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Hi there,
I have this problem a lot. We belong to a cooperative nursery school so as parents we work in the classroom and have to disipline other people's children. It of course carries over to non working times,H say at a school funciton or party. I see it this way: If you are busy or distracted and your child is harming another, a firm but gentle reproach is necessary. If it is a matter of loudness or general childhood chaos that is not hurting anyone, walk away. We are coached to say things like " These are my house /classroom rules.#1....." Or "It's not friendly to hit" Or "It is friendly to say Please!" But first and foremost safety! Then sanity. I can tell you that I appreicate other parents at our school asking my child to behave or (gulp) apologize. It does take a village! And if more people participated in this belief, we would have less worries about offending everyone and better citizens of this world we share.
Just my fifty cents, beacuse as usual I could not keep it to two. :)

Miss Manners, I believe, recommends catching the offender firmly by the arm, and saying in a fake sweet voice: "Oh don't do that dear - you might hurt yourself" ... with the pressure of the hand on the arm suggesting just WHERE that hurt may come from.

I have a seven year old, and the rules since day one have been the same - when in my house, you follow my rules. I really don't care if your mom lets you set fire to the couch - you are not doing it here (okay, not really, and I say it nicely, but you get the gist of it). As for being at someone else's house and seeing THEIR kids act up, I do the "Let's not do that, what would your mother say" thing. Most times, they stop. On occasion, they'll pop back with "Oh, she lets us swing from the curtains!" or whatever, to which I respond with a quick word with the mom. If she's letting her kids get away with such things, then I probably don't want to be there in the first place.

It does take a village, Tertia. Unfortunately, there will be many times where you ARE the village...for a lot more people than you birthed!

I have no problem disciplining other people's kids or them doing it to mine. I would never put my hands on someone else's child or raise my voice unless it was a dangerous situation. But my friends and I are all lucky enough to have a similar rule set, so no one bats an eyelash if someone tells a child to stop hitting/jumping on the couch/stealing toys/etc. I will never admit it to my kids but I do not have eyes in the back of my head so if someone else sees my kids do something wrong I appreciate the backup.
But, as Judy said if I see a mom letting her kid do things that I really question or disapprove of and it's clear that she has no intention of correcting them- we will not be spending much time together after that.

I think I'm going against everyone else whos commented so far, but I don't like when other people discipline my children. Well, let me clarify. If I am standing there and see them doing whatever it is they are doing, in my own home, and don't tell them to stop, I don't think the other parent should take it upon themselves to stop them. These are my children, this is my house. If I was at another's house, I would expect them to tell me if they didn't want my kids doing something. And, when my kids have friends over with parents, I tell the parents "Oh, our furniture is new, could you make him STOP coloring on it with a sharpie?" I feel funny disciplining other people's kids...I know I don't like it when they discipline mine.

I have disciplined the neighborhood kids when they are doing something bad (like kicking at the neighbor's dog). In my house, though, kids will follow my rules. I very clearly tell them when they are breaking the rules and that they must not touch my computer or pull the books off the shelves or lean on the dogs. I would do the same thing to an adult, by the way. I don't see why people feel like their kids should be allowed to run unchecked in someone else's house.

I told some random kid at the mall to cover his mouth while he was coughing, but I don't think he spoke enough English to understand, does that count?

I will speak up if I see my friends' kids doing things I know they shouldn't, but I have an unusually close relationship with the friends in question. Like Anny and her friends, we share very similar parenting ideals. Usually it's a matter of the other mom not being aware of what her kid just did. If I'm not sure if the kid is breaking house rules, or if I don't know the mother so well, I'll ask the kid, in a voice loud enough to be heard by the mother, something along the lines of "are you allowed to climb on tables?" That way, I'm not really scolding, but the mother is alerted that she may need to step in.

The one way to guarantee that I will reprimand another kid is if that kid hurts mine. I don't care whose kid it is, if some brat hits or bites or throws something at my kid (or me) I will tell them quite firmly not to do that, and I will physically remove the offender from near my child if the kid doesn't listen.

My house, my rules, my disclipline. If "Mommy" doesn't like it, then don't come over. (Harsh, I know -- but it is my house and the rules are for everyone, not just my family. And I would never lay a hand on somebody else's children.)

