Cafe owner sparks outrage with Facebook post warning parents to discipline their kids
Taking kids out is no easy task. Whether you’re headed to the grocery store or out to eat, there’s an underlying fear we all have that our kids will scream, cry, act up, and throw a tantrum. Kids will be kids but, as parents, it’s our job to keep them in check. That’s why one cafe owner recently took to Facebook to remind moms and dads that it’s not cool to simply let your kids get out of control when they’re in a public place.
Kim Christofi is the owner of South Kiosk at Martello Park, a seaside cafe stand in Suffolk that sells ice cream, snacks, toys, and other trinkets. Earlier this week, Christofi tells The Sun, a child got upset near her stand and threw an outright tantrum for several minutes. The parents did nothing to stop it and it was disruptive to other customers, so she had to step in. She tells The Sun she had “a quiet word with the child, gently and sensitively.”
The parents apparently flipped out following the exchange, and Christofi was inspired to take her feelings to Facebook, where she wrote a post to let customers know they’re expected to discipline their kids.
“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 to the rest of our customers.”
Little did Christofi know her post would spark a firestorm. Within hours, hundreds of people had commented to tell her the post was insensitive and rude, and many even threatened to boycott the cafe. The harassment got so bad, Christofi had to delete her post, but The Sun managed to save a few of the comments before she did:
“Why don’t you take a lenient five minutes to have a word with yourself for being hideously insensitive and condescending?”
“What gives you the right to judge other people’s parenting and decide whether they are ‘disciplining’ their children?”
“I’ll make sure my family (including our autistic daughter) never darken your doorway.”
Quite a few parents voiced concerns about children with autism or other developmental disorders. Christofi clarified in the post’s comments that she and her employees would never shame a child with a disorder. “We love children, all children. South Kiosk is an extremely child-friendly business,” she wrote. “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.”
She continued, “The caring parents of autistic children that I meet on a daily basis go to great lengths and make every attempt to explain to us about their child’s behavior, and so of course we work with that parent and give them our full support.”
Christofi’s post may have sparked outrage, but she isn’t wrong. As parents, it’s our job to be conscious of our children’s behavior and step in when things get out of control. Sure, it’s nice when places are kid-friendly and show us some compassion in the midst of parenting hell, but that doesn’t mean our kids get free rein to tear things up, run around, scream, and act like hooligans. They still need to be respectful.
We all have different parenting styles, but when we’re out in public, we owe it to business owners and other patrons to step in when our kids cross the line. Christofi’s allotted “lenient five minutes” is more than enough time to at least attempt to address a situation, and the fact that some people are offended by a request to please parent their children only proves why she needed to write her post in the first place.