disciplining other people's children

Nicole - posted on 10/25/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )




Is it ever okay to discipline another person’s child? If you see a child doing something mean, destructive or inappropriate and the mother/father is right there and not doing anything about it, is it ever okay to step in and tell the child to stop?

It is my opinion that other adults should speak to the parent, not the child, when they witness disturbing, inappropriate behaviour. If the parent still does nothing about it, that onlooker should either move on, or (if there is some immediate danger to anyone) contact security or the police.

I think the only exception is if a child was hitting my child I would tell them to stop, step in and take my child away.


Jodi - posted on 10/25/2010




It depends on the circumstances.

A friend and I took our kids tenpin bowling once in the holidays and the children in the next lane were right little horrors and their mothers were too busy gossiping to notice. They kept moving into our lane and I nearly wiped one of them off as I bowled my ball and they decided to go in our lane! One of them could have been seriously hurt. I had a word with their mothers, but they still ignored the behaviour, so I spoke to the children myself and laid down the law :) Yes, their mothers gave me a filthy look, but I couldn't give a shit. I wouldn't have said anything to the kids if they were doing their job.

Another time, I was at the swimming pool and there were some bigger boys playing roughly in the little kiddie pool. They were scaring the little kids. I couldn't see any parents (and there SHOULD have been, because these boys would have only been about 8), so I approached them and told them to stop their rough play because they were scaring the younger children and they almost hit my daughter. They didn't stop, so I went to the lifeguard. He dealt with it, and ended up removing them from the pool because they had no adult supervision (at our local pool all children under 12 must have an adult supervising them).

So basically, for me, it is one of those things where I assess the situation. If I need to say something, I will. If the parents won't deal with it, I will. I would never touch another person's child, or yell, or anything, but what is the harm in asking them to stop?

Tah - posted on 10/26/2010




i surely will say something...for instance..i told the kids that come over to our parking area to play ball to take it to the park because someone hit the back window of my truck so hard it left the flipping imprint of the ball in my window..my son thought it was a soccer sticker..do any of you play soccer boy...uhh no...so why would i have a soccer sticker..and when it breaks nonne will know anything so we will have to pay..so lets skip it and you go play somewhere else.....some kids were climbing on top of our storage shed..yes on top of...then they tried to run..my husband followed them, made them take our stuff back to our backyard, and then i told them that their parents have the same storage i do and they need to go climb on their parents crap and stay out of my backyard.....my neighbor is sweet but her 5 year old jumped at her in a threatening manner so i know telling her would be no help...if that were me..nevermind..that wouldn't be me..

.i will not put my hands on anybody else's child, but if you are acting like satan's spawn..you better beleive i am stepping in..esp if it involves my child...i will not remove them when you need to go unless it is dangerous...if you are bullying at the park..go home..and i always tell them where their parents can find me if they have any

questions..comments..complaints..maybe if you were watching your children...or weren't raising douches..lol...then i wouldn't have to say anything.

My children will not have to suffer or be uprooted because your child sucks..I still believe it takes a village to raise a child..if you see my child acting like they have no home training..tell them to knock it off..don't hit them or cuss at them and by all means if there is something i missed...let me know...it will be handled...most of the parents here feel the same way...some think thier children are just angels biding time til heaven scoops them up..of course they were the kids caught out in our backyards turning off the air conditioning units....

[deleted account]

If I saw a child being mean (hitting, throwing things) at a park, I'd first say something to the child's parent(s) and then make sure my son is out of harm's way. However, if I saw a child doing something dangerous I'd probably step in and try to stop them. I'd want someone to do the same thing for my son. As for disciplining though? I don't think it's acceptable at all to discipline a stranger's child. Ever. If the parents aren't right there when the child is misbehaving, then find them and let them handle their child. And if a stranger ever disciplined my son? Well, I'll just say I wouldn't be happy at all.

