Did it ever happen that a child misbehaved in front of you but you could not do anything because the child wasn’t yours? Parents teach their children the right conduct, but when someone else’s child misbehaves, you cannot correct them the way you did your own children. A parent may get angry or scold their child, but they cannot express the same behavior with the other child. They may feel like talking to the child’s parent but talking will make the child’s parents defensive and the child will never listen to you. How should a parent discipline other people’s kids?
Before disciplining someone else’s child, we must understand why would a child misbehave? Just like other parents, the kids must have been tutored by their parents to behave well. What could be the reason for this failure? Studies have consistently shown that the problem of behavior in children is typically the result of misplaced adult attention. In a research conducted on elementary school children, the students repeatedly left their seats without any reason, but when the teacher reprimanded the bad behavior and favored those who were working hard, then the behavioral problems of those children fell dramatically. Reprimands, threats, and criticism actually reinforce bad behavior among children. Glenn Latham, Ed.D., a family and educational consultant, has found that adults generally tend to ignore 90 percent of the good stuff children do. Instead, they rebuke and reprimand their children when they do something offensive and bad. Kids seek attention from their parents and teachers. However, the teacher or the parent cannot provide full-time attention and therefore, the children create hurdles for the parents to pay attention towards them. Parents have been working since the child was born which is very important for the survival. It is understandable that the parents need to work consistently for raising their child but a significant part of the upbringing is done by bestowing values and codes of conduct to the children. The kids will always demand attention and then it is the responsibility of the parents to look after their child. There could be other reasons why a child misbehaves like he/she could be having a bad day. They may not have done their homework for which the teacher scolded them, or maybe their parent reprimanded them for something back at home.
So, if a kid misbehaves around you then you will know what could be the reason behind it, and maybe then it will become easier to analyze the right step to discipline other people’s kids.
#1. Understand The Common Child Behavior
Do not expect a two-year-old to behave like adults. Children do not understand how the society works. They do not know the right way to live and why the right conduct is deemed right. Young children have no information about anything, and everything they see belongs to them. Kids are not sensitive regarding ownership, so when there is something that attracts them, then they simply take those things without asking for permission. As a parent, you must be aware of this behavior of a two-year-old, so as to keep that in mind and do not get aggressive. If you do not know how a child usually behaves, then you could get your hand on books about parenting that can help you correct a child when they misbehave in your presence. Plenty of websites and channels are available on the internet that share information regarding parenting and child behaviors which can also prove beneficial for you. You can discipline other people’s kids without offending the parents or the child.
#2. Dictate Your House Rules Politely
If your child has a play date, then prepare yourself for it. If the date is at your place, then arrange the things properly. Keep the delicate things away from the children’s reach that can break easily. Talk to the parents of the playdate about things you should keep in mind about their behavior. If there is something you should do to make them happy or if they have some medical issues that you may need to address in an emergency, keep yourself updated and stocked. When you will talk to the parents, you will gather information about the child that you can use in case the child misbehaves. You should welcome the child accordingly and dictate the rules to the other child politely. Tell them that wrong behavior are punishable in your house and if they behave well, then they will be rewarded. Plan fun activities to avoid situations that can aggravate you. Keep toys, colors or notebooks enough for both the children to use so that they both do not fight with each other or steal from each other. Keep giving guidelines to your child so that the playdate is a learning on how to behave properly.
#3. Observe How Your Child Reacts To Misbehavior
If the other child misbehaves with your child, then do not interrupt right then. Wait to see how your child reacts to it. If they are not bothered to how the other behaved, then do not intervene and make yourself an enemy. But if you find your child getting upset from the other child’s behavior, then you should go ahead and talk to your child and the other child as well. Tell the kid that how they behaved has hurt their friend and that friends don’t hurt each other. The child will most probably understand. Make them hug each other and let them enjoy themselves again. Do not force the other child to behave the way you want them to as it could make them more anxious and they may rebel. The situation can go out of hands if they go home and complain about you. You may end up spoiling your relationship with the parents.
#4. Jump In If Your Child Is Unable To Handle The Situation
If your child is getting irritated with the other child, then it would be better if you interrupt. Your child may start crying or get cranky. They may get influenced by the other child’s behavior. They could misbehave with you which is what you will never want. Always keep an eye on the kids because they could hurt themselves or either of them could fall ill. Children should always be under adult supervision all the time. If the child breaks something, then it is not the broken object that worries you, but the point is that the children could get hurt. So if you find the other child being notorious and your child accompanies them, then interrupt and tell them that they could hurt themselves. If the parents of the other child are around, then they will take over and make their child stop. This way you will not be the bad one, and you would have also saved the children.
#5. Teach A Lesson Through Story
It is not necessary that the other child’s parents will be around every time. You can teach the child a lesson by manipulating the situation. You can tell the kids that you will recite a story to them and pick a suitable story that gives a message that the other kid should also learn. You can use a book or you could simply use your imagination for storytelling. “Children misbehave when they feel powerless. When you use disciplinary methods that overpower them or make them feel good about themselves, you lower their self-esteem. It doesn’t make sense to punish a child who is already feeling bad and heap more discouragement on top of them” says Kathryn J. Kvols. By storytelling, you will teach them a lesson without directing your disappointment towards the child. The child will realize that they did wrong and they may not repeat it.
#6. Let Your Child Lead As An Example
You cannot discipline other people’s kids, but you have control over your own child. Let your child lead as an example. Ask your child to behave properly and repeat what you have taught them. When your child will behave the way they have been taught and when they repeat everything, then the other child will also acquire some of the mannerisms. You will not be telling the other child how to behave but, indirectly, they will also learn the right code of conduct. Your child will act as an ideal for the other child when you praise them for following what they have been taught.
#7. Contact The Parents As The Last Resort
If nothing works out and if you feel that the child is troubled, then contact the parents as soon as possible because if the child doesn’t behave well after all the efforts, then the child needs to be under the vigilance of their parents. A lot of times children go through a lot of stress due to various reasons, and the parents are unable to notice it. The child may behave violently at times and if the aggression continues, then parents should understand that there is something wrong. Children should be loved and cared for because they are like a god’s gift in our lives.
Did you ever find yourself in such a situation? How to discipline other people’s kids? Share your views with us through the comments section below.