Recently, it seems that every time I have taken the kids to the park I have had to discipline other people's children. Now, I know this is a very taboo subject but I'm gonna go there anyway.
The first incident happened when we were at the zoo and a boy, I'd guess he was about 8 years old, starting throwing rocks at the bison who were just a few feet away. Without even glancing around to see if his parents were watching I immediately said, "Oh no, honey, don't throw rocks at the animals." The kid looked at me like I had horns, but he stopped. The mother must have seen what happened and walked over and dragged her child away. I'm not sure if she was embarrassed at what he did or angry that I scolded him. Truthfully, I don't care.
Yesterday we were at the park and some boys, again probably about 7 or 8 years old, were chasing each other around. One of them said, "I'm gonna kick your God darn butt!" Without even thinking I said, "Oh, don't talk like that. Uh-uh." To the kid's credit he looked embarrassed and right away tried to make polite conversation with me which I happily agreed to.
In both of these situations the parents were not far away but just far enough that they did not hear or see what was happening. I, however, did see it. And I have no issue with calmly letting someone else's child know that certain behaviors are not acceptable.
I see parents do this less and less, but when I was a child it was common. My friends and I knew that just because our parents weren't around it did not mean that we would not get in trouble. And that is a very important thing for kids to know. If my kids were misbehaving and I didn't see it I would hope that another adult would calmly tell them they are not acting appropriately. In my mind, it does take a village to raise a child. I think that if more people were willing to step out of their comfort zone and speak up there would be a lot less children growing up feeling entitled to do whatever they want to do whether it is bullying, teasing, or just misbehaving. When parents are not around some kids think they can do whatever they want.
Case and point, our old house is two blocks away from a high school and many of the kids would walk by our house on the way home from school. One day as I was getting the mail I saw a group of 4 or 5 kids pushing another kid around, throwing his backpack into the street, tripping him, and basically picking on him. I got so mad I came out of my house and said, "What the hell are you doing?" The kids quickly told me that he was a friend of theirs and I basically told them they were pretty crappy friends. I let them know that they had better knock it off or I would become "their friend" and dish out a little of their own.
Perhaps I was a little harsh in that situation but it really made me angry. If there is one thing I can't stand it is a group of kids picking on ONE kid. Bunch of cowards.
I saw that same group of kids just about every day and they never acted like that again. At least not in front of my house. Though I will admit I kept waiting for our house to get toilet papered after that incident. ;)
So, I want to know, what do you think? Am I out of line correcting other kids' behavior? Would you have been angry with me if you were the kids' parents in any of those situations? Have you ever corrected or scolded someone else's child? What happened? Was the parent upset? Let me hear it, readers!