At Annie’s birthday party my nephew got a bee in his bonnet (or more specifically chocolate in his mouth) and decided that it would be a great idea to punch me as many times as possible. This was one indignity too many – I was already dressed as DJ Lance Rock – so I scooped him into my arms, told him that hitting is NOT acceptable, and took him over to my sister so that she could deal with him as she saw fit. Since I am the boy’s uncle I didn’t feel I was overstepping my boundaries by disciplining him, but I was/am wary of doing any more than I did because even though he is family, he isn’t my kid.
As difficult as it is to figure out what’s appropriate when it comes to disciplining one’s extended family, it is far more difficult to figure out how to discipline kids you have no family connection to at all. Tame as my discipline of my nephew was, most parents would freak if they saw an adult scoop up their kid and firmly tell them hitting is not acceptable. In fact, if someone did that to Annie, I’d probably raise an eyebrow or three. (Yes, I have a third eyebrow.)
Here’s the thing though… as Annie gets older and makes more friends, there will be times when I will be expected to keep her friends in line. I remember many-a time as a kid when my friends’ parents had the unenviable task of keeping my crew of bratty buddies from killing ourselves by jumping off the roof or the like.
So how can an adult in these situations know what is and isn’t appropriate? Personally, I would be okay with another parent disciplining Annie if she got out of line, but only if they did it in a way I deem appropriate. And therein lies the complexity in all of this. Not everyone sees discipline the same way.
Would I let another parent hit my kid? Oh “h” to the “n.” Yell at my kid? Still not going to be happy. In my mind there is an appropriate way to discipline my kid, but I can’t expect other parents to know that. I can’t expect them to let Annie run around like a crazy kid either though.
It’s complex for sure. While I have a little time before I have to worry about this too much, it won’t be long before I am at a Chuck E Cheese with ten kids under my command! Just the thought gives me chills. How do you parents out there deal with this?
Untypically Jia says:
I’ve always said that nieces and nephews are children that you are required to love but not allowed to discipline.
The first time I was ever allowed or felt it was appropriate to discipline my nephew it was like an exciting head rush. Lol!
Ms. A says:
If a child is in your care and the parents have enough trust to allow that child to be in your care, it seems only fair you would handle them the same way you handle your own. (and visa versa)
Leslie Gibson says:
I agree, Ms. A. I think it is very important for parents to be aware of who their kids’ friends’ parents are and how they discipline their own children. Also, I think it is important to get used to saying things like “this is how we behave in the Spohr household” and holding kids to it. Kids are not dumb – they will learn quickly what is and is not acceptable, and try to push your buttons all the way!
I’m a childcare worker by profession, not a parent, but I’ve never hesitated to help or discipline someone else’s child. If they’re running and screaming in a place that it’s inappropriate to run and scream and mom/dad is doing nothing/busy with another kid/whatever, l then, in a low voice, remind the child “indoor voices/walking feet/we don’t hit” usually the reminder from a stranger is enough to stop it. If I’m somewhere and I see someone needs help, I help. I’ve picked up and dusted off kids who’ve fallen, waited with a 4 year old at a gas station while her mother ran off across a busy road after their cat, I’ve scolded kids for knocking into older people, helped lost kids find their parents. I’ve never gotten told off for it, I have gotten thanked and I’ve gotten funny looks. I think it helps that generally I’m not grabbing/hitting their child, yelling at them, or being hateful, I’m sure it also helps that I’m a young (early 20’s) female.
These days, a lot of the earlier play-dates when the children are still young are not really “drop your kid and run”, precisely for this reason. During those stages of development where your child is still learning acceptable boundaries and is actually cognitively prepping themselves to be a model citizen…cough…then it’s probably not in anyone’s best interest that visits with friends be unchaperoned. That way, you’re not only there to apply whatever discipline is necessary in a way that your child find consistently familiar but you get a front-row view on how the other parents deal with situations. Parents have incredible intuition when it comes to their children and by availing yourself early on, you not only pick up all the necessary vibes but you probably wind up making friends with a family who are in a very similar lifestyle as yourself. (Bonus friends!)
Later, as she is older and makes new friends, it’s still entirely reasonable to expect to meet the parents at least. You would also hope by then that Annie requires far less intervention and reminding to behave like a saint.