Visiting somebody else's house -- their rules (but I would not, for example, allow my child to jump on the furniture even if their's were allowed to do so.) If I feel my child is in physical danger, I would grab my child out of harm's way and ask the parent's help with disclipline. If the parent's do not feel that their child requires disclipline, I will leave. This actually happened when my daughter was two years old. I was visiting a friend and her three year old boy was rather, um, well, very much BOY. I heard my daughter scream. So I went to check -- and the three-year old boy was choking her! Yes, folks, choking her. I separated them and took her with me to the other room to see the Mom and Grandma, showed them the marks on her neck and told them what was happening. They both laughed it off and said "well, boys will be boys." I decided that having my daughter turn blue was not on the agenda for that night, so I politely gathered my things and left!

In general, I believe that children should sort it out themselves, but sometimes it goes beyond simple arguements and adult intervention is appropriate.

If my child was doing something 'wrong' I did not mind if another adult corrected her. I would generally reinforce the correction with her as well. There would be times that I felt that the other adult's correction was uncalled for, and I would say so. Yes, I did on occasion feel offended when another person would disclipline my daughter -- but I think that was the "mama bear" in me coming out!

I am much older than most of your readers. When I was growing up, any parent in the neighborhood had free license to disclipline any child that was not behaving. Period. No questions asked. None of us were abused or beaten -- but we were expected to respect all adults. I guess I had a pretty good village! (Actually, it was a small town in North Dakota.)

OK -- this is way too long for a comment! I should make this a post in my own blog!

i dont mind it if im occupied elsewhere or distracted doing something. I dont like it though, when im right there, just about to say something and someone else decides they need to speak up. So i guess you have to take case by case basis.

I like the thought that we are all responsible for each other and for each other's children. I can't see a child crying without interfering spontaneously, but I try to do it not by reprimanding but by de-escalating the situation, giving extra attention to the child in distress or, in your situation, calling the mother in. "Come on, let me do the coffee so you can help them sort it out", in a nice way. As parents, we know how it is... and tomorrow it can be you in her shoes.

And children misbehaving in our house? Well, I think it's perfectly okay to say in a very nice tone, "in our house, we don't step on the sofa, but I guess you are bored a bit. What about doing a puzzle... helping me set the table or whip the cream..." etc.

I'm a bit older and have older kids so probably I get away with the benevolent matron role - at least that's what I tell myself ;-)

Don't forget, every action or non-action you decide upon has an educational impact. By NOT reacting when Mary is crying you tell her something about herself. I think there is no way an adult can ignore a crying child. I have never been able and oh, I nearly forgot ... once I passed a neigbor's house and heard a child crying, ran inside and found a helpless little boy in front of a burning microwave. It was great luck that I came along!

So go after your guts, react. If you see the mother takes offense, you can always hug her and say, "look, I'm sorry I'm such a meddling type but I love this dear girl of yours and couldn't see her cry, forgive me".

It's always okay to look at a kid who is being a bother and say, "I need you to stop whining like that - it hurts my head".

It is always okay to enforce the rules of your house in your house. You just say "in our house we don't..." and stick with it.

Why is this even a question? Kids don't get to ruin your day just because they have parents who ignore bad behavior. That's my philosophy.

-My house, my rules. Enforced by stopping offending child and saying, directly to them, "That's not allowed in this house." Repeat until child listens or leaves.

-Other people's houses, their rules for their children but my rules for my child. In otherwords, other people's little darlings can whine, but my son cannot and so on. The only exception is if they try to hurt my child, then I will step in.

Honestly, over the years, I've found that I've fallen out of contact with friends whose parenting style is very different from my own. Life is short and it's just so much easier to hang out with other families when all the kids are basically on the same page. Then village-style parenting is just normal and not awkward as hell.

PS Sometimes in a group situation, it helps to ignore Whiny and focus on Victim. Offer to read a book with V or something like that. Then when W wants to start in, you are in a natural position to say, "We're doing X right now, if you'd like to join in and cooperate, wonderful. If not, please play somewhere else." Repeat, repeat, repeat.

I would not correct someone else's child as a guest in her home unless she were not present and the kids were hurting each other. I would be offended if a guest in my home corrected my children in a situation where I would have let them work it out. In most other situations (the park, group settings), I rarely feel the need to say anything, but I will if it is really necessary.

