Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Noisy kids getting short shrift in pubs and cafés – and not before time!

Who doesn’t enjoy a meal out with the kids? Well pubs and cafes it seems.

The editor of the The Good Pub Guide says most landlords welcomed families “with their fingers crossed behind their backs”. The disruption caused by children running amok or babies screaming uncontrollably now accounts for more public dissatisfaction than anything else.

And when staff ask the children to be quiet they get abused by over-protective parents who should be sorting it out themselves.

Pubs obviously need the business and can make more money from children’s portions but it’s a fine line. One pub, The Waterfront in Burton-on-Thames, which actually banned under-5s because parents refused to move high chairs and prams blocking exits had a Facebook page set up asking people to boycott the pub. Fortunately trade hasn’t suffered.

And it’s not just pubs. Coffee shops have the same problem with yummy mummies and their off-road sized prams. The Organic Kitchen in Epping Forest decided enough was enough saying riotous children were spoiling the café’s atmosphere. The proprietor, who bought baby-changing facilities and high chairs when she first opened, said there were far too many instances of mums going in with new-born babies and just allowing them to cry. So now there’s a “babies banned” sign saying “No children under 5″.

And it wasn’t just the noise. Prams “the size of Essex” blocked passageways and made it difficult for staff when carrying hot food. Well-behaved children are still welcome but parents aren’t the target customers anyway as the café has a Los Angeles ambience serving avocado on rye bread!

Of course not everyone is happy, one mum saying it was discrimination against parents (against poor parenting maybe). Another called Annabel thought they were “shooting themselves in the foot as there were three independent schools and two state schools in the street“.

And parenting site Netmums defended families saying we are family-unfriendly in the UK compared with the rest of Europe and so our children behave accordingly. What utter bilge. If they had some manners they’d know how to behave but don’t blame the parents of course, it’s everyone else’s fault for not understanding.

But it’s not just the Brits who are getting fed-up with kids in eating and drinking places. The Dutch have a No Kids Allowed group which invites people to compile a list of hotels, restaurants and cafés free from “screaming, stomping, screeching, snotty children and their permissive parents“.

Within a month of being set up the group has received a torrent of TV and press coverage and a national newspaper poll showed that 70% of its readers supported the idea of banning children from some restaurants.

One of the groups organisers Annabel Nannings (obviously not Epping Forest Annabel) is herself a mother of a two-year old said her visits to restaurants in her native Amsterdam were often spoilt by children running around annoying staff and diners. “People do nothing about it or assume you like their kids” she said. “It’s not normal, desirable behaviour and shouldn’t be accepted“.

A parenting adviser from the Netherlands Youth Institute said it was too easy to criticise poor parenting and that she was more interested in positive labelling for places parents can go where their kids feel at ease.

I first blogged about this 5 years ago when a coffee shop in Berlin banned prams.  This was about the time my colleague and I had sadly forsaken our favourite bistro, where we used to meet for a glass of wine and coffee to go over the week’s business, when they introduce kid’s menus. Suddenly the place was invaded by oversized prams, noisy kids and mums on smart phones oblivious to the havoc they were causing.

I had occasion to meet some friends there recently but warned them that there might be a problem with kids and prams. We got there at 1100 and it seemed OK but before long the yummy mums arrived in convoy complete with their “essex prams”. Too late to leave as by then we’d ordered! Fortunately they went upstairs. Maybe they’d got the message?

The more people and proprietors make a fuss the more parents might think twice about inflicting out-of-control kids on the rest of us.

Update 31 August

Now a coffee shop owner in Devon has banned under 12s from his establishment.The Chart Room, in Brixham, Devon is an ocean-liner themed coffee lounge which also houses antiques and collectables.

Bob Higginson said it was designed for people to experience the “opulence and splendour of early steamship travel without distraction”.

Can’t blame him

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Social media really is bad for kids (as if you didn’t already know this)

It only takes one hour a day on social media to make children unhappy, whether it’s Facebook or Snapchat or any other platform.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield asked 4,000 10-15 year-olds to rate how happy they were with different aspects of their lives.

They found that the more time children spent chatting online the less happy they were about their school and work, their appearance, their family and their life in general.

Spending only 1 hour a day on social networks reduced the probability of a child being completely happy with his or her life by 14%.

This is three times higher than the impact of being in a single-parent household and greater than the effect of playing truant.