I have never felt the overwhelming desire to not discipline someone else’s kid. I am always firm, I do not yell and I will intervene if children get physical with each other by stopping that movement. I will not apologize, either. If a person is not paying attention or making excuses for their kid to be a little turd, then I politely say something about the behavior and my kid.
An example: Did you see that Bobby was holding Hannah down and she was crying? I split them up and Bobby apologized.
And if you have a regular playgroup there will always be a parent who absolutely pretends that it’s never their kids fault. Establish a friendly guideline like this: Hey you guys, as long as no one is getting hurt, we call can keep an eye out. But if we spy something that could be dangerous or hurtful do we agree that whomever is aware can take care of the disciplining if necessary? Then you don’t really step on anyone’s toes.
Hmmmm… touchy subject. My twins are 6 and we go out to kids’ places a lot. I have always been fair, meaning if MY kids did something to another child, they ALWAYS get disciplined (put in time out, made to apologize etc).
However I have noticed than more parents than not, do NOT do this. In fact most will give an excuse like “they’re kids” “kids do that”… once a mom whose child had taken the toys out of my son’s hands and then when my son complained, the other kids punched him, told me “if you didn’t want your son to share, you should have stayed home”…. so it’s ok for another kid to storm in where you play, kick all your toys away and then just take them and punch you… according to her, that’s sharing.
Usually I am stern with the other kids, especially if the parent is a no-show. I will not touch them and I will not yell. Usually this frightens the other kid enough to run away or apologize
If not I ask the child to take me to his mother or father. When it comes to my kids, I do not fear confrontation.
Once my son (then 5 but he is very, very tall so he is the size of an 8 year old), pushed a kid his own age for getting in his hair. Obviously my son looked a lot older, so the father got up before I knew what was happening, and stormed out, pushed MY son to the ground, then towered over him and started screaming at him.
All H!ll broke loose, I could have punched the guy.
So no, totally not acceptable. You do NOT discipline my child. You bring it to my attention and I deal out punishment. And most certainly you do NOT lay a hand on them. There is even a law against that
I do think that using your voice (without yelling) and then asking to see the parent, especially if the other child has physically hurt your child, is the most appropriate course of action in my book.
This is soooo tricky. My personal rule is that if the parent is there, I don’t discipline, ever, ever…..unless my kid is the target of the poor behavior. If I am the one in charge, I try to be all nice, like, “Oh, whoa, let’s not hit our friends!” or now that my oldest is eleven, “Hey, let’s be nice and not gossip! That child has a reason for acting like she does, and we need to be kind to her!” and believe me, this SO goes against my nature. Because this mama doesn’t play. When the behavior gets crazy out of hand, I have been known to use my Evil Eye and kick into teacher mode, but I really try not to.
As for my own, the perk of being a disciplinarian is that others don’t have to correct my kids, but if I’m not there, they can feel free. If I am, that’s my job and I’ll take care of it. Unless it’s family. We’re all close and are like other parents to one another’s kids. I know they adore my kids as their own and don’t at all mind if they would have to correct them.
P.S. That pic of Annie is all sorts of awesome! Love it!!!!
I always feel awkward with that. I had to tell my nephew to quit hitting his mom, when he smacked her in the face. That was weird.
I have 4 kids and there are constantly neighbor kids streaming through the house. For me, it is simple…my house, my rules. The kids all know what I accept and what I don’t and almost always act accordingly. When they don’t I simply take them home (after a warning or two). I don’t discipline them, I just send them home. I think you will find the times that you DO need to discipline are easier than you think. It’s usually with the younger kids and involves taking toys, hitting, etc…a simple, “we don’t hit” or “we don’t take toys from other people, please give it back” usually works. I’ve never had to yell at or severely punish someone else’s child before and there have been countless kids through my house over the years!
This subject can definitely lead to problems very easily. My siblings and I all agree that we can discipline each others kids when needed. Whoever sees the offending behavior takes care of it. If the offending behavior escalates, then we will send the child to their parent, but we can all handle the first string role.
Now with friends it is a different story. I tend to say nothing unless my child is the direct target of the bad behavior. In that case I usually say to MY child something like, “Lets go over here and play with (some other toy) instead until Joey can play nicely.”
I also start telling my kids at a young age that all families are different and have different rules. I try to teach them that different does not mean wrong, but that we have to respect the rules of others just as we do our own. At my house we do not allow children to carry drinks out of the kitchen, even in sippy cups. I enforce that rule with any child that is visiting. I allow my kids to rough house on the couch, but friends of ours do not permit that at their house and I enforce that with my kids when we visit them.
