A Shopping Mall In Australia Has Flat Out Banned Your Screaming Kids

banned kidsAll those among us who have ever had to drag a screaming 2-year-old from the floor of a Target or have been faced with quieting a 3-year-old in a bookstore are officially not welcome at Dee Why Grand shopping complex. The Australian mall has banned screaming kids — and therefore you.

Sky News reports that the mall, which is north of Sydney, has told customers that shrieking brats “will not be tolerated” any longer. After receiving a series of complains about loud children “running amok” in the food court, mall has posted the following notice:

“Stop. Parents please be considerate of other customers using the food court. Screaming children will not be tolerated in the centre.”

Manager Brenda Mulcahy says that both staff and customers have complained about the screeching, which she reportedly hears “miles away” in her office. Some staff apparently avoid the food court all together because they find the rampant screaming of kids ”unbearable.” And shame shame on you laissez-faire mommies (and of course, no shame for daddies):

“People deserve the quiet enjoyment of their cup of tea,” Ms Mulcahy told The Manly Daily newspaper.  ”Mothers have to be more responsible. We have had so many complaints.”

The ban has reportedly — and predictably — set the “parenting community” in Australia ablaze — mommy blog angry comments style. But as far as the Yahoo comments are concerned, readers are in favor.

Samantha chimes in on that tsk tsk, bad mothering:

And about time too, all too often mothers allow their unruly offspring to behave in a totally unacceptable manner in public without correcting them. Crying hysterically and just screaming for the sake of it are two different things…

John B Slope simply writes, “ban the parents I say.” Meanwhile, James is dictating who should even have kids based on his personal experiences:

Finally. I’m fed up listening to whining brats in shopping centres, planes, trains and elsewhere. The parents for the most part couldn’t give a shyte. If you can’t control your kids, don’t have any.

Or just don’t go to Dee Why Grand shopping complex.

Should shopping malls be able to ban children?

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(photo: ollyy / Shutterstock)

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  • Lawcat

    “… And therefore you.”

    No. I don’t allow my child to run in a mall. Or scream uncontrollably. Sometimes I (gasp) go shopping alone. This ban wouldn’t bother me one bit.

    The mall is just stating what behavior they won’t tolerate from anyone at any age. At some point parents decided that rules and societal norms didn’t apply to children and that others should just tolerate inappropriate behavior because kids “don’t know better.” Apparently the rest of society is sick of it. Kudos.

    • Gangles

      I don’t have any children of my own, but I love kids.

      I also work in a shopping mall, and I often am shocked by the stuff that parents just let their kids get away with.

      I work right next to the food court, and just yesterday I saw a mother sitting in the food court, enjoying her latte while her three children ran about the food court, sprawling across the floor, being loud rude and inconsiderate of other diners. The mother did absolutely nothing to try and reign her children in, and seemed to think that behaviour is completely appropriate.

      This is just one example.

      I have all the sympathy in the world when I see a harried parent struggling with her (his) children who are driving her (him) batty with naughty behaviour as they are trying to get their groceries done – I have babysat neices and nephews enough to realise that sometimes kids will choose the most embarrassing times to be naughty. The point is, at least those parents are trying. What people really can’t stand is when parents choose to not do anything to control or reign in their precious little snow-flake – they think their kids rude, noisy behaviour is cute, why shouldn’t everyone else? Or, like in the store I work in, apparently part of my job is ‘child-minding’ kids tripping people up and knocking over stock while parents wander around the shop browsing (actually, no it is not).

    • K.

      The other thing that shocks me about letting the children run amok is…don’t these parents worry about the safety of their children? I mean, escalators, elevators, fountains, those things aren’t toys. And I don’t want to sound like a completely paranoid nut, but kidnappings happen in malls too.

    • LiteBrite

      This is exactly what I wanted to write.

      As to the idea that “kids don’t know better” I personally think it’s just an excuse used to justify lazy parenting a lot of the time. I agree that my son is a part of society, and I agree that at 5 he doesn’t totally understand what it means. However, that’s where my job as a parent comes in, to teach him how to be polite and respectful and that what he’s allowed to do in an indoor playground is not what’s he allowed to do in a shopping mall.

      Edited to add: As someone who has worked retail for many years (thankfully no more) it’s amazing how many parents let their kids run wild in a store or shopping center. As others have pointed out, not only is it annoying to other people, there are safety issues to consider as well.

