov-15 09:43:23

Daft article.

I can remember the embarrassment of a table - and floor - littered with messy crumbs and god knows what. I always made a slightly feeble effort to clear up behind the little darlings, but never with much effect. What is needed is more on-the-ball table staff ready with the cloth and spray bottle.

She is, of course, childless. silly cow hmm

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 24-Nov-15 09:44:42

Marmight you say "many years ago" you ran a cafe. 'twas ever thus? grin

merlotgran Tue 24-Nov-15 09:59:07

I think she has a point. It used to be a right of passage for a child to be taken to a restaurant. A chance to share in a grown up experience and parents used to encourage the child to not fidget, talk in a normal voice - not yelling and demanding and exhibit decent table manners. A little bit of mess is acceptable.

Definitely rarely the case these days.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 24-Nov-15 10:06:05

Just thank the Lord mums have the chance to get together with their kids in cafes these days. Far better than being stuck, isolated, at home. Give 'em a break for God's sake!

merlotgran Tue 24-Nov-15 10:25:20

I agree with that, jingl.

These days I avoid those places and head off to where the old fogies hang out grin

Elegran Tue 24-Nov-15 10:33:55

I am all for mums getting together with their children and having a cuppa, but a cafe is not the place for the children to let off steam. If they bumped into someone carrying a tray of coffees and were scalded, the same mums would sue. Why not take them somewhere with space to run in safety?

And will the same offspring think it is OK to trash an event venue when they are older?

Granarchist Tue 24-Nov-15 11:44:08

There is a garden centre cafe near us that has an enormous toy box, masses of high chairs and a child friendly menu. The local NCT meet there, as do the 'stitch n Bitch' ladies. As there is also free wifi, loads of business people meet, have coffee and work from the tables. Everyone gets on fine and it is very relaxing to take the DGC. Huge log burner at this time of year and comfy sofas too. Unsurprisingly it is very popular.

Luckygirl Tue 24-Nov-15 11:51:03

Your garden centre cafe sounds ideal Granarchist - I hope some cafe owners are reading this!

It is hard with young children in cafes and sometimes it is not worth the hassle of taking them as keeping them reined in is too much of a chore. But it is good to see the mums out enjoying themselves; and I think that parents need to be mindful of other diners and the others need to be a bit understanding.

We always try and make sure that our littlies do not impinge too much on others; but sometimes other eaters are keen to engage with them and enjoy them being there.

As for Janet S-P - she makes a living out of being curmudgeonly so I would expect nothing else of her - daft bat!

janeainsworth Tue 24-Nov-15 12:03:25

I agree Lucky she's a daft bat.
The problem is the parents, not the children.
I like to see children out with their family eating together - in Hongkong it was the norm and it's really not that difficult to keep children amused and well -behaved for a couple of hours.
It boils down to what is expected of them - if you expect them to behave well, they probably will!

JamJar1 Tue 24-Nov-15 12:19:41

Yes I agree, my two GC have always been perfectly well behaved and if one did get restless or crotchety when very small we would leave the cafe before things got noisy for all around us.

Marmight Tue 24-Nov-15 12:20:39

Yes Jingle it was ever thus which is why I said it's not a new phenomenon grin. As JaneA says, it's up to the parents, many of whom do not care if their children are running amok and disturbing others who are out for a good meal and conversation. Our children often came out with us, the youngest one often disappeared under the table for a sleep, but they were expected to behave and be considerate to others around them which is not a lot to ask - is it?

lucyinthesky Tue 24-Nov-15 13:10:52

The problem is most definitely the parents. DD1 and I were having coffee in a cafe near where she lives in Surrey. There is a play area for little ones which is great as that keeps them apart from those of us (yes even 'doting grandmas'!) who want to enjoy our coffee in peace and maybe have an actual conversation ;-)

The play area is quite small and at the time some older children (DGS1 is 3) entered it and made a row, messed around and almost pushed DGS1 over! Luckily he wasn't hurt and just looked bewildered until we rescued him from what should have been a safe area.

Meanwhile the mother of the two older children, who carried on rushing around us all, yelling, sat adjacent to us completely wrapped up looking at her mobile phone.

I kept my mouth shut out of respect for DD1 (I would have gone over to that mother and said something if Id been there on my own) but after she and her obnoxious offspring left DD1 said how horrified she was by the children's behaviour and hadn't realised the mother was sitting close by.