Edited to add: I just wanted to clarify that the above is how I feel when it comes to strangers. I have no problem with my close friends or family helping discipline my son. They all know my rules on discipline and as long as they follow them, I am happy to let the "village" help raise my son :)

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Tah - posted on 11/07/2010




so they sent a flyer around where we live..basically..so many children aren't being watched they are playing in people's carports and damaging property(imagine that)...also people have their young kids..like 2 and 3 over at the park by themselves(NOOO!!!! ya don't say) so they sent a flyer around to remind parents that children under six should be supervised at the park(my daughter is 9 and i supervise her at the park, my son is 13 and i can see the park from my living room, kitchen and upstairs bedroom and when i'm my balcony on the treadmill...don't tell him, but, he is supervised also..lol)

But why is somebody telling you this....these children are doing whatever they want, aren't being supervised and then the parents want to throw a fit when you say something to their child..what a croc....sometimes i take my dog and my 3 year old to the park and i become the nanny to 5 other kids who come to my ankle who want to play with majesty and have me catch them off the slide and push them on the swing, i don't mind, but you are my son's age no more than 5..where are your parents.....how can they not be here with you, what if someone is watching you, or bullying you or you are doing that to someone else..then they get on tv and cry....i mean seriously

Stifler's - posted on 11/07/2010




Yes!! I would probably not allow someone else to spank my kid but by all means, pull them up on bad behaviour like hitting others, being rude to others, snatching. When I babysit other people's kids I tell them off for doing things and if their parents aren't watching I'll tell them off. You have to tell them off when you catch them in the act or it's pointless to even say anything for example my nephew was playing outside and had grease on his hands and was about to wipe it on my sister in laws breakfast bar chairs (not his mothers) and I just went DON'T TOUCH THAT... GO AND WASH YOUR HANDS.

Amanda - posted on 11/06/2010




If I'm caring for other children in my home, I'll discipline not in the same way I do my own but I use time outs or sit down talks. If a friend is over I'll say something to them, and if nothing is done about it than I'll step in if I'm at my house. But i don't think I could ever yell at someones kid. I'm a very passive person with children and love them, and have a hard time being the "mean" person. I would rather be the "nice" friend of their mommys or daddys, versus the person they hate going to see! But that doesn't mean they walk all over me! I step up and say and do what I feel is necassary!

Jodi - posted on 10/27/2010




Depends, my nieces and nephews I have no problem talking to them in a firm tone and I have no problem with my sister's talking to my child. I have no problem giving my younger nephews time outs (my youngest niece is 10...kind of past time outs) and no problem if someone else gives my child a time out...but we all understand each other and are okay with that.

If there are children in my home (such as for a birthday party of a family gathering) I think it's my right to assert my house rules in a friendly manner. ("Franky, I don't allow hitting in my house, I don't want to see you hit anyone again.") If the parents don't control the next time it happens...I have no problem giving a time out...my house, my rules...I will not be disrespected by some little kid in my own home!

In public, it depends, usually I'll just tell my daughter what that child is doing is wrong and naughty and she is not to do it. If someone is bullying my kid I will say something to the child...if the child is in danger I will step in as I would want someone to prevent my child from getting hurt. I would never touch someone else's child or yell...only use direct eye contact and at most a firm tone. Not my place to do much else! If I ever caught anyone yelling at or disciplining my child I would throw a shit fit!

*edit to add I do not consider a few words in an appropriate tone of voice discipline by the way...it's giving a child direction.

