Would You Discipline Other People's Kids?Stacie Haight Connerty
Today I was in a waiting room where I find myself waiting for my son several times a week. This has been the case for a little over three months. Attached to this waiting room, there is a playroom where the kids can all hang out. They watch tv and play with the toys in the room provided by the facility.
Several times during the past few weeks, this one child has been a little mean to my four-year-old. Not so much when I am around but as soon as the door shuts, it is kind of a free-for-all for the kids and some of them are not the best behaved. My kids included, sometimes, but as soon as I hear that behavior from them, I immediately discipline them which has included making them sit out for a few minutes.
My daughter says that this girl pushes her a lot and takes whatever toy she is playing with. Or she takes a piece of the toy she is playing with basically rendering that toy unusable. My daughter just moves away and finds something else to play with until the situation repeats itself.
Normally I don’t say anything because the kids are pretty good at working it out among themselves. However, today it kept happening, my daughter came to tell me several times and then she was just in tears. I went in for the third or fourth time to see what was going on.
The little girl was playing on a toy while my daughter was standing next to it crying. My daughter said, “I was playing on that and she pushed me off.” I asked the little girl if that was true and she said, “Yes. I wanted to play on it.”
I was speechless. I told her that wasn’t very nice or fair and she just shrugged her shoulders.
I went to look for that little girl’s mother and realized that she was not there (she left her to go to an appointment but was coming right back). No one was watching this five-year-old kid. I am guessing that the front desk employees were in charge of her which is a separate issue itself.
I finally brought my daughter into the other room and told her that she could not go back into the playroom. I found crayons and craft stuff for her to play with. She was thrilled. I was very careful not to let my daughter feel like she was being punished.
I really wanted to say something to that child but I am not sure that it would have mattered. I also really wanted to say something to the mother but she was still not back by the time we left. The situation was awkward and uncomfortable plus I am pretty sure it is going to happen again.
WHEN IS IT OK TO DISCIPLINE OTHER PEOPLE’S KIDS?
“At my own home, when the kids have playdates or friends sleepover, I feel I’m well within my right to speak with my kids’ friends if they aren’t acting appropriately or are doing something dangerous. Their parents aren’t there to intervene, so it’s acceptable to speak with him or her and get the child back on track. I would expect my kids’ friends’ parents to do the same when my children are in their homes.”
I feel the same way. If kids are at my house, I am in charge. I have no problem making a kid who is not playing fairly sit out for a few minutes.
But in public? I couldn’t do it.
WALKING THAT FINE LINE
Corine from Complicated Mama described it perfectly in her post Disciplining other peoples kids where she shared this advice,
“its important to think before we react because lashing out on another persons child is only making the worst of an already uncomfortable situation.”
Would you discipline someone else’s kid? Why or why not?
What could I have done differently?
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