Kids throw tantrums. Most of us will have to deal with our child throwing a tantrum in public at some point, and most of us probably threw a tantrum in the middle of a store when we were kids, too. Hopefully when our children decide to start shrieking in public, the people around us will be sympathetic and generous as we try to deal with it. We do have to try to deal with it, though. It’s not OK to just let a kid scream and scream in the middle of a restaurant without at least trying to get them to stop.
According to SheKnows, one business owner this week accidentally set of a shitstorm of epic proportions when she posted a notice to her Facebook page indicating that if a parent did not at least attempt to quiet a screaming child, she would do it herself. Kim Christofi of the South Kiosk at Martello Park wrote:
“Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to disipline their children about tantrum screaming. 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 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.”
That doesn’t seem so unreasonable, and five minutes is a very long time. If all she’s really looking is for parents to “ask the child to stop screaming,” her request is not unreasonable.
Since posting her “rant,” Christofi has been inundated with messages and one-star Yelp reviews from furious parents who are calling her anti-child, insensitive, and condescending.
The South Kiosk is not a restaurant. It’s an outdoor ice cream shack next to a play park, and the owners and customers probably see and hear their share of screaming kids. The kiosk looks like what I’d call an ice cream stand. It’s a small blue box with a roll-up window from which people sell ice cream and sunscreen and snacks. It’s outdoors, does not seem to have seating, and it’s next to a play park. It’s going to be noisy, and it’s not like you can take a screaming kid outside, because they’re already outside.
But Christofi told the Ipswich Star that the incident that inspired the post went on for a very long time, and that it wasn’t just screaming.
“We’re not here to judge any parent or carer; we will always wait for parents to step in,” she said. “We genuinely care for children, and any child can have a bad day and we’re sensitive about that. The situations I am describing are not children having a bad day; we are talking about children smashing up the toy box, throwing things around and in this situation, we expect parents to step in.”
When it’s your kid making the noise, people are a lot more sympathetic to the parents who seem to at least be trying to do something about it–talking, comforting, scolding, singing, etc. Tantrums suck for everybody involved, and nobody wants to watch a parent stand around like nothing is happening.