In my house it's my rules. I tone it down a bit for kids that aren't my own, be a little bit more polite and less head-spinning-monster-mom, but this is MY home. No throwing inside. No screaming inside. No jumping off the couch, pushing, hitting, etc. I feel free to jump right in no matter whose kid it is and assert my rules. At there house, it's their rules. I'll control MY kids, and if I see their kids doing soemthing aweful TO my kids ( hitting, pushing, etc) then I'll gently reprimand them OR bring the offence to their mothers attention ( after removing my child from the situation). If it is their kids doing things to each other at their house, their Mom is in charge of them. I might draw her attention to the situation with a cautious "is that OK with you, not sure..." and let her deal with it in whatever way she wants. her kids. her house.

"look, I'm sorry I'm such a meddling type but I love this dear girl of yours and couldn't see her cry, forgive me".

I LOVE this and will use it from now on in all situations like the ones presented above. How brilliant!

I so know where you are coming from with this. Here's my thoughts on it. My husband and I are pretty strict on my two children about their behavior. So if we are somewhere and my children are doing something we are very quick to reprimand them. So if my kids are doing something right in front of me and I don't say anything then I think it's alright and would be upset if someone else reprimanded them. UNLESS it was in their house and it was against their rules, then I would think it would be perfectly fine to correct them. It especially drives me crazy when a friend of my husband who does not have children is around. He constantly reprimands my children in front of me for things, regardless of where we are.My feeling is he does not have kids and is not around children very often so really has no idea how children act and so should not tell mine what to do because it is well known that my husband and I make our children mind. So if they are doing something right in front of me and I don't say anything then I feel it is alright and it is really none of his business. Again all bets are off if it is the other persons house, you absolutley have the right to expect people to follow your rules in your own house. The flip side is if I am not around or paying attention and my kids are misbehaving I would expect whoever is with them to make them mind or correct them.

I am full a part of the village raising the children and honestly, our schools will not improve until parents return to believing that it is ok for teachers or adults to "parent" their child. I parent any and all children around me, a parented a child at a church function the other night that I had never seen before. It is the educator in my or so I say. Our children have to learn to respect authority figures and at the same time make judgments about which authority figures are genuine. That sounds like a lot to inflict on a small child but I grew up respecting authority and knowing which authority was bad news. I was able to make the distinction...I'm sure my children can too. In the meantime, the adults in my family and my circle of friends will find that I parent their children and I openly encourage them to parent mine.

I think it depends on a lot of things - the ages of the kids, what's going on, and what you mean by discipline.

In someone else's home I'd just raise my voice and ask the parents there something like "I see there's a pushing and crying situation out here, how'd you like me to handle it?" (Which would probably solve the situation.)

In my home we do have house rules but I express them like "The couch is not for jumping on," and then redirect. I wouldn't raise my voice at someone else's child unless it was a safety issue.

I remember more than once having a conversation with my neighbor, or trying to, and having her child bellow "Mama! Mama!" at her while we were talking. And this was a preteen, and there was no emergency. I would reflexively turn to the kid and say, "Meredith, please! I am talking to your mother!" and then apologize to her mother, and her mother would weakly say, "Yes, Meredith, we're talking." The kid ran roughshod over her mother, and her mother would never correct her for anything. But I tried not to correct her, honestly.

I think how far you go correcting the kid depends on the relationship you have with the mom. I think you should never tolerate physical bullying under the guise of "letting them sort it out". I like the suggestions above. And I think in your house, you have the perfect right to say "please don't jump on the couch," and if you say it in front of Mom, and the kid doesn't stop, and Mom doesn't do anything, then you go and take the kid by the arm and escort him off the couch. If Mom doesn't like it she can take her brat elsewhere. Just my opinion.

Oh Tertia, you worry too much. Just haul off & smack 'em.

I make sure my kids know that any adult has the same discipline rights as I do. That means their teachers, their grandparents, and my friends. I'm the "mean" mom out of most of my friends, but I will. not. tolerate. having a bratty kid. He might get bratty, but he suffers the consequences.

If I see a kid doing something I would consider downright rude/naughty, I have no problem disciplining him/her and would expect another parent to do the same for Gromit.

I'm not talking about basic manners, necessarily. While some parents, say, let their kids down from the table without saying "may I leave the table", (like, you know, me!), everyone knows that slapping and biting people, pulling dog's tails and throwing food is out of the question.

Sam's take on this is "If they don't want to parent their children, I'm happy to do it for them."

