Discipling other people's children

United States
September 8, 2009 7:45am CST
I just read another interesting article on parenting, and it talked of how, in the past, friends, neighbors, and family always worked together to keep an eye on and discipline one another's older children. The article said that today, the practice sometimes causes anger, guilt, and that people just don't know how to go about disciplining children that are not their own, even if that child is with them in their home. Would you feel free to discipline another's child (not hitting of course) by laying down and enforcing the rules that apply to your own children when that other child is in your care? What if you saw a friends child stealing, causing trouble, or doing something dangerous when that child was not in your care? Would you speak up? Call the police? Call the child's parents? What is your take on disciplining someone's else's older children? Karen
7 people like this
25 responses
@alicia812 (648)
• Australia
9 Sep 09
Before the parents of that child leave their child to me, I will make it clear to them that their child needs to submit to my disciplinary rules or house rules since the child will be in my house. I will emphasize to the parents that the child needs to obey me so I can effectively look after him/her because he/she will be in my 'parental' care, in effect, while the parents are away. The child will then be under my 'parental supervision and care'; I will be 100% responsible while the parents are away. If the child's parents will not concur with me, then, they can leave their child with someone else but not me.
2 people like this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Alicia. You're wise to set down some ground rules, especially with parents, before taking on the responsibility of THEIR child, and it IS a very big responsibility. Like you, I was always firm about the fact that in my house, their child would be well cared for and yes, always expected to mind the house rules and be respectful of me. I appreciate your insights and wish you a happy day! Karen
@gossipzz (500)
• Canada
8 Sep 09
These are very valuable points. Back in the days they say the whole community would raise the children. I agree with that to a certain point. If you see my child doing something wrong. I would like to know my neighbor would remove my child from the situation and then contact me to dicipline my child. I would do the same for my neighbors aswell. Happy lotting.
• United States
8 Sep 09
Hi Gossipzz. I would have always wanted to know when my children were in public...downtown with friends or at the movies or whatever, if they were doing something wrong or dangerous. I would not have considered it "no one else's business." I am with you on your opinion and thank you for expressing it here. Karen
@kitty42 (3912)
• United States
8 Sep 09
Hello my wonderful friend Good morning, I have no problem opening my mouth if someone I know child is being disrespectful, I will do this in front of the parent as well,I had a situation recently when I was baby sitting for my brother and his wife her son from a previous relationship loves to wrestle so does my grandson for this matter but I don't like it, I told them no wrestling someone can get hurt I want you all to do something that will not cause harm to the other, everyone agreed yes o.k a few minutes later I was in the other room they bring my grandson to me I knew something was wrong by the look on his face I said what happened (take a guess) yes you are right, they were wrestling and my grandson hit his head on the bed and now he is bleeding (my sister in laws son is much older than my grand) I was livid I said you know what go to your room thats all I could say at the time I knew anything else would have been said in anger and that would only make the situation worse, so I called my brother (crying) told him what happened and he spoke to him on the phone, after I took care of my grandson although a little pissed at me as well, (I know he thinks he is one of the big time wrestlers so he was not innocent in this). Once I calmed down I went to his room and talked to him still hurt(thinking this could have been much worse) i explained to him what could have happened he cried,I cried I knew he did not intentionally hurt him but speaking to him calmly and cooling off before doing so made things much better, His mom called upset and really made him feel bad then I started feeling guilty because I really felt he understood but come to find out he did one of his so called moves on his little sister and knocked her teeth out, I did not know this till after the fact, ( still not feeling like his intentions are to cause harm) these kids get so into this wrestling it scares me, my grandson was o.k the situation was handled they were friends again lol but hopefully in time he will grow out of this, I told him what you see on t.v is done by professionals they know what they are doing not to mention the matt in the ring is not hard like the floor in your room, etc etc anyway my reason for sharing this would be in anger its not a good idea to lay the law down for any child not even your own, its best to calm down and then come back and handle the situation. My grandson drives me nuts with this wrestling nonsense now don't get me wrong ( jeff hardy is my favorite wrestler lol) I like to watch this myself but these kids take this to a level that is too much and whew the other day my grand baby was playing with the kitty and he is trying wrestling moves on him ( could you imagine) kitty is nuts he seems to enjoy it, I told him not to do that, first of all he will scratch your face to protect himself don't let me see you do this again, grrrr he does flip on the bed it scares me thinking he will break his neck, I don't know my friend not easy let me tell you. So I answered the question? kind of went over board here but felt this was a pretty good example.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Sep 09
Hi Kitty...this is a perfect example of what I was meaning, and you handled it very well. We cannot always just sit mute while someone else's child does harm, and yes, we must teach our own, too. Several things have happened in the past that made me learn to speak up and out when the parents won't, and they or their child is in my territory, or when their child is about to get themselves in trouble or do something dangerous in public...and the parents aren't there. I've never cussed or laid a hand on another's child...never will, but there are times when my conscience just hinders me from staying silent! Thank you for your response sweetie. Karen
@kitty42 (3912)
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hello my friend I have always been that person that will speak up especially when mom is sitting there like she don't see what is going on people like that pisses me off, when you say something they say what happened what did he/she do well if you pay attention you will see ( these are people I know ) I am a mother and I truly believe if you are a parent from your heart of hearts ( not at woman are mothers, you are aware of this I am sure ) instinct kicks in and we always on point, I tell my grandson/niece this all the time they always look at me like how did she know, I say I am a mother we know everything,
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Kitty. I agree...it takes much more than giving birth to be a mother in the truest sense of the word. My kids used to wonder how I knew things, too, and I gave them the same answer you did lol!