I think it boils down to respect in most cases between the adults involved. But inevitably there will be that one parent who thinks their “snowflake” can do no wrong.
I work at a kiosk in the mall and when a kid is going nuts (running around, screaming, etc.) and stressing out the parents I usually have them play the “quiet, still game” while their parents shop with the prize at the end being a lollipop from a stash my company keeps in the store for ear piercings. The parents are grateful for the break and the kids love the lollipop incentive. I don’t know if it’s disciplining but rather re-directing energy.
With my family, I expect them to discipline my kids as needed. We all parent in basically the same way and I’ve given them my permission to speak to my kids or put them in time out as needed. Same goes with my close group of friends. I have no problems with any one of them speaking up if my kids are acting up, in fact I’d be more upset if they let me kids get away with murder.
I don’t have much of a problem speaking up to other kids I don’t know either. If a child’s behavior is unsafe or rude (profanity for example) while we’re at the park or bounce house I’m going to call them on it. I don’t butt in on everything- different families have different rules, but there are some clear wrongs and rights that everyone has to follow and I don’t mind reminding other kids of that with some humor or a gentle reprimand. I also hope that other parents would remind my kids of the same rules if I don’t have an eye on them- and with two kids, not being able to watch one closely does happen.
That said, yelling or screaming at my kids, swearing at them or putting a hand on them is simply unacceptable and would absolutely make my blood boil.
I think the trouble arises when you are disciplining a child when the child’s parent is present. Putting the nephew issue aside, I think it’s significantly different to discipline a kid who is visiting your house without his parents than a child who is theoretically supervised by the parent. It harkens back to the incident you had at the park a while back: the presumption is that when the parent is present, the parent will take care of the situation. If a kid’s over at your house for a play date without his parent and he’s a little hellion (as I often was as a kid), then yeah, you need to control him. I mean, maybe not nit-picking every little thing (because you don’t want to totally undermine the kid’s parents every time he comes into your house), but if the kid’s hitting or swearing or whatever, sure. But as soon as the parent’s there, the balance of power changes dramatically.
I mean, obviously if it’s not your sister and you know she’s okay with it, or an issue of immediate safety. But think about if you were at a play-date at a neighbor’s and Annie failed to say please when she wanted a snack. And suddenly this neighbor is chiding her in front of you, while you’re standing there, for not saying please. Then, I think it’s different.
But then, I used to be a teacher and I’ve been chided (as an adult) for helping herd out of control kids before. Because apparently, if your child is drinking out of the dog bowl but you are in the same room and too busy to notice, it is still your job to tell her to stop.
(I don’t actually understand parents. I mean, I do. But then again, I don’t.)
I discipline my nephew. When his mom is there, I defer to her, and support her when he’s not listening to her. When I’m at the elementary school to pick up my nephew, and my friend’s kid isn’t listening to her, I will holler across the school yard to listen to his mom.
If a kid is picking on my kid at a park, and the parents are not watching or doing anything about it, I will most certainly tell him/her to knock it off. Not in a mean way, just stern. (Better than my husband–he has a VERY deep voice, and tends to frighten small children when he’s talking NICE, lol).
If my kid is doing something to hurt another kid, or himself, I expect an adult to say something to him, and if I’m there and didn’t notice, I’ll pick up the disciplining from there, and I’ll be appreciative of their help.
In my view, the things a person canNOT do to another’s kids are hitting, screaming at them (in their face), or name-calling. Hollering at my kid across the playground, asking him to stop bullying someone is fine with me, because you can be damn sure I’ll be asking their kid to stop if the situation were reversed.
I have no problem disciplining (read: strongly scolding) my nephews, and my sisters, their moms, don’t seem to mind it at all. I’m also OK with them scolding my Coraline if she gets out of hand. But I would certainly never spank any of them, and if someone else’s unrelated-to-me kid got out of line, I’d feel most comfortable asking them to discipline their own child. My immediate family aside, I agree with you that no one else should be disciplining my kid but me and her father.
My son no longer plays with some friends because of the way the other parents discipline. They either go overboard (cussing, screaming, smacking) or they do nothing and laugh (“ha ha isn’t that funny how jr just beat the crap out of his little brother?”… Uhh no it’s not. I’ve also had another parent bite my toddler cause my kid bit his kid while they were babysitting. They never watched them again. Now we only leave our son with family.
