Disciplining other peoples kids.

Joanna - posted on 06/03/2010 ( 213 moms have responded )

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My friend yelled at me the other day for yelling at her daughter just before she slammed my daughters fingers in a door. Was I out of line to yell at her kid or was she out of line to yell at me? and Where does one draw the line at?

I also have this problem with other kids in public areas like if some kid pushes my girl out of the way and she falls? Do you tell the kid that was wrong or tell the parent?

How does everyone deal with this problem?

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Jodi - posted on 06/03/2010

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Am I right in thinking you could see that the girl was just about to slam your daughters fingers, and by yelling you were able to get her attention and stop it happening? If that is the case, I see no problem with it, I probably would have done the same. I don't see yelling appropriate as a form of discipline, but sometimes it can be used as in the instance above as an effective tool to stop things immediately so you can then deal with the situation.

Morgan - posted on 06/03/2010

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I think its a thin line,

I wouldent "yell" at someones child and would expect that no one would "yell" at mine

but I dont see an issue with calmly telling a child yours or not to be carefull or watch out.

Deanna - posted on 06/09/2010

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I think when it involves someone getting hurt it is ok to tell the other kid sternly that it was wrong. most kids don't respond to yelling, so us mothers have to train ourselves to react differently. I find myself disciplining other people's kids all the time, I wish they'd step in but sometimes they are grateful. good luck!

Carleen - posted on 06/09/2010

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I don't have a problem with that sort of warning and would do the same thing regardless of whose children were involved. It is a safety issue, not a parenting one.

I have an issue with people who refuse to control their children in public. I don't care who runs things in your home but out in public I expect you to take responsibility for your children and that means WATCHING them.

Eronne - posted on 06/09/2010

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This is what has been so wrong in the rearing of the last few generations. When I grew up a parent was a parent. If we were playing in the park and we did something wrong and 'a mom' caught us, we were in trouble. Didn't have to be our mom. Respect for adults was so ingrained that we didn't back talk any grownup and there were always many pairs of eyes watching us.
I personally never hesitate to correct a child, even a teenager. And yes I've heard all the reasons not to, danger, lawsuits etc. But if a five year old is talking like an old sailor, I will certainly tell him to watch his mouth and if three 15 year olds are pushing another around, I proudly give them a count-down to a 911 call.
Getting involved may be the only way to save this next generation from themselves.

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Tori - posted on 06/09/2010

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Yelling at the child was the correct course of action. Your friend was totally out of line and should be paying more attention to what her child is doing. Some mothers don't care what their children are doing and that negates their indignation when you step in and take over with correct parenting. Good on you for keeping an eye out for your daughter. In pubic, I make sure that if it is not my child's fault, I tell them within ear shot of the naughty child and the ineffective parent, that they are not to blame and that some children and parents don't care about other peoples feelings but as long as we are doing the right thing, that's what matters. Having said that, I once told a parent what I thought of their skills to their face when their horrible little boy pushed my child to the ground and they did nothing. It's ok to speak up when your children are at risk, if you don't protect them, who will?

Cheryl - posted on 06/09/2010

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I think it is perfectly fine to yell at a child (especially a friend's child) if they are doing something wrong and especially dangerous. Let me say that I will probably make a lot of enemies here, but....

This is the exact reason why children have NO respect for adults. They see their parents get all bent out of shape when someone says ANYTHING to them, and they get the message that other adults should not discipline them. So out of the house they go acting like little savages because no one can say anything to them.

Parents, if you don't want anyone chastising your children, make sure they know how to act, or keep them right by your side at all times where no one can hurt their little feelings or yours.

Gloria - posted on 06/09/2010

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I think that you were right, now days people don't want you to say anything to their child or children and of course they will not discipline them. That is why I do not lke dealing with children.

Charles Reichel - posted on 06/09/2010

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I'm not saying yelling to discipline kids is right, but I also don't think you should freak out at you friends for disciplining your kids. I hope my friends love my kids enough to correct any misbehavior they see especially if it involves hurting another kid.

Robin - posted on 06/09/2010

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I agree with you on that. So i don't let her come over anymore then i can stand. I want to be friends, but she needs to realize that it is my place not hers. I would never try and tell her son something if i were at her place. I would tell her and then her take it from there.

