Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: Softly Spoken on December 11, 2012, 11:16:34 PM

Title: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Softly Spoken on December 11, 2012, 11:16:34 PM
I hope this thread can remain civil because I know it is a hot button topic, but I am really curious on where etiquette-conscious people draw the line when it comes to interacting with kids you aren't directly responsible for. I've read many posts on here from people complaining about rude children and the parents who allow them to be rude (and are often rude themselves). I've also read posts from parents who are appalled by rude people who have stepped over the line with their children. Since many discussions on here are about how to handle rudeness, I am wondering if there is a separate rule book for children?

FWIW, I do not have children but I have worked as a nanny, I like children, and they like me. :)

My friends mother once told me "children are savages until taught otherwise." It may sound harsh but I think it's true - manners and good behavior are learned, not inborn. The stories on this board are proof that some people never learn! ::) I have always enjoyed teaching kids, and I've found many to be eager to learn the secrets to being a "grown-up" and show how well-behaved they can be. Finer points of etiquette may be lost on younger kids, but I can't wrap my head around parents not bothering to teach kids the basics. Especially considering that many etiquette rules also overlap with/support safety rules that it would benefit children to know!

So you may be annoyed at the running, screaming child who is disrupting the party, but you only glare at the parents and hope they have the decency to do something. What about "it takes a village"?

If a kid is acting up and there is no grown-up in sight, my instinct is to a) ask them where their grown-up is and b) calmly suggest that they be polite and use their "inside voice" or something to that effect. I would never scold a child, but if they were in danger or endangering something/someone else, I would sharply warn them. If they were hitting I might grab their hand, or at least try to get between them and their target. Maybe that means I am appointing myself head sheriff/busybody...I'm not sure. Sometimes I feel like SOMEBODY has to or else there will just be a lot of post-disaster property damage and hand-wringing. :-\

It seems like us innocent bystanders can't win - if we ignore the kids and something happens we get angrily asked "why didn't you stop them?". If we try and intervene we get jumped on by the heretofore invisible mama or papa bear who is incensed we would dare to parent their child. I would never dream of disciplining another person's child, but when it comes to issues of etiquette and how to behaved in a civilized manner I do not see the harm in educating anyone of any age.

When I was a shy tween, I once had a younger cousin climb on me (literally climbed like I was a jungle gym and without an invitation to do so) and pull my hair (eye-watering yanking not playful tugging) - while her parents looked on with "isn't she cute and rambunctious" idiotic grins. >:( My parents and aunt also looked on with grimaces, but said nothing (my parents later apologized for that). Are personal space and/or property the only justifiable defenses? Should I have said "Get off me" to the kid, or "Get her off me" to her parents? When I tried to push her off me, I was met with all three protesting "But I/she wants to plaaaay!" >:(  :'( >:( :'( >:( Arrrrrrrgh!

What do you do when kids are rude...but they aren't your kids??? :(
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Danika on December 12, 2012, 02:12:21 AM
Before I had children, I said nothing. I was scared to speak up to children and adults alike.

Now that I have kids (although, they're still little - toddlers and preschoolers) I am learning to assert my authority.

I feel that if something is a matter of safety, danger and/or property destruction, I speak up immediately and firmly. Not screaming, but not overly sweet. Anything else, and I don't get involved.

For example, if I see a kid yanking a dog's tail, I will say "Stop! Let go! Do not pull the dog's tail. He doesn't like it and he might bite you." If I see a kid coming down a slide about to land on a small baby, I will say "Stop! Do not come down. Look out and make sure no one is there first!" If I see a child or adult leaning on a parked car that is not theirs and it looks like the brass rivets on their blue jeans are going to scratch the paint, I say "Hey! Watch out. You're going to ruin that car."

If it will affect my child, and someone is rude to one of my children and their parents are nowhere to be found or don't stop them, I will say "Hey, do not talk to him/her that way. That is rude."

But if I hear kids dropping F-bombs, or they don't say thank you if I help them with something, I don't say anything. That's not my business at that point.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bonyk on December 12, 2012, 03:17:14 AM
It depends on the situation, and how much it affects me.  I don't feel it's my responsibility to teach random kids how to behave, so I just focus on getting the undesired behaviors to stop. 

