We encourage children in our cafe BUT

(1000 Posts)
childfriendlycafeowner Fri 14-Jun-13 20:07:50

I hope you don't mind us asking any readers for their opinion on child behaviour in public places.

We run a small cafe in a small town, and we love doing it (opened up 4 months ago). The previous owners did not encourage children and families, we do, we bought high chairs and do what we can to make families feel welcome. But today two girls came in with a baby and a toddler, my guess is the toddler was 2. From the moment she arrived the screamed, not crying because she was upset but screaming because I guess she liked the sound of her own voice. We made comments to the mum in the hope she would take the hint that the child was disturbing all the other customers but her comment was "she is a little tinker isn't she" The other customers threw their food and drinks down their necks and left as quickly as they could, some complaining as they left. She did go quiet for a little while but she was screaming for probably at least half of the 1 hour plus that she was in the cafe.

When the lady came to pay we said to the lady that we are very sorry but unless she can stop her little girl disturbing all our other customers and driving them away perhaps she could sit in our outside seating area with her or not come in. We felt terrible to say this but it really was a terrible din that upset many people.

Are we being reasonable or unreasonable. Would you tolerate your child no matter how young being so disruptive to other people in public

hazeyjane Mon 17-Jun-13 12:39:35

A few posters have said that they don't, and won't.

Who? Where?

HotheadPaisan Mon 17-Jun-13 12:48:53

Some said others just shouldn't be there or should leave. Not a good solution.

lainiekazan Mon 17-Jun-13 12:49:37

This morning I went to the Waitrose cafe. The next table was Bedlam. Mums were chatting and drinking coffee, two-year-olds rolling on the floor, shrieking, running off, smearing food etc etc. The mums were oblivious. One child starting screaming, he was obviously tired and the mother was trying to carry on talking whilst stuffing a dummy in him. The other customers were exchanging glances and shuddering at this table. It was impossible to ignore it was so chaotic and loud.

I know an independent cafe owner and she was despairing of the mummy brigade who let their toddlers shout and run riot. She said she welcomed well-behaved children, but now all childless customers have been driven away.

I would always be tolerant of a SN child's noise - the parents have enough problems without other people glaring and huffing - but the general mummy brigade are arrogant and oblivious.

brdgrl Mon 17-Jun-13 12:51:27

EllenJane, just for one, has said this, and it was this attitude which I have responded to.

There have also been the overwhelming majority of parents who have said, like you, that they do what they can. There have been posters who have described a process by which they try to manage their children's behaviours so as to minimize the disruption to others (all with or without SN). No one is arguing against those posters, no one at all. I'm certainly not.

hazeyjane Mon 17-Jun-13 13:04:21

If you mean Ellenjane's post

I am comfortable in allowing my DS to screech and flap even if that disturbs others, otherwise he, his brothers and I would never get to go out.

That was not in the context of managing a dcs behaviours when there are other children with sn, who would be uncomfortable with the screeching - that is what we are talking about, isn't it?

Because if we are back to talking about whether a child with sn should be allowed in a cafe whilst making a noise which to them is involuntary and part of their condition. Then I agree with EllenJane.

Yes some posters with children with sn have said they would leave if their dc were making noise - but we are not some homogenous mass - our children are all different, each circumstance is different. My child screeching happily, because he can't communicate, but is excited, may be a circumstance where I would not leave, but if he were screaming the place down because he was tired and overwhelmed, then I would leave.

arabesque Mon 17-Jun-13 13:17:48

I totally agree with lainie and I don't understand why a 'child friendly' restaurant means, to some people, that their child can be as disruptive as they like while they ignore it and enjoy their coffee. I feel sorry for people like the OP who are working very hard to get a business off the ground and have to deal with the 'self entitled mummy' brigade who show no consideration for anyone else.

MaryKatharine Mon 17-Jun-13 13:18:49

Hazeyjane, thank you for info re headphones. That makes sense. As I said, I'm at the beginning of this journey so haven't worked it all through yet.

However, and this is purely a personal POV, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the idea that every thread like this gets turned into a 'yes, but what if the child had special needs? You can't ever tell so you shouldn't judge.'
Statistically, our kids are in the minority. That doesn't mean their voice is any less worthy or shouldn't be heard but they are in the minority. Therefore, surely sometimes a thread is just about a naughty toddler whose mother would rather chat than see to her child. Yet posters who make that assumption based on all the evidence from the OP are jumped on (v early on) for not considering that child had SN. It's like all the boys in women's changing room threads. Yes, some of those 9yr old boys will have SN but the vast majority will be NT and their mothers just don't want them to use the men's changing rooms. In fact on one thread the Op stated the it was a boy in her daughters class so she knew he had no SN yet still she was jumped on.

I don't know, maybe it's just because I haven't experienced the discrimination yet but I don't want my child's SN to colour my view of everything. I had 3 NT children for many years before he came along so maybe I haven't changed to accommodate my new circumstances yet. As I say, this is just my own POV.

JessicaBeatriceFletcher Mon 17-Jun-13 13:21:45

MaryKatherine - I see someone else gave you a flowers. I'd like to offer you another flowers

arabesque Mon 17-Jun-13 13:24:37

That is very well put MaryKatherine and I completely agree with you.

MaryKatharine Mon 17-Jun-13 13:30:43

Thank you both. I know I'm only speaking for myself though and other mothers of children may have different views based on their experiences.

I gave birth to my third child in the same week as my mother was mown down and killed by a drunk driver so I know what it feels like to be angry and bitter at how other, ignorant, people behave. The bitterness nearly killed me so I don't want to go the again.

