Have we forgotten our manners? 476



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“Kids using furniture as trampolines and kicking fixtures and fittings, running and screeching unsupervised around the café, jumping on the furniture, screaming, knocking over hot tea and coffee, washing their hands in other patrons’ water glasses, taking food off other patrons’ plates and parents changing nappies on lounges.”

It sounds like a scene from The Little Rascals, but this is what owners of Sydney’s popular Black Mocha Café say they experience daily.  As a result, John and Claudette Osterberg have taken the drastic step of permanently closing their doors to children and parents who “display deplorable manners.”

“It’s such a shame and we are really sad we had to do this,” Mr Osterberg told The Daily Telegraph.  The couple has two children themselves, but say that inconsiderate parents have damaged the tone of their café.

“Some parents would come in and sit on one coffee for three hours and let their kids run amok.  I’ve had children come in and do a Number 2 on the bathroom floor and parents just walk away, and leave it there for my staff to clean up.  It was feral behaviour and we had to make a decision:  Do we keep the children or do we keep the café?”

The husband and wife team broke the news to patrons on their Facebook page, thanking parents who instilled manners into their children, “The vast majority of parents look after their kids and the majority of kids are really good, but some parents think their kids can do whatever they want.”

“We feel that it’s the parent’s responsibility to keep their children reasonably quiet and well-behaved during their visit to the café.  But when parents can’t be bothered to do this, there comes a point when the café has to act in the best interest of its patrons as a whole.

Etiquette Queen June Dally-Watkins, aged 88, agrees that manners in Australia have become a problem.  “Even little things like remembering to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ are slipping away,” she said in an interview with New Limited.  

“I am concerned the human race is slipping back to the heathen era and it disappoints me,” said Ms Dally-Watkins, author of Manner For Moderns: Be The Best You Can Be – In Every Way.

The author credits her mother with teaching proper manners, and laments that some children don’t have the same instruction today. “My mother was constantly correcting me if I spoke incorrectly or badly, or had the wrong way of holding my knife and fork.  My mother would slap me – not in a cruel way, you know, just, ‘Stop that, June!'”

Comments on the Black Mocha Facebook page are divided.  Some people agree with the Osterbergs and echo comments made by June Dally-Watkins, calling for better lessons in etiquette to be taught.  On the other hand, a number of parents claim the café owners are over-reacting and that ‘kids will still be kids.’

What are your thoughts?  Have manners gone out the window in this day and age?  Do you teach your grandchildren lessons in etiquette?  

Image source: Facebook

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  1. Good for the cafe. If kids behave like that when out what on earth are their homes like. GOOD MANNERS should be taught early and then it comes naturally. Kids follow parents example

  2. Totally agree, these days parenting skills gone put window, along with a lot of manners sitting correctly at Table, saying excuse me before leaving, standing to let elderly or disabled have the seat on public transport. Sad

    17 REPLY
    • Your so right parenting skills out the window too busy trying to keep up with what everyone else has.

    • And wearing caps at the dinner table.

      1 REPLY
      • EveALICE , That and wearing a hat indoors or not removing one or standing for the Anthem of any country,
        I have been known to tell people to shut up during Anthems , if you don’t know the words don’t talk .
        Or telling your child to be still during the 1 minute silence , 11-11-11 ,

    • Or saying “HEY” instead of excuse me to-else get someones attention especially when the person they want to talk too is talking to someone

    • You are so absolutely write it is time that parents and teachers bring the etiquettes back to life they may appreciate it when they grow up

      1 REPLY
      • I will not serve someone on their phone , regardless how long they have been there , hang up and talk to me because at this moment I am the most important person in your life , because…………………………… you came to me

    • It has to start at home … Don’t blame teachers for this one , their hand are well and truly tied , thanks to the “parents ” we are talking about ! I won’t hear of it being teachers responsibility !

      1 REPLY
      • if teachers try to reprimand a troublesome student, often the parent will front up ready to physically fight the teacher as they accuse the teacher of bullying their child !

        so yeah – you can see where the bad behaviour comes from …

    • Shelley – None of us should have to put up with rude bad behaviour from others children, or the parents either.

    • Actually Alice , not that that was my point … But having teachers in my family … They , in fact , do sometimes, take students to restaurants … In the line of duty !

    • Lisa it starts in the home, then carries on with the teachers. Our school had a banner up saying “manners maketh man or woman” and our teachers pulled into line if we didn’t comply! We always said “yes sir” to the males and “yes Miss or Mrs……..” to the female teachers. Surely if a teacher is spoken to in a disrespectful manner, then the culprit should be admonished for it, otherwise how on earth will they learn. Actually, some teachers are lacking in manners too; it’s not always the kids.

    • You only have to look at “parents” of some children to realize the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Having children is a huge responsibility to nurture and teach them how to behave in public, school and in their home.unfortunately, there are too many so called parents, who just don’t have a clue, because they have no manners or respect for people in their own every day world. So here lies the problem, monkey see, monkey do, the the children have absolutely no guideance whatsoever.it becomes a vicious circle.

    • Look….. I agree with all the above … My main point is it has to start at home ! When people teacher bash , sometimes they forget that at home we have only the number of children , we have ! In the class room you may have 25-30 + children , all from different circumstances …. Christa , my daughter is a teacher too , she also teaches manners , nurtures , also some years provides breakfast / lunch , without fuss… Just because she is aware of the need ! So really … I didn’t comment for a debate … Just to share my feelings that “it’s up to the parents “to be first teachers of our children … Sadly …. As a society … It’s not happening enough !

  3. I agree with them. If I meet a friend for coffee and chat I would like to do it in peace. Yes I am always correcting my grown up daughters and many grandchildren grammar and manners. Well done owners,

  4. I feel for those Cafe owners,having to deal with such atrocious behaviour,and I applaud their action. Will it make any difference to the feral frequenters,I wonder. But if enough cafes took a stand like this,these parents might realise they have a duty to society to teach their children manners and respect!

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    • Possible no difference to the “feral frequenters” but at least others will be able to enjoy their coffee in peace and quiet. I know if I lived or visited their area I’d choose their cafe over others, knowing it wouldn’t be ruined by out of control, noisy children.

    • You can manage your children how you want BUT in your own home when out in society for any reason they should be taught respect for themselves, their family and others. If want to allow your children to act like animals do so in your own home. Some parents should be ashamed at their parenting skills

    • If enough cafes do this then parents who let their children run riot might realise if they want to go out with their kids then they will have to be responsible for the behavior of the kids.

    • I left the shopping Ctr recently, due mainly noisy unruly kids. Poor little babies in prams screaming their lungs out red faced and obviously very stressed, pushed by a disinterested mother texting on the phone, oblivious to the poor babies

  5. These days I find parents are not so big on teaching there children manners and respect for others.
    Busy families seem to slide over these, I feel , very important social skills

  6. I believe the majority of families are just delightful to be around, their manners are impeccable they are just so interesting to listen and learn from I enjoy dining with children and young adults .

    1 REPLY
  7. Womanners are a way of respecting other people. Bad manners are sheer disrespect, selfish and arrogant. Good manners are not just a set of rules but a way of interacting with your fellow beings so that society can work to the benefit of all. “Do unto others as you would be done to ” and good manners will be there.

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