Parenting skills: missing, presumed dead

Well-mannered children. Remember them?

They used to be all the rage but, much like the poor Siberian tiger, they appear to have been hunted into extinction. Or maybe they simply grew up wanting to offer their own kids a freer, more relaxed childhood. Unfortunately the truth is that a freer and more relaxed childhood for the little ones translates into a stomach ulcer for the rest of us.

Let’s take the simplest endeavour. Enjoying a quiet chat at a coffee-shop without being harassed by someone else’s kids has almost become mission impossible.

And I’m not talking about the obvious spots, where screaming brats are almost part of the franchise. If I’m slumming it at Macdelicious or at Burger Empire I certainly don’t expect anyone under the age of twelve to sip their drinks primly.

But if I’m (trying to) have a quiet coffee and a chat at an establishment where paper hats aren’t considered part of a meal, then yes. I fully expect parents to stop their children from treating the coffee-shop floor like their own private playroom, running and shouting in all directions and plonking themselves uninvited on other customers’ tables.

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