I'm a special ed teacher, so I'm used to redirecting behaviors in such a way that the kid doesn't even really know I've done it.  So if I'm at a party and there's a kid running around like a loon, I would get him/her to stop without a 'confrontation'.  Of course, I'd probably try to avoid parties with those parents in the future.  In public, I'd probably just ignore unless there was danger involved.

In your specific case:
When I tried to push her off me, I was met with all three protesting "But I/she wants to plaaaay!" >:(  :'( >:( :'( >:(

I'd deadpan, "Then she'll have to stop hurting me first", with a quick cheerful follow-up of, "Cute Rambunctious Girl, show me how to do a somersault!"  It gets her off you, and you're still 'playing' with the adorable little tyke.  Non-emotional is best, IMO.  Stick to the facts, and move on. 
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Fleur on December 12, 2012, 04:19:31 AM

I have zero tolerance for ill behaved children in public. In a supermarket near me, children have the infuriating habit of playing with scooters indoors. More than once I have been bashed into with a free range scooter. I always say 'oi, watch where you're going' in a very sharp voice. Normally the parents are nowhere to be seen. I have never had an angry 'mama bear' after me, but if I did, I would tell them to rein in their child.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MamaMootz on December 12, 2012, 07:28:42 AM
Coming from the perspective of a parent of a pretty well behaved 10 year old but she has her moments:

It's a fine line. I would be irritated if someone tried to discipline her before I had a chance to do so. But I also have taught her from the time she learned to walk not to run amok in stores, or restaurants, and to always say please and thank you. She only tried to act up in a restaurant once when she was 3 and I promptly brought her outside. She didn't like that because she didn't get to be inside with the "fun" so she never pulled that again.  She gets compliments on her manners quite often and that's a point of pride with her, too.

I agree with bonyk, I think. It depends on the situation. For example, kids running around in a parking lot or going to cause someone harm by their actions - I will stop them. But things like what happened right before we moved with one of DD's friends, no.... DD's friend was going to have  birthday party shortly after we moved away. We were walking to DD's friend's house when I heard her tell my DD "Oh you won't be here for my party. Well, that's OK, because you can mail me a $50.00 gift card to Justice for my present." While my head was ready to explode from this and I saw DD cringe when the sentence came out of her friend's mouth because she knows how I would react if she ever did something like that, I held my tongue because this is not my child or hill to die on.

Did anyone see the show they had -- on one of those hidden camera shows where they purposely put kids into a diner situation and told the kids to be obnoxious and run around the restaurant to see if the other patrons would stop them? I think it's what would you do or something like that. None of the adults really did anything or spoke up, except for a couple of people who were teachers, interestingly enough.

Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Sharnita on December 12, 2012, 07:35:50 AM
lol, it can be hard to turn the teacher off.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Venus193 on December 12, 2012, 07:43:15 AM
Thus far I have done nothing in these situations beyond giving the parents the Icy Glare of Death. (TM)  I have zero tolerance for kid noise and less for their invasion of my personal space.  While I am far better at controlling my temper than I was when I was much younger I don't tend to run the risk of bringing out the Mama or Papa Bear in any parent.

However, if a parent were to bring a kid into my Starbucks while I'm there making jewelry and s/he tried to grab my stuff I'd give a Wicked Witch Stare and say "Don't you dare!" in my best demon-voice.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 12, 2012, 07:59:16 AM
Thus far I have done nothing in these situations beyond giving the parents the Icy Glare of Death. (TM)  I have zero tolerance for kid noise and less for their invasion of my personal space.  While I am far better at controlling my temper than I was when I was much younger I don't tend to run the risk of bringing out the Mama or Papa Bear in any parent.

However, if a parent were to bring a kid into my Starbucks while I'm there making jewelry and s/he tried to grab my stuff I'd give a Wicked Witch Stare and say "Don't you dare!" in my best demon-voice.

You make jewelry in Starbucks? And they don't care?
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Venus193 on December 12, 2012, 08:09:15 AM
No.  My local Starbucks doesn't mind at all.  It's not the highest-traffic one in the area, most of the regulars already hang out for hours with their laptops, and very few people who hang out in there have children with them.  I usually eat either breakfast or lunch and I clean up after myself.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MrTango on December 12, 2012, 08:14:37 AM
If the child is family (i.e neice or nephew), I'll address the child directly.