  • quinn

    So is someone going to be around to monitor this? That would be an extremely stressful and uncomfortable job. Anyways, I take this to mean that they aren’t tolerating the parents who ignore their screaming children there any longer, not the children. I’m the mom of a 4 yo, and I understand that all children have tantrums from time to time, but if you are too oblivious to try to comfort and quiet (or remove) your out of control child then you don’t have the social skills needed to shop in public anyway.

  • chickadee

    I question the idea that children need to run and scream in a public area, or that children’s or parents’ rights are being violated. This appears to be a move on the part of this business to respond to a problem caused by its customers, and this business has my sympathy. And no, this wouldn’t have affected me or my children because I tried not to shop with my children past their endurance.

  • Rachel

    Who would actually be upset about this? Are there seriously people who think they have some kind of inherent right to have screaming banshees in public? There are actually laws, at least in the U.S., against disturbing the peace.

    We’ve taken our 10-month-old out and about since he was born. He likes seeing new places and having new people fawn over him (this happens not because he’s ~ irresistible~, but rather because we’re stationed in a country where his ethnicity is somewhat of a novelty). ANY time he began to get fussy, we would attempt to calm him. If it escalated or didn’t work immediately, we took him home.

    Anything less would have been rude to everyone around us, to include our baby. You don’t have to be a recluse when you have a kid – you just have to be responsible.

    • Tinyfaeri

      “Are there seriously people who think they have some kind of inherent right to have screaming banshees in public?”
      Do you have to ask? Of course. And they’re not screaming banshees, they’re just exploring their environment. Loudly. And over there while mama drinks her coffee in peace. ;-)
      I agree, though, taking kids out is fine, and sometimes they’ll make noise, but if you can’t get the munchkin calmed down, removing them from the situation is best for everyone. I think it’s called parenting.

  • K.

    I’m a parent and I’m not bothered by the ban; I do think it might be a bad business move since I’ve probably bought more crap in the first month of motherhood than I did over the entire year beforehand.

    But hey, maybe it’ll attract more people than it repels.

    • Sara

      I don’t think this is aimed at parents of infants; it appears to be directed toward parents of children who are old enough to a) move around on their own and b) control their behavior, but who for whatever reason have been taught that running around and screaming in public is acceptable behavior. To me, that says “toddlers and up”.
      I have to say that everywhere I’ve ever gone with my 16-month-old, people have been remarkably understanding of the fact that babies cry. I’ve never gotten an eye roll or a rude comment. Then again, if we’re out with my daughter and she starts to cry (and now that she’s getting closer to toddler age than babyhood, it’s starting to happen more often) we hightail it out of there until she’s calm. It usually doesn’t take more than a minute or two.

    • K.

      I wasn’t really weighing in on whether the mall was justified in its decision or not (for the record, I don’t agree with unsupervised, screaming kids in a public place either); I was more intrigued by the fact that a shopping center “banned” children. To be fair, that doesn’t appear to be what they did in reality–it sounded like they posted a sign that told parents to supervise their kids. Big deal, right? But it then DID get reported that the shopping center “banned children.”

      My response was simply that it struck me as a poor business decision because I think you’re taking an incredible risk if you are a mall and want to do something that can be perceived (doesn’t have to be actual, just perceived) as being hostile to children and families. Parent customers tend to be big consumers–not just of retail, but also things like
      food items (which is also why it’s interesting that they focused on the
      food court)–one kid asking for a snack easily translates to 3-4 snacks
      for the whole family, for example–and “entertainment” purchases–the choo-choo train; the merry-go-round; rent-a-stroller; even tossing a quarter into fountains. And people apparently ARE offended by this, which doesn’t bode well regarding the mall’s profitability. If I were a merchant in the mall, particularly one that sells children or family-oriented merchandise, I’d be pissed.

      I could very well be wrong because it remains to be seen whether their bottom line is affected by this or not. Maybe parents won’t care; maybe people annoyed by this sort of thing will shop there MORE; probably the whole thing will blow over in a few weeks. I’ll go with c)–pretty sure Chik-fil-A is back to a steady supply-demand model.

    • Sara

      I think you’re probably right that the kerfuffle will be short-lived…….

  • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

    From what is written, it’s not that the shopping mall is banning all children, but the children that are not being watched or disciplined. If this is a frequent problem, yes, I would also agree that my mall take action.

  • lea

    The poll at the end of your piece is a complete misrepresentation. No one is saying “ban children” they are simply saying that screaming children will not be tolerated. That is, get your kid to shut up, or get out. If your child is behaving, you’ll have no problems.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Sex, and exaggerated controversy, sell.

    • Lawcat

      Brought to you by Miracle Whip…

    • Tinyfaeri

      Boy is it ever.

