Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Keep 'Em In Line

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!


Robyn said...

I've done it twice that I can think of, but both were cases when a older girl was picking on mine. One girl had actually went up and spanked my girl and I immediately asked her what she thought she was doing and her reply, I was just wiping the dirt off. Yeah, sure you were.

Hilary said...

I think you're doing the right thing. It does indeed take that village to raise a child and I'm grateful for all of the villagers who helped with mine when they said or did something just out of earshot or view. It's those parents (and I think we've all seen them) who decide that it's ok to discipline a child even when that child's parent is present.. that bugs me. But you're doing just fine.. carry on. :)

Brittany said...

I think when it directly impacts you or your children, you are right to do so. I have done the same, when my kids have been around (correcting kids who are talking inappropriately, etc.). Kids pick up on things so quickly and will model what they see their peers doing. SO, in order to show our children what's right or wrong, we have to do that! Great job, mama!

Anonymous said...

I would want to do it too, in fact I probably would, taking care not to lay so much as a finger on them, the law being such an ass these days.

Once upon a time, adults were treated with respect, now WE have to watch our Ps and Qs.

Mom24 said...

I don't think you're out of line at all. I think you're definitely right on. I wish more people would step in and say this is not okay.

Good for you.

Jeni said...

You've definitely got my vote of approval! Growing up in a very small town, along the street where I lived (still do live in the same house as a matter of fact) every mother along this street had the same power of discipline over each of us kids who lived here then as our own mothers had over us! As a result, I had nine other Moms plus all the other women along the street too who had never had children but knew what was right or wrong and had no qualms about telling us this either. They didn't just look after us to keep us in line, doing the correct things, but also watched over us as to our safety too. I firmly believe it most certainly DOES take a village!

MamaB said...

In complete agreement with you! I have had to scold a few kids at the playground when they (age 6-8) would be horsing around and pushing my kids out of the way (age 2). Luckily their parent was close by saw what happened, apologized for their kid, made the kid apologize and then thanked me for stepping in.

What I hate is when there are young kids playing at the playground and wanting to go slide or doing something that is a little challenging for their age and their parent or guardian is too busy talking on their cell phone to come over and help their kid or watch their kid.

Your doing a great job Kat! And I hope someone corrects my kiddos if they do something inappropriate.

Riahli said...

Awesome! I say good job. We all need to work together!!

I tend to wait and see if the parent is going to address the behavior (although a few times I might have over stepped) and if they don't then I instinctively correct. I work in childcare though and it's just second nature I suppose to be watching and correcting other children's behavior (as well as my own children). When a daycare parent comes into my home I do leave the correcting up to them, it's their child after all and I want to give them a chance to work with their own child...unless they are ignoring a rule in my house, then I feel as if I must step in. I do always only give friendly reminders. I never cross the line into time outs or other discipline techniques with some one else's child (except occasionally with a daycare kid). I can say that I don't like it if someone corrects my child with out giving me a chance to do it first, but if I wasn't around or didn't see what happened I would want an adult to address the issue for sure. I do agree that it takes a village to raise a child. When ever I leave my children with someone else I always talk to them about discipline (what to watch out for with my kids, how it works in our family, how they do it in theirs, etc.) I let them know that I don't want them to "take it easy" on my kids just because they are visiting, that I expect my children to follow their house rules. With all of my close friends we are comfortable correcting each others children, although we leave the big stuff to the appropriate parent. I think one of the reasons this is such a hard topic is because so many people discipline in different ways. Some times it's a big difference. Being consistent with children is SO important, so when someone else steps in it can be confusing for the child if the way they are correcting (or what they are correcting) is way different then what they are use to. That doesn't mean that a child shouldn't be corrected for obviously inappropriate behavior, I just think it's a good thing to keep in mind. :)

Phew...did I write enough about that...sad thing is I could write so much more about it...ha, ha! Great topic by the way. :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm giving you a virtual fist bump. When I became a teacher I started doing this--it DOES take a village and I always step in--nicely if it's an error in judgment (throwing rocks at animals) and with my mean teacher face when it's merited (bullying) and kids ALWAYS respond. I've yet to have a parent get in my face about it. And of course it's easier to do this when my own kids are with me.

Kelly said...

Great post and I agree with you! I often look around and give the parent an opportunity to say something but if they don't I will, especially if it's something that is hurtful to themself or someone else. As a high school teacher, my husband deals with some horrible behavior problems and thinks that parents aren't disciplining anymore. I'm perfectly fine with other correcting my kids if I'm not around. If I am around, you can be darn sure I'll take care of it. High five on approaching the high school kids....don't know if I would have been that brave. LOL I hate bullying of any kind

Courtney said...

I am all about The Villiage as long as it is done in a calm non physical way. I was raised by a villiage and fill as you that if we were more like this than kids wouldnt be as out of hand as they often are these days.

I have more than once corrected a child in front of there parents who just seem to not hear or dont care. I dont liek certain talk in front of my young children and certain things will not be done infront of my kids as long as i am there to stop it.

Michelle Faith said...