That being said: What kids do in my house/car/personal space IS my business. If somebody's kids want to run around like coked up Meerkats at their own house and I'm not there, hey, I don't care. If, however, I'm at their house and they're digging through my purse, screaming in my ear, hurting eachother, etc, hey, that's my business, too.

One thing I always loved about an old friend of mine is that if her children were acting up out of her line of sight and you yelled "Child! Cut that out!" she wouldn't run in and yell at you or the child, she would just quietly ask you what they were doing, then thank you for correcting them. Situation handled.

My house, my rules. Simple as that. When my kids were little and we had a playdate at my house, when mom and friend arrived I would set out the rules right in front of mom. So if she wasn't going to say anything, then I was. Period. Never had an issue with it because most on the ball moms didn't want my head to explode when their kids were horrid and didn't follow the rules. One of my steadfast rules is, you help clean up before you leave. It isn't a maybe, it's a given. You helped make the mess, you help clean it up. THAT was the one rule that I had the most trouble with. I can't tell you how many moms wanted to get out of that one, but I stood fast. It actually killed a friendship I had with one mom because she just couldn't let her little precious isabel pick up her mess... it was too hard. Now Isabel was 6 month older than my kids, but...

Outside my home, it's more of a village but.... NO HITTING. My BFF is a hitter and we've had to talk to her on MANY occasions not to touch my kids. She is known to slap hands, which is a complete no-no in my book. But I definately don't let her kids get away with anything, even in their own house. If they cross a line, I'll say something. But I don't ever touch them. Touching goes over the line. Now my BFF is kinda bossy (and kinda is being kind) and she tends to like to tell my kids what to wear, etc. Last winter she even went into the dressing room with my then 13 YO daughter for a tryon, and my daughter was almost in hysterics. But that's my friend. She's just a tad bit aspergers and she misses a lot of borderline signals so I have to tell her when she's crossed the line.

I don't mind in synagogue or in a public place when someone reprimands my kids. That's what being part of a community is about. Once your kids are in school and there are more adults responsible for their behavior, you'll find that this isn't a big issue anymore. But for right now, I'd say that you make the rules in your house, and you use good judgement and DO NOT SLAP other people's kids. :-)

I am a teacher by profession, so am always wading into situations in the street with teenagers (whose first response, usually, is: " Are you a teacher?" as though only the teachers in their lives ever discipline them). I always ask children to stop doing dangerous or annoying things in my house, and have lost friendships over it -to wit, the eight-year old kid I asked to get off the middle of our dining room table ("he's just exploring his environment", whined his mum to which my mental response was "Well, let him explore the environment of the garden, then"), same kid throwing our game pieces, puzzle parts and chessmen at random around the room, or his older brother visibly gagging when required to eat carrots at dinner (didn't say anything that time, just glared)

These kids are a slightly extreme example, but I do believe that their perfectly bright parents should be more sensitive to what is and is not allowed in other people's houses. Like someone above, and although they are good friends, I have got to the take it or leave it stage with them. If they're not happy with the way we do things, they can just stay away.

People should be bringing up their children to fit in with society, not expecting society to bend to their children's excesses. That way lise madness, as evidenced by the situation we have now in the UK with out of control kids ruling the streets after dark and running our schools. My rule for my children when tehy go to our people's houses is that they should fit in with whatever is allowed at that other house, not expect things to be the same. If they transgress a rule whilst under someone else's care, I would certainly expect them to be treated in the same way as that person's children (assuming other parents not child-beaters or psychopaths, etc...)

In your situation, it sounds as though you had temporary parental type custody of the two kids concerned, so I would think it perfectly acceptable to enforce calm. It might be worth checking with their mum how she deals with that sort of behaviour first, so that you are both singing from the same hymn sheet.

School teacher-turned-administrator here, and I have no problem gently disciplining kids in front of their parents. Oddly enough, students usually act up MORE when their parents are around (special assemblies, meals, field trips) than when they aren't.

However, I'm a new parent and haven't crossed the disciplining friends' kids bridge yet. I have to think it will be the same--and I certainly don't mind someone reminding mine to settle down or quit doing something harmful/annoying.

I've blogged about this in regards to disciplining other kids at local playgroups. Hey, if their parents aren't going to rein in their kids' bad behaviour, I will. Especially if they're being mean to or are going to physically hurt my little one or another little one. I've actually had parents glare at me when I've pulled their little monsters off smaller children and told them to stop whatever it is they were doing. Too darn bad!

