Polite ways to tell parents they have a devil-child


#1

I'm a manager and I have customers in my store. It isn't one where children are normally brought in, however, some parents bring their children in.

This is a growing problem....

Most children are decently behaved. Some are being brats and whiny. That I don't mind, kids are kids, they will whine, throw tantrums they will grab things that aren't theirs. But then we have these devil children who tear down papers we have put up, climb on our fixtures, knock down merchandise....right in front of their parents and the parents do nothing!!!!! One kid ripped open a bag of M&M's and the parent refused clean it up or to pay for it saying that it was our fault because it was at his eye-level.

The other thing is the screamers. I'm not talking whiny toddler/child or crying baby....just outright SCREAMERS because they aren't getting their way. The store is small and a screaming child's voice carries everywhere. We can't hear people on the phone, or even other customers. And the parents dawdle as if they have all the time in the world. And the kid keeps screaming. Its like the kid is possessed or something.

I've nannined both strong willed and easy going children. If the child was misbehaving that put a damper on my life. And if I HAD to do something and impulsive child was being difficult I'd do my best to minimize her loudness and pay for any damage she did/fix what she broke. "Loosing it" screaming (from her....or me) was never ok. Even with an autistic boy I worked with....if he was screaming that loud it meant it was painful and I removed him from the situation ASAP.

Again, I'm looking for advice on handling over-the-top behavior in children....I want what I have to say to hurt the least possible.

Or if I'm being a dolt and really asking for too much please tell me.


#2

The parents should watch their children, but if they don't there's probably not much you can do.

Depending on the age of the child, you could in a calm, authoritative way ask the child to stop, but if you get no response, you should address the parents.

If the parents don't respond, you have to decide whether or not it's worth losing a customer and asking them to leave.

John Marie Philomena


#3

I doubt that having a store manager tell a parent that they have a "devil child", is going to do anything. If the screaming and misbehaving children are hurting your business, can you demand that the parent take the child at get out of the store and sit on them until they comply?

I guess you'd lose them as customers, but you might gain overall because it would prevent other people from walking out of the store.


#4

In high end stores or those with very breakable merchandise, I have seen signs indicating parents should control children at all times and that parties with misbehaving children will be asked to leave. And, of course the "you break it, you buy it" axiom is also present. Some also present it as "for the safety of your child" or "for the safety and enjoyment of all patrons..."

However, does that send the right customer service message? Even the "for the enjoyment of all..." approach basically says "your kid is a problem."

If you are a business that relies heavily on repeat business or word of mouth referral, even those types of mild reprimands might spread the word that you are not "kid friendly" or people might find it offensive.

I guess you are going to have to weigh the type of reputation you want in town and the kind of clientele you want to cultivate versus the types of behaviors you can afford to tolerate in your establishment.

If you are a chain, you need to get corporate advice.

Clearly if this is becoming a "bigger" problem you are having more and more moms with children shopping in your store. So clearly whatever it is you sell appeals to that demographic. So, it wouldn't be good to alienate them.

Maybe take a look at how the store is set up. Is there a way to rearrange things to minimize breaks or grabs by kids? Is there a way to put in a kiddie corner with things they can play with, a nice soft rug, a cozy chair for moms? A nice changing table in the bathroom?


#5

I really feel for you and the hard position you are in. There are a couple of stores in my neighborhood that I avoid just because of the unsupervised kids running around and doing whatever they want. It is a very touchy situation to discipline someone else's child, but you have a business to run and shouldn't have to apologize to dimwit parents for doing their job. For some of it you can tell the parents that "saftey regulations" don't allow for children running around, climbing on shelves, etc..... As for the screamers, I guess you could ask the adult if their child is sick or injured and should you call Emergency Services? If the answer is no, then you could say well that you have had complaints from the other patrons about the noise and came over to investigate. :cool:


#6

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:183727"]
I'm a manager and I have customers in my store. It isn't one where children are normally brought in, however, some parents bring their children in.

This is a growing problem....

Most children are decently behaved. Some are being brats and whiny. That I don't mind, kids are kids, they will whine, throw tantrums they will grab things that aren't theirs. But then we have these devil children who tear down papers we have put up, climb on our fixtures, knock down merchandise....right in front of their parents and the parents do nothing!!!!! One kid ripped open a bag of M&M's and **the parent refused clean it up or to pay for it saying that it was our fault **because it was at his eye-level.

...Again, I'm looking for advice on handling over-the-top behavior in children....I want what I have to say to hurt the least possible.

Or if I'm being a dolt and really asking for too much please tell me.

[/quote]

The problem isn't the "devil-child"-it's the parents!!!

I know sometimes children misbehave and sometimes parents are too tired or stressed or whatever to deal with it, but to continue leisurely shopping while a child throws and all-out tantrum and refusing to pay for m&m's the child opened, etc. that's pretty much in-excusable parental behavior in my book.


#7

Other than asking that customer to leave, not sure you can say much more than you already have. If the child is climbing etc, and "that's so dangerous, please get Jr down because I don't want him to be hurt" isn't enough that's not good. You should also look into your company liability insurance in case Jr really does get hurt! In the meantime, figure out what you can rearrange. Move papers higher up, definitely move the m&ms, that kind of thing.


#8

[quote="purplesunshine, post:1, topic:183727"]
I'm a manager and I have customers in my store. It isn't one where children are normally brought in, however, some parents bring their children in.

This is a growing problem....

Most children are decently behaved. Some are being brats and whiny. That I don't mind, kids are kids, they will whine, throw tantrums they will grab things that aren't theirs. But then we have these devil children who tear down papers we have put up, climb on our fixtures, knock down merchandise....right in front of their parents and the parents do nothing!!!!! One kid ripped open a bag of M&M's and the parent refused clean it up or to pay for it saying that it was our fault because it was at his eye-level.