@jdyrj777 (6556)
• United States
10 Sep 09
When i raised my children any advise given was welcome. I wouldnt have mind if i had help but i sure felt alone. Now im grandma and i perfer people to disipline their own children but if i see children doing something and the parents are acting as though they dont see or are having selective seeing then i say something to either the child or the parents. Especially if they are in my house.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Sep 09
Hello Jd...I do think we get more bold about speaking up as we get older. I also do not hesitate to respectfully address with the parents or the child those things that go on in my own home. Thank you for your input. Karen
@jdyrj777 (6556)
• United States
10 Sep 09
These certian people i knew i would move all breakable out of the room when i knew they were coming. The children were like dennis the menace and his sister. Or dennis the menace x 2 = distaster. Literally my antique furniture became new style chairs, etc.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Sep 09
I had relatives whose children were like that, and yes, I had to literally move all breakable, including my kids "best" toys, each time they visited. And I've done child care for several children with ADHD...a challenge, but easier when you know the reason behind all the activity and noise! Karen
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
8 Sep 09
GOOD MORNING KAREN, HAPPY TUES.,mY SONS BOTH HAD ALOT OF COMPANY WHEN THEY WERE GROWING UP. THE HOUSE RULES APPLIED to the company when they were here & they knew this. I didn't treat them any different than i did my own. They were all expected to behave. I was all for them having a good time but they weren't allowed to do things they shouldn;t be doing. KNOWING ME IF THEY HAD BEEN OUT & I SAW THEM DOING SOMETHING BAD THEY WOULD HAVE GOTTEN A BIG LECTURE FROM ME.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Sep 09
Hello my friend. Nice to see you :) It was the same as with you and your children when mine were growing up...friends back and forth a lot, and yes, they knew and mind the house rules and didn't complain! My own oldest daughter now has teens and follows this same tenet as you and I: in my home, you follow the house rules. It never drives away anyone and keeps it all safe fun! Thank you for responding, and have a good night. Karen
1 person likes this
@ANTIQUELADY (36488)
• United States
9 Sep 09
Good wed. morning Karen, I think that's all u can do when your house is like grand central station, lol. I loved the guys being here & really miss that. I like to cook & they liked to eat so we did pretty good, lol. hope u have a great day.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Jo...and happy Wednesday! Oh, I miss having kiddos in and out too. I always knew, when they gathered at my house, what they were doing! And yes, they eat like farm animals! LOL Take care, Karen
1 person likes this
@ilyzium (1206)
• Canada
9 Sep 09
If the children are in my care then yes I have no problems disciplining them. After all I've been entrusted to look after them, and if they are in my home or out with me and misbehave, then of course I'll discipline them. I actually have to mention that I have a problem with certain parents that visit me with their kids with them. The issue is that there are a few that really misbehave and the parents do nothing whatsoever about it! It makes me so mad and I can't stand to even watch that. I mean really that's what you called selfish, lazy "deadbeat" parents and there are far too many of those out there nowadays, these parents that are incredibly permissive towards their children and then wonder why these kids are later disrespecting them and terrorizing society? So, anyway my little nephews were over with their parents, and we have certain rules around the house. We don't permit little kids to run through the house which is what they were doing, also turning lights on and off, blew my candles out, broke one of my picture frames,and the parents were doing nothing about it? I told the kids in a very firm voice, that this is not their parents home where they're free to do whatever they like, but this is my house and they must obey MY rules. The little one was even hitting his mother and she wasn't doing a darn thing?? I mean really, who is the boss you or your child? You have to lay down the ground rules right at the beginning. I told him there is no hitting in my house, and he is never to disrespect his mother like that again. I grabbed his hand when I said it, squatted down to his level and told him to behave himself or else- I meant business. He ran out of the room in a little tantrum and I told him mother to just let him sulk and ignore him and that's what we did. I expect people when they visit to take care of their OWN children, but if they won't do that, then I'll have to do it for them. If they want to act like little monsters in their own home, that's not my problem. If they don't like it they're free to leave. If I saw someone's else's child acting up when not in my care, yes I would definitely speak up about it, say something to the child, and then his parents.