If not, then I ask the parent to "Please control your child."  Most kids I've been around seem to pick up on this without too much further intervention on the parent's part.

ETA Disclaimer: I have no children of my own.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MommyPenguin on December 12, 2012, 08:18:09 AM
I think that parents sometimes have a little more leeway with this sort of thing when they're with their own kids.  Because I think that other parents see it more like "whichever parent is closer" than interfering, at least with small things and not real discipline.  For instance, I had my girls at the dance studio last night for gymnastics, and they had set up a ton of giant seasonable inflatables for decoration.  Kids were constantly trying to jump on them like giant trampolines, or hug them, or crash into them.  Every time it happened near me, I'd say, "Hey!  Don't do that, you'll pop the display!"  I never once had to say it twice, and never had to raise my voice (the "Hey!" was just loud enough to get their attention).  I don't think I was out of line, and I didn't have any parent or kid take issue with it, although of course the parents weren't generally nearby.  I did notice one mom whose kid went and jumped on it, and she said, "No, sir!  Get off that right now!" without even stopping, and as soon as she passed by her kid went right back to jumping on it.  <sigh>
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: WillyNilly on December 12, 2012, 08:19:06 AM
My policy is no different for children then adults.  So if I'd ask a an adult to stop doing something, or to please move, or to not yell, etc, I will also ask a child.  As far as I'm concerned people out in public are all equal, regardless of age.  I especially think if a child isn't being directly supervised by their parent that is a communication to the larger world that the parent considers the child old enough to be treated like a regular member of society, just like anyone else of another age group.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: AlansGirl on December 12, 2012, 08:21:56 AM
I had a funny incident this weekend that sort of fits, though these weren't random kids in public but belonged to some close friends.  We were out having dinner at a neighborhood tavern that has several video games, a skill crane, etc. in line near the front and when we go there, our friends' children (5 and 14) like to play the games.  The games take quarters so we're often giving the kids dollar bills to put in the change machine for quarters, and right after one such trip, I saw the 5-year-old (Brooke) putting quarters in her mouth.  Her parents didn't see her, as they were sitting on the opposite side of the table.  I called out, "Brooke!  Stop that!  You don't put quarters in your mouth!"

The words were still hanging in the air in front of me and I thought of previous threads on EHell.  I immediately said to Brooke's parents, "Oh my gosh, I am SO sorry!  I had no business correcting your child!"

Brooke's dad:  "Oh please, correct away!  Especially if you see her doing things like sticking quarters in her mouth!  Have at it!"

Brooke's mom:  "Yeah, feel free!  And hey, there's money in it if you can get her to put her toys away."
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MrTango on December 12, 2012, 08:23:15 AM
My policy is no different for children then adults.  So if I'd ask a an adult to stop doing something, or to please move, or to not yell, etc, I will also ask a child.  As far as I'm concerned people out in public are all equal, regardless of age.  I especially think if a child isn't being directly supervised by their parent that is a communication to the larger world that the parent considers the child old enough to be treated like a regular member of society, just like anyone else of another age group.

The only issue I have with this is that children are not adults.  They are generally not yet capable of understanding the risks/consequences of their actions the way adults *should* be able to.

For example, if I saw a kid doing something dangerous, I'd probably do (or at least say) something to stop them.  If I saw an adult doing something dangerous, my concern would be to ensure that they aren't going to hurt anyone but themselves and then move on.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: WillyNilly on December 12, 2012, 08:27:34 AM
My policy is no different for children then adults.  So if I'd ask a an adult to stop doing something, or to please move, or to not yell, etc, I will also ask a child.  As far as I'm concerned people out in public are all equal, regardless of age.  I especially think if a child isn't being directly supervised by their parent that is a communication to the larger world that the parent considers the child old enough to be treated like a regular member of society, just like anyone else of another age group.

The only issue I have with this is that children are not adults.  They are generally not yet capable of understanding the risks/consequences of their actions the way adults *should* be able to.

