Just what is wrong with bawling British kids?

Whose fault is it?

THE UK’S apparent dislike of children has been widely talked about over the past few years. A former children’s commissioner, Sir Al Aynsley Green, described Britain as “one of the most child-unfriendly countries in the world”, commenting that people elsewhere asked why we “hate children so much”.

And in his book, Tickling the English, the Irish comedian Dara O Briain noted that the English have “ethnicised” teenagers, regarding them as an alien group.

Sir Al’s got a point though, hasn’t he? If Anglo-Saxon kids could stop, just for a few minutes, bawling, throwing obnoxious tantrums and hurtling about dementedly hyped-out of their minds on sugar, we might not find them so unbearable.

Now, whether or not you’ve been to France or Germany and observed how well-behaved the kids are there, you’re doubtless familiar with Spain and the kids here. Have you ever seen a Spanish kid go in for that crimson-faced, screeching scenario at the supermarket checkout when he dangles from his mother’s arm kicking and screaming for the sweets on display like a crack addict in withdrawal? What is wrong with British kids?

Some companies have responded to the problem. Indeed, for a number of years now, one 14-hotel British hotel chain, Warner Leisure Hotels, has operated a no-child policy, to ensure that adults enjoy peace and quiet at its retreats. And it seems the policy’s paying off, as Warner was last year named the best hotel chain in Britain.

And at least one budget airline, Air Asia, recently announced “kid-free” zones on its planes. Whether or not there’ll be a price consequence/restriction around this, only time will tell. (Can’t you just see Michael O’Leary’s ears pricking up on this?)

Which reminds me, a friend caught a Ryanair flight recently and was one of the last to board, finding himself next to a wailing infant.

The mother had nothing to distract the child with as the plane rushed headlong down the runway. But my friend swiftly made an animal puppet out of the sick bag, getting laughter from the kid and grateful smiles from adjacent passengers. He then handed the mother the sick bag, she carried on entertaining the kid and the flight turned out fine.

It’s never the kids that are the problem, it’s the parents…


Nora Johnson’s thrillers ‘Retribution’,Soul Stealer’,‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.com) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.89;£0.77) and iBookstore.Profits to Cudeca   

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