I do a sport (figure skating) that requires me to not discipline exactly, but remind kids who I don’t even know about rules for the sake of everyone’s safety. I try to be gentle: “Honey, you need to stay out of the center of the ice. That’s for skaters in lessons or doing jumps, and you could get hurt.”
About half the time, the kids ignore me or are too small to really understand, and then I ask a coach or ice monitor to intervene. I do feel weird about reminding someone else’s kid of the rules of an establishment where I’m not an employee (but the employees can’t always be bothered to maintain safety), and I’ve seen parents yell at other non-employees for trying to enforce rules.
It gets awkward, and I wish I wasn’t in that position. Ideally, parents would learn the rules of anyplace they take their kids and enforce them, so I wouldn’t have to.
The worst time was when I talked to a group of kids who were completely out of control and going to hurt someone and realized, as soon as the first words came out of my mouth, that one of the kids belonged to the owner of the rink. And when she jumped in and said, “my dad is the owner,” I thought, oh great, what have I gotten myself into. But nothing came of it, and they did actually calm down and behave.
I had a similar experience at a Chick-Fil-A restaurant playarea. My children were trying to copy the climbing behaviors of an older, unruly girl. I pointed out to her the sign posted right there that said “no climbing on the outside of the equipment”. She said something dismissive but I didn’t understand what she said. Only later did I realize that she was the daughter of the store owner. I still think I was correct in pointing out to her the posted rules as she was breaking them and setting a bad example for the other children (including mine).
Shannon O says:
It’s funny that you’re discussing this. I watch kids from my home and it is really difficult to figure out how to discipline. I try to discuss with the parents what they feel is best for their child depending on their age. Time outs are used a lot.
But a few days ago, I walked out to see two neighborhood kids rocking a permanent sign back and forth to take it out of the ground. My husband was in the yard, so I asked him to “yell” at them to stop. He yelled down the street and then he went to speak to them (they were around 5th graders). He was stern with them, and because he didn’t know one of the boys, he asked him for his address so he could speak with his parents.
About 5 minutes later, a dad drove up angry that Mark had asked his son where he lived. He said “that’s just creepy”. Mark explained that his son was destroying public property and how else was he supposed to find the parent that needed to fix the sign. The dad wanted to know why he should fix it. And Mark explained that his son had messed it up and he was a minor, so the parent should be responsible and fix it. The dad was still stuck on the fact that Mark should not have asked for the boy’s address and never even fussed at his son for messing up the sign.
It is really hard to deal with other people’s children when the parents don’t take any responsibility or make their kids take any responsibility for their actions.
For us, we just ended up calling the authorities to handle the issue. Of course they said the parents WERE responsible for their children’s actions and needed to fix the sign. It’s just sad to me that we aren’t able to work as a community by holding our children responsible for their bad behavior. That’s why signs are knocked down all over our neighborhood and there is permanent marker writing on the sidewalks and playground equipment – because the parents feel it is OK.
I definitely don’t think you overstepped your boundaries by disciplining your nephew, mostly because he HIT YOU. If any child acted out of line (hitting, whatever) towards me or my child, I’d do something about it – make sure they know it was NOT ok, and bring the child to their parent. There’s not much more I could do (tell the child they’re grounded now? Yeah, that’d work…)
With family and friends, you can let them know (or they will surely figure out just by being around you) what sort of discipline you think is ok for Annie. I doubt Annie would be around complete strangers anytime soon, so I think things will work out fine
cindy w says:
Totally depends on the person & situation. My cousin & I have kids close in age, and we all spend a lot of time together, so I treat her kids like mine and she does the same. I have no issue with her reprimanding my kid if she gets out of line, and vice versa.
But with my friends’ kids… eh. It gets tricky. I am generally fine with correcting bad behaviors (e.g., “Hey, don’t throw that snack that I just gave you across the room.”), mainly because I would expect someone else to do that to my kid if I weren’t around. But I think it mainly depends on your comfort level with both the parents involved and their kids.