I love love love you!! I feel the same way.
I do the same thing, and not always in a calm way. Kids now days (Gosh I sound old) Do Not fear adults and act up no matter whos around. I think putting a little fear of God into them is a good thing.
I've gone as far as stoping my car in the middle of the street and getting out to yell at a kid for zipping out in front of me on his bike and not wearing a his helmet
I think you rock and hell yeah please correct my child.

Michelle Faith said...

BTW I've added you to my blog roll...cause your cool like that.

ewe are here said...

If parents aren't around/right there, I'll generally step in to stop a child from hurting another child or quietly admonish them for poor behavior. And I expect other people to do the same for mine if they need a reminder re behavior and I'm not there.

I actually stopped going to one particular play group after a mere 2 visits a few years ago due to crappy parenting. For some odd reason, the moms there didn't pay any attention to their kids, wanted to drink their tea and chat in peace, while their kids did whatever. And there were a lot of bigger kids picking on smaller kids ... including my little Ramekin at the time. I was not having that and stepped in repeatedly, to the annoyance of some of the moms. Heck, one kid even started hitting his mother when she finally tried to discipline him over really horrendous behavior towards smaller kids; she threw up her hands, literally, and walked away, leaving him to do as he liked. That was it for me; I told the person in charge exactly why I would not be back.

Emily said...

You know, I think it's great you're getting involved. As you pointed out, we don't always do that as a society anymore and look where it's gotten us.

Dawn said...

It's very hard for me, and I have to muster up all the courage that I possibly can, but I will speak up and correct another child if I feel like I have to. You did the right thing. I would not be offended if someone corrected one of my children...embarrassed maybe. ;)

Tonya said...

I sometimes like it when another adult steps in and says something to my kids when they are acting up because then they realize it isn't just me or strict rules I am making them follow, though that has only happened one time I can think of when some one stepped in. As for other kids. I do usually say something and most of the time the kids are respectful but the one time they weren't I watched to see which parent the kid when to and then went and talked to their parent. The parent then handled it very appropriately. There was only one time a parent got mad at me. It was at the pool and the baby was about 14 months old. We were in the shallow end and this kid kept splashing her with water to the point she was gagging on it. He would go under then jump up and splash her then go back under. So I gently pulled him up and asked him not to splash her because she was a baby. The parent a man got mad that I "touched" his kid. I didn't back down and I think he was thinking I can scare her because she is at the pool alone. Though the mom was mumbling stuff's a pool you're going to get wet. Which was totally not the issue. Needless to say, my hubby said next time I need to go to the lifeguard if another parent approaches me like he did or call 911 because he got in my face and was yelling at me. My hubby said pool incidents are some of the biggest problems they have in the summer. It was really ridiculous. Those parents of the unruly kids are sometimes the worst. But I will say that kid left us alone :) I know one summer my second oldest was being picked on at the pool by some kid he didn't even know. We told the lifeguard and the kid was warned and then set home for not leaving my son alone. That is my two cents now that I have written a book! HA.

painted maypole said...

One day when I was driving MQ to school I saw some kids pushing another kid around at the bus stop, in front of some condos. I stopped my car and told them to stop. I got the same sort of "he's our friend, we're just playing" answer, and I made it clear that if I saw that ever again I would be calling the police. I never saw it again. And I would have called the police.

Sara said...

I have done it before, too. I think if we are calm (well, pretty calm) and level-headed about it, there is nothing wrong with stepping up when necessary.

Dysfunctional Mom said...

OMG, I LOVE your new background!
Anyway, I have done it before, mostly when it involves my child though (like if the kid is picking on or bothering MY child). However, I wouldn't hesitate to do it if I needed to if it involved another child. Someone has to, and if the parent can't/won't, I will!

Dysfunctional Mom said...

Oh - and usually I don't have an issue but in one case I got into a nasty confrontation with a mom because her son hit my son and she wasn't paying attention, and didn't like me fussing at her precious baby!

Anonymous said...

I want to live in your village.

Krystyn said...

Yes, all grown ups should be involved...because, seriously, the high schoolers I teach, constantly tell me "you're not my mom."

Guess what, I don't care, you shouldn't act like that. And, maybe if I was your mom, you would be acting like you are right now...just saying.

Good for you for speaking up.

lime said...

i have no problem with how you handled those situations since there was no parent coming to do such a thing. not one problem with it at all.

Jill said...

YOU ROCK!! I'm a firm believer in good manners, whether kids are young or old.

And just like you, I have NO PROBLEM disciplining another child if they're not acting appropriately. I would want someone to do it to my kids... though admittedly, not everyone feels the same.

Lisa said...

The teacher in me always comes out when I'm in a situation like that. I will wait to see if the parent is going to step in, and if they don't, I will. I hope someone would do the same with my kiddos :)
Way to go Kat!

Not Your Aunt B said...

I would hope everyone is that way. If we all reinforce the same message, all are polite, all follow the rules, the only thing we get out of it is really great kids! I would want that for my kids- you're not always there in that second that they need reprimanding. Sometimes it works better when it comes from someone else- it tells them we all think this way.

Nishant said...

I think you're definitely right on. I wish more people would step in and say this is not okay.
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