Papa Don't Preach

Scott Kara's (rough) guide to being a father.

Disciplinary action

35 comments
Telling off someone else's kids can cause friction. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today
Telling off someone else's kids can cause friction. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

For such a fancy pants, in-demand Auckland cafe and bar, the man in charge is a rude bully. He picks on kids. Innocent, sweet, two-year-olds in fact.

I'm referring to our recent family outing to a respected Auckland eatery that was gushed about in reviews and our friends said was great so we thought it would be worth checking out.

We arrived, and this guy, who thought he was God's gift to Maitre Ds, directed us dismissively to a table.

Maybe we weren't the type he wanted at his establishment? Or maybe it was Mia? Maybe this place should have a "No Toddlers Allowed" sign out front?

It was only a small incident, but about 20 minutes in, Mia stood up on the bench seat that ran along the wall and started touching the blackboard with the menu written on it in chalk.

With this, Mr Rude Cafe Guy roared, not saying anything, just making a loud growl at Mia. It scared the hell out of her, and initially we laughed because we thought he was joking, but he clearly wasn't.

Which got me thinking: what do you do when someone else tells off your kid(s)?

If it's legitimate, and you wouldn't tolerate the behaviour yourself, I have no problem with someone saying something.

But a raised, threatening voice is not on.

I could put this restaurant incident down to the sometimes curt and aloof manner of European waiters and restaurateurs. But Mia is two years old.

The thing we regret was that we didn't tell cafe guy to cork it.

We didn't say a word, apart from muttering under our breaths - and then we left early. We won't be going back to that restaurant.

On the flipside, what about when the time comes that you have to tell off another person's child.

I'm a bit of a softie in the discipline department, as my wife likes to point out, but I have no qualms about telling a kid off - stranger or not - for kicking my kid in the head. That's what happened at the playground the other day when Mia was climbing up a ladder and a bigger boy stomped his foot on top of her head.

I said to him, "Hey, you don't do that", to which he recoiled a little before the brat stuck out his tongue and started blowing smart-arse raspberries at me.

I ignored him and told Mia to keep climbing. Good on her, because she kept going and brushed past the bully before throwing herself down the slide.

In saying that, kids will be kids, and Mia's been known to put the boot in occasionally too. They all do it, but it's not acceptable.

So there is a place for reprimanding someone else's kids - just don't roar, and don't do it for trivial reasons like Mr Cafe Guy.

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