The other thing is the screamers. I'm not talking whiny toddler/child or crying baby....just outright SCREAMERS because they aren't getting their way. The store is small and a screaming child's voice carries everywhere. We can't hear people on the phone, or even other customers. And the parents dawdle as if they have all the time in the world. And the kid keeps screaming. Its like the kid is possessed or something.

I've nannined both strong willed and easy going children. If the child was misbehaving that put a damper on my life. And if I HAD to do something and impulsive child was being difficult I'd do my best to minimize her loudness and pay for any damage she did/fix what she broke. "Loosing it" screaming (from her....or me) was never ok. Even with an autistic boy I worked with....if he was screaming that loud it meant it was painful and I removed him from the situation ASAP.

Again, I'm looking for advice on handling over-the-top behavior in children....I want what I have to say to hurt the least possible.

Or if I'm being a dolt and really asking for too much please tell me.

[/quote]

They're not so much devil-children as they are the product of permissive parents who won't or can't discipline their kids. The result: miserable insecure destructive kids and frustrated or don't-care parents, and really really miserable people who have to be in their presence.

I don't know what you can do in this case other than ask for them to leave.


#9

[quote="Sailor_Kenshin, post:8, topic:183727"]
They're not so much devil-children as they are the product of permissive parents who won't or can't discipline their kids. The result: miserable insecure destructive kids and frustrated or don't-care parents, *and really really miserable people who have to be in their presence.
*

I don't know what you can do in this case other than ask for them to leave.

[/quote]

I absolutely can't stand misbehaving children. Are there any successful ways to make people with them go away? I will generally stare/ "give the evil eye" to any parent of a misbehaving child, hoping that it will make them uncomfortable/afraid and cause they to leave.

I don't know how well it works though, being a woman I am probably not very intimidating.


#10

There was a restaurant a few years back here in the Peoples Republic of Daley that made news because they posted that they wanted children to behave:

nytimes.com/2005/11/09/national/09bakery.html


#11

[quote="Norseman82, post:10, topic:183727"]
There was a restaurant a few years back here in the Peoples Republic of Daley that made news because they posted that they wanted children to behave:

nytimes.com/2005/11/09/national/09bakery.html

[/quote]

I wonder how that restaurant did business wise. Given the choice, I would never go to a place that has children.


#12

"Unattended children will be given an espresso and a puppy."


#13

[quote="baltobetsy, post:12, topic:183727"]
"Unattended children will be given an espresso and a puppy."

[/quote]

Ha! I was going to suggest something along those lines.

I would have fed that kid those M&M's - and kept on feeding. One of two things would happen. The kid would become happy and be quiet, allowing the parent to shop, or the parent would become irate and leave the store.


#14

When I was 17 I had a job in a department store, I saw a kid ask for some lollies and the mum said no, so, in response, this kid who looked to be about 4, let loose with all manner of profanities and started throwing lollies and chocolate around, and the mum, in her feeble attempt to calm him down said "Okay, okay, I'll buy you five packets!" Way to go, mum. -_-'

A week later the mum and her child were back in store and the kid started up on a tantrum again. So, my boss, in a passive aggressive sort of way, said to another customer, in ear shot of the woman, "what an awfully behaved little bugger! I'm glad he's not my kid! Seesh, can you imagine the kind of moron who sired that thing?"

The mum obviously heard, grew a set, and disciplined her child.

Frankly, I think kids have too much power these days. If I pulled any **** like that I'd get a smack in public and then no TV for a week or some other sort of punishment when I got home. And I'm 28 now!


#15

I've seen stores with signs that say:

No crybabies

Or

Unattended Children Will be Given Espresso and a Free Puppy

Usually humor is the best way to draw people's attention to the problem without completely offending them.


#16

You could take a direct approach and simply tell parents when a child seems a bit out of control that they will be held responsible for anything damaged by their child so they will need to control their child or leave.


#17

I used to work at a family aimed clothing store. And I worked in the children’s section. I hated when children would try to climb the railing surrounding the escalator (I have grabbed more than one child before they plummet to the first floor). And then I get yelled at by the parents too busy to, you know, parent. One time, I said in a really loud voice “I’m sorry, did you want me to let little Billy fall?” That shut her up. :smiley: And then I gave the kid candy before he left the store (we were giving it away). It’s not the children, it’s the parents.
I would also entertain the kids if the store was slow enough (and I didn’t have a ton of clothes to fold). when I left for a new job, my former co-workers said that some kids were asking for me. :frowning:


#18

Is your store located in a mall? If it is, and parents are allowing their children to climb on merchandise displays, knocking them down, even after you have politely asked them to control their children, I would call mall security. Merchandise on the floor of a store is dangerous to other customers. If these people never come back to your store, what have you lost? They are driving serious customers away.


#19

To the OP:

For the truly blinding-self parent, Ask them to pay for damages immediately. If they refuse, press charges for vandalism. Parents quickly get the idea when their child is in zip-cuffs and they are in cuffs that they need to change.


#20

I relate…I’m a server in a family restaurant, so I often have kids there and I don’t mind for the most part. But I CANNOT STAND permissive parents, when the kids are running around. Especially when I’m bringing people drinks and I’m trying not to either knock them over or lose the drinks…or when I’m bringing a tray of food and I don’t want to fall on them…My fellow servers and I remember that our parents never let us get away with that, so it’s sickening to see it now. I love polite kids, they’re sweet and the parents are very gracious. But the permissive ones are even worse because THEY THEMSELVES have no manners.

I won’t tolerate rudeness from my kids. My job has taught me that much.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.