Correcting Another Person’s Kid

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Correcting Another Person's Kid

Today I want to open up dialogue for another touchy parenting topic: I want to know what you think about correcting another person’s kid…if that child is being mean or destructive.

Is it okay?  Does it cross an unspoken boundary among parents?  When is it okay or not okay?

Observing the naughty behavior

Tell me if this has ever happened to you.

You’re at the park or on a play date and a kid playing with your child does something blatant like yank a toy out of your kid’s hands, call them a mean name or push them.

And even though your heart skips a little beat (oh my poor baby!), you wait a moment, hoping the child’s parent or caregiver will correct them and ask them to apologize.  Take them for a time out.  Something.  And it doesn’t happen.


What do you do?  Do you correct the offending child?  Do you ignore it?  Do you talk to the parent about it (Umm, hey I don’t know if you just saw this, but your little one just pushed my kid down.  Awkward…..).

I am the first to say that my children are not angels. I am constantly correcting and disciplining.

But what happens when your kid is the recipient of the naughty behavior?

Here’s my two cents – and I’d love to know yours!

Typically when this happens, I’ll address the whole group of kids, including my own (and I do not single out the offender).

I’ll say something like, “Hey everyone…looks like we’re having lots of fun playing and we don’t want anyone to get hurt.  Let’s go over here and ______________ (insert distraction or new activity).”

Then, I take my hurt kiddo aside (albeit, hurt feelings or hurt boo boos), and ask them if they are okay and give hugs and kisses.

If it happens again, I will mention something to the parent or caregiver…and say something like, “Looks like the kiddos are getting a little rough with each other.  Maybe we all should take a break and let them cool off.”  Or something like that.

If a child is at my house for a drop off play date, I have no problem correcting the offending child, whether they are my own or not.  “_________ (insert offending child’s name), let’s not push, that’s not very nice.  Why don’t we all go play ___________ together?”

It’s sensitive…

I don’t want to offend the other child’s parent (yes, as parents, we all have different discipline methods and thresholds for what is “okay” or not)…and yes, children do need to learn conflict resolution.  Of course.  But, where do we draw this kind of touchy parenting line?

Do we say something…or not?

I’d love to get your opinion on this!  Let’s open up an easygoing dialogue below and talk about this issue.

 I’d love to hear about your experience.


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  1. 1
    Heather says:

    This is totally a touchy subject, and I have wondered the same thing. If a kid is at my house without his or her parents, I take a similar approach to you. I try to keep my voice chipper and say, “Hey bud, let’s not do that…” or “Oh, we don’t jump on our furniture here” (for example). But it’s tough when a parent is present and don’t seem to do anything about bad behavior! I let it slide the first time (if it’s nothing serious) but if it continues, I take my kids elsewhere. And sometimes certain friends do not get invited back to our house, ha ha!!

    • 2
      jen says:

      Heather, I agree totally. I also use the, “In our house, our rule is we don’t jump on furniture” sorts of lines, so I make it clear what the rules are in our home. It’s harder on neutral territory, like a park. But I have also found that the longer I parent, the less tolerance I have for bad behavior so I am much more vocal now than I ever was when my firstborn was little!

  2. 3
    Susanne says:

    In our home, I will speak up to make sure the kids know what is expected, and I’m lucky that most of my friends are very on-top-of-it parents as well. The park is what gets me when you can tell your kid is getting the short end of the stick, sometimes I try to watch/listen to how my kid reacts and often times I’m impressed by how they handle it on their own. But other times I just HAVE to say something in an high pitched, over-the-top, nicey-nicey voice. 😉

    • 4
      jen says:

      Totally agree Susanne, it’s good if you have older kids to watch first to see what they do, and they only intervene if you see they need help.

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