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hello Ilyzium. With all the violence in children on such a rapid increase in today's world, I highly resent parents who make no effort to teach their children respect! I learned early on to speak up, especially when someone came with to children to visit me and allowed them to run rampant. I used to feel awkward about it and just grit my teeth in silence. But once, a child broke my glass aquarium...parents had been letting him run wild, and then did not even offer to replace the aquarium. Ever since then, if the parents won't speak I, I surely will...like when one father here in my apartment complex was letting his 7 year old beat the daylights out of a plant of mine outside. I spoke directly to the child, and firmly. THEN the dad finally spoke up. I appreciate you offering you own methods and insights. Karen
@ilyzium (1206)
• Canada
9 Sep 09
Oh I just want to mention that yes if the parents are visiting you with their children, the rules apply in your home, and should always be made clear. In the beginning when I tried to "lay down the law" my brother in law would get quite offended with me but I couldn't care less. It is MY home and those are my rules, if they want their children to behave like spoiled brats in their home, well that's up to them.
1 person likes this
@ilyzium (1206)
• Canada
9 Sep 09
Why thank you, I do try and apparently so do you! :)
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Sep 09
If they're in my care I will certainly make it clear to them that they have to follow the same rules as my children. If I saw a child doing something wrong and the parent wasn't around, I'd certainly say something to the child right then and the parent later. If they were causing a lot of trouble, I'd call the parents definitely.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Sep 09
Hello Dawnald. These are the same approaches I have taken, and I do feel that all of us, as adults, do have a moral "duty" so to speak to keep an eye on all children who are not in the care at the time of their own parents. I have also made a couple of parents aware in the past that their child had been indulging in something dangerous. One parent was temporarily miffed, but after thinking about it, called and said thank you. I appreciate your stating your insights here. Karen
@jayrene (2713)
• Philippines
9 Sep 09
i have rules here in my house, and my kids have to do them or they will get punished, like being grounded, no using of computer, etc. if that other child is in my care, and is going to stay in house, he or she should also obey the house rules. no ifs no buts. if i saw a friend's child stealing, then i will tell my friend, hoping that he or she wont get mad at me because i just want her to know that his or her child is in the wrong path. i wont mess around disciplining other people's kids as i dont want other people messing around with mine, other than what is stated above, that's what i will only do and nothing more.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Jayrene. You make such excellent sense, and the way I procede is very much as your own. Thank you for sharing your insights, and have a beautiful day. Karen
@jayrene (2713)
• Philippines
9 Sep 09
hi, thanks for the br
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Sep 09
You're welcome!
@dpk262006 (56484)
• Delhi, India
8 Sep 09
Hi Karen! Very good discussion! I would definitely like to discipline the child, even if he belongs to some one else may be a friend or relative. I would like to instill the values in him and would like to tell him the importance of discipline and what is 'wrong' and what is 'right' for him. No doubt I'll tell him all the things politely, no point enforcing or shouting at him. I'll try my best to make him understand my points. You are very right, in the olden days relative/friends also would unhesitantly guide/advice children of others about discipline, however, now a days some parents do not accept the advice given by others in the right spirit and they assume that they know everything about their child and they can teach their child in a better manner.
