What do you do when a child who isn’t your own behaves badly? Do you discipline the child or do you confront the child’s parent and let them deal with it? Some believe it is okay to take matters into their own hands while others think it’s none of their business to intervene.
Two experts weighed in on the issue in an article posted by the Today Show. Ian Kerner, therapist and author of “Love in the Time of Colic” believes it is okay to discipline someone else’s child. Kerner believes in the three Fs method: Be firm, be fair and don’t freak out.
In a situation where a child is being aggressive with your child, Kerner says you should use a firm tone of voice to stop the situation and get the aggressor’s attention. After that, you should explain to the parents what the problem is. A parent will respect you more for intervening if you explain to them fairly and rationally what happened, says Kerner. Do not get emotionally hijacked by the situation and lash out — or freak out — at the other parent, because that’s when they’ll be less likely to listen.
Susan Swimmer, features editor for More Magazine, is against disciplining children who are not your own. Swimmer believes that, unless it is a situation that puts someone in danger or if you are in a leadership role, you should defer to the parents or caregivers of the child causing problems. Swimmer also suggests that if you don’t like how a kid is behaving, take your kid out of the situation.
It is also important to explain the appropriate behavior for interacting with others to your child. Setting rules and guidelines is a good way to prevent misbehavior. Another thing to keep in mind is how would you feel if another parent disciplined your child? And for parents who aren’t disciplining their own kids, Swimmer has a message: “They’re your kids, you need to MOM UP and do the job. Don’t rely on others to do what you should do.”
So with that being said, what do you think? Is it okay to discipline another’s child or is it none of your business?
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