Café owner causes uproar over promise to tell off children having tantrums

Kim Christofi said parents have five minutes to address their child’s behaviour before someone steps in 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Tuesday 19 July 2016 13:02
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A cafe owner in Suffolk has caused uproar after posting a message online explaining that parents “too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming” will be given five minutes before staff step in and talk to the child themselves.

The post, which has since been deleted, was made on the South Kiosk in Felixtowe Facebook page by owner Kim Christofi.

The message, which has now been deleted, read: “Can we make ourselves perfectly clear to all parents who are too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming. 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.”

The post received hundreds of comments, many of which were negative. One parent wrote: “Having a tantrum is part of their development, the parents may be ignoring the child for a reason and I strongly suggest you get on with it,” the BBC reported.

Others attacked Ms Christofi as “condescending” and promised not to visit her kiosk again. According to the Metro, Rachael Twoms commented on the post: “Why don’t you take a lenient five minutes to have a word with yourself for being hideously insensitive and condescending?”, while Sally Grant said: “Thank you for your kind and understanding post. I’ll make sure my family (including my autistic daughter) never darken your doorway.”

Ms Christofi has since defended her comments, telling the Ipswich Star that she is not judging parents or children, but that her post had been made in reference to an incident where a child had become upset and thrown a tantrum, which was ignored by the parents and went on for some time.

“We have a duty to all our customers and we are in a public place. We have never asked any family to leave and in all circumstances when the child is being ignored by the parents/carers, we try and calm the situation down by offering a drink and some colouring books and peace is resumed.”

She added that she and her staff give their full support to parents of children with disabilities.

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