“You have 5 minutes to discipline your child or I will do it,” cafe owner tells parents
She said that during such occasions, other people look to her to do something and thank her once the offending family’s left.
No one is a stranger to children throwing tantrums. At one point or another we have witnessed a child while they’re in the act; in fact, we probably threw tantrum when we were ourselves children.
Although the behaviour is unpleasant, parents of all people know that it’s a common behaviour among kids.
As it turns out, an English café in Felixstowe knew this, too, and in fact went the extra mile to warn its patrons that should a child throw tantrums inside its four walls, they will give parents “five lenient minutes” to discipline the child.
Or else the café’s owner will do it herself.
“Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming. [sic] We will give you five lenient minutes to ask the child to stop screaming and then we will ask the child ourselves.
“If that means you too are having a tantrum about our having to speak to your child and hurling threats about not returning—that’s really okay with us. We have a duty of care to the rest of our customers.”
Many parents took offense at the brazen statement, commenting on the café’s Facebook page to air their two-cents on the matter.
Shared more than 500 times with more than 600 comments, the post elicited outraged comments from parents saying it was not the cafe’s place to discipline children.
“I would never bring my child with special needs anywhere near here,” one parent commented.
“Having a tantrum is part of their development,” said another, “the parents may be ignoring the child for a reason and I strongly suggest you just let them get on with it.”
So many were the negative response to this statement that the café’s Facebook page was eventually taken down.
Read the cafe’s full statement on the next page
In an interview with BBC, Kim Christofi, the café’s owner, spoke about her Facebook post.
"You'll get a family arrive and for some reason the child will start screaming, throwing a hysterical tantrum,” she said. "We hope the parent will step in, but in the latest incident that didn't happen and the child was really embarrassing herself.”
"I'm specifically talking about really unruly children, destructive behaviour,” she added, “smashing up the toy box, knocking down the chairs."
She also said that during such occasions, other patrons look to her to do something about it, and often thank her once the offending family’s left.
Some of the radio show’s listeners gave Kim their support, saying “if the parents are chatting away and ignoring it, I don't think it's unreasonable for someone else to have a word.”
Meanwhile, others said that she should talk to the parents and not the child.
“Children with autism can have meltdowns which can look like tantrums,” one person said, “but nothing is going to stop that child, least of all some stranger telling them off.”
But perhaps the most compelling argument in this matter was succinctly put by Alys Gagnon in her Mama Mia article.
“When my children throw tantrums, as they've been known to do on occasion, I very often physically remove them from the situation,” she says. “But there are plenty of parents who are picking their battles, as I myself have been known to do.
“You can't look at the parent of a screaming child and draw the immediate conclusion that the tantrum is symptomatic of shitty parenting.”