In your own house, it's your own rules, period. I feel it's perfectly acceptable to say "Please bring those blocks back in the house, they are inside toys." or "Please get off the coffee table, we do not sit on the tables in our house."... in my own home.

I feel it's a lot harder to figure out what to do on neutral (playground) or someone else's "turf". On a playground, you can sometimes remove your child from the situation, even with a fairly pointed comment like "If you are trying to play with someone and they push you, play somewhere else. Pushing is mean."

If you are at someone elses house, it's harder to redirect but not impossible, with things like "X, why don't you go play with your cars/books/etc.! (instead of pulling your sisters hair?)"

My daughter (4) has fairly frequently gotten up from being shoved, pushed or hit with something (she's tiny and gets buffeted a lot), yelled "That was mean! I'm not going to play with you anymore!" and left to do something different/play with someone else. I also usually have a book or crayons in my bag for her if she wants to "time out" and do something quiet out of reach of the other kids for a bit (this usually lasts about 2 minutes until she wants to join in again). But that's more me knowing her temperment and what works with her. It's a lot harder knowing what to do with someone elses kid hitting/doing something inappopriate to someone elses kid :-P

I was in the grocery store the other day and a boy (about 7) was standing by the candy display. He was picking up candy bar after candy bar and breaking them, and then putting them back. I just kept my eyes trained on him until he noticed me watching. He got all sheepish and went and hid behind his mother after that. I WANTED to say something but realized that his mother would probably get pissy about it. So I "disciplined" him without saying a word. Something tells me he won't be doing that again anytime soon, though.

I hope that people help me discipline my kiddo, when she's older. Because I don't think anyone, even Supermom, can watch them all of the time. Sometimes a glare from a stranger is needed!

Must agree that adults should tell kids to stop misbehaving. I do buy into the "village" thing becasue I think it is a powerful pwerful message when people BESIDES your parents discipline you. I too have perfected the evil glare, often I mouth "STOP" silently at kids, and usually, when there is hitting involved, I ask the hitter why. "Why are you hitting your sister?" They usually stop. At the playground once two older girls 8-9 yrs old were teasing and running away from my 3 year old, who, of course, wanted desparately to play with them. When they ran by me I said, "Hey, I know you don't want to play with her, and that's fine. But you can't be mean to her either." They were shocked. I think they thought they were invisible. Thier mother walked by a little later and smiled and said, "Girls together, what can you do?" I said, "Tell them to stop." She was OK with it though.

I'm not big on disciplining other people's kids. Especially in their own home. If one child is hurting another, or doing something dangerous, I will stop it. Usually I will say, in a pleasant tone, "That's not nice hitting your sister. You shouldn't do that". If it didn't stop (and I've been in that situation) I physically stop it by eg picking up the younger sibling and saying "It's not nice when people hit, is it? Let's go play with the blocks..." (or whatever). I still have control, but I haven't had to get heavy on someone else's child. I have also gone to the parent in situations like this and said "I wasn't sure how you normally handle this, Steven is being rough with his sister and I didn't want to interfere".

As for rules, I am completely slack in my house. I have kid-friendly furniture. Jump on it all you want, you don't get to as an adult so enjoy it now. It's one of the joys of life. You can carry your full drink over there. You need to learn. If you spill some, we have cleaning supplies. No worries. But my kids know there is a different set of rules while visiting. And because of the freedom at home they never seem to have the urge to do it elsewhere. They are well-mannered and polite. If they do do something inappropriate I accept a "We don't jump on the couches at our house sweetie" (or whatever). I would not expect them to be "disciplined".

I do think it's important to have a village, to keep an eye on each other's kids and lend a hand. But I think the level of discipline from a stranger or even friend is very different to what should come from a parent.

I agree with the "my house, my rules, and your house your rules" philosophy. Also, if your children are not allowed to jump on the furniture at your house, they shouldn't be allowed to jump on it elsewhere. However, I was a teacher, and there is a zero tolerance for violence towards other children at most schools...which means no pushing, spitting, hitting, or bullying. I find it hard in situations where there kids running around to take my teacher hat off and allow them to hurt each other without saying something, and if a child is going to hurt themself and no one is watching but you...then you should definitely step in. My mother has been a teacher now for all of my life, and she has spoken to children in check out lines, restaurants, you name it...and I have never heard a parent once complain to her. If a child is treating YOU badly, making faces at dinner, running over your feet, pushing you out of the way, then you have a right to say something as you would to an adult, in my humble opinion.

