Would you tell off someone else’s child if they were behaving in a way that was dangerous or that was scaring your kids? Awkward though it is I have been the mum who has done this. Not in an aggressive or shouty way but occasionally I really feel that I have to intervene.
I was recently in the park with my three year old twins who were playing on the slide. It is one of those massive old fashioned ones that would never be approved by health and safety these days (it is a good 7 foot off the ground). As there is an element of danger involved my boys love it.
Two much older boys started climbing up the slide while my boys were climbing up the steps. When Sam got to the top the slide was blocked by the bigger boys. I could see he was scared. They then tried to climb over my boys heads to slide down the hand rails of the steps. I had to tell them to stop climbing up the slide and to be careful of my kids. The older boys looked a bit shocked and were not impressed that I put the kibosh on their stunt climbing!
Look out for the little kids
I’ve told kids to stop throwing sand in the sandpit at our local park and stepped in at soft play when my twins were being pushed about by older children. I usually just say please be careful you are hurting the younger children. I can see that my kids need to learn how to fight their own battles but it needs to be a fair fight – if someone is older than them and going to hurt them I will say something.
Helping out other kids
I think it is a bit similar to stepping in if you see someone else’s child hurt them self. My instinct is to pick up a kid who falls over near me and comfort them until their parent comes over. I’m always grateful if someone helps my child in this way. I don’t have a problem with someone telling off my child as long as they did it in an appropriate way – I wouldn’t be happy if they were shouting and screaming but a firm word is okay. I think I’d be more embarrassed that one of my kids had behaved in a way that wasn’t okay and that it wasn’t me that dealt with it.
I do some times get a bit annoyed if a parent is totally absorbed in texting or chatting while their kid is hurting or upsetting other children. It’s my job to make sure my kids are not running riot and causing problems and I think you should be keeping at least half an eye on what your kids are doing. Sure I’ll have a chat but I’ll watch out for my kids at the same time to make sure they are okay (they seek out danger) and to check that they are not terrorising anyone.
Reluctance to interfere?
Maybe it’s a trait of modern life that we are generally wary of getting involved in other people’s business in any way? Were adults from previous generations more likely to dish out a telling off? Or are we wary of getting a hostile reaction from a another parent?
What do you do?
I’d love to know your experiences. Have you felt the need to tell off someone else’s child? Has telling off a child every worked out badly for you? Has someone else told off your child in a way you were not happy about? Let me know in the comments section below.