Kids in Pubs. Irritation Guaranteed.

You experience some strange things in life, sometimes. I mean, just the other day, I went and drank a pint of very nice cider in a crèche. A crèche you say? Yup.

Actually, no. It was (and is) supposed to be a pub, however, with the amount of mewling babies, and screeching children running around, throwing balls and empty pop bottles at everyone, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were, indeed in a crèche. With alcohol.

Now I’m no prude, and certainly no kiddy-hater. But the children’s’ behaviour was abominable, and their parents’ even more so. Despite requests from other patrons to control their brats’ excesses (one which nearly resulted in a fist-fight) the selfish idiots masquerading as parents resolutely refused to bring their kids to order.

And that’s the reality of liberal parenting. Take this recent incident for example:

A pub recently attracted huge amounts of criticism (and trolling) over a sign which jokingly offered to nail boisterous kids to the table. A notice, put on the chalkboard outside the Black Lion pub in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, read:

“To avoid accident and injury to your child whilst the little darling is running around this establishment why not hand the little poppet to a member of staff who will be happy to nail it to your table for you!”

I like this notion immensely.

But despite the insistence that the sign was ‘just a bit of fun’, many parents didn’t see the funny side. One Facebook user, signing themselves off as ‘a responsible parent’, wrote: “Personally I find this sign disgusting. They should be arrested for promoting child abuse and closed down by Trading Standards for the same offence.”

And despite the landlady’s insistence that they certainly didn’t want to ban kids, simply believing that the whole affair was a humorous take on traditional values, it didn’t wash. So quite rightly, the Black Lion’s regulars have taken to Twitter to defend their pub. “There are too many killjoys out there who can’t see it is merely tongue in cheek.” They welcomed children but wanted people to ‘talk and socialise and not have children running around screaming’. Well said, and completely correct.

Pubs are pubs. You go to them to socialise, enjoy the facilities and relax. You don’t want to visit them in order to be irritated, inconvenienced and to be made to feel hugely uncomfortable. To have to watch one’s language and consider what you are discussing, which isn’t something you’d expect to do at an adult venue such as a pub.

Especially when this happens in the evening and even later. Kids should be at home, eating tea, having a bath and going to bed. And sometimes the language in pubs isn’t appropriate for children (although the parents seem to contribute to it just as much), and it’s not fair on adults who want to let their hair down. And let’s face it, that’s what adults do on a Friday night.

My local pub isn’t a scummy spit and sawdust joint, it’s an offshoot of a major pub chain; black and white prints on the wall, and traditional decor. But come the weekend, everyone will be half-cut, from three or four drunken chaps propping up the bar, to a gaggle of pissed sixth-formers, and numerous couples on their second bottle of wine. The language isn’t attractive. Adding unruly children to the mix of glassware (full and empty), hot drinks/meals being carried around and sometimes, drunken and aggressive patrons is simply dangerous.

This isn’t a rant from a rabid child-hater. But if I were blessed with children, I would no sooner take them to the pub on a Friday night than I would let them cross a road by themselves. Watch people get drunk? Listen to them swear? Walk through the fug of smokers outside the front door? It simply isn’t appropriate. I am, however, old-fashioned, and I firmly believe that pubs are adult spaces, even more so at night.

And I don’t want someone else’s brats running about playing hide and seek under the tables whilst I’m trying to have a good time.But whilst I wholeheartedly support the need for family time, I don’t think the pub is the place for it. Play a board game, go for a walk, visit a museum, or go out for a meal – but choose a child-friendly environment where the kids won’t be bored senseless and you won’t be polluting someone else’s child-free time. I know not everyone has the necessary resources to babysit their children, and I do appreciate that babysitters are expensive. But sorry – that’s the choice you make when you have children. If you don’t have childcare then don’t go out.

I love children, but I don’t want my own kids in my grown-up space, and I sure as hell don’t want yours. So parents – show some common sense and consideration will you?

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