I would definitely be upset if someone other than me or my husband took it upon themselves to “discipline” my kid. That being said, I don’t feel like saying “no,no” and stopping them when they are doing something obviously inappropriate is “discipline.” To me, discipline is some sort of negative consequence for naughty behavior – a time out, etc. I would NOT want someone else putting my kid in time out, or spanking them, etc. That would NOT be ok with me. However, if my kid were hitting another kid (or throwing cake, or touching a knife, etc. etc.) I would want someone to tell him no and stop him before he hurts someone or damages someone else’s property. I think saying “no” and taking him to his mom to dole out consequences was TOTALLY appropriate.
But not everyone seems to agree with this. I was at a party last summer, and another little 2 year old boy was playing with trains. My son came up to him and wanted to play too, and the little boy started to repeatedly hit my son! His mom was sitting RIGHT THERE, and didn’t do a thing about it. She doesn’t “believe” in discipline (???) I was dumbfounded. It’s one thing to want to discipline your own kids your own way, but it’s another thing to let them blatantly get away with bad behavior, like hitting other people. So yeah, it’s a touchy subject.
I still think you did the right thing though!
My husband is the youngest of 9 and I actually have gotten flak from the sis and bro-in-laws about not disciplining enough-I am a teacher so I tend to use choices and natural consequences where they are more directive and more..uh…”hands-on”. It doesnt bother me and it must not bother them since we are regularly asked to keep them. We just treat each others kids like they are our own. We know we all love them and its good for kids to learn how to adapt to different rules and different styles of parenting. What works for me might not work for them vice-versa. I think its kinda weird how sensitive people have started to get about their “bah-bies”. Back in the day, parents (and teachers) stuck together and kids knew they needed to be on their ps and qs no matter where they were. I miss that solidarity. I dont think it does the kids any favors.
I agree wholeheartedly. When our kids are in anyone else’s care, coach, scout leader, teacher, if they are in trouble with that adult, they are in twice as much trouble with us. Same goes for aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc.
That being said, I agree that you just don’t lay hands on or scream at someone else’s kid. My brother “flicks” his kids, often on the ear, or head. I really feel that this is truly disrespectful to the child, and when he did it to my son once, I let him know that it wasn’t okay with me. I’d rather he spanked him on the tush, than flick him in the head! But really, I just don’t like anyone but my or my husband laying on hands. We tend to not do that, anyway. Unless a toddler has done something dangerous, repeatedly. Then we will tap a hand or spank a tush…but only for something dangerous, like touching the stove or running for the road.
It gets easier as they get older. My daughter is 4 and I used to be scared and nervous to yell at somsone else’s kid- at the playground, a park, my daughters daycare, etc. I was all “if anyone yells at my kid they are gonna GET IT!!”. Now, I will not hesitate to yell at some little monster that tromps on my child, and I do not mind if someone else scolds my little dear either. But this has limits, if a stranger went off on my kid and was outta line, I am a momma bear you do not wanna mess with. But if it is to correct her, prevent her from getting hurt, or if she hits their kid, I am like have at it! I am careful to discipline other peoples children only if it is absolutely necessary, as to not get beaten up :). But my friends kids, or relatives kids, I will definitely scold, yell at, nicely correct them (depending on what they did) w/o hesitation. But it def gets easier as they get older, you stop caring less what others think.
It gets easier as they get older. My daughter is 4 and I used to be scared and nervous to yell at somsone else’s kid- at the playground, a park, my daughters daycare, etc. I was all “if anyone yells at my kid they are gonna GET IT!!”. Now, I will not hesitate to yell at some little monster that tromps on my child, and I do not mind if someone else scolds my little dear either. But this has limits, if a stranger went off on my kid and was outta line, I am a momma bear you do not wanna mess with. But if it is to correct her, prevent her from getting hurt, or if she hits their kid, I am like have at it! I am careful to discipline other peoples children only if it is absolutely necessary, as to not get beaten up :). But my friends kids, or relatives kids, I will definitely scold, yell at, nicely correct them (depending on what they did) w/o hesitation. But it def gets easier as they get older, you stop caring less what others think. Lisa
For me, it is my territory, my rules. So, if kids are at my house, or I take the kids somewhere and I am the adult in charge, I don’t mind disciplining them. Never mean, just things like “At our house, we eat at the table” or “There will be no hitting”. When the parents are around or we are at someone else’s house it is another story. I try to mind my own business, however, if a child is being mean to my kid or doing something unsafe and the parent hasn’t spoken up, I will and have! When dealing with a group of kids I always try to keep it in the general form of “Guys, no jumping on the couch” and not single anyone out, but sometimes that is not possible. Good luck!