For example, if I saw a kid doing something dangerous, I'd probably do (or at least say) something to stop them.  If I saw an adult doing something dangerous, my concern would be to ensure that they aren't going to hurt anyone but themselves and then move on.

Well by then its a safety issue and not an etiquette issue. 

I was really just referring to bothersome stuff - blocking doorways, yelling or singing too loudly indoors, kicking a seat, etc. I would ask an adult or a child to "please stop" equally.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MrTango on December 12, 2012, 08:28:52 AM
My policy is no different for children then adults.  So if I'd ask a an adult to stop doing something, or to please move, or to not yell, etc, I will also ask a child.  As far as I'm concerned people out in public are all equal, regardless of age.  I especially think if a child isn't being directly supervised by their parent that is a communication to the larger world that the parent considers the child old enough to be treated like a regular member of society, just like anyone else of another age group.

The only issue I have with this is that children are not adults.  They are generally not yet capable of understanding the risks/consequences of their actions the way adults *should* be able to.

For example, if I saw a kid doing something dangerous, I'd probably do (or at least say) something to stop them.  If I saw an adult doing something dangerous, my concern would be to ensure that they aren't going to hurt anyone but themselves and then move on.

Well by then its a safety issue and not an etiquette issue.  

I was really just referring to bothersome stuff - blocking doorways, yelling or singing too loudly indoors, kicking a seat, etc. I would ask an adult or a child to "please stop" equally.

Good point.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Danika on December 12, 2012, 09:55:10 AM
Did anyone see the show they had -- on one of those hidden camera shows where they purposely put kids into a diner situation and told the kids to be obnoxious and run around the restaurant to see if the other patrons would stop them? I think it's what would you do or something like that. None of the adults really did anything or spoke up, except for a couple of people who were teachers, interestingly enough.

Yes! I saw that. And I wasn't sure what I would have done. Probably said nothing and just been horrified.

Who should one direct their comment to when the child is misbehaving and the parent is right there - the parent or the child?

For example, DH and I were on an airplane and the kid in the seat behind me kept kicking my seat. It wasn't a small tap. He was actively, roughly and repeatedly kicking my seat. For minutes on end. The kid looked to be 7-9 years old and his father was seated beside him and awake and did nothing. This was before I had kids, so I didn't feel comfortable saying anything. I used to be very non-confrontational. Now, I'd definitely say something but I don't know if I should say to the father "Please, stop your child from kicking my seat" or just say to the kid "Stop kicking my seat."
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: pearls n purls on December 12, 2012, 10:14:42 AM
At apartment complexes I've lived in in the past, sometimes groups of kids would run in front of my car without looking. After I parked, I would calmly remind them to look before running out in the parking lot.

A few weeks ago a 3 and 4-year old were running up and down an aisle at the grocery store, screaming their heads off.  It had been going on for a few minutes before I needed to go down that aisle.  I didn't see any parent it sight, so as I walked by, I asked them where their parents were.  (I figured that was safer that to ask them to stop screaming.)  As it turns out, their mother was in line to pay and didn't seem care that the whole store had to listen to her kids scream for several minutes.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 12, 2012, 10:21:24 AM
I agree with the poster who said if I would ask an adult to stop a behavior then I would also with a child. 

Scenario 1
At a playground and one child is continuing to cut in line on the slide and to the point of pushing kids out of the way and the "in charge" adult is not paying attention.  I will say "You need to wait your turn." and I'd wait there to assure he did.
At a supermarket meat counter a woman is waiting in front of me but another comes later but jumps in with "I am" when the attendant asks who's next.  I will speak up and say "No, I believe other lady was next and I was also here before you."

Scenario 2
Kids are in a store pulling things off a shelf creating a mess.  I will say "Please leave that alone or I'll call a manager."
Young adults are using apples to practice juggling at a supermarket. (Yes, I actually witnessed this) I will say "Please don't do that.  I don't want to buy bruised apples." 

Scneario 3
At a neighborhood casual pizza restaurant and young kids are playing chase around our table.  I will say "Please go sit down or go somewhere else as I don't want you running around our table."
Same restaurant on a crowded Friday day and a group waiting for a table decides to congragate practically on top of our table and become extremely loud and using profanity.  I will say "I'm sorry, but would you mind giving us a little more space?  We can't hear our conversation."

