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Kids: how loud is too loud in Canberra?

By Gerry-Built - 3 October 2013 56

Following lunch at a Belconnen fast food ‘restaurant’ outdoor playground today; when I gave my kids the 2 minute warning I was smuggly and rudely told my children were being too loud by another parent (“oh good, does that mean we’re only going to be subjected to the yelling and screaming for another two minutes!?”).

Whilst I’d happily admit my response, while initially constrained (Excuse me!? It’s a kids’ playground!”); was not entirely appropriate (flipped her “the bird” – which I apologised for afterward);

I’m interested to know reader’s opinions of loud boisterous behaviour from children in an outdoor play venue (albeit confined and glassed in – trapping sound).

Was I over the line allowing my kids to be “yelling and screaming” whilst playing in an outdoor play area?

What’s Your opinion?


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56 Responses to
Kids: how loud is too loud in Canberra?
Deref 11:11 am 03 Oct 13

Maybe the woman who complained made a mistake and thought she was at a restaurant.

Pitchka 11:05 am 03 Oct 13

DeskMonkey said :

zorro29 said :

I know my response will bring on a barrage of complaint and snark, but I have an opinion too so here it is…

I am always surprised (and shocked) at the increasingly entitled attitude of parents. When I was young, we were seen and not heard – the kind of behaviour I see now would never have been allowed.

A friend of mine (who is otherwise very reasonable and intelligent) was out at dinner with my partner and I and brought her children. Her 2 year old son screamed down the place and ran around the restaurant (going up to other tables etc). Her response was “What people don’t realise is that he will be louder if left in his chair. If people don’t want to deal with children they should eat out later at night”

I thought this was ridiculous. People who don’t have children (or don’t want to put up with the poor behaviour of other children) must inconvenience themselves and eat very late so it’s not “family time”.

Parents need to take responsibility for their own children and recognise that there is reasonable behaviour for public spaces which involves minimising noise and running around (including in playgrounds). If they want to scream, let them do it in your OWN house so only you have to deal with it (and it’s not being inflicted on others who have no choice).

And your response just shows how ridiculous parents can be – very classy of you. The correct response was to calm your children down a little so they were still having fun but not being too disruptive.

But, of course, it’s always someone else’s fault hey? Never just poor behaviour and lack of discipline.

+1 I’m mortified if we’re out to dinner and my daughter screams and carries on. She’s not allowed to do it at home why should she do it when we’re old. Call me old fashioned but my daughter is learning her manners and how to use them, including table manners when eating out.

Park/outdoor behaviour, and behaviour when dining out are 2 different scenarios, which cannot be compared.

Our kids too are required to alter their behaviour depending on where we are, but suggestions that kids need to shut up or keep the noise down when outdoors or in a public park becasue someones finds it ‘loud’, is simply stupid.

neanderthalsis 11:05 am 03 Oct 13

I will state upfront that I don’t have children and I have not eaten McDonalds/HJs etc. for a good many years. I was, however, a child once (briefly, on a Thursday afternoon in mid-February some 30 years ago) and could have once been described as being a little sod by some.

With that out of the way…

Loud, obnoxious, bratty, feral children are to be expected at McDonalds, as are their loud, obnoxious, bratty, feral parents. The outdoor playgrounds do serve to remove the worst of them from within the confines of the food service area and place them in an environment where they can be free range.

However, “loud, boisterous behavior” comes in many differing forms. Were your children harassing the other children? Were they emitting that terrible, ear piercing squeal that some children seem to do regularly? If yes, you should have had them on a shorter leash; if no, the other person was being a whining malcontent. Either way, rude gesticulation is rather poor form, acknowledging that you did apologise.

Henry82 10:58 am 03 Oct 13

So you gave the other parent “the bird” in front of your kids? Well we can see where they get their manners from.

Without a Sound Level (SPL) meter you’re not going to get a noise “limit” on your kids. If your kids are sticking out significantly, then it’s probably an issue.

zorro29 10:53 am 03 Oct 13

DeskMonkey said :

zorro29 said :

I know my response will bring on a barrage of complaint and snark, but I have an opinion too so here it is…

I am always surprised (and shocked) at the increasingly entitled attitude of parents. When I was young, we were seen and not heard – the kind of behaviour I see now would never have been allowed.

