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We encourage children in our cafe BUT

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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:
KingRollo · 17/06/2013 06:18

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Morgause · 17/06/2013 06:21

I can see most points of view here and I can understand the anger of the parents of children with SN.

I have a close relative with SN, now an adult, and we have had our moments with her. I have been part of a family group who have been tutted at when, despite our best efforts, her autistic tics manifested themselves loudly when she became distressed. We, like other posters have done, used to take turns to take her outside where she felt a lot calmer and safer. I do know what it can be like living with a child with SN.

However, to go back to the original post. The OP is running a business. I am being honest and probably unpopular by saying what I feel.

Say I'm with my Dsis on a rare day out and we are looking for somewhere to sit down and relax and catch up with news. We have a choice of 2 cafes. In one a child or adult, with or without SN, is screeching in the other there is no screeching person. Which one will we choose? Which one would anyone choose?

The owner of one business will lose our custom. If, however, we are in a cafe and a child or adult with SN comes in and screeches of course we would be tolerant. We know what it can be like and can empathise. We would be sympathetic and wouldn't tut or complain. DSis, of all people, has been there.

I think most people would feel the same way. I know of no one who would voluntarily enter a room containing a screeching person when an alternative is available.

DottyboutDots · 17/06/2013 06:21

But what do you do about undisciplined naughty children, one's without special needs, whose parents do bugger all to teach them how to behave in public?

HouseinScotland · 17/06/2013 06:40

I was raised by a disabled single mother who was in a wheelchair for most of my childhood. And yet I was labeled as "disabilist" in this thread. I found that very upsetting and absolutely ludicrous given my background, and had to take a break from this thread yesterday.

Over 20% of children in the UK have been diagnosed with special needs which is 5 times the EU average. I think these children need a lot of support and help and I'm very happy that some of the taxes I pay are going towards helping them and their families. I wish the government would do more for them, provide respite care for their parents and carers when they need a break, provide more SN teachers in schools, etc.

However, I still think there needs to be some sort of compromise about screaming in cafes. This is because other people with disabilities of their own may not be able to stand sustained screaming due to hyperacusis, use of a hearing aid, noise-sensitivity anxiety, noise-sensitivity autism, etc. No one's disability "trumps" anyone else's and we have got to learn to all live together peacefully without insisting our own rights are the only ones that matter.

I have absolutely no problem with flapping, screeching, bad table manners, screeching and screaming that lasts a short period of time, etc. What I have a problem with is sustained screaming for half an hour or more than is causes everyone else in the cafe to leave.

No one should have to hide away. Not my mother, not your child, not someone who cannot handle sustained loud screaming. This is not about that. Even experts in treatment of SN do not believe that sustained screaming should be accepted as normal and acceptable because this is doing no favours to the child who would often (not always in the case of severe disabilities but often) benefit from being socialised not to scream in public

I have a hell of a lot of empathy for parents and carers of those with disabilities and/or special needs. But I still don't think a diagnosis means you get to tell everyone else on the planet that their needs automatically no longer matter.

Mimishimi · 17/06/2013 06:45

My son was a screecher, diagnosed with a severe speech delay when he was 3 and PDD-NOS when he was four (when it was decided the delay was actually a disorder). He receives autism funding. After three years of therapy he has come a long way and we can, usually, comfortably take him out now. However, when he was two, if we ever wanted food/coffee from a cafe one of us would order takeaway whilst the other would take DS to a nearby park. I would never have let his SN's be an excuse for driving away someone else's customers and I do think the other customers have a reasonable expectation to enjoy their food with a normal level of noise (ie not pin-drop silence but not screaming either).

For the reason, we also avoided museums, art galleries and some libraries.

DottyboutDots · 17/06/2013 06:48

HouseinScotland and Mimishimi. Excellent posts.

OneInEight · 17/06/2013 06:56

"'Another patron, the one your child is disturbing, his or her life may be dealing with mental health problems...with a heavy workload...with an aging parent...a dying spouse...chronic pain...who knows? I think it is extraordinarily intolerant of you to essentially deprive that person of a peaceful cup of coffee or a lunch with a friend whom they can talk over their problems with.'"

Brdgrl - I can tick at least three of the items in your list. I also have two children with special needs. Am I allowed to go to your café or do you imagine that having children with special needs prevents you from having other problems?

Bumpsadaisie · 17/06/2013 07:10

If one of mine screamed constantly in a cafe (more than a few mins grumpiness) I'd pay and leave.

I don't understand why she was screaming for that length of time anyway. What did she want/need?

Wishihadabs · 17/06/2013 07:21

I am just horrified by the lack of tolerance and compassion on this thread. I must be a very strange person, I wouldn't dream of leaving an establishment because someone was screeching, I wouldn't choose somewhere else to have lunch. As I said earlier, I would give the parent/carer and the screecher a big friendly smile. It costs nothing. If someone has other issues it's likely they wouldn't notice. Ppeople who complain about such things IME don't have bigger things going on in their lives actually they don't have enough.

However if the coffee wasn't up to stratch I would never come back.

MrsBucketxx · 17/06/2013 07:29

I'm a bit confused, you created a child friendly cafe then complain when the children make screechy noises???

kids will be noisy its s fact of life. I think you shoukd be more tolerant tbh

I wouldnt let mine be screechy but I know this isn't always the case and ds can be shouty at times.

if you dont like children ( and the nouses they might make) make it like it was

the mom was

MrsBucketxx · 17/06/2013 07:30

probably mortified.