I'm not addressing actions that can cause physical harm as those are no longer etiquette related.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 12, 2012, 10:22:59 AM
Safety is one thing.  If the safety of me, the child, or anyone else is compromised by the child's behavior, then I directly interfere.  Otherwise, I act towards the rude child the same as I act towards a rude adult.  If the situation warrants, I'd say "something."  Like 'excuse me' me if I was bumped into or they were blocking an isle, etc.

It is not my job to parent other people's children any more than it is my job to teach manners to adults who don't have any. I don't really see that dealing with rude kids is any different than rude adults.  And now that I think about it, I run into rude adults more often than children it seems.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 12, 2012, 10:23:50 AM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.

And I assume that they are nice people who wouldn't want to do something that upset someone or bugged them, etc. But that, because they are so young, they simply don't have the depth of knowledge and experience.

And so I don't say, "please use your inside voice," I say, "Could I ask you a favor? When someone is young, like you, their voice is really piercing--it carries really far and is louder to listen to that you think. So when you squeal, it actually hurts some people's ears. And it makes it hard for the grownups to listen to things. Can you try to remember not to squeal?"

This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

In the case of the kid kicking the airline seat, even if the parent is right there, I directly say, "I wonder if you don't realize exactly how thin these airline seats are--when you kick the seat, I can feel it almost as strong as if you were actually kicking me. And it shakes my seat a lot, which is really bugging me. So I wanted to make sure you knew, and ask you if you'd stop kicking the seat."

And I smile and use my friendly voice.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 12, 2012, 10:45:30 AM
In my office, I feel it is my turf, so to speak.  On the few occasions when children are acting a nuisance and not in danger, I have no problem imposing order: Do not pull on the vertical blinds, stop running and screaming, etc.

Once, exactly once, I had a parent complain: "What do you expect me to do?  They are two years old." 

"I expect them to sit next to you, and be quiet.  I have people taking tests and your children are disturbing them."  Mom couldn't make them sit down, but I could.  And she didn't say anything else to me.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MrTango on December 12, 2012, 10:52:19 AM
In my office, I feel it is my turf, so to speak.  On the few occasions when children are acting a nuisance and not in danger, I have no problem imposing order: Do not pull on the vertical blinds, stop running and screaming, etc.

Once, exactly once, I had a parent complain: "What do you expect me to do?  They are two years old." 

"I expect them to sit next to you, and be quiet.  I have people taking tests and your children are disturbing them."  Mom couldn't make them sit down, but I could.  And she didn't say anything else to me.

To the bolded: I would probably have said "If you cannot keep them still and quiet, then you will need to take them out of here."
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 12, 2012, 11:22:15 AM
I think my experience with other people's entitled kids has kind of burned me out on dealing with kids other than my own. Not saying my kids don't act entitled cause they do but at least I can send them to their room and don't feel like I'm overstepping boundaries when I lecture them. 

And I will say recently I've met some nice kids that aren't entitled cause their parents won't let them get away with it.  But in past years we were the house kids wanted to play in. I have no idea why cause the other kids had video game systems, bigger tv's and more games and toys than mine did but whatever the reason, they'd come over and then they'd want to stay till dinner time.  No parents calling to say "Hey could you send my kids home for dinner?" I'd get dinner on the table and say "Okay it's our dinner time, you better be getting home now."

"Oh no, it's okay, my mom said I don't have to be home till 7:30!" Some kids would stay and say "Hey that smells good, I like that!" like they were hoping to be invited to stay for dinner if they stayed long enough.  And some kids seemed to think that if you invited them over or let them in, your pantry was open even if you didn't say "Help yourself". 

One little girl poked holes in our basement screen (one of the little rectangular windows just above ground level) because we wouldn't let her inside while we were painting our living room and she whined "It's so hooooot! I'm going to overheeeeeat!"  Mind you, she lived one block over and could have easily walked home in less than 5 minutes.  When she did that, DH marched her up to her house (or rather her grandparent's side-it's a duplex) and told her grandmother what she did. 

