Feel free to tell my children off if they misbehave - Argus Friday 5th August 2016

Posted Monday 8th August 2016   By Ericka Waller

SO THE i360 opened yesterday. I wondered what people would think. According to Harry Mount, from the Daily Mail, the 20-minute journey is “in the end, sheer, vertical fun – the sort of madcap architecture that fits right in with the chintzy, jolly world of kiss-me-quick hats and Brighton rock”. Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian was not as sold. He bemoaned the ground level building which he described as “a rather clumsy glass and steel box” adding that the high-tech look does not sit comfortably with the seaside setting. No-one has complained about the cost. Apparently locals can use their postcodes to apply for a membership card, which will give them a 50 per cent discount, but of course this does not apply at weekends or in the evenings. I will hold judgement until I go on it myself, although lord knows when that will be. Week two into the summer holidays and my kids are already driving me mad.

Being trapped in a small glass box with them for 20 minutes, while they told me: “I don’t like it,” “I’m hungry, have you got any food,” “She hit me,” “I need a wee,” and “Are we there yet” would be more than I could bear. 

And we can’t leave the new dog. It cries and barks and wees everywhere if we do.

The old one never did this.  Plus I’d be worried someone might tell my kids off, after a seafront kiosk owner was left “overwhelmed” by the support she received from customers, friends and members of the public after warning she “will tell off unruly children in her premises if parents refuse to calm them down”.

Kim Christofi, posted on Facebook that she would give “five lenient minutes” to parents who are “too scared to discipline their children about tantrum screaming” before intervening herself – brave words. 

The provocative post caused controversy, and a host of angry comments (via the safe medium of social media of course). It could be said she was throwing her own toys out her pram.

They are paying customers after all but Kim claims: “The support I have received has been amazing, and the business has gone absolutely bonkers – people have been very kind and it’s all been a bit overwhelming.” 

Will this be the start of “toddler training cafés”? I doubt it. A father wanted to fight a lifeguard this week for whistle-blowing on his daughter after she ran round the pool. 

The father told the lifeguard in no uncertain terms that he was the only one allowed to tell his daughter off.  “No-one tells me daughter what to do except me,” he said, then told his daughter to “carry on as she was”.

We all know the rules of the pool. No running, petting, bombing, shouting, pushing or smoking. I’ve never dared disobey them, and when we take the kids swimming I spend the whole time hissing at them like an angry swan to “calm down or we will be kicked out”.

Let’s hope he never goes to Kim’s Cafe eh? I’m not sure what he’d make of her approach to customer service.

I ask people to pick my children up on bad behaviour and bad manners when I am not around, which is pretty rare. When you have three kids you don’t get many offers of child-minding. I would not mind them being admonished, but I don’t think I’d like them to be “mega done” as we call it in our house. It’s one thing to ask them: ‘What’s the magic word?’ when offering them an ice-lolly, but quite another to tell children off for having a tantrum. What if they had special needs, or it was their party? In the words of Lesley Gore they could “cry if they want to”.

And finally

We bought a miniature dachshund puppy last week. When we announced the joyous news to friends and family their response was mostly: ‘What about your other dog?’  There was confusion.

Was the new dog going to replace the other one? Would we still like the Labrador now we have a sausage dog?

Pictures of the girls cuddling Wiener were met with “what does Buddy think about this?”

When we announced the birth of our second child, this did not happen.

People did not ask us if we were going to “get rid of Gracie”.

They did not assume we were going to like Didi better. And when our third daughter arrived they did not beg me not to forget about the other two.

I got praise. They told me how lucky my children were, to have two siblings each. People even told me I looked great, when I clearly did not.

But add another dog to my litter and I’m practically Cruella De Vil. I didn’t dump my first born outside the nearest orphanage when my second arrived.

I won’t do it to my dog either.

Why are people so negative? Have we got meaner or is it just easier to be mean now we can do it via Facebook not face-to-face?

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