Tough topic but one I unfortunately have experience in. I’m a children’s librarian and often parents have VERY different ideas of what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t. I don’t sshhh or do any other old-school librarian stuff but I will say something if I see a child behaving inappropriately towards me, my staff or my library stuff AND the parent is not stepping in. If the parent steps in, I zip it. I hope most parents don’t get offended but nobody’s kid has the right to bang on the library computer or fling a library card at a staff member or throw a book. I always keep my tone polite and cheery but firm. I do not yell or scold and I certainly would never, ever touch anyone else’s child (unless safety is on the line).
I mostly say something as a way to remind the parent that this is their job, not mine. Usually works like a charm. I find most people aren’t really sure how to parent in public…like they always feel embarrassed that their kid is acting up and hope it just goes away. Kids acting up is perfectly understandable. What isn’t is parents not saying anything about it.
I grew up in a world where adults still being allowed to be and not afraid to be adults. You must respect All of your elders was the model so it seems very odd to me to have only the parents of each child to being allowed to say something to help correct their child’s inappropriate behaviour especially if the bad behaviour was not even directed to their own parent!
I am a little confused as to why you would not want the person who Annie wronged to speak up Mike? You would rather this person come to You so You can tell Annie that what she did to Him or Her (being someone else’s parent as in your case) was not acceptable or appropriate behaviour? What will this teach your Annie? What will happen when she goes to school? Will they not be allowed to disappline her then? What if they try? Will she feel it is okay when she slips (as every child does) and does accidently do something wrong? You can understand my confusion.
When we have friends and little friends over we obviously expect them to behaviour a certain way (call me old-fashion). We feel it is important for our son’s friends to know what the expectations are from them so if they cross the boundaries we have absolutely no problem saying so and asking them to help fix the situation (acknowledge, apology, hug etc.). We would expect the parents to the home we brought our babe to to do the same if he did or said something inappropriate too! It is important for our son to understand that even though he is very little, there are expectaions from him to behave a certain way and listen to All friend’s parents not just his father and I!
Personally, I don’t have a problem disciplining any child. Perhaps that’s why I’m about to graduate as a teacher. If I see a child do something (hit, steal, lie, etc) and they do not have someone watching them, I will correct the behavior. I’ve even been known to correct a child’s behavior (and I’m referring to a child I’ve never met before, but see in the store or park) in front of a parent in a roundabout way that will hopefully get the parent to think “Oh, maybe I should be paying more attention to what my kid is doing”. Now, I’m not a mean person and I don’t look for kids to discipline, but I feel I should correct misbehavior in a child who may simply not know better (and a few that do know better).
Now, my niece and nephew? I’ve helped care for them since they were born and feel totally comfortable disciplining them any time I’m caring for them. I think my sister would be upset if I didn’t.
If it were my child and a stranger disciplined him/her? I may be upset because I’m pretty alert to what’s happening around me so I would like to handle it. But, if I were at the park with them and they were far away, I don’t think I’d mind someone else stepping in. It might teach them a lesson too.
I think calmly telling the child it is not okay to hit (or whatever it is the child is doing) is completely appropriate. If someone said that to my kid and then brought her to me, I wouldn’t be upset.
It’s very interesting reading through these responses. I’ve always wondered myself if I overstep boundaries because I will correct behavior if the parent doesn’t (I’ll say something like, “Please keep your hands to yourself,” or ,”We do not throw baseballs in the house.”) I only do it if my child is getting hurt, or the behavior is rude or dangerous. To my knowledge, I’ve never had anyone get upset that I said something.
I find the worst places for behavior are at playlands at fast food restaurants. I think some parents go there and let their kids run wild. They completely ignore their kids and there’s some serious bad behavior going on and some of their caregivers could care less. I keep a very close eye on my kids when we go to those places and if I see bad behavior I say something.
I’ve had parents come to me before and alert me to bad behavior from one of my kids. I’ve almost always appreciated it since it’s hard to see everything that’s going on. My son is very, very tall for his age and people usually assume he’s 2 years older than he actually is. One mother was very upset that he pushed her son. I didn’t see it (oh the joys of juggling several kids) but I apologized to her and I told her I would deal with it immediately. But, that wasn’t good enough for her. She felt that he was TERRIBLE because her son was only 2 years old and my son pushed him. In retrospect, I wish I had told her that my son was also only 2 years old and actually acting very age appropriate. I’m guessing she thought he was much older. At least I’ll know what to say if something like that ever happens again. I know that Annie is a big one, too… so prepare yourself because people say some very rude things when they don’t realize the age of your child.