Margaret - posted on 06/09/2010

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I give the other parent an "opportunity" to correct their child before I do. If it's my house,it's my rules. If they don't like it, don't come!

Robin - posted on 06/09/2010

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I have a friend and she will tell my granddaughter with me right there not to do something and yet you can't tell her son the same thing or she will get upset. I think it depends on the situation and where you are at.

Donna - posted on 06/09/2010

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I think you had every right to tell her kid off. I would do the same and i have no problem friends telling my baby and her 2 older sisters off. So i think she was out of line yelling at you., as for the other problem with other kids in public im not sure i guess you would tell the kid that it wasnt ok to push other kids around then maybe say something to the parent. as long as you dont scream at them it shouldnt be a problem.

Heather - posted on 06/09/2010

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I think yelling is a bit much. No matter what my child may have done yelling at her is not the answer. Firmly speaking is a much better way to handle it and bringing it to the attention of the parent for them to do the disciplining.

Charles Reichel - posted on 06/09/2010

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I think that before you have a child over for a parent free play date it's important to work out discipline details. I also think your friend was out of line for yelling at you. I was a nanny before I had my own kids and sometimes when kids tell a story they can exaggerate the details. As for disciplining strangers kids I think that for the last 500 years it took a village to raise a baby and that seemed to work where as some of the things happening now don't seem to so it my son was misbehaving and i wasn't doing anything about it i hope the other kids mom would at least tell him to stop.

Melissa - posted on 06/09/2010

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I believe it takes a village to raise a child and I support my friends disciplining my son because I know they care about him and want to teach him. I just disagree with strangers disciplining children they do not know. There is a difference between asking a child you don't know to please take a turn on the swing and outright yelling or being nasty.
I think some friends will be ok with you stepping in and others will not. Obviously this friend is not ok so you just know to tread lightly. As far as yelling..I am not a fan of yelling but if your child was about to be hurt..you can't always take the patient, gentle approach..you need to get the attention quickly to avoid that.
Here is a blog I wrote specifically about this topic awhile ago..

http://www.familyfuncalgary.com/blog-05-...

Danielle - posted on 06/09/2010

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yelling to stop someone from getting hurt or hurting someone else I feel is fine.

Kandie - posted on 06/09/2010

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I think maybe the word you are looking for is reprimand, instead of yelling. I think all sometimes use the word yell, even though that's not what we really mean. But if any child is doing something that threatens the safety or well being of your child, you are well within your rights to deal with that child!! If the other parent doesn't like that, then maybe they should be paying better attention to what their child is doing.
I've had similar situations in public places, I always make sure I reprimand the other child loud enough for their parents to hear, in hopes that it will motivate that parent to pay attention!!!!
Your child's safety is more important than some other parent's feelings!!!

Alyssa - posted on 06/09/2010

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Also, to add... if it was reversed.. my son was going to smash another childs fingers... I'd yell at him to get his attention to avoid it. So... You definitely are in the right on this one!

Grandma Linda - posted on 06/09/2010

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Well it really depends on the situation too I think! If they are doing something that would be detrimental to your child,yah I would say something to the parent and if they don't do anything about it,I think next time I would say it to the child that that wasn't very nice of you to do that and please don't do that again. If that don't work for the parent then I would consider not letting my child play with theirs for awhile..

Mary - posted on 06/09/2010

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Another thought came to my head........... sometimes.... just sometimes........... the kid who is in the wrong takes it MUCH more serious when it is the 'other mom' yelling. And again, tho this is that thin line....... it is all about protecting one from harm. It isn't like you were just yelling to yell......now that would open up a whole 'nother can of worms......

Fran - posted on 06/09/2010

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i think there is a time and a place for disciplining other ppl's kids. for instance, my nephew was holding a baseball bat an inch away from my sons head. (he wanted to see how close he could get it next to my 2 yo head) and yes i yelled so loud that everyone jumped. a few ppl said i didn't have to yell and few others said i was absolutely right to yell. it is a thin line but if you can see your child is about to get severely hurt by another child's actions then yes. yell to stop the action then explain why it is inappropriate to do that action. you can apologize for yelling later but you can't take away the pain from a smashed finger or head. and i am very clear with my friends as they are with me. we discipline each others kids all the time. and that is why we are friends. the ones who are ultra sensitive about disciplining or lack thereof don't remain in our circle for very long. keep up the good work of protecting your children.

