A cafe owner is taking a stand against children having tantrums, saying they will step in 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 addressing the children themselves.
The post attracted hundreds of comments, many of which said it was not the cafe’s place to discipline children.
“I would never bring my child with special needs anywhere near here,” said one mother.
“Having a tantrum is part of their development,” said another. “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!!!”
Owner Kim Christofi said she was child friendly but some parents “left me with no option but to have a quiet word”.
The seaside cafe 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, prompting the owner to take down the cafe’s Facebook page.
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.
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,” said another listener.