However they did feel happier about their friendships. They just haven’t realised that social media friends are not real friends as previous research has shown. Spending time on social networks can actually make you feel more lonely.

Some experts argue that spending time on social networks diverse children from risky behaviours such as smoking and under-age drinking (but what about sexting?) while other studies show that it contributes to poor mental health, especially among girls. And in this study it was also the girls who felt worse about their appearance and their school.

90% of 16-24 year-olds use online social networks and younger users routinely get round the 13 year threshold for users. More than three-quarters of 10-12 year-olds have social media accounts. According to Ofcom children aged 8-11 send 11 hours a week on social media and 12-15 year-olds almost 19 hours, both figures double what they were 10 years ago.

But do the social network providers care? Of course not, it’s all about advertising revenue for them and the earlier they catch people the better as far as they’re concerned. You only have to look at the resistance of Google/YouTube to doing anything about the hate videos and pornography to realise what drives them. $$$$…

And it’s interesting that the likes of the late Steve Jobs and other Silicon Valley techno-billionaires didn’t allow their own kids to access social networks.


Helicopter Parents damage their kids

ulearn2bu

The fury over Brock Turner, the Stanford University student who was imprisoned for 6 months after sexually assaulting a woman who was too drunk to know what she was doing, has not only raised the issue of leniency for sports stars (sentenced by a judge with sports credentials) but also the influence of parents.

His father wrote the court arguing that a prison sentence was “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action“.

A former dean at the university, Julie Lythcott-Haims, said that it was consistent with a phenomenon she had witnesses developing at the university: helicopter parents.

During her tenure she said parents e-mailed professors to complain about their children’s grades, intervened in dormitory disputes, and refused to let their children grow up and take respocibility for their lives.

The father’s statement seems to me to be siding with his son at all…

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Aberfan……a lost generation of children

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

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Half a century of grief poured out of the small town of Aberfan yesterday as it remembered a generation lost when a coal tip slid on to their school.

Among the 144 people killed on October 21, 1966, were 116 children. Yesterday the Prince of Wales led tributes and planted a tree in Aberfan’s memorial garden alongside one planted by the Queen. The prince said: “I can never forget the feeling of utter despair as I heard of the unspeakable tragedy.”

Survivors were among the 1,000 people attending a service in the cemetery where those who lost their lives were laid to rest. A minute’s silence was held at 9.15am, the moment Pantglas junior school was hit by 150,000 tonnes of black sludge. Among those at the service was Susan Maybank, now Robertson, whose rescue by Victor Jones, a policeman, was captured in a photograph.

Marilyn Morris, 64, said: “Six…

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Art Makes Children Powerful………….

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

A visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park this morning as it was a lovely day and ideal for taking photographs. As I walked down into the park I saw the four large hoardings with such a powerful message.

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Give children free reign to express themselves through music, art, crafts, in fact anything that enables them to use their imagination and create new worlds for themselves……..and they do not need a computer or tablet to do that!

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Most Mums don’t feel guilty about going to work

woman_scientist_solve_custom_text_puzzle_12407Really? Well thats what a survey by Mumsnet found – only 13% felt guilty about spending their time away from their children and almost half said it made them happier to be at work.

Mumsnet’s Chief Executive said “We often think of working Mums as harassed and time poor, rushing from school to the office with not a second to spare. But the reality is often more complicated. Most want to work or work more hours”.

A third of stay at home mums admitted they would prefer to work and 52% said staying at home was harder than going to work. So it sounds like they want to go to work to get away from their children.

The survey polled 900 mothers. I’m not sure it’s a big enough sample to be representative of the 1.5 million Mumsnet members – which looks like a middle-class pressure group from what I’ve read – and in any case may not represent all mothers. So I’m guessing not many of the mothers polled will be in minimum wage jobs and they probably have good childcare arrangements.

It’s a catchy headline but I’m not sure it reflects reality for a lot of working mums or mums who would rather not have to work but stay at home to look after their kids.

Interestingly in this survey almost half of the mothers said having children didn’t make them feel “mumsy“. Not much maternal spirit there then.


Britain flies the flag in Copehagen

ulearn2bu

In the airport to be precise. Walking round during a 5 hour wait for a connection I couldn’t help noticing a number of W H Smith shops and Dixons. The prize must go to Hamley’s toy shop however which provided a life-size cuddly bear and its Danish minder to amuse the passengers especially the children who queued up to be photographed with them.P1010346

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