Should you discipline other’s kids?

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This is a conundrum that often strikes parents when they’re in common areas like playgrounds or supervising things such as parties or play dates with kids around. The big question arises here is how to manage other children and control them from being notorious and ending up harming you or your child (as well as/ or other kids), without offending their parents. Of course it depends on the circumstances. Here are the most common situations you might face and this is how you can deal with them –

1. Bully Behaviour

Situation – Your 3 year old is playing with his crayons and some paper. A 4 year old asks to borrow some. Your child isn’t willing to share. But the older child forcibly takes it away from your child.
What’s tempting – To lash out at both kids, telling yours – “I’ve taught you to share” and telling the other child – “you’re older, you should know better.” But parents getting brusque with kids put the other child’s parents on the defensive side.
Try this instead – Address both kids simultaneously, pointing out that they need to share and that aggression is not okay. Do not pry anything out of any child’s hands. Instead, offer them the opportunity to will-fully share and play together.

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2. Bad Playmate

Situation – Your child’s playmate hogs all of the toys, or screen time or role play and refuses to allow choice to your own.
What’s tempting – To send the other child home and complain to her mom.
Try this instead – Re state the rules (“In our house, everyone takes turns and everyone cleans”. Say this cheerfully!). Possibly, offer a reward (“We can have cookies once you help clean up”). Discuss with the other parent about permission to give time outs and other disciplinary actions to be in the clear.

3. Hitting/ Biting/ Aggressive Behaviour
Situation – Your child comes home with a note from the teacher saying he was beaten or visible bite marks.
What’s tempting – Confront the parents.
Try this instead – Social behaviours are under development for most part of preschool and so, as agitating as it may be, it is normal for kids to hit one another or bite. You could intimate your child’s teacher to watch out for when he plays with “Rohan” for instance. With a repeat occurrence, feel free to have a friendly chat with “Rohan’s” parents.

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4. Foul language
Situation – Your 10 year old nephew teaches dirty words to your pre-schooler.
What’s tempting – Face off with the nephew and tell him he should know better.
Try this instead – Take a deep breath. Tell your nephew that it’s inappropriate to use such language in front of “Manasi”. Tell “Manasi” later that we do not use such language with other people.

When in doubt, use these guidelines to discipline other people’s kids –
1. Control your emotions, voice and hands. Spanking or yelling is not okay. Remember to tread with caution.
2. Pre-discuss what’s okay and what’s not with the parents before a play date. This way, you know when you might overstep the boundaries laid out for you.
3. Set the expectations right. For instance, state at the beginning that we all help clean here, etc. so, the other child knows what is required of him.
4. Let the small stuff slide. We have learnt to say “Thank you” well in to teenage and some things come gradually to us and not immediately. If kids forget to knock or say “Thanks”, do not make it a big deal.
5. Don’t embarrass them. Talk to the child in private rather than creating a scene in front of others.
6. Address the positive (for your child). If your child helps clean when the other doesn’t, praise her later for her help.

via Parents.com

Image source: Google images

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