Children belong in bistros, pubs and cafes, and it’s great that they are not as uptight, fussy and grumpy as their parents tend to be. Too bad Martha’s Kitchen didn’t start their rules with “kids are great”.
Somersault time. Older generations watch with astonishment or concern how their children have changed. They recognize other unwritten rules. They communicate through social networks. He is constantly “hanging on the phone”. He’s not crazy about sex anymore. They deal with themselves much more, which is related, if not to well-being, then to a higher standard of living. They seek the help of psychologists and psychiatrists more.
And many raise children completely differently. The upbringing “let the child have as much space as possible”, “let him make his own decisions”, which is cultivated somewhere from the first year of life, irritates the elders. And if it doesn’t provoke, it at least raises the question “where will this lead”, which in the end is no different at all from the concerns of all previous, frightened generations.
Raising children as partners who are not told to “go to bed, it’s nine” but discussed and debated with, “Would you like to go to bed? Won’t you be tired in the morning?”, sometimes causes the family itself and those around them to suffer. But raising a child as a partner is not an education without boundaries. It is highly demanding, exhausting. Children brought up in this way are used to never leaving their parents alone, never letting them talk to other adults, they still have absolute priority, which they will never have anywhere, as adults. From the age of two, children without borders are actually driving the family.
The neighborhood usually sees it as parents of children without borders having no authority. Saying “don’t do it”, “don’t paint on the wall”, “lend her the doll”, “don’t shout” doesn’t work. And as soon as the mother and father do not have authority, they become a burden to others, even with children for whom they pay nothing. However, children-partners and children without borders represent two completely different types of education.
Let’s try to insert a dispute about the rules of the Prague bistro Martha’s Kitchen into this division. What’s going on there? About trying to eliminate children from the space, or about protecting guests without children? It seems that the bistro wants to discourage visits from children who are used to doing what they want. The business has published seven rules for how guests with children should behave if they want to enter.
Their pram should not be in the way, the bistro does not have a children’s corner, it does not have equipment for children’s entertainment or a changing table. Parents are urged not to let their offspring run here and there, because they could come to an injury or cause it. (I know what you’re talking about, when I was five I crawled under my mom’s feet from under the table and she poured boiling water down my neck. I went through hell.)
From the point of view of “free parents” with “free education”, i.e. parents with children without boundaries, one of the harshest rules of Martha’s Kitchen is: “If you want to eat here with your child, you should be able to judge whether you can discipline your child sufficiently and adapt to our rules. We don’t want your child to disturb other guests by screaming, crying or running around. We know our guests don’t want that either.”
My comfort should not limit the freedom of children to remain children
The key passage is “assess whether you can discipline your child adequately”. Free parents don’t want to guess anything like that because they don’t want to discipline the child. They don’t understand why other guests should mind what they don’t mind. Or maybe it bothers them, but they’ve gotten used to it: yelling, crying, constant harassment.
I understand that it is not very nice to have children crawling under your feet and you are carrying hot drinks. I understand that guests without children are bothered by the roar of little boys and girls who can do whatever they want.
On the contrary, I don’t understand if someone is bothered by children who are simply alive, talk loudly, laugh, and sometimes, of course, scream too. I understand that a stupidly placed stroller that blocks the operator is annoying. I don’t understand if it bothers you that the baby is crying. Of course, if the mother or father leaves them to scream without noticing, the neighborhood suffers. But this is usually not the case and is easily survivable.
We are forever now hearing lamentations that few children are being born, but when they are among us, do they get in the way? We are an aging, often quite dissatisfied, angry population, which is perhaps also why we are not very good with children, who are usually not that negative yet. And of course, children without borders can make the time of those around them very unpleasant. If the bistro wanted to point this out to their parents, then I understand.
I go to cafes quite often. I haven’t had a child misbehave so badly as to be annoying in years. Sometimes a baby in a pram cries on the tram, but that’s normal, every parent knows it. Maybe a bunch of free parents go or used to go to that strict bistro, then it is understandable that they wanted to defend themselves.
A series of Facebook reactions to Martha’s Kitchen’s rules showed that many people welcome a bistro with plucked children who sit like foam and the neighborhood doesn’t even know about them. Bistro with children and children. It is somewhat reminiscent of the occasional call for a “hard hand”, a strict law and order that suffocates.
Other owners don’t understand: “I’m always a little sad when I see this Czech hostility towards children. I don’t have a small child anymore, but I still feel better where children (even with their usual childish expressions) are welcome.” – I’m not sure Martha’s Kitchen has shown “hostility towards children”. I suppose it’s about making visitors feel comfortable there without them. However, to their detriment, they did not explain it clearly enough.
One commenter wrote: “Your post seems a bit ‘aggressive’ to us about what to do and what not to do. We still have brains and respect for staff and guests, so we know what’s appropriate and what’s not, and maybe just , if you put a crossed-out baby sign on your door…”
But Marthy’s Kitchen does not exclude children. He can’t even. He is concerned with the basic demo-rule: my freedom must not destroy the freedom of others. But let’s turn it around: my comfort should not limit the freedom of children to remain children. If Jesus was the owner of the bistro, he would probably write on his Facebook page “let the little ones come to me”.
As usual in a common space – it’s a matter of balance. Free parents with children without borders often annoy their surroundings, it is not out of place to point out that it is annoying. But it is exceptional. In any case, children belong in bistros, pubs and cafes, and it’s great that they are not as uptight, angry and grumpy as their parents tend to be. It’s a shame that Martha’s Kitchen didn’t start its rules with the phrase “kids are great, we love them”.
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