At home, there is no jumping on the couch. We don't do that. You may step outside to jump off whatever incline or rise of stone wall catches your eye, or you may sit quietly on the couch and play with the fifteen varieties of toy I've set out for you. Your parents are not needed for these rules to be enforced, but they're welcome to leave if they prefer a rule-free zone.

Your parents are also welcome to enforce whatever rules they prefer, and we will remove items to aid them in that quest if they wish. So, for example, we are quite comfortable with small children strumming away at the guitar on its display stand, even if that produces occasionally screechy noises, but we will happily remove the guitar to another room if the child's parents have other standards.

As for the playing/fighting, the nice thing about the "Describe the problem, offer some solutions" reponse is that it transfers from your child to another without much stomping on parental prerogative. "Johnny and Mary, you both want this toy. Should we put the poor toy in a timeout, or will Mary give it to Johnny when she's done? Johnny, join me here with this truck while you decide. Ah, you've decided on the toy having a time-out!"

Probably I'm lucky to move in playdate circles with like-minded friends, all of whom excell at the "distraction" method of stopping inter-child warfare, none of whom hesitate to distract any child who needs it, regardless of the cihld's parentage.

I think that in your own home, you absolutely set the rules, for your children and other people's children. I think that when you are outside or at someone else's house and you see another child behaving badly to your own child (hitting, pushing, calling names) you are are allowed to say something along the lines "Hitting is not nice, and you need to stop that. Now isn't there a better game" that we can all play?" Firm and serious, but not agressive. I think when you are at someone else's house and you see other children behaving very badly, you should intervene if someone is getting hurt (or you think they might) and then ask them if their mother lets them do that? That should stop things and then you can find the mother and ask her. Apologize if the mother says it is OK with her. But the bottom line, IMO, is that as they grow up, children are going to have to learn to adapt to different situations and different people. At school, on vacation, etc. There is nothing wrong with saying "At Billy's house, we don't run inside. Those are the rules of his family." even if they are allowed to do it at home. I think that insisting that the same rules apply everywhere doesn't take into account the intelligence of our children. I mean, didn't everyone grow-up knowing that at Grandma's house the rules were quite different from those of mom and dad?

I have to agree with Victoria here. Sometimes a good thwack is the only aswer. ;)
This weekend, at the playground, a serious boy-bully was pushing my kid and pulling on his shirt. After I gave him the "FS" (Fixed Stare), I pleaded with the mother through mental telepathy and another FS from me to her...She decidedly chose to ignore me and let her kid bully mine. So, finally, i walked over to the brute, pulled him off of mine and said in a very stern voice, "Don't do that! It's not nice to push!". The mom finally got up off her arse to yell at the kid only b/c i had finally embarassed her and him publicly.
I have NO problem disciplining other people's kids in my house, out of my house, at their house, wherever it is neccessary.

I'm with you, Tertia. Hell, I scold kids at the school playground who aren't playing safely. If your Nerf football is bouncing off of parents and ricocheting through crowds, the area's too congested for a game of catch. If you're skateboarding into me, it's "Do you think this is a good place for that? Isn't it a little crowded right now?" (That exchange happened just an hour ago!) Or a loud "Hey, you guys knock it off!" Generally, the 8- to 12-year-old strangers I chastise look at me like I'm from Mars, but they listen at least half the time.

Me, I would say something politely and firmly, or try to distract the kid(s) with something else.

So how far does the village concept extend? Only to behaviour? Or also to concern over other children's well-being/health? I'm specifically referring to the friend's child over whom you had expressed (developmental) concerns.

Yes - please feel free to be my village if my kids are misbehaving at your house or in your presence. Do it firmly, without malice or violence, but let them know that there -are- rules and that they are expected to follow them.

That's the way the world works; if they aren't taught that now, then when?

Well, it takes a Viking to raze a village, if that helps..

My child is now 20 and she survived it all.
In MY house, MY rules are in force. If a visiting child breaks the rule, they are punished. Once two of my daughter's friends were over playing and I caught them rolling the cat down the stairs. All three were placed in different corners in different rooms for fifteen minutes. They were warned that if it happened again they would be going home.