A friend of mine (who is otherwise very reasonable and intelligent) was out at dinner with my partner and I and brought her children. Her 2 year old son screamed down the place and ran around the restaurant (going up to other tables etc). Her response was “What people don’t realise is that he will be louder if left in his chair. If people don’t want to deal with children they should eat out later at night”

I thought this was ridiculous. People who don’t have children (or don’t want to put up with the poor behaviour of other children) must inconvenience themselves and eat very late so it’s not “family time”.

Parents need to take responsibility for their own children and recognise that there is reasonable behaviour for public spaces which involves minimising noise and running around (including in playgrounds). If they want to scream, let them do it in your OWN house so only you have to deal with it (and it’s not being inflicted on others who have no choice).

And your response just shows how ridiculous parents can be – very classy of you. The correct response was to calm your children down a little so they were still having fun but not being too disruptive.

But, of course, it’s always someone else’s fault hey? Never just poor behaviour and lack of discipline.

+1 I’m mortified if we’re out to dinner and my daughter screams and carries on. She’s not allowed to do it at home why should she do it when we’re old. Call me old fashioned but my daughter is learning her manners and how to use them, including table manners when eating out.

good for you! it always is heartening to see well-mannered, well-spoken and intelligent children who behave appropriately and respectfully 🙂 more parents like that please

DeskMonkey 10:35 am 03 Oct 13

zorro29 said :

I know my response will bring on a barrage of complaint and snark, but I have an opinion too so here it is…

I am always surprised (and shocked) at the increasingly entitled attitude of parents. When I was young, we were seen and not heard – the kind of behaviour I see now would never have been allowed.

A friend of mine (who is otherwise very reasonable and intelligent) was out at dinner with my partner and I and brought her children. Her 2 year old son screamed down the place and ran around the restaurant (going up to other tables etc). Her response was “What people don’t realise is that he will be louder if left in his chair. If people don’t want to deal with children they should eat out later at night”

I thought this was ridiculous. People who don’t have children (or don’t want to put up with the poor behaviour of other children) must inconvenience themselves and eat very late so it’s not “family time”.

Parents need to take responsibility for their own children and recognise that there is reasonable behaviour for public spaces which involves minimising noise and running around (including in playgrounds). If they want to scream, let them do it in your OWN house so only you have to deal with it (and it’s not being inflicted on others who have no choice).

And your response just shows how ridiculous parents can be – very classy of you. The correct response was to calm your children down a little so they were still having fun but not being too disruptive.

But, of course, it’s always someone else’s fault hey? Never just poor behaviour and lack of discipline.

+1 I’m mortified if we’re out to dinner and my daughter screams and carries on. She’s not allowed to do it at home why should she do it when we’re old. Call me old fashioned but my daughter is learning her manners and how to use them, including table manners when eating out.

Pitchka 10:29 am 03 Oct 13

I allow my kids to enjoy themselves when playing in a public park, if that means screaming, yelling, whilst playing safely and not hurting themselves or other children, then they are doing nothing wrong.. They are young children FFS!

I would have told Ms Pretentious Stuck up Bi&tch to go F her self, in no uncertain terms…

wrigbe 10:28 am 03 Oct 13

Gerry

Certainly the fast food restaurants need to take some responsibility for the tiny, closed-in and echoey spaces they provide. However having spent some time in those spaces I have to say some children – particularly those in families or groups of 2 or more tend to be exceedingly noisy and dominate the playground. This does make it very difficult for younger and more anxious children.
Furthermore I have to wonder – given that the parent was driven to comment to you – that she was actually just being polite and what she was really saying was that your kids had taken over the playground and were possibly even behaving in a bullying fashion. Certainly I have to say this is very very common in those playgrounds because they are so small and kids in groups will feel a lot more confident and in control of the playground than those on their own. Just something to consider.

PugGirl 10:12 am 03 Oct 13

Zeital said :

If it is outdoors then that other parent needs to toughen the hell up. Its a playground, young kids are gonna be noisy when they are having fun. I would hate to think what ‘fun’ her kids are having if they are getting told all the time that they are too noisy in a outdoor setting…..

Good one! Honestly, what to parents expect in a feral setting like the McDonald’s playground? It ain’t no nursery.

PugGirl 10:11 am 03 Oct 13

Gerry, I think you did nothing wrong. The parent who complained was no doubt the parent of quite young children and hence had to endure the yelling and screaming while she was in the play area herself supervising her kids.

