Brian Kelly: Your darling's screaming


An article in the Bay of Plenty Times during the week caught my attention and I felt it needed some comment.

It related to the Auckland family who were asked to leave a Mount cafe last Saturday because of the noise their 14-month-old child was making. I feel for the owners of the cafe or any cafe where they are faced with a similar dilemma. Most cafe or restaurant patrons go to these establishments to enjoy some nice food and drink plus want to be able to have a quiet conversation.

To be faced with having to compete against the yelling of a child or children is a bit too much to ask. I am on the side of the cafe owner. They have every right to ask the customers to quieten the child down or they will be forced to ask them to leave.

Most parents would be aware of the noise being made by their child and would or should take action to quieten the child - consideration for others.

Some cafes can be noisy places. Wooden or concrete floors don't make for good acoustics, add to that the noise of the coffee machine grinding and making those lovely flat whites or lattes. Then on top of all that you add in the general conversation of people and maybe some background music and suddenly the decibel level is off the scale.

Then along comes mum and dad and the 14-month-old who is pretty excited about being out and gets over exuberant and starts screaming with excitement.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

It's here where mum and dad need to step in and either quell the child's excitement or take him or her outside and try to settle them down. It's pretty embarrassing to be asked to leave a cafe because of the noise your child is making.

I loved reading the comments in the Bay of Plenty Times following that story although some got a bit personal. I, like many of those who commented, have children and have taken them to cafes as they were growing up, but we have never been put in a situation where we have been asked to leave because the children were too noisy.

If you are a parent, you should act to quieten the child before the cafe has to. I am not sure of all the circumstances but I would have thought the management at the cafe would have had a quiet word with the family before asking them to leave.

That whole story reminded me of something that happened to a friend and me last Friday afternoon. Again, a noisy child was involved.

We were flying from Auckland to Christchurch on a full Air New Zealand Airbus. Seated right behind us was a mother with a young child. A few minutes into the flight, the child started letting out loud piercing screams of excitement and they did not stop for the entire 60 minutes of the flight. The noise was not the sound of pain coming from the child. It was the sound brought on by having fun with the mother.

To be seated just in front was almost unbearable. I don't think there is a worse place to be than on an aeroplane with a screaming child next to you. It's not as if you can move or go outside for a bit of peace and quiet. No, we didn't ask the hostess to ask the mother to quieten the child down. We both kept thinking the mother would realise the noise the child was making would annoy the passengers seated around her and do the decent thing and stop her. Alas, she didn't.

Again it comes down to considering others around you.

If you are out and about tomorrow doing the cafe thing, it may pay to check the cafes and perhaps pick a child-friendly or adult-friendly one.

Brian Kelly replaces Eva Bradley as the Friday columnist.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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