Nancy - posted on 06/09/2010

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You were completely in the right! You should protect your child and many other parent's don't correct their children when they should. My best friends all have "spanking rights" (it's what we tell the kids, but it never happens, it just keeps the kids in line knowing they can't get away with stuff just because their parents aren't around). So, with your friend, you should come to an agreement, but obviously with strangers do what you must to keep your child safe from bullies. The other day at the daycare, I was dropping my son off in the older infant group and a mother was dropping her son off. Her older son who is supposed to be in the preschool came in the are with her. My son's care provider had set up all the leggos into a fun little city for the babies to come play with and this 4 year old kicks all of them down like a maniac and the mother said NOTHING to him!! Flying pieces were wooshing by my son's head. I said, "hey! take it easy" and still, the mother pretended not to even notice. I just stood there with my mouth open and wish now I would have said something to her. I did tell the manager that I don't think the older kids should ever be allowed in the little kids areas even for a minute.

Nazari - posted on 06/09/2010

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nop you fine, they are way in nice matter to handle the situation, i got the feeling that your friend needs to control her kids when they play, and talk to them before interacting with others childrens, children can be rough sometimes but we as mothers need to talk to our children before going out the door.

Neyra - posted on 06/09/2010

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that is a sticky situation. I don't like it if other kids are mean to my daughter, so I calmly tell the child to cool it or they are not going to play together anymore.

Betty - posted on 06/09/2010

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my boys have been told that when we are at someones house it is their rules they must follow. no one yells at my kids but they have free rein to correct them (make them sit, etc.) as far as out in public my kids have been taught to stand their ground. my boys are 6 and 8 if a kid pushs them for no reason, they will say something themselves.

Alyssa - posted on 06/09/2010

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Everyone here as given great advice... I feel the same way. I have no problem with someone telling my son to behave if he is not. And I have NO problem telling someone else's children the same thing. However, we have to remember there are parents out there that think their children can do no wrong. Sounds like you may have a case of the angel child on your hands. But, I think addressing it with the parents is also needed so they know what happened... if it seems like a big deal. My son is in his terrible two's so I don't expect to hear from anyone every little discipline that happened that day. But, if it was something big or he almost seriously hurt someone else's child or vice versa... then I'd definitely want to know.

Christine - posted on 06/09/2010

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If the "Yell" prevented someone from getting injured then you were justified. At that point I would have gone the to child and apologized for yelling but told them that to get her attention quickly and the yell is the only thing that would work. In my group of moms with children from 5 to over 18 we all agree that we all disciple all the kids. Whether it be in person or on-line. All of our kids know that they have many moms that are always watching. They know we do this because we love them.

Lee Ann - posted on 06/09/2010

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I had the same thing happen to me with my nephew! I jumped him for hitting my son with a wooden drum stick, it was an instant reaction to spank his bottom, his mom didn't like it but I talked to my brother in law and he agreed I was in line. Usually the kids listen to you if you talk to them, the mom's may not be to happy but they will get over it!

Tracy - posted on 06/09/2010

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no way were you out of line, you stopped your child from getting fingers squished, or worse, and that is our job as a mother. we must protect our children from danger and injury. i also am a bitof a police mummy at parks and play grounds, not yelling at kids but i do tell them to be careful of my child and i would think that other parents would and should do the same, if i dont see my 4 year old do something that can harm another and some one else does then she should be told off, having said that it is normally play group or my mothers group girls we are with and i do respect them and so do my girls, so i have no dramas about them stepping in if i miss something.
never doubt yourself when you have stopped your child getting hurt, we have a tough job and if they are in one piece at the end of the day we have done an AWESOME job. :)

Jennifer - posted on 06/09/2010

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If the parent isn't going to do anything about things then I would say something to the kid. Some parents are oblivious to what is happening and think it's ok.

