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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:
devientenigma · 17/06/2013 10:33

I wish I could find the right person/strategy to enhance DS life, she sounds great WBHV

tabulahrasa · 17/06/2013 10:33

'I have a disabled child. I know many parents of disabled children. None of us are single parents on benefits.What a sweeping statement!'

Neither am I...but there is lots of evidence that shows that there is a higher number of divorces and separations among families where there is a disabled child and that having a child with a disability seems to have a direct affect on a parent's earning power.

For many people it is harder to parent a child with a disability and that affects the relationship, it is harder to be in full time work and that affects income.

I know a lot of parents where the breakdown in their relationship definitely was in part due to having a child with a disability and an inability of both partners to support each other with that, many more who are unable to work or can only work part time due to their children's care needs. There are definitely some parents where both of those things happen.

EllenJanesthickerknickers · 17/06/2013 10:38

Me, me! Marriage broken down due in part to SN, working in a school. And will be late if I don't go now.

HotheadPaisan · 17/06/2013 10:39

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chocnomore · 17/06/2013 10:41

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ArbitraryUsername · 17/06/2013 10:42

Actually brdgirl, I think you want it to be about selfishness but it isn't. It's about accepting and accommodating difference in a diverse community.

It's not about individual rights at all, but functioning as a community. Sometimes we will all be inconvenienced and sometimes we will inconvenience others. The other child in your example will be inconvenienced by all kinds of things in the environment. One might be another child's screaming. Just because that aspect of public space inconveniences you too, it doesn't make it more of a problem than the myriad things you don't notice.

gimmeanaxe · 17/06/2013 10:43

'There are actually parents who never leave the house with their disabled child during weekends or school holidays because they have no support and no time without their child if there is no school.'

Thats me. So you wont find my dd screeching when her continence pad is wet - probably the only time she would start screeching - because I have never ever found a cafe where we can hoist her from her wheelchair and change her pad. Or a museum/zoo/theme park.
Britian is SN unfriendly as you can see from the thread above and for other reasons. Intolerant and unaccessible.

gimmeanaxe · 17/06/2013 10:45

and to be honest, the noise other people's kids make barely registers (none are as loud as dd anyhow). As long as its not mine and I dont have to deal with it, other people's kids can scream, flap, run up and down. I dont care.

devientenigma · 17/06/2013 10:47

Ok we have discussed noises, behaviour as such. Now my sons risk assessments states he needs at least 3 foot of space around him, no one should kneel when he is around, do not approach him from the front or side, as well as the usual noise etc, does this mean he shouldn't go out? Or where can he go?

Interesting as I post about an incident on a trip out with him as no one knows this risk assessment by looking at him. I wanted a mutual understanding of what happened and how do we all deal with this for positive outcomes. This is still ongoing in RL but when I post here, or chat, I was advised to go to the SN forum as they would know, which doesn't give an overal view.

hazeyjane · 17/06/2013 10:49

brdgrl - Actually I would have thought it likely that for a lot of children with sn, trying to work out ways to provide for the needs of a variety of different issues is something that happens frequently within settings like sn school or nursery or for example ds's hydrotherapy sessions - there is child a who screeches frequently and loudly, she is excited it is how she expresses herself, there is child b with autism who is highly sensitive to noise, he has water resistant ear defenders, because the lady who runs the session knows that child a will be making a noise he doesn't like, there is ds (child c!) who hates people coming to close and being 'in his face', there is child d who is incredible over friendly and boisterous and likes splashing over to ds and trying to say hello and kiss him!

Somehow, every week we work out a way, and everyone gets a fantastic session.

The same when he was at sn nursery - 15 children all with different needs and different issues, all somehow working out a way to get as much as they can out of a session, without letting one child's needs supercede another.

FasterStronger · 17/06/2013 10:51

the Disability Act mentions reasonable adjustments. not any necessary adjustment.

so no I don't think you can take anyone into a café who is going to make it unpleasant for other customers to remain (e.g. prolonged screaming/shouting) .... but I also think the other customers need to be reasonable and cut people with disabilities some slack & not use any unusual sounds/movements/behaviour as an excuse for leaving.

WouldBeHarrietVane · 17/06/2013 10:51

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brdgrl · 17/06/2013 10:51

It's not about individual rights at all, but functioning as a community.
Exactly the point. Functioning as a community.

Sometimes we will all be inconvenienced and sometimes we will inconvenience others.
But I am directly responding to the posters who think that they should not be inconvenienced, that the needs of their child mean that they should be allowed to inconvenience, but never to be inconvenienced.

The other child in your example will be inconvenienced by all kinds of things in the environment. One might be another child's screaming.
So in other words, the child with SN whose required accommodation is that those around him maintain a volume level that is generally considered socially acceptable - that child does not deserve accommodation. But the child with SN whose required accommodation is that those around him tolerate any noise level, that child deserves accommodation.

Hmm That's rather shitty.