Again at one of her birthday parties where all the kids in her class went skating; they started picking on each other, tattling, pushing and generally acting like brats. While only a few were causing the problem, I gathered them all over to the side and had them sit down. I explained that this was a birthday party and they were supposed to have fun and at the same time get along. Then I said that the next person to shove, hit, tease, or tattle would take their skates off and that I was sure I could find enough corners to stick them in. Jennifer piped up... (one who had rolled the cat down the stairs) and said, "And she WILL do it too!!" That affirmation of my consistency of punishment for any child left in my care was enough to straighten them up.

Or perhaps it was just the fact that these kids were raised in the deep South where respect and manners are taught from birth. Children say "Yes, Mam" and "Yes, Sir" when questioned and it was a small town so they all knew there parents would hear about it. Good manners and behaving children were the normal, politically correct thing to do there.

This letting kids work out aggression is poppy cock. Kids with no secure boundaries or limits to their behavior can't learn right from wrong, how to control their emotions, that actions have consequences; nor can they feel that security of their parents love.

It's really only a 'village' if we all share the same agreed parenting style, which, unfortunatly or not, we don't. Close friends or familiy - where I understand the parent or carer/child dymnamic and I think it'll help or it's the same as mine. Strangers no. Not to say I wouldn't remove my child from a dangerous situation obviously.

I think it's every grown-up's responsibility to stop children from hurting themselves and others. But then I say to the other parent, "I hope it's okay with you that I stepped in. I could see you were busy and I didn't want little Janey (or Johnny or whatever) to get hurt."

I do if they are hurting my kids but not if someone elses kids are fighting b/w themselves - far as the couch goes I usually try "are you allowed to do that at your house" 99% of the time they stop straight away - if they say yes then I let them know there are different rules here.

Well I admit I am one of the moms who will intervene, especially in my house. I just explain that in our house we don't do ____. At someone else's house, I will stand back and let the other mom deal, but if it involves a fight or squabble with my kid, I will step in, but will make sure no blame is attributed.

I don't know, Tertia. The "Village" concept seems great, in theory, but in practice it can get so dicey.

For instance... here's somewhat of a reverse scenario that I encountered just this week. My mother-in-law was visiting. Nice Christian lady, and we agree on most things. BUT.

An incident came up whereupon I needed to discipline my eldest daughter (5) for lying. The punishment was her being removed from the game we were about to play, and a stern talking-to in her bedroom, followed by 2 minutes of "time out" alone. As SOON as I reprimanded my daughter, my MIL jumped all over me, making excuses for the behavior (which she obviously misunderstood, because she wasn't excusing the LYING, but something else, for which I was NOT disciplining my daughter). She interfered with the punishment, undermining my efforts and contradicting me. I was FURIOUS, but kept my mouth clamped tightly shut, for the sake of my husband (who was at work).

To me, this was TOTALLY uncalled-for. It was blatant disrespect for me, and for our house rules (which, frankly, I don't care if anybody else ascribes to... family or not). It was particularly inappropriate, since she was arguing with me in front of ALL THREE of my children.

So I'm not sure I WANT a "Village" to participate in the raising of my children, if they are going to contradict my/our rules. It would SEEM that there are basic rules of decency to which we "all" should adhere, but who is to say that's the case?

Is it up to us then to "create" an acceptable Village for our children, picking and choosing who has the ability to impact them on a daily basis? What about strangers on the street or in a park? Certainly you cannot interview everbody before they interact with your child. So what if YOU are the "stranger" interacting with someone else's child? Maybe they don't agree with and/or appreciate your values/morals/methods of discipline.

Just coming from the "other side" of the situation, I can see how it could totally backfire, even with those closest to you. By the way, I LOVE my MIL. We just don't always agree, and she sometimes fails to recognize that these are MY CHILDREN... not just Her Grandchildren.

I'm completely with the 'Village' side of the argument.

I told off a girl of about 10 this morning for littering whilst crossing the road. She looked at me like I was mad, but she'll think twice before littering again.

I also got a young boy into trouble about two years ago. I was driving behind a car when all of a sudden rubbish started flying out of the back window. I tooted my horn and flashed my lights, so the driver stopped to ask me what the hell my problem was. When I explained that her kid was chucking rubbish out the back window... well, I don't think that kid's ears have stopped ringing yet! The mother even thanked me for intervening.

My hubby keeps telling me I should butt out, but I refuse to do so. I believe it is the responsibility of every adult in society to correct kids when they are doing things wrong, especially in this day & age when so few parents seem to do so themselves.

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