Malia - posted on 06/09/2010

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No you were not out of line-except for the yelling part. If her issue was with you saying something to her daughter, then, yes, she was out of line. She could have told you not to yell at her without yelling herself. She cannot reasonably expect you to sit there and NOT prevent your child from being hurt.



If I were out in public, I'd correct the child, then ask where the parent was, and let them know what I said and why. I'm a strong believer in the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child", and if my child was misbehaving while I wasn't looking, I'd want to know about it.

Yalina - posted on 06/09/2010

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I would probably not yell at her daughter, and probably would not say anything to my friend. With four kids I have a lot of play dates and I learned that it's better to remind your kid (in front of their friends) what the rules of the house are and if something happens (it always does) I talked to my son/daughter but I never discipline other people's kids because the truth is that nobody likes it when somebody does that to their kids, well I know I don't like it.

Susan - posted on 06/09/2010

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If you're protecting your child, it's no holds barred as far as I'm concerned. Yelling, "Watch out!" is not the same as disciplining a child. I wouldn't discipline another person's child in a public place although I think I would say something like, "That was mean. You made Kathy fall." or something like that. Not yelling, just saying it in a clear, calm voice. But someone about to slam a door--yeah. I'd yell too.
If a child is in my house and there is no parent present, I also think it's just fine to say, "We don't do that here," or "If you continue to do x behavior, I'm going to have to call your mom to pick you up." If the parent is there, I'd turn to her/ him and say, "Do you want to deal with this or shall I?"

Truth - posted on 06/09/2010

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Often, I find that many parents, at least where I live won't accept the fact that the bad behavior is their childs fault. Talking with the parent only works when you are dealing with rational parents. I am the school crossing guard for my neighborhood and have been for the last 16 years, and have seen all kinds of parents and all kinds of reactions. There are parents that you can talk to and those who refuse to watch or acknowledge that their kids get out of hand. I have had to discipline children, with their parents at the stop, only to be told not to do so, when they are present. Well, if it's the difference between your child walking into the street in front of a car or not, I am going to say something. And if, there are 25 other children present yelling and I need to raise my voice, then yes, I will do so.

There are times when the safety of a child comes above all else. Although I do not agree with Hillary Clinton or her politics, she was right, to a certain degree when she said, 'It takes a village to raise a child.'

It wasn't that long ago when extended families lived near each other and relied on each other to raise the children. We have lost that in our "nuclear family" era. We are on our own with our children. There is no extended family to help us and rely on friends to or (IMHO paid help - God forbid) to help with juggling our child rearing and work needs.

I quit my real job 6 years ago, after working part time after my kids were born to stay home with them. It was the best move I ever made. Financially, probably the worst thing I ever did, but for my family, the best.

The safety of the child comes first. Protect the child, then sort out the details later. If the friend is a good one, then she will stay.

Tehnaz - posted on 06/09/2010

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I usually tell the kid that they are wrong--especially when soemthing migh harm my child---if the kids parent is around--I definately tell the parent.

Wanda - posted on 06/09/2010

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You should have asked the mother what she would have done to prevent her daughter's fingers from getting smashed? In a situation like that, raising your voice to be heard above everything else is necessary unless you were close enough to quickly quide her away from the door.
As far as public play, tell the parent and if a kid is a problem, then more than one parent should discuss the situation with the parent(s). If it cannot be resolved, then schedule playtimes when this kid isn't around.

Truth - posted on 06/09/2010

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I believe that you had every right to protect your child from injury and your friend should have seen that. Not knowing the details of the situation, I can only speculate. 1. That she did not see that her daughter was about to shut the door on your daughter's fingers.
Maybe your friend is sensitive to yelling. It may have been better after the incident to discuss the situation with your friend. Your friends reaction was out of line in my opinion when your daughter was in danger of an injury.

As to the issue in public. I am naturally a people watcher. Usually I am scoping out an area to see what kids are around and what the parents are doing (mine are now 13 and 17). Depending on where the parents are, I have no problem with intervening and checking on the child that has fallen and asking the child that has pushed, why they did so, if I am close enough. Depending on the reaction of the parent, I will gently lead the child that did the pushing to apologize to the child that had fallen. Some parents will over react, and the main thing is to remain calm and try to diffuse the situation. It is up to the parent to teach their children how to behave in public.