On the other hand, this girl did respond to some gentle manner correction.  For example, she used to barge into the house if she knew we were home.  I asked her politely to please knock and from then on she did.  But my boys started to tire of her bossiness and eventually stopped inviting her over.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: learningtofly on December 12, 2012, 11:27:09 AM
I've gotten better about parenting other people's kids on the playground.  I was worried about mama bears, but then I realized that most of the kids who were misbehaving didn't have parents at the playground.  They were playing basketball or watching a baseball game.  Most of them listened.

We did have an occasion when two of us needed to tell a girl to stop blocking the slide and to not call our kids names.  The rest of the parents were pissed as well and then we saw an old man struggle to get out of a lawn chair near the playground entrance.  This girl was 8 and her sister a little older.  Someone had sent grandpa to watch them and he could barely get out of his chair.  All I could think of was shame on the parents for sending an old man to the playground with their rude kid.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 12, 2012, 11:36:09 AM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: onyonryngs on December 12, 2012, 11:40:48 AM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.

I agree.  I can see telling a kid to "Be careful," but there's a difference between watching out for someone and lecturing someone who isn't your responsibility.    But I am having some flashbacks of A Christmas Story and everyone chiming in with "You'll shoot your eye out."   :)
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Sheila Take a Bow on December 12, 2012, 11:47:36 AM
This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

This would have annoyed me as a parent.  I don't have a problem with my kid walking with a candy cane in her mouth, and if you told her that I would have told her that different people have different rules, and we don't always have to follow other people's rules.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Morticia on December 12, 2012, 11:50:06 AM
We were in the airport waiting for our flight a few days ago. We were sitting in the corner of an "L" shaped seat configuration, facing perpendicular to the wall. Our carryon was in front of DH's seat, directly against the wall. 2 families travelling together sat down around us, distributed their stuff, and began to play a game. One of their little boys was not playing, and while DH was using the facilities, came over, and went to "climb" our luggage. He had actually lifted his foot and was looking around. So I said, "please don't climb on our luggage." It was only then that a parent told him not to. I figure I was golden.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Moray on December 12, 2012, 12:02:13 PM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.

Agreed. No lecture or long speech was needed. More to the point, it was probably counter-productive in terms of making any lasting impact beyond "Ok, I'll play along so this person I don't know will stop talking to me and I can go back to my mom."

I can pretty much guarantee that the 8 year old wasn't as willing a recipient of your advice as you think. Kids pick up on condescension (even the well-intentioned kind!) pretty easily and tend to tune it out.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Bexx27 on December 12, 2012, 12:02:30 PM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.

I agree with Captain Obvious. While I am generally in favor of speaking to/correcting other people's children when they are doing something dangerous or disruptive, I see this example as overstepping. It's never occurred to me that walking while eating a candy cane is likely to cause my child injury and I would have no problem with her doing so.

(FTR, a few minutes on google turned up no reports of children hurting themselves while eating candy canes. But I did find a facebook group with the intriguing name of "Licking a candy cane until it's sharp. Then stabbing someone with it!" It has a rather alarming number of "likes."  ;))
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 12, 2012, 12:18:46 PM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.

I didn't think of it as a lecture. I thought of it as an explanation. I tried to deliver it that way as well.

I think kids deserve explanations, and I think it makes them more likely to act safely in the future.

And given that this was at a function sponsored by *my church,* and my church gave the kid the candycane (liability issues), I think I have the right to *ask a favor* of the child. As one of the organizers, I don't care that you will let  your kid run around with a candycane in his mouth. It's our event, and I'm partially in charge.

(Some other place, where I didn't feel I had a stake in things, I probably wouldn't say anything.)

Because I did not "correct" this kid or state any sort of rule--I just asked him to do all us nervous grownups a favor.

I take those differences in terminology very seriously.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: onyonryngs on December 12, 2012, 12:24:41 PM
I didn't think of it as a lecture. I thought of it as an explanation. I tried to deliver it that way as well.

I think kids deserve explanations, and I think it makes them more likely to act safely in the future.

And given that this was at a function sponsored by *my church,* and my church gave the kid the candycane (liability issues), I think I have the right to *ask a favor* of the child. As one of the organizers, I don't care that you will let  your kid run around with a candycane in his mouth. It's our event, and I'm partially in charge.

