September 23, 2019
If you spend a lot of time in the company of your children, you can get bored of the sound of your own voice saying things like, “No, sweetheart, put the drill down,” “That really hurt Daddy’s eyeball, precious, I’d rather you hadn’t done that,” and the occasional “STOP THAT, STOP THAT RIGHT NOW”.
Is It Ever Acceptable To Discipline Other Peoples Children?
But what if you’re out and about, and someone else’s child is misbehaving? What if, for instance, a kid runs up and shoves your child? What is the “right” way to respond? 
Are you allowed to give them a stern talking-to? You don’t want to make things worse, but you also don’t want to act like that kid’s behaviour is okay. Related... Don't 'Tell Off' Your Kids, Say Experts – Here's What You Should Do Instead Opinions, as they so often do, vary. There are parents who will happily tell off strangers, cafe owners who’ll tell loud children to be quiet, and plenty who would bark at anyone who dared to tell their child off.
We asked our HuffPost UK Parents community how they’d respond. Some things make it more cut-and-dried, many argued – namely, if they’re hurting or endangering themselves or others. At that point, intervening is the responsible thing to do.If they’re attacking my child, then yes— Helen Gore (@HelenGoreX) September 17, 2019If they are in my house and under my supervision with the trust from their parents - or if they are attacking another child then absolutely yes. What does annoy me is when people who never spend any time with my child decide to tell them off when I am there!— Jennifer Hough (@JennyHough) September 17, 2019Only if it’s essential for their own safety or the safety of the others around them.— Fatima (@Blogsbyfa) September 17, 2019It’s different if you’ve been placed in charge of the child, said others – if you’re acting as their de facto parent, you need to treat them as though they are your own, which might mean stepping in now and then.If you are responsible for them then yes. If the parents are present - no— La Belle Cake Co (@labellecakeco) September 17, 2019Absolutely - so many scenarios where this is appropriate; eg. if you are in loco parentis/they are in your home/they are doing something dangerous. Kids should learn different boundaries in different situations - and any *responsible* adult should be able to *appropriately*.— Ben Judah (@benjudah) September 17, 2019Only if the parent of the other child is not there!— Lisa (@lil_lis1) September 17, 2019But opinion seems split on stranger-child telling-offs. Some subscribe to the idea of it “taking a village to raise a child”, and it being everyone’s remit and responsibility to do their bit when it comes to keeping behaviour in check.Yes! It takes a village. I would also speak to the parent. I've thanked other parents for setting my kids straight, especially if they were doing something risky. It's important for kids to realise that they live in a society, not just a family.— Alice Allan (@alicemeallan) September 17, 2019I've told someone's child not to push/throw something at/hit/bite mine in the park before, and other parents have done the same to mine - it's quite a natural reaction I think!— Hayley Pearce (@hayleyjpearce) September 17, 2019Yep I do and other people tell my kids off, it takes a village— Trend Tonic (@trend_tonic) September 17, 2019Others, though, opt for a middle ground of engaging with the misbehaving child (and, potentially, their parents) and discussing their behaviour without turning it into a “telling off” situation. 
This is what behaviour experts say is the best strategy for discipline – “We never need to tell any children off in order to raise awesome adults,” says Bea Marshall, parenting coach and founder of Yes Parenting. “All behaviour is communication. When we understand this, we can begin to understand why the child behaved that way.”Tell off; no. Never. Intervene for safety reasons - yes. Have a calm, respectful chat with the parents if they have done something to you/your child/your belongings - also yes.— Sarah Ockwell-Smith (@TheBabyExpert) September 17, 2019I would say yes, if they are in your house/under your supervision, but within reason. Let them know whatever they have done is not acceptable, but do not give a sanction. Tell their parent and let them deal with the fallout. But I do agree with 'my house, my rules'.— Janine Pipe (@disneynine) September 17, 2019It depends on what your definition of "telling off" is. Children are far more likely to listen or stop what they are doing if they have a relationship with you. So yes, helping a child moderate their behiour if they are in your care but no if you don't know them.— The Weller Way (@the_wellery) September 18, 2019That’s probably the solution least likely to upset anyone – including both the misbehaving child and their parents – and the one that will probably lead to improved behaviour.
But of course, it’s the one that requires the most patience, self-control and restraint. It’s hard, isn’t it, this parenting malarkey?Related... From Funerals To Break-Ups – All The Times Brits Have Laughed Inappropriately Your Phone Is Available – But You Need To Put It Down Sometimes Weed-Smoking Parents Are Harsher Disciplinarians, California Study Suggests
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