GobbySadcase · 17/06/2013 10:52

Sane people have arrived.

HotheadPaisan · 17/06/2013 10:53

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ArbitraryUsername · 17/06/2013 10:54

Is also silly to assume that anyone who urges tolerance of behaviour that is not standard in public places is a selfish and irresponsible parent intent on 'inflicting' their socially unacceptable children on everyone else.

You'd probably never notice DS1's SN and we can eat in cafes in an entirely unremarkable manner unless you are a weirdo who monitors how other diners hold their cutlery. But I still think we should be more tolerant and less quick to judge and make assumptions, even where that means that my lunch, or train journey, or whatever is noisier than I'd hoped it would be. Frankly, I'm pretty certain that both the screaming child on the train and his/her parents are having a harder day than me. And the screaming will stop for me when I get off the train; that's not necessarily the case for the family.

singinggirl · 17/06/2013 10:56

I don't think brdgrl is being bigoted or intolerant, but everyone brings their own perspectives and experiences to a discussion like this - her point is about children with more hidden SN. For example my DS2 has Aspergers. On holiday last year he was walking with his older brother about three metres ahead from me, a couple with a child in a wheelchair coming the other way. The mother was walking alongside the wheelchair holding her DS's hand, and expected both my DS's to walk in the road to accommodate this.

Whether or not you should expect NT 11 and 9 years olds to walk in the road with their backs to the oncoming traffic, DS2 has precious little road sense. I called to him to stand still and stay on the pavement. The mother told me that her DS would get upset if she let go of his hand. I replied that I would like to be with my children if they had to walk in the road, and that the pavement is for everyone. Unfortunately different disabilities have different needs, and these cannot always be reconciled.

brdgrl · 17/06/2013 10:57

They all have the right to be there and enjoy their coffee and cake.

absolutely. Until their actions begin to infringe on the rights of another to do the same thing.

I've worked with mentally ill men who would do the following things:

  • masturbate on the bus - they'd be asked to leave the bus.
  • approach others in cafes to speak to them about their copyright issues, at great length, and preventing the other patron from work or conversation - they'd be asked to leave.
  • speak at a loud volume about their relationship with Jesus. - Also asked to leave.

    But I guess that's wrong, and none of you tolerant people would mind my clients sitting next to your child and masturbating or praising Christ. Nonsense.
JessicaBeatriceFletcher · 17/06/2013 10:57

Sorry this thread has gone so far away from the OP's initial posting that I think it has been completely hijacked. What started as a viable comment with a bit of bearing has become a ridiculous slanging match in some quarters and I think BOTH sides at times are showing a lack of empathy and reasonableness for the other.

brdgrl · 17/06/2013 10:58

Thanks, singinggirl, that is just it - sometimes needs can't be reconciled.

WouldBeHarrietVane · 17/06/2013 11:00

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tabulahrasa · 17/06/2013 11:00


Well if we're pretending stuff...I'm also going to pretend we live in the same town.

The chances are that my noisy DC knows your neighbour's DS because in school they like to stick all children with SNs into a nurture group, or a social skills group all together away from the other pupils, even though they have completely different needs. Assuming that is that they're in mainstream schools, if they're not then they'd be in the same school anyway because they are also not usually set up for different SNs, just all children with SNs.

We've also been to the same SN playgroup...because they're separate too.

Possibly we've just been to the same SALT group, where they've yet again lumped a load of children together with differing needs to save money, which is why we're both in a cafe trying to eat on a weekday when other people are working - because you don't get to pick when those sorts of appointments happen and if you cancel for a better date you get bumped to the start of the waiting list again. Or maybe it was occupational therapy, or assessments with a psychologist or a developmental paediatrician, or any number of things that other parents don't have to do.

But failing all that - there is a huge difference between a child making a noise that causes distress or pain to another person or simply annoyance. In a tolerant society it's up to the two parents involved to work out what to do about that, maybe your neighbour looks at me and thinks, ah she needs this coffee more than me, or maybe I look at her son and think, oh dear that boy is getting really upset I'll hurry up and go.

ArbitraryUsername · 17/06/2013 11:00

Brdgirl: it's quite a leap to imagine that the parents of children with SN are not inconvenienced by their child. It's also interesting that you assume that the rest of the public do not inconvenience them or their children.

And the child who finds noise difficult to cope with may find all manner of environmental noises difficult. But you are only interested in the screaming because it also inconvenienced you. For some people, the background him of conversation might be worse than loud screaming. The sound of cutlery scraping off plates might be intolerable. Background music might make it impossible for someone to hear conversation. All sorts of things. But you probably don't notice these, so obviously only the screaming is a problem.

WouldBeHarrietVane · 17/06/2013 11:01

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GobbySadcase · 17/06/2013 11:03

Right, so people talking about their parenting experiences in context to the OP is 'hijacking' if it deviates from the norm?

Way to go trying to cut us dead.
Not happening, though.

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