‘Why I’d ban children from cafes and restaurants’ 208

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A British TV personality has been slammed for suggesting something that, well, most of us have thought at one time, if not all the time…

Janet Street Porter had a lengthy rant in the Daily Mail about one of her top five hates: children in cafes.

She says, “There’s nothing more enjoyable in life than going out to eat — breakfast, lunch or dinner, it doesn’t matter which. Sitting with friends and having a good natter, preferably over drinks or a really good cup of coffee, is one of life’s pleasures.

“But how many dining experiences are ruined because you are forced to conduct your conversation over a cacophony generated by something small, cross and wearing a nappy?”

She goes on to lament the “role reversal” that’s taken place in her country that sees restaurants and cafes advertising themselves as “family friendly”.

“What about the rest of us — the people who might want to enjoy a meal without a toddler (not even one we’re related to) for company?” she says before adding that most mums seem to be impervious to the sounds – and smells – their children make.

It’s not just the babies that get her goat, either: “Many mums seem to think they have a divine right to monopolise any cafe they can jam their buggies inside.”

“When I was young, children were seen and not heard in public when you were out for a meal with mum and dad. Not any more. An increasing number of parents think their kids can express themselves however they like. They imagine that their children are ‘fun’ and ‘creative’ when, in fact, they’re being loathsome.

Ms Street Porter says there should be restrictions on children in eating establishments.

“Up until 11am I want to get over the night before. I want to read. Why should a non-eating child, who is not even paying for the pleasure of being there, dominate an entire room?

“And why should toddlers be allowed to roam at will, careering into waiters and coming to shout hello when you’re eating your scrambled egg?

“We don’t allow dogs in most restaurants and cafes, and generally they are better behaved than the average British toddler.

The TV star suggests that children be segregated well away from other customers, and that there be cut-off times in the evening after which children are not allowed.

“Sometimes, a few minutes for a quiet coffee and a sandwich are the only time we have to ourselves all day,” says Ms Street Porter.

“Please, can parents realise that children don’t rule the world?”

Do you agree with Janet Street Porter? Should children be banned from some cafes and restaurants?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. If I’m foolish enough to enter the land of golden arches it’s a risk I take … but the little coffee shop in the arcade … keep your kids either under control or out of my way.

  2. I steer clear of child friendly restaurants , because I can’t cope with the chaos , I find myself continually watching out for an accident to happen while mums and dads look on oblivious to imminent danger of their child being scalded by spilt hot drinks , tripped by harassed waiting staff etc . There are many times when cafes and restaurants are not being used by families as they are either at school , kindy or in bed . This is the time for a quiet coffee or a nice restaurant dinner, Golden Arches , each man for himself ! Hahaha !

  3. Depends on the behaviour. Some parents allow their children to be noisy and generally badly behaved, but I have seen the other side, while waiting for a meal help the children with a book or colouring, I go out of my way to compliment these parents.

    2 REPLY
  4. Well behaved children, yes sure but out of control and disruptive children or youngsters are not a pleasant experience!

  5. Pity they can’t be taught how to behave in society. Like every where in the world……there are rules even for the over indulged kids of today!

  6. People should be able to have family outings with all their kids. I have even helped young mothers negotiate their strollers/kids through tables and chairs. BUT, there is a limit. If kids can behave, having being told that they are in an adult environment then it is fine for them to be in restaurants. If they are too young or will not behave in a socially acceptable manner then there are plenty of “family” restaurants that parents can take them to. There is or was a restaurant in Melbourne which freely advertised that kids were not welcome and I since have seen similar signs on a few restaurants in Sydney. I have no problem with it. My kids either behaved when in public or were removed from the environment. By age 5yrs they were so excited to be going out for a “grown up” meal that they were perfect angels, at least until we got in the car to come home.

    1 REPLY
  7. I am in 2 minds on this issue, yes badly behaved children can ruin not only the enjoyment of the meal but conversation but it would be sad if we not go out for a family gathering without having to leave the Grandchildren at home

    4 REPLY
    • I think Rosalind there are places where it’s appropriate to take children. BUT, parents should still keep their children under control so as not to annoy other patrons. I personally wouldn’t go to a child friendly place if I wanted to spend a large amount of money to enjoy a good meal with good company.

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      • Parents keeping kids under control – I was recently travelling on a catamaran and 2 little boys had loud electronic guns that they kept firing at each other, the noise was annoying to say the least. I looked at the older boy, smiled and put my finger to my lips in the age old way of saying “”Hush”. He kept on doing it so I did it again, and he got the message and stopped the racket. Then his mother verbally attacked me, telling me amongst other things “No-one tells my kids what to do”. (Why not I asked myself?) I pointed out (nicely and politely in case she attacked me physically!) that I had not abused or hurt her child, merely suggested in the nicest way possible that the noise was not acceptable. She ranted for so long that eventually I glared and asked her to repeat herself at which point she quickly subsided. Her husband just quietly took the guns and said nothing. What is it about young parents today that some seem unable to accept that at times their children annoy other people?

    • I agree Victoria, kids seem out of control but perhaps it is the parents who are out of control, they can’t seem to manage their own children

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