I am frustrated more and more by the general lack of responsibility that I see parents taking for the behavior of their children. And how often they aren't even watching their young children in the playgrounds, at the mall, at church. It's as if they trust them or other people to police them. And I see the result of this when I go into my daughters middle school. They are running in the halls, pushing and shoving each other and generally chaos reigns. They have not learned civilized behavior. The y must first learn it at home, from their parents.

Renee - posted on 06/09/2010

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Regarding the door issue - I believe your response was probably more reactionary with little thought as to the yelling, but more thought as to preventing injury: therefore, that shouldn't have been a problem for your friend. In my opinion, her yelling at you was uncalled for. In public areas, the way I mainly deal with it is I tell my child in front of the other kid (or somewhat loud enough that the kid or parent can hear) that people are not supposed to hit or push other people and that it is wrong. Hopefully, the kid gets the hint, and hopefully the parent tells her child the same thing.

Marie - posted on 06/09/2010

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I would definately yell to stop if my child was in danger of getting hurt,its a natural reaction. I wouldn't mind at all if one of my friends did the same to my children if they were about to hurt someone.
Its a little different when your out. I've been in many situations in play areas where other children are pushing mine about and if their parents are not in sight (a lot of the time they're chatting with other people and not watching their own children) then I would tell the child to be careful around my children. If their own parents don't watch what they're up to then i don't see a problem with telling the child yourself if they're causing upset.

Camille - posted on 06/09/2010

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I don't believe in disciplining other peoples' kids but I'd definitely yell to prevent one from slamming fingers in a door. So I'm gonna go with her being out of line.

Mary - posted on 06/09/2010

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Yes it is a fine line but Good God --- we are talking about saving a finger from being slammed in a door --- HELLO?!?!? Yes, I would have yelled too no matter Who it was that was slamming the door. And shame on the other mom for yelling at you. Maybe I would have looked at her and said "sorry, but that was just too close for comfort and I dont want nobody's fingers slammed in the door". You did the right thing --

Nancy - posted on 06/09/2010

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As a mother of 2 adult sons, 1 step son, 1 step daughter and 5 grandchildren, I'm behind you Joanna. You did the right thing. I've seen my share over the years with my kids and other people's kids doing stupid things. They and their friends loved coming to our house and knew what the rules were if they were in our home. It's very gratifying when you see them as adults and they show respect. If you were to have talked to her mother first, it would have been too late. Your daughters fingers would have been slammed in the door. Where would your friendship be then? Most people would have done exactly what you did in that situation. As for being at the park, tell the kids directly who are doing the pushing. I would step in between your little girl and the pusher to let your little one go first. The other little girl will grow up to be a bully if someone doesn't teach her. I have had tenants with undisciplined kids who loved to come into my house and start throw everything on my coffee table. These mothers just sat there and did nothing. They expected me to discipline their kids to give them a break. Your friend will either get over this or she won't.

Ann - posted on 06/09/2010

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We just came back from Disney. Once at the Park & once at the resort, I told a child not to push. I wasn't loud or aggressive. The parents were no where around, the kids were on wet/slippery surfaces, & it wasn't safe. ...So I just said "don't push" & that was that. If your child is in danger, you do or say what you have to. Maybe yelling isn't a great idea (particularly with a friend's child), but I see nothing wrong with looking out for your kid...it's your job!

[deleted account]

I've been known to shout out "who owns the child in the red jumper??" getting very strange stares from strangers. But if other parents aren't on the ball, you have to be. I've got support from immediate friends, we'll all put each other's kids in the naughty corner and when we visit we sho the kids where the naughty corner is and that they'd better behave.
If you don't have mutual respect, it's hard to continue some friendships.
Goodluck

Jill - posted on 06/09/2010

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If shes a friend then she should understand.Although so many people do just think thats what kids do.If i have people round at my house if they dont want to follow the way my children r treated then they dont need to be visiting my house.But no true friend would do that.She obviously isnt getting the whole social thing.I would take a step back and see if she comes to you.If not who needs friends like that.If she does approach you lay some rules down and say at my house this is the way it is.That is why society is like it because no one takes responsibility for their or their childrens actions nowadays.Thats how thugs and bullys are born left to get away with what they want.