    • GoaG

      Exactly. I mean, she’s an editor. It makes me question her comprehension skills.

  • pnutbrittle

    I’m so in favor of this ban. And, no Miracle Whip, I’m not going to buy your products because your ads on this site are so annoying!

    • Dlee

      I should go to the mall and pick some up… Oh wait, I’m in Australia and the mall (sans screaming children) won’t have it.

      Actually, I have AdBlock Plus on Chrome and can’t see any ads, even the Facebook Sidebar of “You’re a mummy/engaged/SOMETHING RELEVANT” (all tinged with the theme of YOU MUST LOSE WEIGHT, FATASS) disappears. I seriously recommend it.

  • Tea

    My husband worked retail and more than once quite possibly saved an unattended child’s life, and was usually scolded for it. I fully support banning unattended or unruly children, because it’s one less child trying to climb the tire wall, run back in the shop, or pulling over the displayed.

    This isn’t a ban on children, it’s telling people who aren’t minding things to leave.

  • Byron

    “Ban kids” and “ban unruly screaming kids not being disciplined by their parents” are two different propositions I think and the distinction between them is meaningful.

    Malls are private, they can ban whomever they want. Asking if they should be able to ban anyone is like questioning people’s right to own property and to do with it what they wish. Can you not allow someone you dislike for whatever reason from entering your house? That’s the same thing right there. The people who own the mall don’t like screaming kids, it’s their mall, they do with it what they wish. To challenge if they should have the power to decide what goes on in their property is just fundamentally counter to the notion of property.

  • pocket

    Am I the only one who thinks no one careless enough to let their kid scream in a mall would bother to read, much less comply, with this sign? And who’s enforcing it? My kid is non-verbal (via medical condition), so this doesn’t exactly effect me, but I’d be turned off by what feels like a somewhat agressive undertone. The “STOP” rather than “attention/notice” is what gets me. Regardless of how rude customer behavior may be, I would expect a more profesional and polite sign in this establishment, since ALL patrons will be viewing it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stina.kolling Stina Wargo Kolling

      LOL! You’re not upset by the action, you’re upset because the sign isn’t gentle & kind enough for you! “We understand that your precious spawn might be a teensy weensy little bit upset, and we certainly would not want to interrupt his or her boisterous and joyous exploration of this great big wonderful world, but could you maybe perhaps ask young Mayddison or Brawnsonne if they could use their inside voices? Thanks bunches and heaps!
      Lots of love, Shopping Mall Mgmt.” There, that better?

    • jenni

      Apparently they had a different sign before Christmas. It was worded in a ‘more profesional and polite’ way, and guess what? Nobody read it! To get through to rude people, you sometimes have to be rude.

  • Sara

    I find it sad that this mall has had to make a rule (and, apparently, get flak for said rule from entitled mombies) to get parents to do what USED to be done out of common sense, consideration for others and the recognition that their special snowflake isn’t the only one with rights in the store and maybe, just maybe, if your kid is having a screaming meltdown you should deal with the inconvenience, be a parent and take him outside until he can calm himself. (And then perhaps teach him that throwing a tempter tantrum is completely unacceptable behavior for anyone older than about three and will be followed with consequences.)

    Good for this mall, and I’m shaking my head at all the entitled parents out there who actually believe that this completely reasonable, shouldn’t-even-be-necessary rule is out of line.

    And because I KNOW someone is going to point it out–yes, I know babies cry and toddlers have meltdowns. Both of these are entirely developmentally appropriate and to be expected. But that doesn’t mean that others around you should be expected to listen to it because you can’t be bothered to do your job as a parent and take the crying baby or melting-down toddler out to the hallway or car to calm down. Pooping is normal and appropriate, too, but you don’t see anyone relieving themselves in the middle of the food court while others are trying to have a peaceful lunch.

    • Sara

      Oh, and I didn’t vote on the poll because, as other commenters have pointed out, it offers two erroneous choices, neither of which actually applies to the situation here. The mall isn’t banning kids; it’s reserving the right to tell screaming, uncontrolled children who are ruining the experience of others in the area to leave. Again, it’s ridiculous that something like that has to be put in writing and even more ridiculous that anyone would actually have a problem with this.

  • Kelly

    Good. Any decent parent would leave when their kid starts shrieking anyways.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

    About frigging time. Honestly, more businesses should start saying “hey, nope, you’re throwing a fit so you can leave.” Not just to kids but to adults too…I’ve seen adults have some pretty catastrophic meltdowns back when I worked retail. It’s bad enough when a 4 year old is throwing a tantrum. When it’s a 40 year old, it’s more pathetic than anything else…

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