Suffolk

Felixstowe cafe warns parents over children's tantrums

South Kiosk Facebook profile Image copyright Facebook
Image caption South Kiosk's Facebook profile was removed after it received hundreds of comments

A cafe owner has said she will speak to children having a tantrum if "parents are too scared to discipline their children".

South Kiosk in Felixstowe posted on Facebook it would give parents "five lenient minutes to ask the child to stop screaming" before stepping in.

It received hundreds of comments and has since deleted its page.

Owner Kim Christofi said she was child friendly but some parents "left me with no option but to have a quiet word".

'Part of development'

The seafront outdoor cafe is frequented by families and is next to Martello Park, which has a children's play area.

It had a five-star rating on Facebook based on reviews left on its page, but this had plummeted to two stars within hours of Ms Cristofi's post on Sunday morning.

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The post was shared more than 500 times and had some 600 comments, many of which said it was not the cafe's place to discipline children.

Image copyright Facebook

"I would never bring my child with special needs anywhere near here," said one.

"Having a tantrum is part of their development," said one mother, "the parents may be ignoring the child for a reason and I strongly suggest you just let them get on with it."

Another comment said: "Good status to put up before school holidays - NOT!!!"

'Hysterical tantrum'

Ms Cristofi said she had no regrets about the post, which she believed had been misunderstood.

"Children are very much at the heart of our business," she said.

Image copyright arnoaltix
Image caption Children who are simply "having a bad day" were not the subject of the cafe's ire

Describing a typical incident, she said: "You'll get a family arrive and for some reason the child will start screaming, throwing a hysterical tantrum.

"We hope the parent will step in, but in the latest incident that didn't happen and the child was really embarrassing herself.

"The parents left me no option but to have a quiet word. We ask them 'would they stop screaming, would they like a drink and colouring book?'"

She added that other customers look to her do something and often thank her once the offending family has left.

"I'm specifically talking about really unruly children, destructive behaviour - smashing up the toy box, knocking down the chairs."

Some listeners to Radio Suffolk came out in support of the cafe.

"If the parents are chatting away and ignoring it, I don't think it's unreasonable for someone else to have a word," said one.

Others said they felt she should speak to the parents, not the child.

"Children with autism can have meltdowns which can look like tantrums, but nothing is going to stop that child, least of all some stranger telling them off."

Image caption The cafe only opens at weekends

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