Danielle - posted on 06/09/2010

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For me if it is one of my friends children i will yell at them myself but me and my friendsalso have an understanding that if any of us ses the children doing something wrong to step in. but in public i will have the child take me to there parents and i will tell them what the child did in front of there child.

Barb - posted on 06/08/2010

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I have been in your place more times than I can count. I found that if a parent (friend, family, etc) doesn't take care of their kids when they are at my home, I MUST. Someone has to teach these kids that there are limits. Yes, I have lost a friend or 2 but most mothers/fathers/grandparents do understand. Being that there are a lot of parents that assume that their kids can do no wrong, I feel you are obligated to take the position of letting them know. Why yelling isn't the best way to start out, sometimes, it does happpen. Best of luck.

Deanna - posted on 06/08/2010

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I think in this situation, yelling at the other child is justified- you were trying to prevent an injury.
I think it is all of our jobs to help guide the children around us. I say something to the child if I see something that needs correcting. Often they listen better to someone who is not a parent and you may be able to stop them from developing bad behaviours if you are willing to speak up. I know I would want other adults to say something to my kids if they are doing something they shouldn't! After all, it takes a community to raise a kid.

Aikta - posted on 06/08/2010

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I think one can politely tell the other child to be careful.One can do the same with one's own child. I feel yelling at someone else's child is out of line. And your friend yelling at you is also out of line and her slamming your daughter's fingers in the door is way out of line.

Rebecca - posted on 06/08/2010

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WOW! My friends & I actually are okay with this issue because we feel we are helping eachother raise our children. LIke the saying it takes a village. But if it is a strangers child then I would say politely ask the parent to please have their child be more careful. Sometimes they just dont see what happened or need to be reminded of their job. That's a hard one.

Susan - posted on 06/08/2010

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I don't hesitate to correct my friend's or neighbor's children when they get out of line. I do it all the time. However, I'm not sure that your friend's child deserved to be yelled at and I don't consider yelling an effective form of discipline. Yelling is a natural reaction to a percieved threat to our child's safety. It may make us feel better to yell, but yelling is probably not very effective response if our intent is to prevent harm. I wasn't there. So, I don't wanna play Monday morning quarterback on you, but are you sure this little girl intended to slam your daughter's fingers in a door, or was she just being careless? Yelling at a distrcted child will only distract them more. It won't make them pay closer attention. But, no matter the child's intentions, it seems to me that the appropriate response in this situation is to get physical. Either you physically stand in the way and prevent the little girl from slamming your daughter's fingers in the door or you grab your daughter's fingers so they don't get slammed. Finally, when you got scared and yelled at your friend's child, it probably also invoked a fear reaction her as well. She probably yelled at you because it scared her when you yelled at her daughter. I don't think your friend should have yelled at you, but I don't think you should have yelled at her daughter either. I think you should appologize to each other.

Nicole - posted on 06/08/2010

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We were packing up the sandpit toys at playgroup yesterday, when a little boys threw a fistfull of sand at me. I got down on his level and spoke calmly to him about not throwing sand etc.. he then threw another handful of sand at a little girl. I took him by the hand, and took him to his mum and told her what happened, and let her deal with the punishment. I understand that he was frustrated, and why he did it, but don't condone his actions, and either did his mother. His mum and I spoke later about this, and she thanked me for handleing it like I did.

Malaika - posted on 06/08/2010

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This very issue is a reason children don't respect authority now. They think their parent can shield them from all reprisals. I would have definitely yelle dto keep her from injuring my child and also to impart to her the seriousness of her actions. When an injury is at stake its not the time for calm, quiet talk. If her mom was mad I would have pointed out that she should have been watching her child. As for other public places where you are not familiar with the child I would want to speak to an adult.

Ines - posted on 06/08/2010

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I don't think you were out of line. But I think your friend was because some people have to teach there kids how to act and teach them what is right from wrong.. If my son does something wrong my friend yells at him and if her kids do something wrong I yell at them but that just the way our friendship works and not everyone is the same.

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