MaryKatharine Mon 17-Jun-13 13:31:24

Sorry, that should read, mothers of children with SN.

GobbySadcase Mon 17-Jun-13 13:32:39

I used to be like that.
Until my children missed out on so much - socially and educationally - because of their needs which they didn't ask for.

Until people strongly demonstrated their distaste using violence, verbal abuse and spitting. Until the local authority and NHS repeatedly denied them a level playing field with their peers on cost grounds.

Until I had to fight for every little thing in this life.

Until posters here made it clear that both me and my wonderful children are parasitic scum not worthy of a roof over our heads and food to eat. A waste of resources for poor lifestyle choices. Until all that meant I had to nc repeatedly due to certain posters following me around having a pop, even on non SN threads.

That does something to you. I was told the solution was to stay away, isolate myself further but really why should I?

gimmeanaxe Mon 17-Jun-13 13:39:08

what Gobby said. After years of being isolated you realise why should you hide away. I was asked to leave tumbletots as the mere appearance of my child upset other mothers. I left in tears and didnt go out for 6 months. Years on I have developed thicker skin. I'm also far more tolerant and should a child be screeching I think 'maybe he or she does have SN' before I think 'what a dickish parent'.
It helps with tolerance.

angelos02 Mon 17-Jun-13 13:40:50

Well if the cafe are losing business because of someone's noise (be it SN child or not), are they just expected to sit back and watch their livlihood disappear? I doubt I'd go back to a cafe in which a child screamed.

Dawndonna Mon 17-Jun-13 13:41:19

My noisy flappy children were taken to museums, cafes, theatres. Ds is just off to university in September, to read Lit. I know full well that the stimulation he received as a child, at the expense, on occasion, of other folks peace and quiet, is a contributory factor in him being able to go to university.

I do note that all the flowers and 'well dones' are given to those who support the view that the parents of children with special needs should hie away from all threads bar those on their own boards.
We have every right to say 'What if". We'd say it if we were discussing it over coffee, or in the pub (I can dream)! Conversations move, change, meander back and forth. We are allowed to come along and say 'what if', even if we are in the minority. Just as people in the seventies said to bus operators 'what if', to architects, to shop floor designers, to governments.

MaryKatharine Mon 17-Jun-13 13:44:04

Cut ally, dawndonna, the flowers were given to me. Firstly, I most certainly don't think parents of children with SN should stick to their own section. I don't even use it myself other than to search for practical stuff. And secondly, oh yes, I am a mum of a child with SN.

rusticlanguage Mon 17-Jun-13 13:44:15

If there was a 'poster of the thread' award it would have to go to Marykathering for her sensible and humane posts.

laniekazan has also very clearly summed up the issue wrt to the OP which was quite clearly about poor parenting and the unfair impact it has on other people.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 17-Jun-13 13:45:41

Maryk, I think the points made by the mothers here whose children have SN actually apply equally to some extent to nt children.

We should be tolerant of nt children too because they are in the process of learning society's rules and are not necessarily able to conform. At 2 my DS doesn't understand that shouting uh-oh in a restaurant is not ok. Of course I will try to stop him, but he is not going to be silent because he is 2.

If we were more tolerant generally then there would be far less aggression directed at families where children have SN.

WouldBeHarrietVane Mon 17-Jun-13 13:46:49

I got flowers too, Donna for suggesting a totally inclusive noisy cafe. Please don't forget nice people are here on your side against the ignorant.

arabesque Mon 17-Jun-13 13:47:00

There is a happy medium between SN children being excluded from all kinds of places that small noisy children would normally expect to go to; and restaurants and cafes having to put up with losing business because of screeching children driving customers away. While I accept that it must be very very hard to cope with strangers making assumptions about your children and your parenting; I don't accept that people like the OP who are trying to keep a small business going and make a living should have to risk their businesses closing because someone with a SN child wants to bring their child in there even though the noise they make will drive customers away. There's no easy answer, but endangering small businesses and enterprises isn't a solution.

hazeyjane Mon 17-Jun-13 13:48:07

'yes, but what if the child had special needs? You can't ever tell so you shouldn't judge.'

Actually no one said this early on in the thread, most people with children with sn said that if their child was screaming, because they couldn't cope, they would take them out.

I said I wouldn't come back to a cafe where a child was turned away for making noise - because I have a child with sn who makes noise, and I would not feel comfortable.

Hardly anyone has said, 'oh my but the child might have had sn, so people musn't judge', because that isn't the point - the point is that there are children with sn who do make lots of noise - if a child who is nt is told not to return because they are making too much noise, would it then be ok to say to a child with sn, 'sorry but your flapping and screeching is upsetting people, we would prefer it if you didn't return'

There are threads where people say 'what if there are sn?' I have seen that on threads about children making mess in cafes, performance parenting threads, older children in pushchairs etc - and I think that it is useful to point out people on these threads that, yes, maybe it is worth considering sn may be involved.

GobbySadcase Mon 17-Jun-13 13:48:55

Replace 'sn children' (lovely) with black people.

Still an acceptable comment?

MaryKatharine Mon 17-Jun-13 13:51:49

Harriet, I agree that toddlers lack self-control and need to be cut a bit of slack. This isn't about the toddler. From what I read, it was about how the mother handled it ie (in this case) ignoring it.
And just because I disagree it doesn't mean I am ignorant.

Bullets Mon 17-Jun-13 13:53:19

Did I do it???

Bullets Mon 17-Jun-13 13:53:31

Now!!!

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