Kids will be kids, and you don’t have to be a parent to know it. However, when I’m doing my grocery shopping or enjoying my delicious french toast weekend brunch at a cafe, I don’t want to put up with the high decibel screaming of children at the same time.
Earlier this month, a Sydney shopping centre put up a sign banning screaming children in their food court. This drew a sharp response on the Mamamia blog, with a mother of three being outraged at the centre’s sign and asking for the rest of us to show more tolerance. This is of course not the first time the issue of rowdy children has raised the ire of those wanting a bit of peace and quiet, with a recent article recounting the mother of a screaming child in a cafe rudely telling off a man who dared to speak out about the disruption.
Parents, listen to me when I say that your kids may be front and centre in your world, but they’re not really even a blip in mine or anyone else’s in the shopping centre, cafe, restaurant, or clothing boutique. These places aren’t playgrounds for your kids to run amok and scream at the top of their lungs – that would be what playgrounds are for. Your kids absolutely have the right to act as kids do, but I also have the right to enjoy my coffee in peace, or to have a nice conversation with my friend over dinner without having to yell over a yelling children.
The world doesn’t revolve around your offspring, and it may be worth thinking about the collective comfort and enjoyment of everyone involved. You may be one frazzled parent trying to control an unhappy child, but when you don’t remove them from the stressful situation then you end up with a lot more unhappy people surrounding you (and probably one more increasingly distressed child). Is it not just easier for you and for everyone else to simply excuse yourself from the shop or the cafe?
I hear ya – you obviously still need to live a normal life and shop for groceries, clothing and homewares. However there are some ways that you avoid or minimise the number of occasions where you will find your children will screaming in a shopping centre. You could feed them beforehand so they’re not grouchy, given them a toy to play with, wait until partner comes home to mind the kids and then going shopping alone, go with other parents and have one mind them while taking turns to shop, or perhaps just use the supermarket’s online shop and get your groceries home delivered.
They may not be ideal solutions and may be bit of a change to what you’re doing but, who knows, giving these suggestions a go may make you saner. Nobody has children that are perfectly behaved all the time, and disciplining them can be a hit and miss affair, but when it comes to taming the unruly ones, like anything else in life, perhaps risk mitigation and minimisation is the name of the game.