[deleted account]

if its neice or nephew type thing or even some of my really close friends kids that we have the spoken understanding with if that parent is not right there then yes.. and vice versa.. i have given the momma bear reaction in public when the offending childs parent is right there and doesnt do a damn thing esp if my kid has been hit or pushed on purpose which luckily i dont see too often, i do say it somewhat politely.. and have even gotten knee jerk reactions from that parent.. my response is well you should be watching ur child better.. i wouldnt have said what i said if i felt like you gave a damn lol.. just sayin and i have also done what dana said she does.. very loudly

[deleted account]

Unless it's directly effecting me or my child, I typically won't say anything and IF I do, I'll just go out of my way to say something like, "HITTING IS WRONG, ROXANNE - THAT BOY SHOULDN'T BE HITTING YOU! WALK AWAY FROM HIM. HE'S A BULLY!" right in front of his parents so they'll get the hint. Mature, right? lmao.

Rosie - posted on 10/26/2010




um yeah i will if it is directly affecting my child. if they are just being little shits-it depends on how old the child is. usually older children i have no problem calling out on their actions, younger ones, i'm a bit iffy. it all depends on the situation i guess.

[deleted account]

I don't know about "disciplining" someone else's child but if I see a child doing something (potentially) dangerous I will step in. If it's an action they're going to do or are doing, I'll let them know it's not a good idea. It takes a village to raise a child. The more kids know that they can't get away with things out in public (because they're risking censure from others than their parents), the better behaved they will be.

Kimberly - posted on 10/26/2010




I discipline my niece only after I watch her repeatedly defy my mother. She is 7 and a bit on the bratty side except when she is at my house. She knows I will not stand for it and is always a perfect angel in my presence.

Now with the children of strangers... If I saw something getting out of hand and the parents were no where in sight I would say something to the kid. Otherwise I would get the parent's attention. If the parent did nothing I would contact security or a police officer. I'm not a "just walk away" kind of person, especially if child is in danger.

Hannah - posted on 10/26/2010




I have gotten my mommy feathers ruffled a few times at the park. I usually give kids a 3 strike your out. If they do something to intentionally hurt my child or another, I will give them three strikes. Once they hit the three strike, I am either telling them to knock it off or I'm looking for the parents.

There was a bigger boy, about 4 yrs old, who was picking on Brody. I gave him two times until I realized he was intentionally running into my son. I went right over to him, bent down to his level, looked him right in the eyes and said in a stern voice "DO NOT let me EVER see you do that again." He was done after that!
My uncle who is only a couple years older than me is dating an 18 yr old punk girl. He is 30 mind you. Anyway, I have only known her a couple months now and they happen to live with my parents. My mom watches my kids during the day. My mom called me to say that this 18 yr old had swatted my daughter on the behind. I was livid. I wanted to leave work and go home to kick her ass! DONT FUCKING TOUCH MY CHILD!!!! If I dont know you. It is ok for my mom to! :)

Bonnie - posted on 10/26/2010




Within reason yes. If it has something to do with my kids or my property, than yes I will step in, but only verbally, not physically.

Sharon - posted on 10/26/2010




i correct my neighbors kids. I even ear flick them or slap them in the head. Mind you, I don't haul off and hit the shit out of them. More like a quick flick upside the head and not for the younger ones. My 15 yr old and their 14 yr old can get lippy or enjoy burping in my ear while I drive. If they are close enough they get flicked in the head.

The neighbors don't mind. We jokingly say "go ahead and beat 'em if they need it!"

I've used my marine corps drill instructor voice on them, once in front of their dad, it scared him, lol!!! But he was astonished at the INSTANT attention I got from his kids and mine. When that voice gets used, you are in DEEP KIMCHEE. But the look on his face was utterly priceless and I broke down in giggles.

But we are fairly close and I would never do that anyone elses' kids.

IF they are acting out against my kids - I'll probably tell them "WE DON'T DO THAT." Or ask them to step away, etc, IF their parent isn't around or isn't paying any attention.

Jenn - posted on 10/26/2010




If I'm somewhere where there are other kids, or someone is at my house with their kids, and they don't see their kid doing something wrong I have no problem stepping in and saying something or even physically removing their child from a situation if I need to. I would never spank someone's kid though, but I have put them in the naughty spot but only when they were left in my care.

