I have been in similar situations myself on many occasions. I have taken my children into cafes and immediately the staff have let fly with the filthy looks. My children and I are not foul mouthed, filthy, stinking or questionably dressed but our presence is demonstrably offensive to some. I used to be bothered by it. I felt defensive of my children knowing that they did not deserve such prejudice.
Then one day it occurred to me that the filthy looks say absolutely nothing about my kids and I but demonstrate beautifully how shallow, petty and bad mannered the dagger throwers are. My children do not willfully or deliberately make others uncomfortable or hurt their feelings, but these customers and staff do. Which of us is more offensive?
I do consider the environment which I take my kids and avoid places where childhood exuberance could be problematic. I am not oblivious or disrespectful to those who just want a peaceful dining experience. By the same token however, those diners should not expect to rule the roost in every establishment. From cafes to supermarkets, doctor's waiting rooms to buses. Parents do on occasion need to visit businesses where the sprogless also attend and it would be nice if we could do so without wrinkled nosed sarcasm or being treated like the equivalent of a bottle of ketchup in a 5* restaurant.
|Y Pantri, Denbigh|
It started out with my insistence that he choose his own food and drink. The staff, though amused, were always courteous about his strange orders such as two sausages and five slices of cucumber. Next it was his responsibility to choose our seats, arrange the cutlery, pour the milk, stir in sugar and tidy up spills. Pretty soon he was happy to go to the bathroom alone and even mastered the soap dispenser. There is a security camera trained on certain tables which he believes is looking for children with good manners so he behaves delightfully.
Fellow diners always give him a smile but his favourite part is when he goes to pay the bill by himself. He feels so grown up! His confidence has built up so much and has spilled out into his daily interacting with both grown-ups and peers.
|The 'kiddie manners' detective camera|
Yes there have been times when my kids have been loud in public. My daughter loves an audience held captive so she can sing till their ears bleed and there have been occasions when I have had to separate my son's hands from his sister's hair; I find distraction techniques a reliable way of diffusing hysterics.
Great Britain is apparently the only country in Europe where the saying 'Children should be seen and not heard' is voiced. Disgraceful! I agree there are times when other people's children are so annoying that you have to grip your chair for fear you may just drop kid the little squit out the door, closely followed by a disinterested mother, but does this give anyone the right to alienate parents and make an already tough job even harder?