Readers Respond: When Is It Ok To Discipline Other People’s Kids?

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We recently published an article – “When Is It Ok To Discipline Other People’s Kids?” – on when (and if) it’s acceptable to step in and discipline another person’s child and we were overwhelmed by responses!

While almost all of you agree that it’s NEVER ok to use physical discipline, such as spanking, opinions were much more divided over whether an adult should step in and verbally address bad behavior. 

Here’s what we heard from our readers:

Should you say something to the parent or the child? 

“If it is a stranger – you don’t know what that person/family has been through that day, month, year. You don’t know if there’s something going on that is stressing the parent AND child out. Or it may just be “one of those days” for the child who typically IS an angel. And, yes, the child could just be a brat. But you don’t know in that ONE instance what is happening to bring it on – do you really want to be the one who finally stomps that parent to their breaking point? Best to just breathe, walk away, and say a prayer!” – Lauren

“Say something non offensive, please. If it were my child, I would appreciate the positive parenting from a stranger. My son would quickly respond.” – Melissa

“I’d rather a parent tell me not my kid. Besides I could do a better job at disciplining my kid than some stranger!” – Jana

“Personally, as long as it is non-offensive, I encourage others to call my kids out on their behavior. Sometimes it means more coming from someone other than the parent.” – Rebecca

“I just roll my eyes and try to keep my mouth shut – unless they are going to get hurt. Most moms don’t appreciate being told!” – Gwen

What should you do if the child is hitting or biting?

“We were at a restaurant where there is a small place for the kids to play. I saw another girl hit my daughter so I hurried over and bent down and told her that we do not hit other kids and that it was naughty. She ran to her parents’ table and began crying as if I had just beaten her. I walked to the table and told the parents what happened and they apologized for it. I often see other kids hit with parents nearby and have no problem intervening if it is my child that was hit.” – Jenifer

“I frequently babysit kids who are at the hitting stage. I never know if I can discipline when the parent doesn’t react. Right now, I just threaten the kid with 100 kisses every time they hit. Works like a charm.” – Serena

“We have a bully kid next door that is always rude to my kids. Her mom doesn’t bother when her child throws rocks or pulls my kids’ hair. I went straight to her child and she got upset with me. So we choose to no longer play with her.” – Jennifer

What do you think? In what circumstances would you step in and discipline another person’s child?

 

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