[deleted account]

No if there not mine and i have no part in there upbringing, its not my place.

I have to say i had my daughter in her school line and a child was kicking the legs off a boy behind her and being very nasty.I looked to were all the parents of my child's line were and all were looking but the parents of these to children had already left for work.Nobody was bothered so i stepped in and politely asked the girl to stop and to say sorry as kicking another person wasnt nice..i was in no way intimidating and i also explained what had happened to the class teacher.She was 100% okay with what i did..she said she would expect the same if it was her daughter and she wasnt there.I have to say nobody was going to do anything..what if it was there child receiving the kicks& they were not there to help there child?.There are times you do need to step in.Only in that scenario i would step in.

Sal - posted on 10/26/2010




ohhh how tricky is this.....my sisters kids, she knows my rules and deciplines and i know hers and we have no issues, i was part of a really wonderful mums group, and we pretty much had group rules, we had done a parenting course together and we all knew the rules, it worked great, the main responsibility fell to mum, but everyone was comfortable stopping bad behaviour and letting mum know, usually the 1 2 3 method worked and nothing else was usually needed, getting mum aafter the fact sometime just made a bigger deal and got the child more attention, but that being said a random kid at a party or shops i don't know, stopping a child from getting hurt, either from hitting or dangerous behaviour i have little problem with.;..i would want someone to stop my child running on the road for example, but other than that not really confident in the response of the other parent, ( i once grabbed a little one from getting on the road while mum window shopped and mum just glared and said "i 've got it under control' yeah right she was literally on the tar!) if they are watching and ignoring their either not interested or have other motives , and if no one is getting hurt it really isn't my problem ( i know i try and ignor bad behaviour from my tanty throwing 3 yr old and if other people intervein she just get the attention she wants so as long as no body is getting hurt i just let her go on with it, the whole tihing is over much quicker that way, and if she doesn't get any response she gives up - only for tantrums i might add, )

Becky - posted on 10/25/2010




If I know the kids, like at our moms and tots group, I would ask them to stop doing something, to share, tell them, no that's not your cup, etc. If they're strangers though, I wouldn't step in unless it affected one of my children or the kid was going to get hurt. I tend to be a little passive-aggressive in situations like that. If children are being pushy or not taking turns on the playground equipment, I'll tell Cole, loudly, "Let's go Cole, because these kids don't know how to share." Yes, it's maybe a little rude.

[deleted account]

If a kid is being mean to another kid... I'll tell them to knock it off and then let it go (unless it were to be quite violent, but I've never encountered that yet). If a child is being mean to one of MY kids.... I will tell them to knock it off. If they don't... I will stop them and/or remove my child w/ only as much intervention is necessary.

That is all assuming I'm not the person in charge of the offending child. In that case... kid gets told to knock it off. If that doesn't work... time out. :)

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 10/25/2010




If I seen a kid doing something wrong I would tell them to stop, unless I seen there parent around…then I would let the parent know what is going on.

I lived down the street from my sons daycare, so many mornings I would just walk him…one day on the way, a group of kids were waiting at the bus stop, and there was a little boy who had this girls backpack,,,would not give it back. So when I got closer her I told him to give it back to her. Never seen the kids in my life, but I could tell the little girl was not playing.

If it had something to do with my son, I would step in, and let the parent know later….

[deleted account]

I will correct and discipline my nieces and nephews in a heartbeat, parents present or not. I expect them to do the same with my child.

With strangers I have no problem stopping a child from doing something dangerous.

But I'm such a wimp when it comes to anything past that. Twice my child has been "bullied" and I froze and just took my child out of the situation instead of speaking to the parents. The first time a girl in our music class was hitting other children. Her dad never disciplined her or apologized to the other parents. I switched to another class rather than deal with it. The second time my daughter was coloring in a kids' play corner in a kids' clothing store. Another kid took her book and colors. I just paid and left as quickly as possible instead of dealing with it. :/

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