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We encourage children in our cafe BUT

999 replies

childfriendlycafeowner · 14/06/2013 20:07

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

OP posts:
expatinscotland · 14/06/2013 20:43

YANBU, I'd have thrown them out faster.

edlyu · 14/06/2013 20:44

Not for one minute would I tolerate screaming for no good reason.

And I would judge a parent who allowed it to happening in an otherwise quiet space.To my mind its on par with playing rock music in a library .Just because one person likes it the rest of the population must suffer -and preferably pretend to actually like it.

Its because of this sort of behaviour that children arent welcomed into more places in this country. Angry

edlyu · 14/06/2013 20:45

Oh and YANBU Grin

Roshbegosh · 14/06/2013 20:46

You need to be careful though, a yummy mummy journalist started a nasty campaign that ended up closing a lovely cafe near me in North London. The cafe was small and could not manage three of those monster buggies in the way and one of the Mum's made it a personal campaign. Headline on the front page of our crappy local rag. Sadly bad child behaviour is commonplace around here and I used to wonder how the waitresses never drop a pot of tea on a child as they ran riot all over the place. Don't start a war with the yummy mummies, at least not around here.

MalcolmTuckersMum · 14/06/2013 20:46

I've travelled a lot in European countries known for their child-friendliness and I have never ever heard a child do that high pitched scream that children do here - and to which their witless parents seem unaccountably deaf. My DS did it once and only once. It's pointless, not funny and unpleasant for everyone else - why on earth would you NOT discourage it?
YANBU OP - but I'd have done it earlier.

UptheChimney · 14/06/2013 20:48

it's not that the child was screaming but that the mother apparently didn't think that was a problem

For me, that's the point. That a parent doesn't appear to make an attempt to teach a child how to behave in social shared areas.

It's a long time ago for me, but I was always concerned if my DS became anti-social in that way. That was 20 years ago. What annoys me now is that some parents just don't appear to do anything about a screaming child.

fastyspeedyfast · 14/06/2013 20:48

Not unreasonable, and I'd step in more quickly and forcefully next time. Something like, Ah he's having a tough day, isn't he? But he is screaming very loudly and disturbing our other customers. Perhaps you can walk him outside for moment to calm down?

An occasional yell or shout is normal childhood behaviour, and a bit of loudness is fine when its talking/laughing/playing. Continued screaming in a public place is not on.

ArtemisatBrauron · 14/06/2013 20:49

YANBU ... I hate this. Having a child does not give you the right to dominate a whole cafe with your child's obnoxious screaming.

To those saying "what could the mum do" - get up and leave. Others do not want to listen to it.

ArtemisatBrauron · 14/06/2013 20:50

malcomtuckersmum if there was a champagne emoticon, I'd be sending it your way. You said it better than I ever could.

justmyview · 14/06/2013 20:52

How about a friendly "if you'd like to take him for a walk around the block, I can give you a fresh cuppa when you come back in" - that way you seem like you're friendly and obliging, but you still get the message across

YippeeKiYayMakkaPakka · 14/06/2013 20:53

YANBU. I'm sure nobody expects a 2yo to behave perfectly, but the parents should at least try to encourage them not to shriek like that in an environment where others are trying to eat or drink in peace.

deleted203 · 14/06/2013 20:54

YANBU. But I'd have said something a lot sooner, I'm afraid. Five minutes screaming and I'd have been over there saying politely to mother, 'I'm sorry - but if your child cannot stop screaming then I shall have to ask you to take her outside. You are disturbing the other customers'.

