Cafe Owner’s Post Threatening To Tell Off Children Sparks Debate About Stranger Discipline


The public tantrum is something every parent dreads but would you want a stranger disciplining your children? [Photo: Giphy]

It’s the moment every parent dreads. You’re in a busy cafe when your little one decides that now is as good a time as any to have the mother of all meltdowns. Don’t you just love parenthood? So what do you do? Run over and try to nip it in the bud before it escalates to ear piercing proportions or hide behind your skinny latte and pretend the little darling is nothing to do with you?

If it’s the latter head-in-the-sand type approach, and you’re ever in the South Kiosk café at Martello Park in Felixstowe, then it’s likely the staff will head over and do the disciplining for you. Café owner, Kim Christofi, has sparked a debate about stranger discipline by warning parents that she will tell off misbehaving children if they don’t.

Writing on her business’s Facebook page Kim explained the café’s new parenting policy: “Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming?” she wrote.

“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.”


Would you let a stranger discipline your child? [Photo: Rex Features]

But unsurprisingly people weren’t that happy about it and within hours of posting, more than 1,000 people had shared the post or added their own comments – many criticising the new ruling.

“What gives you the right to judge other people’s parenting and decide whether they are ‘disciplining’ their children?” one woman wrote.

“Why don’t you take a lenient five minutes to have a word with yourself for being hideously insensitive and condescending?” wrote another.

“Thank you for your kind and understanding post. I’ll make sure my family (including our autistic daughter) never darken your doorway.” Another mother added.

Though the Facebook page was removed yesterday, the debate continued on other parenting forums with many offering words of support to the café owner.

“I applaud the decision. Too many parents these days seem too scared to tell their children to behave and have no respect for the people around them,” one parent wrote.

“This woman was accused of discrimination, assault, cruelty, all sorts, just because she’d had a quiet word with a child asking her to quieten down,” added another.


The cafe owner’s post has started a debate about stranger discipline [Photo: Rex Features]

Responding to the criticism and explaining what had triggered the post in the first place Kim Christophi insisted she had to take action when a child in her cafe became “very upset, threw a tantrum and it went on for some time.”

“In this situation we initially do not get involved because we anticipate that the parents will step in,” she continued. “Unfortunately, the parents did not and that led me to go and have a quiet word with the child, gently and sensitively. To completely ignore this hysterical screaming would have been quite frankly unkind and uncaring to the child.”

“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. We have a duty to all our customers and we are in a public place.”

What do you think? Would you be happy with a staff member disciplining your children? Let us know @YahooStyleUK

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