Well my mother is a teacher, and her close friends (a teaching couple) were moving away, so another teacher was having a simple barbecue at her place. The leaving couple had a three year old daughter “Alice” and the woman hosting the party had a six year old called “Zoe”.
For the most part, I found myself hanging out with the kids. Alice was a very lovely girl- well mannered and found her own ways to amuse herself without annoying the adults or her parents (who were looking after newborn twins also). But she would happily chat if she was spoken too.
Zoe however, was one of those children that needed constant attention from adults- would cut off your conversation and insist on making you watch her cartwheels etc.
I let them take turns sitting on my knee while I would bounce them making galloping noises. I had given Zoe a long turn, and then said it was Alice’s turn now. After about a minute, Zoe started trying to push her off and said it was her turn again. I firmly but friendly told her that it was still Alice’s turn.
Later, I gave them both piggybacks. I had stopped and was talking to one of my Mum’s colleagues when Zoe insisted I give her another piggyback. I feigned being tired and said I was all piggy-backed out! She then said, “Give me a piggy back or I’ll say you hit me.” I was speechless! I looked around and all these teachers were looking at me as if to say, “Well how are you going to deal with this then?”
I ended up saying, “Are you a liar? Because I don’t like to play with people who lie to me.” And walked off.
Is it more of a breach of etiquette to tell off someone else’s child? Or to not mention anything (so that I don’t embarrass the parents) but the child thinks its okay and keeps going?
I don’t have children, so I don’t know what I would prefer. I still don’t know if I did the right thing! 0702-11
Something similar happened to my then 13 year old son years ago when we offered educational farm tours to school groups. A small, kindergarten-aged girl had broken away from her mother and the group, had gone over to the fence where a steer calf was tied up on the other side of the fence. She was reaching her arms through the fence trying to pet the calf. My son had gently turned her away and redirected her back to the group only to have the child head straight back to that calf. Her mother was oblivious. On the fourth time, the girl ran back to her mother crying and screaming, “He hit me!” I had watched the whole scenario play out and he had done no such thing. Fortunately her mother ignored that accusation but had she made an issue of it, I was prepared to ask her to leave the premises.
I believe you acted just right, OP (who, btw readers, appears to be female). I would have no further contact with a child who learns blackmail at an early age. I’d also seriously ponder whether to bring this to the attention of a parent. But that is a potentially dangerous path to take because some parents cannot face the reality that Darling Little Foo Foo has a character flaw or misbehaves in any way. One has to be prepared for an epic case of denial and estrangement but really, what would one be losing anyway? False accusations of sexual and/or physical abuse are a serious matter and people who perpetuate them should be shunned into social oblivion at the very least.