Manchesterhistorygirl · 14/06/2013 20:55

Mother of a two year old screamer checking in. YANBU! I can't stand the stupid screechy noises he's into making and am always at him to stop it, it's rude and bad manners.

shellandkai · 14/06/2013 20:56

Hmmm I see 2 points really 1 yanbu because if you asked the parent to calm the child down or do something about and her reply being that I find what she said would annoy me. Me being a mum to a 2 yr old my son tends to make plenty of noise sometimes I find it quite embarrassing especially when I'm getting dirty looks from staff or customers and I do try to calm him
Down but like I always do she should of at least apologized for the disruption it has caused!

cuppateaanyone · 14/06/2013 20:58

If I brought my DS who is almost 3and he started behaving like that we would have left ASAP, communal spaces are for everyone to enjoy and you have a business to run.

pigletmania · 14/06/2013 20:58

Yanbu At all, you are a business not a children's centre, the mum was not parenting effectively, as a result disturbing the ther customers and loosing extra business. Being child friendly des not mean having to ut up with badly braved Chidren and ineffective parenting

pigletmania · 14/06/2013 20:59

Yes if my dd or ds behaved like that we would neck our drinks ad leave pretty quickly

ProphetOfDoom · 14/06/2013 21:00

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Floggingmolly · 14/06/2013 21:01

I think you're interpreting the term "family friendly" a little loosely there, noisytoys. What's acceptable about a two year old squawking like a parrot for half an hour solid? It would be unacceptable in most places, playgroups included.
That you imagine it was fine where people are paying to have a meal beggars belief.

adverbial · 14/06/2013 21:02

I think if you're welcoming children into your cafe then you have to expect, that on rare occasion, this may happen.
I would have taken my child outside personally. But I cannot say if you were being unreasonable without hearing the mother's side, and because I do think the way you broached the subject when they were leaving, was badly done.

carabossse · 14/06/2013 21:05


Customers in your cafe with children probably don't want to see other kids behaving in a way that their own kids aren't allowed to. I say this as a mother of a 2yo. The screaming is something I don't allow so I can't let ds see another child do it for half an hour and expect him to understand.

Customers in your cafe without children don't want to hear it either, but they'd prefer a more effective approach "perhaps you'd be more comfortable outside?" Or whatever.

froubylou · 14/06/2013 21:05


If people want to take their children in public places then the child must behave appropriatley for that place. Manners and discipline and respect is taught at home.

My DD is now almost 9. We can and have taken her everywhere from nice reasturaunts to the local pub. She knows how to behave and has done since she was old enough to understand what the word 'No' means. She was only 2 when we went on holiday abroad for the first time and we managed to eat in nice places every evening without disturbing anyone.

And if she hadn't behaved we would have left.

We have just left our local pub and gone to a different one as a woman had 2 kids running all over and causing a riot. One was maybe 14 months, the other maybe just 3? Unsupervised around a large busy with friday teatime drinkers pub. Not a soft play area.

And I'm 13 weeks pregnant so although my DD is that bit older I will be going through this stage soon. And unless my new DC behaves as well as their older sister we won't go to places like that until he/she can behave.

Even though other parents can sometimes sympathise the only thing more annoying than a screaming for no logical reason child, is a child screaming for no logical reason that isn't actually yours!

Alisvolatpropiis · 14/06/2013 21:06


It's a very difficult line to tread between being child friendly and pissing off everybody else in your cafe. I think you handled it as well as anybody could.

hmc · 14/06/2013 21:06

YANBU - when my kids were tiny and did this I would take them outside to calm down, or just bail out and leave if it got too bad. Consideration for others etc

ThoughtsPlease · 14/06/2013 21:07

justmyview I'm not sure your 20:38 post could have sounded much more smug!

Reading this it was the one that really stood out, you say DD, so do you just have one child? From my experience it really should be very easy to time trips out around a sensible pattern to suit them.

Throw more children in the pot and it can change pretty quickly, once there are others to try and suit too.

But it was the part about accepting all children that stunned me, so your superior DD is ok to accept but not a child that may scream, for whatever reason we don't know.

It also does seem a common parenting idea to ignore a lot of behaviour rather than engage certainly with screaming etc, so maybe the is what the parent thought she should be doing?! Was she having a tantrum about not wanting to be there, and so by leaving she had won?! Who knows?

Actually I hate screaming, and if it was any of my children I would not tolerate it and would remove them.

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