They turn rowdy without touching a drop of alcohol, they are always accompanied by an adult, and a stern word can make them burst into tears.
In pubs across Great Britain, they have become the most unpopular customers among other drinkers. Because no one seems to know just how to deal with other people’s badly behaved children.
An increasing trend towards more “family friendly” bars has not created the atmosphere of similar establishments on the Contintent. The kids who run wild and are left unchecked by parents have triggered a record number of complaints to writers of the 2009 Good Pub Guide.
Rising numbers of protests about children in bars have been registered from pubgoers who say that relaxing over a beer or a night out is increasingly likely to be ruined by children’s unruly behavior.
“People have finally snapped," said Fiona Stapley, joint editor of the guide. "Children are driving them mad. This is not about the weather keeping kids inside the pub, this is everywhere. Lots of people have reported it to us. Of course it is the parents’ fault. Children get tired and then get disruptive, so they start tearing around the pub.”
She suggested that as 90 percent of 55,000 pubs in the guide welcome children — a 10 percent increase in four years — more should adopt the rule of pub chain JD Wetherspoon rule: a two-drink maximum for parents or adults to prevent bad toddler behavior on the premises.
Feedback from pubgoers included remarks such as “I am sick of going into a pub and feeling I’m at [preschool].”