Sirzy · 17/06/2013 07:30

Brilliant post houseinscotland.

wish my grandfather would have had no choice but to leave. He was fantastic with children but his hearing problems meant that high pitched sounds, or things like prolonged screaming caused him physical pain. It wasn't as simple as ignoring the noise for him he could for a few minutes but certainly not for half an hour.

Wishihadabs · 17/06/2013 07:43

Sirzy as house in scotland said no ones disability trumps anyone's else's.. I am guessing your grandfather wouldn't have choose a "child friendly " cafe.

Wishihadabs · 17/06/2013 07:44

Sirzy as house in scotland said no ones disability trumps anyone's else's.. I am guessing your grandfather wouldn't have choose a "child friendly " cafe.

Sirzy · 17/06/2013 07:48

He would have if he wanted to go out for a meal with his family.

I am not saying his right trumps anyone else. I am saying that people need to think beyond their "box" and appreciate they may be causing distress to others inadvertently. My grandfather would cope with the noise for a while but could never cope with half an hour of it. He would never had said anything, he would simply leave.

All most people have been saying is that some noise is ok, allowing it for half an hour really isn't acceptable or fair on anyone.

exoticfruits · 17/06/2013 08:10

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exoticfruits · 17/06/2013 08:13

I can't see why a grandfather wouldn't choose a child friendly cafe- I have never realised that they were something to be avoided! My grandfather loved seeing children- he didn't expect them to shriek in cafes.

Lazyjaney · 17/06/2013 08:16

"I'm a bit confused, you created a child friendly cafe then complain when the children make screechy noises???"

Seems some people confuse Child Friendly Cafes with Soft Play shedswith "Feel free to let your kids make a load of noise, run around, and spew food and drink everywhere".

tabulahrasa · 17/06/2013 08:28

'Over 20% of children in the UK have been diagnosed with special needs // which is 5 times the EU average.'

That article confuses SNs with SENs, not all SENs are SNs and not all SNs cause SENs anything that is diagnosable by a school is not an SN. Things like dyslexia are an SEN but not an SN and can be diagnosed by a school.

'I have absolutely no problem with flapping, screeching, bad table manners, screeching and screaming that lasts a short period of time, etc. What I have a problem with is sustained screaming for half an hour or more than is causes everyone else in the cafe to leave.'

The "box" for some parents is that realistically they know that going to lots of everyday places will involve a noise level that may disturb others, flapping intermittent screeching and bad table manners can be something that a parent cannot stop. Half an hour is about how long it takes to eat lunch.

For some parents their choice is really to accept that unfortunately other cafe users may experience a a bit of disturbance or to never ever take their child to a cafe...or anywhere else where other people are.

FasterStronger · 17/06/2013 08:30

I don't think a child friendly café means children trump everyone else in the café.

there may only be one café in a village its important single old people have places to go. and everyone else. a 20 something man could want to avoid the pub due to problems with alcohol (seeing as we are speculating wildly about people's lives). a diabetic might need to eat. some else may have MH problems and another customer trying to talk with a friend about death/serious illness/infertility.

all of that said, in RL cafes, i have only ever seen people with obvious behavioural disabilities behaving in a way that it is reasonable for other customers to get over (and possibly learn about others lives from). the inconsiderate (and their DCs) seem to have normal speech and no physical impairments. the main problem with inconsiderate people in cafes seems to be they don't realise they are just a customer of a small business not The Important Customer.

MrsBucketxx · 17/06/2013 08:31

but of course lazy children should be seen and not heard Hmm

MrsBucketxx · 17/06/2013 08:33

I hardly take mine to cafe's as I know they might be disruptive.

especially ones that arent child friendly.

FasterStronger · 17/06/2013 08:33

oh and the small business owner may be barely making enough money to pay the bills/keep a roof over their family's head.

so on ones right trumps anyone else's.

brdgrl · 17/06/2013 08:42

My first reaction is to actually be fairly jealous of these posters who obviously lead such perfect, happy lives that they have never had to deal with disability

Interesting that you assume this. I have a parent with a very serious physical disability, a parent with very profound mental illness, and I worked with mentally ill adults for over ten years.

But I don't agree with your perspective that you are exempt from all reasonable respect for other people's own circumstances, so I must not know what it's like.

There have been posts from others with children who have SN saying that they do try and think of others around them. That is all anyone is asking.

Eyesunderarock · 17/06/2013 08:46

DS found cafes and restaurants difficult, and like ouryve said at the beginning of this enormous thread, if he started roaring and seriously disturbing other people, I'd take him out of that situation.
To me that's the flipside of reasonable accommodation.
I'd expect the customers to cope with the fact that he was a messy eater, that he sometimes needed to be under the table eating, that he had a loud, monotone voice, a range of physical stims and sometimes made inappropriate observations.
But if he was yelling, or beginning to trash the furnishings then we'd leave.
Would I be put off by a screechy child if they were in a cafe and I was unaccompanied? Not usually.
Likewise, I have no problem with screechy children in supermarkets or on public transport, sometimes there is no alternative.
Can I identify a child with SN at a glance? Not even 90% of the time.

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