As a mum of primary school aged kids, I always let mine go in to that McDonald’s play area alone and who knows what they get up to? They are loud but I am sure they are pretty careful with little ones. Unfortunately, when your kids are young, you must choose: either keep them with you at your table (ie don’t let them into the play area) or you go in with them and put up with all the noise.

People should not expect children to adhere to an adult’s standard of acceptable noise levels.

Parents of young children are often critical of older children, because they are louder and more obnoxious than their little darling. I know I used to be. I used to think ‘wouldn’t it be nice if those big kids would bugger off there is no risk of my little boy being knocked over’. Ain’t gonna happen, Mums and Dads.

zorro29 9:52 am 03 Oct 13

I know my response will bring on a barrage of complaint and snark, but I have an opinion too so here it is…

I am always surprised (and shocked) at the increasingly entitled attitude of parents. When I was young, we were seen and not heard – the kind of behaviour I see now would never have been allowed.

A friend of mine (who is otherwise very reasonable and intelligent) was out at dinner with my partner and I and brought her children. Her 2 year old son screamed down the place and ran around the restaurant (going up to other tables etc). Her response was “What people don’t realise is that he will be louder if left in his chair. If people don’t want to deal with children they should eat out later at night”

I thought this was ridiculous. People who don’t have children (or don’t want to put up with the poor behaviour of other children) must inconvenience themselves and eat very late so it’s not “family time”.

Parents need to take responsibility for their own children and recognise that there is reasonable behaviour for public spaces which involves minimising noise and running around (including in playgrounds). If they want to scream, let them do it in your OWN house so only you have to deal with it (and it’s not being inflicted on others who have no choice).

And your response just shows how ridiculous parents can be – very classy of you. The correct response was to calm your children down a little so they were still having fun but not being too disruptive.

But, of course, it’s always someone else’s fault hey? Never just poor behaviour and lack of discipline.

Zeital 9:51 am 03 Oct 13

If it is outdoors then that other parent needs to toughen the hell up. Its a playground, young kids are gonna be noisy when they are having fun. I would hate to think what ‘fun’ her kids are having if they are getting told all the time that they are too noisy in a outdoor setting…..

benita_449 9:36 am 03 Oct 13

Hi Gerry, in short: Yes.
You were out of line .
The worst part was your response and attitude.

A kids playground is for kids to let loose, have fun and burn off some energy. But it doesn’t mean that all bets are off, and they can run amok and disturb everyone in the playground and around it.
And if you are talking about the McDonalds /Hungry Jacks playgrounds then even more so. It is so frustrating when parents open the door to those playgrounds , push their tittle terrors in, and forget about them for 20 minutes while everyone else around them have to suffer their overbearing behavior for the duration of their stay.

Long story short: teach your kids to act with respect for others around them: that includes the other kids on the playground, and in this case also the others surrounding it. And YOU need to follow that up by respecting those around it too.
If your kids are becoming so unruly that strangers are complaining you need to take them out into a field/oval away from others and get then to burn off their excess energy. And then stop feeding them high sugar or caffiene or high preservative foods (which they are no doubt having if eating fast food – most kids can’t handle it so don’t feel ashamed)

Finally, take this as a lesson to look around you & notice what other impacts you and your family are having on those around you. And make sure the positive impacts far outweigh the negative .

JazzyJess 9:31 am 03 Oct 13

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you were at Maccas? When you go there or to any of the other fine fast food establishments that target young families you expect noise/mess/tantrums etc. Not sure what alternate universe she stumbled in from but I’d say you were well within her rights to call her on her rudeness.

Madam Cholet 9:29 am 03 Oct 13

Firstly, here’s my résumé as record of my at least part qualification to speak on this subject – I have one five year old boy who whilst not noisy himself is like any other active, rambunctious kid.

Secondly…I hear where you are coming from. Children should be allowed to laugh, scream, shout in a playground specifically built for for them.

However, it may have looked as if you were letting them be the dominant force in the playground, if you see what I mean. I hate those enclosed plastic play areas in fast food joints because there are always kids whose parents bring them there so they can be ‘hands off’ for a while. That to me is not the exact purpose of them. It’s annoying in any play area when some kids dominate the space and make younger ones feel they can’t use the equipment as they would like. Not saying that your kids were doing that though.

Thirdly, your bigger crime might have been feeding your kids that food for lunch.

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