Is it okay to discipline kids if they are not yours? I think that this is one of the most debatable topics among moms.
Let me tell you a recent story that made me think about this topic. I have a 7-years-old son, Andrew. Last week he brought home a friend. This young man was dressed in muddy shoes and dirty clothes, which actually didn’t prevent him from walking in the living room, plopping down on a couch and turning on a TV. At this moment, my son looked at me with curiosity and horror, expecting that I will blow a fuse.
But I couldn’t realize which move should I make. “The weather is so fine, let’s all go outside,” I said. My son’s friend was not very excited about this idea, but I did something that I would never do to my own child. I left the room and let them as they were, watching TV in their dirty clothes in front of the living room. When our guest’s mom came to pick him up, I didn’t say anything about the incident.
Why did I let him control the situation? I am a strict mom to my own children and it has already become a sort of a reflex. However, at that say I didn’t feel that I can discipline other people’s kids. I believe that discipline is not a collaborative task of all parents in the world.
I also believe that this way of caretaking is nice only when families share or know each other’s values and have the same beliefs about what is good and what is bad. However, it’s quite natural that we don’t see this anymore in our community.
We don’t feel responsible about other children because we hardly know them and their children and have no desire to kibitz. It seems like you don’t have to stick your nose where you shouldn’t, because what other people (and their children) do is nobody’s business. We perceive our kids as the extensions of ourselves and therefore react aggressively when someone attacks them.
However, no one has a formula that guarantees perfect up-bringing. Parents should admit them and accept the help from the others, especially if a child breaks the discipline of the other family and ruins authority of a parent, like it happened to me. The best option is to call the parents of such children and discuss the way their sons or daughters behave.
However, I think that trying to control someone’s child when his/her parent is present is not a good idea. You can suggest something like, “It seems that our children are being naughty. What can we do about that?” This is a good approach that doesn’t make her child guilty in the situation.
I realize that I have lost a part of my authority at the day when a boy walked in the living room in his dirty shoes. But if this happens again, I will be prepared. I will ask boys to take off their shoes politely. Or offer them to leave their shoes but go to the yard. I suppose, my words will impress both of them next time.
About the author: Liz Taylor is a former educator. After she left her job, Liz realized that she cannot live without helping students. That is why currently she works a freelance academic writer at http://essaybuyers.com/essay-writing-help service.