Personally now I've got to the stage of being a GOW (Grumpy Old Woman!) I really appreciate being able to go to a coffee bar sometimes where there are no children or babies around, (especially as I am partially deaf and can often to hear what my companion is saying!) I quite understand the woman who owned the London cafe wanting to keep it child free.

While it is great for young mums to go out and meet other yummy mummies they should pay more attention to their children than they usually do. But from what DD1 tells me parents today don't discipline as we used to do, so kids don't learn appropriate behaviour.

Iam64 Tue 24-Nov-15 20:00:07

You're right Marmite, it isn't a new phenomena. Some parents have always been better than others at keeping their little darlings entertained and focussed on something other than racing about causing mayhem.

I'm with Lucky and janeainsworth in thinking Janet Street Porter is a daft bat and a daft moaning bat at that. it's good to jingle on form as well - I share her joy that young mothers don't always have to sit at home on their own and can go out into public spaces (providing they can afford a cup of tea or coffee)

rosesarered Tue 24-Nov-15 20:17:36

There's a difference between being a moaning old bat not wanting children to make a noise at all, and being surrounded by noisy children rushing around in an unsafe environment where people are carrying tea pots / hot coffee etc.It's not unreasonable for customers to expect to hear their companions conversation while they sip lattes, is it? I have given up going to Costa Coffee for this reason.

rosesarered Tue 24-Nov-15 20:19:12

That's weird, I typed Not unreasonable, and a moment later it changed itself to It's unreasonable!

whitewave Tue 24-Nov-15 20:21:58

I can't say I have ever been anywhere where children are so badly behaved- except children's playground maybe hmm

Deedaa Tue 24-Nov-15 21:45:39

I don't want to sound smug (well yes I do!) but nearly 3 year old GS2 is a delight in cafes. It's the only way I can meet one of my friends whose DH is in a wheel chair and he is always sooo good and joins in with whatever we are eating and drinking and puts up with us talking for ages. His older brother is more problematic but can behave reasonably if well supervised.

rosequartz Tue 24-Nov-15 23:23:25

We take DGD2 to the Garden Centre - and other places - for lunch quite frequently and she mostly behaves impeccably.
I have been out with friends to a coffee shop attached to a pub and we were pleased to see that there was a whole area for mums to sit with children - there were quite a lot of toys to play with. I thought how lovely, I would have liked somewhere like that to go to when mine were small although I probably couldn't have afforded it. Anyway, even though we didn't meet in coffee shops we didn't sit isolated at home, we took it in turns to meet in one another's homes once or twice a week.

However at this coffee shop, whilst the mums sat and chatted their noisy children ran amok amongst the tables where older people were sitting and trying to have conversations and carry hot cups of coffee.

grannyactivist Wed 25-Nov-15 01:08:24

On Remembrance Sunday we were in a restaurant from twelve thirty until four o'clock; eight adults a five year old and a two year old. The children had a couple of bits and bobs to occupy them and were beautifully behaved for the whole time. However, when the now five year old was about two and a half I remember taking him to a restaurant where he was behaving very badly indeed and I eventually whisked him out of there.
The problem is not with children who inevitably test boundaries as part of the learning process, but with the adults who fail to respond appropriately.

Leticia Wed 25-Nov-15 05:57:24

The problem is not the children but the parents.

'My child, my rules' is part of the problem- it is only true in your own home, and when out and about they need to act appropriately for the place they are in.

grannysyb Wed 25-Nov-15 09:28:46

My pet hate is children on scooters in supermarkets, I think the managers should ban them! one day some poor old dear is going to be knocked over. My GCs are pretty good in restaurants on the whole but when they were little they could be a bit of a pain. My other bugbear is children taking train or bus seats and leaving adults standing, quite often their loving parent is also standing. I always made my lot get up and offer their seat. They could always sit on my knee.

Lyndie Wed 25-Nov-15 09:47:22

This has driven me to post. I think children are often badly behaved and therefore mums don't want the children destroying there own houses and feel it's ok for the children to run riot in other peoples shared spaces. Having said this I have 6 grandchildren and their behaviour varies.

rosequartz Wed 25-Nov-15 09:56:28

Children in supermarkets - that hit a nerve!
I can't stand to see children standing or sitting in trolleys in the part where we put the food. Trolleys have seats at the front for children (some even have little cars with trolleys attached!).

Parents allowing children to sit in the trolley should be told to remove them - their shoes could be covered in dirt or even dog muck. It's a health issue and I have complained to my local Tesco several times but to no avail.
Do they ever wash the trolleys? I doubt it.

JS-P - if you're reading this thread could you take up the cudgel please!! smile