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Stockholm cafe's kid ban has parents frothing

Stockholm cafe's kid ban has parents frothing

Published: 04 Mar 2013 18:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Mar 2013 18:03 GMT+01:00

A Stockholm coffee shop has banned children from its premises and sparked an uproar among the capital's caffeine-loving parents.

"People have to understand that we can't continue like this," Josef Shamon, a spokesperson for Nelly's café, told the neighbourhood newspaper Vårt Kungsholmen.

"A colleague of mine even burned his hand with hot coffee when he tried to duck away from a running child."

Fed up with out-of-control toddlers running wild in his café, management at Nelly's put up a sign last week warning parents their youngsters weren't welcome.

"For everyone's enjoyment, children are prohibited in this establishment," the sign read.

His would-be customers have not taken the ban lightly, although his café is not the first to ban pram-wielding parents who buy one beverage, sip away for hours and let their children run amok.

ALSO READ THE OP-ED: "Why I left the Swedish toddler ghetto for Berlin"

A bakery in the southern suburb of Årsta did the same last year, also annoying parents who felt their rights had been infringed upon.

Shamon, meanwhile, has asked to come in for a meeting with Sweden's Discrimination Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO).

Per Holfve, lawyer at the state-run agency, said the ban on children under the age of seven could constitute discrimination, especially since the government made the laws against age discrimination tougher on January 1st, 2013.

"It's not sufficient justification to say that the children disturb the customers," Holfve told Vårt Kungsholmen.

"If they're behaving abominably, the staff should tell the parents."

Nelly's will not, however, let the issue lie.

"We need a debate about this issue, and we are not going to change our minds," said Shamon.

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Your comments about this article

19:58 March 4, 2013 by StockholmSam
Though I am a parent with two young kids, I support the café. There are plenty of cafés out there to choose from if you have a kid or two. Just go to one of those. There are none that are child-free and I for one would love to know that I could go to Nelly's and escape the little tyrants for a bit, especially those belonging to other idi0tic parents. If you own the establishment privately then you should be able to prohibit dogs, begging vagrants and annoying brats. I get so tired of tripping over baby carriages and hearing the deafening cries of kids who dropped their cookies. Unfortunately, this is a slippery slope: what happens if the ban is allowed to stay? Will all the cafés do the same? I doubt it. Parents on parental leave will always be the lifeblood of café culture.
20:18 March 4, 2013 by Enjoyourlife
As a parent I support the cafe. If you can't handle your kids, do not take them to places where the can disturb others.
20:34 March 4, 2013 by irridium
I also support their decision and I am also a parent. There can be child friendly cafes and non child friendly, everyone is happy.
22:38 March 4, 2013 by Ulvenkai
Have to agree with the cafe's stance. Go to a family restaurant or similar if you want to let your kids run rampant. Most people go to coffee shops to either work or get a break, not have toddlers screaming in their ears.

Just my personal feelings on the matter.
08:18 March 5, 2013 by robban70226
Well done!!! They are a pest and their parents dont want to take responsibility of the kids,
08:28 March 5, 2013 by Peter Thomas
I recognise the desire to have a quiet cafe experience, however, it is a slippery slope. If all businesses followed suit, then there would be no doubt that parents and childrens rights would be violated. A line must be drawn somewhere.

Also, @Enjoyourlife - I would love to have child rearing lessons from you, as my normally happy toddler does sometimes get upset. How do you 'handle' your kids so they NEVER disturb others. Really, children have to be allowed to express themselves, especially when they are unable to use words to communicate. What you are basically suggesting is that parents should not go out with their children until their children are at least 5 years old. Humm, cause for depression maybe!

A suggestion for the cafe - Specific times as child free.
09:45 March 5, 2013 by engagebrain
Peter Thomas

It is not unreasonable that adults should be able to find occasional adult space - peace and quiet.

The suggestion is not that children should be banned from all public space but that the occasional cafe be available for adults. This slightly reduces the options for parents out with children but gives adults more options.
10:39 March 5, 2013 by EtoileBrilliant
As a parent of 4 young children. Go for it. If they can still turn in a profit, good for them.

As an aside, I'd like to see the Stadsbibliotek on Odengatan/Sveavagen ban college students from using the children's library as a work place. They take all the table space and yap loudly in a place designed for young children.
11:30 March 5, 2013 by Borilla
@Peter Thomas Parents that come to public places and let their children run amok are denyig legitimate patrons their right to enjoy their coffee without being disturbed by unsupervised and uncontrolled little brats. There is a simple choice. If you don't like the cafe's policy, go somewhere else. Do you take your children to a bar and let them run amok while you sip your martini?
12:24 March 5, 2013 by hanjar
why not just have a rule to have to kids in there highchair the whole time there are in the cafe or else they have to leave right away.
18:43 March 5, 2013 by EmployedProfessional
"It's not sufficient justification to say that the children disturb the customers," Holfve told Vårt Kungsholmen.

I think it is!

There are plenty of places(including Mc D) where screaming,crapping,out of control "rug rats"are more than welcome,the mascot is a clown ,afterall!

It's just note cute for some cute but unrelated,drippy nose critter to stick his hands in my plate while mom sits by with a crappy grin on her face!

Make no mistake about it,I love all the rights that parents have here to actually have an active roll in raising their children,they tend to turn out better off for it,I just want no part of it personally,thank you!
02:12 March 6, 2013 by steph7441
I am A parent and I have always felt booths should come with 5 point harness seat belts for parents with unruly children ;-)

And I applaud the Idea but also think there are other ways to go about achieving ones goal... banning may be extreme for some so how about strapping them

down? Also the owners need to stand up for their place if the customer's are not cooperating throw them out that is your right!
18:06 March 7, 2013 by skogsbo
i'm a parent who often does cafe-ing with the kids, but I agree with the cafe still. Clearly the parents going there weren't spending enough money compared to the hassle they caused!
15:50 March 8, 2013 by Parade
Good for this cafe, this is ok. Why would anyone want to force their children to go someplace they are not welcome. I have three children, I'm not anti child and I respect other people, many parents do not see their precious princes and princesses as problems and to these parents I say; "it's not your children who are the problem, it's you parents who are the problem" because you will not modify your children's behaviors in public IMO.
15:58 March 10, 2013 by kaa977
In Sydney, Australia, a shopping centre banned children from its food court for the same reason. Just came up in the news, that's all. Nobody was creaming for discrimination.

The Malaysian AirAsiaX airline has a similar policy banning children and their parents from certain rows on their aircraft.

Sweden's unhealthy obsession with anti-discrimination is to a detriment of business owners. Will the parents of wild brats be willing to cover the cafe's loss from walking out customers? Why should the cafe owner pay for people's incompetence with bringing up their brood? Hardly fair.
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