Saturday, March 12, 2011

Disciplining Other People's Kids

I was on a playdate the other day, and I did something that I try to avoid; I intervened in an argument between Ari and another kid. I always feel strange when I'm telling another person's kid what to do. It doesn't seem right, I didn't give birth to this child, I don't tell him/her what to do on a daily basis, what makes today any different? Why should I have the right to tell this kid to cut it out?

Back to the playdate. It was a situation in which both kids weren't sharing a coveted item, and something needed to be done. Afterward, I asked the kid's mom:

"I'm sorry, is it okay that I did that? I didn't mean to tell your kid what to do."
"No!" She said sincerely "I'm glad you intervened, I have a lot of friends that just sit there and don't do anything, and it really bugs me. Thank you for doing that."

I felt a little better about it after that. But I have to say, there is a fine line. Here is when I think it's appropriate to step in and intervene in a conflict between your child and someone else's:

1. When there is a physical fight.
2. When there is a verbal disagreement that doesn't appear to be working itself out on it's own.
3. If your kid does something that you don't agree with/allow him to do at home.

Essentially, unless the kids are beating the crap out of one another or verbally abusing each other, let them work it out on their own.

It really bugs me when someone tells my kid what to do if it's not necessary and doesn't help the situation at hand.

I am now stepping down from my soapbox.

How do you feel about disciplining other people's kids?


  1. I've never had to do it yet, thankfully. The moms I've been around were all really good about beating me to the punch. There was one mom however who disciplined my kid at the children's museum and I was sort of irritated. They had their 12 month old who was just learning to walk, and Tahira was sitting with her and was SO in love with her and the mom said T was "bothering" her child and preventing her from walking. Wow. I mean, she was just playing with her and the little girl looked happy too. I think the mom was just irritated that Tahira was "in the way" and kept getting into their pictures.

  2. Oh wow! That is so bogus! T. is just a social girl and wanted to play. People suck sometimes!

  3. I discipline other people's kids all the time at school, so it's pretty natural for me. LOL! But on my time off, I'd rather not. What bothered me most when my son was little was when people would just ignore their kids and the child would be WILD. And then, you'd be tempted to tell the parent to actually pay attention and do their JOB already, as you don't feel like babysitting their kid at the playground.

  4. Oh that's true! I discipline kids that aren't mine when I'm subbing. LOL! But yeah, I hear you, people should mind their own kid!

  5. My friend Kim never wants me to intervene. She always says they'll just work it out, even if they are fighting. I think they are too young and need guidelines. She will discipline her daughter though, so it's not like she's a slack parent. I like her, but we are so different sometimes! I feel it's better to intervene most of the time because it's just not going anywhere. I want them to learn values like sharing and not yelling and fighting and they don't just learn that on their own. Two year olds can't negotiate on their own.

  6. I have no problem intervening and disciplining my own kid in an argument. I just would rather not tell someone else's child what to do. I'd like to leave that to their parent. Unless of course, as I mentioned, I'm their teacher for the day.

    I would step in and tell a kid (who was not my kid) what to do if the circumstances mentioned above occurred.

    Like you said, two year olds are not good at negotiating and therefore verbal and physical fights happen frequently. I think it's best if the parent sticks to telling their own kid to knock it off.


What do you think? Feel free to agree or disagree, but hateful comments will be deleted.