The Other Dawn says:
There have been a few times when a kid’s behavior needs an immediate reaction from me. Hitting my kid, for example. I am not going to hunt down their parents and tattle while they continue to pummel my child– hitting my kid stops now. I don’t get into a debate, I don’t explain. I use two words, directed at the kid with eye contact:
If it doesn’t stop, I swoop up my kid and remove them from the problem. But, it usually stops. I don’t yell, but I make it clear that I am not making a joke, and that I find their behavior to be not okay.
I help out at a church youth club on a Friday night. Last Friday a girl and boy were running around like idiots. Dad was stood there are lamely saying ‘come on lets go’ and three times I had to chase them down and usher them in the direction of their father. The 4th time I’d had enough.
In front ofthe father (who stood meakly by me) I yelled at them both and made them come and stand in front of me. I then gave them a lecture about the fact it was their 4th time of telling, the fact that they had been running around and being silly and it was dangerous, the fact they were showing me and their father no respect. Both kids looked shamefaced by the end and father still stood there with a goofy grin on his face.
I said nothing different than I have occasionally had to say to my kids. However it made me realise that this is why we have SO many problems getting the kids to behave….. the parents are USELESS! Both these have borderline problems, hyperactivity being an issue with both. The parents hadnt considered sugar as an issue in their kids behaviour, duh!
After I walked out of the hall one of the other parents flippantly asked if I could come to her house and yell at her like that as she quite liked it! I just looked at her and walked away, biting my tongue as her kids……..
My brother is 35 & my mom STILL talks about the time he was 3 & being bratty at my grandparents (my paternal grandparents). My father’s sister slapped him in the face for rushing my grandma to bring out the desserts! My mother was stunned & didn’t say anything. It never happened again but she is still so upset about it. I don’t have kids yet but if someone tries to verbally discipline my dog, I get livid so I can only imagine how I’ll be…
Also, my niece is the most spoiled, disrespectful kid I ever met (everyone, including her mother thinks this). She runs on my new leather sofa with her shoes & I can’t even bring myself to tell her nicely not to. I just don’t feel it’s my place even though it’s my house.
In my experience (my two are 18 and 20 now), the best way to handle this is to get to know the parents of the other kids. It was mandatory with my mom when I was growing up. If I wanted to go to a friend’s house, she had to meet the parents, get to know them a little.
My stance was similar. Not only was this good because we could openly discuss discipline and I could know what life was like in their home, but because I made good friends through the experience. Over time, we came to the “treat my kid like one of your own” point.
So, if possible, spend time getting to know the parents of Annie’s friends. It can give you peace of mind and might develop into valued friendships of your own.
hmm well I have no problem with someone saying to my child walks/please stop screaming/no banging pushing etc. I don’t want you to put my child in a time out but rather tell/call me.
as for hitting my child you hit my child I hit you.
I think this is a really interesting/touchy issue with step-parents. A lot of that depends on the age of the child and how well the parents (if both are still living) agree on discipline issues. In any case, part of my parents’ custody agreement wound up being that our stepmom wasn’t allowed to discipline my brother or me, and while it drove her NUTS we had a strained enough relationship with her and my dad without the additional stress.
I worked at Chuck E. Cheese for a year and that also led to some fun situations. Obviously we were NOT allowed to discipline kids other than gentle reminders (please walk, can you take turns on this game, etc) but I was put in awkward situations where parents would complain to me about another child and expect me to go talk to the naughty kid’s parents (because obviously a 17 year old is going to have better luck with that conversation than another adult). CEC is a really fascinating place to observe parent behavior because you get a good mix of parents that hover and parents that let their kids run wild and have no idea where they are for hours at a time.
In my household, (my husbands sister and husband and their two children live with us) I do not discipline the children. If I see them doing something wrong, I tell their parents. In my sisters house, I treat them as they were my own. I put them in time out and send them to bed if I have to. I think this is because I am basically a second mother to my sisters three children. I would not feel comfortable disciplining T and E but feel totally fine with it when it comes to N, G, and M