Control your rowdy children

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.

sign screaming children

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.

screaming-toddler

* Images courtesy of Mamamia and Rants from Mommyland

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2 thoughts on “Control your rowdy children

  1. I have three children and they are all extremely hyperactive. They are currently aged 5, 5 and 7. Unfortunately, their father works Monday to Saturday from early till late so it is up to me to do most of the shopping … just me and the kids. It is extremely difficult controlling 3 hyper kids with just one parent and I often end my shopping trips exhausted and frazzled. I try my best to keep the kids happy though. I always get them a snack while we are out or promise a treat if they are good. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Some shopping trips are quite pleasant and others are an absolute nightmare with most people around me giving me dirty looks for not being able to control my hooligan children. When you are at a big centre though with kids, a chance to stop half way through and sit at a food court with your children is a welcome break. Every parent knows the one time a kid is happiest is when he or she is getting a treat … like a burger and chips or a yummy sandwich or a milkshake. This is supposed to be a guaranteed 15 minutes you as a parent can wind down a little and collect yourself again in order to get through the rest of the shopping. I agree that it is very frustrating for others around you, who are enjoying a well deserved break too, to have kids misbehaving around them. The problem though is if you are a parent on your own with more than one child and you are in the middle of your meal, it is not that easy to just get up and leave. Parents always try their hardest to keep their kids quiet and still when out in public but kids will always be kids. As much as I understand the opinions of people without children and as bad as I feel when my kids are being a disturbance … it is nice to hope that people understand.

  2. Wow, 1plusmultiples, I definitely don’t think that I could cope with 3 hyperactive kids at the shopping centre!

    You’re right that people without children could be more understanding and, most of the time, I wish that I had more patience and tolerance in situations like these. I do sincerely sympathise with parents when their kids are rowdy and they’re trying so hard to control them and failing. However my patience is definitely tested when the kids are running amok and the parents don’t seem to be doing anything about it, just letting the kids leave a trail of destruction behind them. They’ve either given up or they just don’t care?

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