• United States
8 Sep 09
Hello Deepak. Yes, I always guide children with respect and consideration, but the firm standing by what I say that we tend to learn as adults. I have always felt, and still do, that however old we get, we can still learn much from those even older. It is sad that some do not understand or embrace the goodness intended. Take care and thank you for responding. Karen
@dpk262006 (56484)
• Delhi, India
9 Sep 09
Hello Karen! Yes, it is very true that however old we get there is always scope for us to learn new things and I also follow the same policy. You are right that some do not take our guidance in the right spirit, however, we cannot help it, we know that ours were good intention to teach and guide. Take Care! Have a nice day! Deepak
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Deepak. Whether it is well received or not, when we do offer our insights, we've at least tried to help, and there is satisfaction in that. Take care. Karen
@Canellita (12058)
• United States
29 Sep 09
Since I spend two hours of my work day at a school where I am constantly disciplining other people's children I find it hard to turn off when I am in a store or other public place. What I find curious is that children listen to me often even when they don't listen to their parents.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Sep 09
Hi Canellita. This seems to be a "phenomenon" of sorts that I've encountered myself, and which I've also heard others mention often...that kids DO tend to listen more quickly to an adult other than a parent. Perhaps they become a bit "immune" to the parents directives or too familiar with how to push their buttons lol. Karen
@Canellita (12058)
• United States
30 Sep 09
I think it's all in how things are presented with children. I often hear parents and other adults pleading with kids and trying to get them to comply and it drives me crazy. All I have to do sometimes is look at my students and they get the message. Of course there are those other times...
@reinydawn (11649)
• United States
20 Sep 09
My children are now in their 20's and my friends had no qualms with disciplining them if needed - as was the same with their children and me. We were a "big happy family", although I know there are plenty of people that aren't like that.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Sep 09
Hi Reinydawn...what a lovely name! You're right, a lot of people resent that these days, but there was a time it was not only acceptable, but actually welcomed. When done to help or with love, I cannot imagine why these days it sets with such difficulty for so many parents! Thank you for sharing here. Karen
1 person likes this
@reinydawn (11649)
• United States
21 Sep 09
Thanks, this has been a nickname since I was a child!
1 person likes this
@malamar (784)
• Canada
21 Sep 09
Children visiting my home are required to follow the house rules always. My friends are all aware of my expectations and have no problem with them. The kids get used to it very quickly and it has never been an issue. If I saw a child engaging in dangerous or illegal activity, you can bet your bottom dollar I would be reporting it to someone. If I know who the child is I go directly to the parents first. In the case of shoplifting, I tell the store owner/manager. Dangerous driving I report to the police, and so on. Parenting styles differ so much from family to family, but basic respect and good behavior are the exceptions. Some parents appreciate your input, some do not like it at all. Gone are the good old days of "the village" raising the child. It is tough to get through to someone else's child, especially the teenagers. I just go by what I think is morally right or the sensible thing to do. What the parents do with the information is up to them.
• United States
25 Sep 09
Good morning Malamar. It is best to set those rules right at the start, and yes, good friends will not resent them, and will help see to it that their kids know and respect our house rules. As to reporting dangerous or illegal activity, like you, I go to the parents first, and what they do with that is then on their conscious and off mine. Or...I will report it to the proper authorities. Sometimes, I have to do what I know to be right regardless of how others, even a friend, might judge it. Thank you for your insights. Karen
• India
9 Sep 09
its very hard to to take care of some others child...its too fruststing.. if they are mischevious i will lock them in some other room or give them a hard beating..
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hello Aamir. Ack! I would never lock a child up or beat one, but when in my care, I do reserve the right to discipline. And it IS a huge responsibilty someone is asking of you if they wish you to care for their children in their absence. Have a good day! Karen
• China
9 Sep 09
Though I haven't children of myself,I think when the children of our friends make faults,we should help them as much as possible. A tiny thing which you did on your friends'child,may let your friend feel glad.Because the children can't obey to their parents advice,rather obeying the other one.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Jscaz. It can be a "delicate" line, I do know, but yes, rather than resentment, there was a day when parents appreciated the help of others in keeping watch over the neighborhoods children. I appreciate your input and wish you a happy day. Karen
• India
9 Sep 09
This is definitely a very sensitive issue and we must remember that different people have different takes on the same situation. Also, it depends really on how much liberty I am being given in disciplining a child. You know in boarding schools, parents know that the children would be disciplined and they accept it (other than corporeal punishment of course)…while if its within relatives, most parents don’t like the concept of relatives disciplining their children. Actually, we being indulgent parents ourselves, don’t like the idea of someone else disciplining our children maybe coz that indirectly points the finger at us for being negligent somewhere towards our kids. So, I would not really want to discipline someone’s else’s child but if the child is with me for a very long time, then yes, in our daily dealings discipline or at least following the rules of my house, would have to come up.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Sudpita. You bring up some good ( and sensitive ) issues, to be sure. I think "territory" is often the deciding factor, at least for me. Allow your children whatever you will in your own home and when they are in your care. On the other hand, if the home is mine, make they behave respectfully, safely, and not destroy my property, or smack my children, etc., or I WILL speak up if the parents do not. Same for when I'm requested to care for another's child. Don't ask me if I cannot make sure they follow my house rules, because it is an unreasonable expectation. Thank you for your input :) And have a nice day. Karen
• Philippines
9 Sep 09
That's probably the job o day-care i think or some temporary parent's institution or something but never as an individual or even as a uncle,or god father has the right to discipline the child most specially if their parents are present.
