Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm one of THOSE parents

Yesterday we had a barbecue to celebrate the Hottest 100 and Australia Day. It was a fantastic day - cool enough to be comfortable and the usual complement of good friends, good food and good wine. But it also caused me to show my true colours - I am one of those parents who discipline other people's children. Yesterday I confiscated toys (aka weapons), insisted on apologies and issued cease and desist orders. I didn't actually issue, or even threaten, any timeouts*, apparently I do have some kind of line I won't cross.

It's a messy grey world. As a responsible adult, I feel the need to act. I also feel I should be able to deal with a situation (up to a point) without bothering the parent in question. I feel this much more strongly with kids the same age as mine. On the other hand, I know some people take quite some exception to anyone else speaking to their kids. I am not one of those people, but depending on what experiences one may have had with drive by parenting, I can understand where they are coming from.

In the end, it's my house, and I feel responsible for everyone in it. Therefore I think I will continue to discpline other people's children if I am Johnny on the Spot.

You have been warned...

*I did threaten one person with a timeout, but at 40-odd, he would have occupied the bathroom for too long to be acceptable to the comfort of others...


  1. I discipline other people's kids too.

    I don't punish them, but I will scold them. I will tell them to stop doing something.

    I do feel there's a line that shouldn't be crossed. I can't really explain it. Let me think.... If the child is doing something to annoy/harm me, my child, another child, or my property, I feel I have a right to speak up. I also feel if Jack is doing something harmful to others, I'd want another adult to speak up. And I also think adults should speak up if the child his putting him or herself in charge.

    What I don't like is other adults forcing their parenting ideas on us. An example happened with my dad. We allow Jack to eat snacks before meals. We know him and we know it doesn't effect what he eats at a meal. He went to get a snack and my dad scolded him--told him he can't eat before dinner. To me, this is none of my dad's business. If he had a concern, he should have come to me and asked. I think he had no right scolding Jack.

    In another incident, my niece screamed in my dad's ear. She thought it was funny. He scolded her and she continued to do it. He very sternly scolded her and said he would not take her on the jet ski's. My dad felt guilty about it. I said he has the right to protect himself from her screaming.

    Anyway, I have scolded many children before.

  2. You do know you have carte blanche to deal with my lot as necessary don't you? :)

    They were doing the lie on top of each other till someone loses it thing again this afternoon, I think I need a recorded message of my "just leave each other alone" lecture.

    My mother keeps apologising for disciplining my kids, I tell her it's fine with me, it saves me the trouble.

  3. @Dina: Yeah, that's about the size of it. Jack's snack had no impact outside himself, and so was your responsibility. Once a kid is impacting on someone else, I am as good a referee as anyone else.

    @Mim: I'm mostly scared of getting it wrong with your kids. There is a whole extra layer of complexity that awaits me. Hence restricting myself to cease and desist on such things as screaming up the stairs when the baby is asleep...

    But I saw the death glares I got from other parents... there's too many of you and Cate lulling me into a false sense of security... :)

  4. Well im 40 and odd, but i thought i played well with the other kids...

  5. Adam, 40 and odd you may be, but I'm pretty sure I didn't threaten you with a timeout - although maybe that's just because I wasn't watching carefully enough.

  6. Have you read that novel The Slap? Am reading it at the moment and your post reminded me of it, although I'm not suggesting that you'd include corporal punishment in your range of experiences with other people's kids.

  7. No I haven't (hopelessly slow reader, so I've read much, much less than I'd like to).

    But yeah, hitting other people's kids when I don't hit my own might be a touch hypocritical - of wait, isn't that what our government does about abortion? :)