At what point to ask a mother to leave with her children?

After they run up and down the clothe couch that goes along the wall?

After they scream at the top of their lungs about a dozen different times?

After they punch the stuffed burlap coffee bags on the wall?



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If you fear upsetting or losing a customer with unruly children, then perhaps you are worrying about the wrong things. There's a BIG difference between someone who comes and pays for a drink, and a good customer. A good customer would respect you and your business too much to have unruly kids.

Jeremy Perrine said:

It was both venting as well as a question. I am in TX so there would be less social qualms over my shooting them. And I have a mop bucket so cleaning up the mess wouldn't be that big of a deal. 


There is a afterschool childrens martial arts school in the same shopping center. They were coming in after their class. 

The mother was completely passive
I asked her once to have them not punch our coffee bags. That wasn't enough of a clue that she should have left because she stayed for about another half hour. 

Since it was the first time, I let it go on longer then it should. I should have asked her to leave soon after my asking her the first question. 

I have children, and they are expected to be polite well behaved when we are out and about.

It is a parenting problem. I have no problem nicely asking, and then telling people that a particular behavor is not allowed such as punching bags of coffee or running on couches. Unless they would like to purchase all of the above items to take home and enjoy what ever behavior they would like.


Let me approach this from a customer and parent point of view. The children are not the problem, the parent or lack there of is. My, now grown children were not allowed to be disruptive in public and were removed from the cafe or restaurant immediately if they were. They quickly learned that "Going Out" was a privilege. I hate to spend my money to listen to or watch others children misbehave. I applaud those of you that politely ask the parent to reign in their children or leave. You need not be abusive or tolerant. Let the parent know it is either or and don't allow three strikes. A good parent will handle the children before you have to say anything. You don't need those that don't as customers, they cost you more than they spend. Good customers and good parents will handle the problem without you and the really good ones will apologies to you for it happening in the first place.
Just my 2 cents worth.
I don't ask them to leave but I do make a point of correcting the child's behavior so the mother can hear me. In my experience, it is usually attention starved children whose mother's are oblivious to their children's actions. Ugh...its probably their only chance to get out for a little while and they manage to tune the children out for a little bit. Either way, its usually just enough to get the mother's attention and they usually apologize and stop the behavior. Good luck!

Agreed with many of the suggestions made here.


I do like Mike's suggestion to approach the parent first, and the child as a last resort.  That said, this is easier for those of us that are used to dealing with children - before I had any I was petrified of approaching anybody else's to correct them. Correcting kids is probably best left for those that are comfortable with doing it and know how to approach the situation.


The exception is when something is about to be damaged or someone is about to be injured. I'll gently but firmly correct a child who is about to break or damage something - generally the parent would arrive too late and it just isn't practical. "I'm sorry, we don't play with those" "Please don't climb on that, you may hurt yourself".  We have some expensive artwork on the walls and aren't interested in being sued... both of these factors outweigh fear of online retribution.


A strategy that works well for us is to have crayons, some photocopied coloring sheets, a basket of books, and a couple of board games handy. This way, when children begin to misbehave, we can offer the parents something to entertain them.  If the kids have just been running around the store screaming the message is generally understood... and the problem solved. The parents generally appreciate that you've approached the problem diplomatically and bailed them out of an awkward situation. Good customer service, and cheap to boot - $25 at Target is money well spent to help you out of a jam like this.


Remember, misbehavior is often the result of boredom. Cafes can be extremely boring places for kids and too many parents fail to plan an activity to keep them entertained. The real art is to anticipate, swoop in, and prevent the chaos before it gets out of hand. That's good customer service. Why do you think so many restaurants hand out crayons and coloring sheets with their kids menus?

Hey All,
I think we are looking at this completely up side down and backwards. In my home town of Vancouver, Washington they now have a new coffee shop model. It is called a "SIP AND PLAY" Instead of stressing over what to about misbehaving children just open up a satellite shop pattered after the Sip and Plays were Mothers bring there children and turn them loose in a corralled / fenced in area shut the ( child proof gate ) and let them have at it. What a wonder way to teach social skills to little kids early. Now I MUST make it clear that the rules in these cafe's are very clear and spelled out. Each and every mother is responsible for her own children. As you might imagine there are few if any men on site. The reports I have been getting have been surprisingly positive.
What a great social experiment/study of child/parent social interactive development.
By the way this is not a joke. When I first heard of it I was sure someone was pulling my ahhh, portafilter, so to speak.
I have yet to check out a website. I think I will Google it now.
Here is the link.
I have visions of a ChuckyCheese on steriods..................<;^)

I am a mom of twin five year old girls and I never allow my children to be disruptive. for the most part they are well behaved. having said that I don't always have control over them ...they are five. kids do and say the darndest things but I would rather be the one spoken to.

there is nothing worse than an unfriendly, aggressive adult making attempts to correct my childs behavior in front of me.

I recommend speaking directly to the adult. If the adult is responsible and a grown up they shouldn't have a problem with it.

I totally second this comment Victoria.

Your right on.


Tell the mother that all unattended children in your shop get an extra sweet quad shot mocha and a free puppy.
lol@ "oh and mike, you got trolled bro."  well played, sir.

Jared Rutledge said:

i think it depends on the mother. i've only had two mothers i've had to directly ask to leave in my shop - one of them was clearly mentally disturbed and the other was far too passive and unwilling to do anything to discipline her children.


the former i'd had previous issues with. her children were dry humping each other on the floor of my back room, so i said "ma'am, if you can't control your children i'm going to have to ask you to leave." she left. 

the latter's children were manhandling my pastries and pitching a fit about wanting them all. the mother was standing there, meekly rolling her eyes and not even responding to them, so i told her the same thing - "if your children can't behave and stop disturbing the other customers, i'm going to have to ask you to leave." she took them and left and i had to throw away some zucchini bread with fingermarks in it.


other than that, i've never had to do anything about it. oh and mike, you got trolled bro.

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