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hi Letran. If I am in someone else's home and their children are running wild, I don't say a thing. If the child/ren and parents are in MY home, I have definitely learned that if the parents won't speak to a destructive child, I most certainly will. This is something I embrace fully after some breakages of things that meant something to me, or when someone else's child is hitting one of mine and the parent does nothing. Then, if out of nothing but loyalty and protection of my own child, I have no qualms whatsoever telling the child to behave and requesting that the parents get control of that child! Thank you for sharing you own opinions, too, and have a good day. Karen
@Hatley (164486)
• Garden Grove, California
9 Sep 09
hi peacefulwmn yes I would feel fr ee to discipline someone elses'kid if that kid were in my care.I would never abuse just talk sternly and hope it works. if I saw a friends child stealing or doing something wrong I would call its parents and let them deal with it,after alltheuy are the kids parents so let them parent. Its tough to know how to discipline someone elses older kids. I wou ld just hand that problem over to the f olks that made him or her.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hello Hatley. You make a great deal of sense. I do not believe any child should be hit or such, but knowing how to follow common sense rules, and learning respect for whomever takes care of them...those a positive things. Discipline is a must to keep children safe, among other things. Yes, older kids, again for their safety and well-being, need to have their parents informed if they're about to break the law or put themselves in jeopardy! Take care and have a great day. Karen
@leahsmom (338)
• United States
8 Sep 09
My parents believed it took a village to raise a child. Today not many people follow that old saying. I believe that's why child today have a lack of respect for adults. I grew up saying yes sir and no sir, you hardly hear those words today. I feel that if you see a child acting up its your job to say something. A child should listen to and respect all adults, maybe this way we can regain some control.
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hello Leah...nice to see you here on MyLot :) Some of still know that it takes a village to properly raise a child, and we still act accordingly. I feel bad for both the parents, and their children, who no longer wish others to help our children! And yes, a child should be taught that all LOVING adults have his/her best interest at heart and should be respected. I appreciate your input. Karen
• Pamplona, Spain
8 Sep 09
Hi PeacefulWmn. I would feel like doing that taking some sort of action but in the end with it being someone ele´s children can put you in a difficult position. It does depend I reckon on what they could have done even if you are friends with that person I would not feel right telling them right away I would need to have to see and think through the situation at hand and then try and break it gently. As I said here once on another post I won myself a lifetime enemy for telling my so called friend what her son was doing so that is why I would be reluctant to just dive in and tell the parents. This young child who I saw and watched just to make sure he was doing wrong had one of those powerful pelletguns and was shooting at things randomly through the window of his house was I justified I feel I was because he could have hurt someone badly. But alas his Mother always took things to the extremes and we were not on the same terms after that. I did´nt tell the Police I told her directly instead of telling anyone else. I was always fond of this child and babysitted him no end of times he was always left on his own.
• United States
9 Sep 09
I understand how difficult the whole situation must have been, but you personally did the right thing, even if it hurt a friendship. Imagine how you'd have felt had you not at least tried to help,and someone had gotten hurt or even killed! In the same situation, (I've had a similar thing happen) I would speak up yet again. Thank you for sharing your insight. Karen
@cupkitties (7440)
• United States
8 Sep 09
If you don't like someone laying down the law on what they expect of your child while in their home, I would suggest never being in a situation where you have to leave them with another person. I would not spank the kid but I would ask them how they would like certain situations to be handled and then follow along with that. Now if you tell me "Just let him do what he/she wants to" uhh hell no. They might not be mine but I will be respected in my house.
1 person likes this
• United States
9 Sep 09
Hello Cup. There actually was a parent who once asked me to watch their 3 children, but said: no disciplining them. We'll handled that, if needed, when we get back. I told them, then I won't be able to watch them for you...and that was that. And like you, I'm not talking "corporal punishment," but plain, decent discipline. Thank you for sharing you viewpoints :) Karen