(Some other place, where I didn't feel I had a stake in things, I probably wouldn't say anything.)

Because I did not "correct" this kid or state any sort of rule--I just asked him to do all us nervous grownups a favor.

I take those differences in terminology very seriously.

I always thought "candy cane injury" was an urban legend.  I've never actually heard of an actual injury.

While you might not think of it as a lecture, it does seem that there are some of us who do so it would be good to take that in account for future occurrences. 

Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Aeris on December 12, 2012, 01:11:55 PM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.

I didn't think of it as a lecture. I thought of it as an explanation. I tried to deliver it that way as well.

I think kids deserve explanations, and I think it makes them more likely to act safely in the future.

And given that this was at a function sponsored by *my church,* and my church gave the kid the candycane (liability issues), I think I have the right to *ask a favor* of the child. As one of the organizers, I don't care that you will let  your kid run around with a candycane in his mouth. It's our event, and I'm partially in charge.

(Some other place, where I didn't feel I had a stake in things, I probably wouldn't say anything.)

Because I did not "correct" this kid or state any sort of rule--I just asked him to do all us nervous grownups a favor.

I take those differences in terminology very seriously.

I guarantee you that came off to the recipient as a lecture. As did every one of your other examples.

If this had been my kid, I would have been really irritated with you for lecturing my child extensively over such a minor issue, even if you arguably had the right as organizer to establish a rule. I would have been particularly irritated that you had filled my kid's head with scary talk of candy-canes *piercing his brain* - an image no parent needs their kid mulling over, especially as the chances of it actually happening are infinitesimally small.

If you have the right to tell a kid to change their behavior (either because they are being disruptive generally, or because you are in some position of authority), show them enough respect to just tell them the behavior that needs to change and be done with it.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Onyx_TKD on December 12, 2012, 01:27:26 PM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.

I didn't think of it as a lecture. I thought of it as an explanation. I tried to deliver it that way as well.

I think kids deserve explanations, and I think it makes them more likely to act safely in the future.

And given that this was at a function sponsored by *my church,* and my church gave the kid the candycane (liability issues), I think I have the right to *ask a favor* of the child. As one of the organizers, I don't care that you will let  your kid run around with a candycane in his mouth. It's our event, and I'm partially in charge.

(Some other place, where I didn't feel I had a stake in things, I probably wouldn't say anything.)

Because I did not "correct" this kid or state any sort of rule--I just asked him to do all us nervous grownups a favor.

I take those differences in terminology very seriously.

I think it would be fine to ask someone to stop walking with a candycane as a favor to you, or to ask participants at an event you organized not to do so, assuming your role gives you the authority to set behavioral rules. But I think your explanation is way over the top and comes across as condescending for a couple of reasons.

1. You're phrasing it as if you're speaking for all grown-ups. No where in this entire explanation do you say that it bothers you personally or even that it's a liability issue for the church. Instead, you place it all on this nebulous group of "all grown-ups" who need to be protected from their own vivid imaginations. "They" imagine these horrible things. It makes "them" nervous. You didn't even include yourself in that group of nervous adults, as if it doesn't bother you, and you're only speaking up to protect "them." Obviously there are grown-ups (including many on this board, and likely the kid's parents) who don't see anything wrong with walking while sucking on a candy-cane. If you want to ask him to stop, then why not ask him to stop because it makes you nervous or on behalf of the event organizers (assuming you have the authority to do so)? Why act like you're asking him to join you in a secret conspiracy to protect these silly other grown-ups from these dreadful mental images?

2. Your explanation was way too detailed and over the top. I think an 8-year-old is capable of understanding "Would you please not suck on your candycane while you walk? It makes me nervous because I'm afraid you'll get hurt if you fall with it in your mouth or if someone bumps into it." If the kid can't figure out how falling on a candy-cane could hurt him, he can ask (or he might just decide to humor you, even if he thinks it's silly). I certainly don't think he needs the hyperbole of "it could go into your BRAIN." In fact, I think such hyperbole would make him more likely to dismiss you as a crazy paranoid person to be mollified and ignored than a reasonable person with legitimate concerns. The excessive explaining comes across as extremely condescending to me, and also as a lecture due to the length.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: WillyNilly on December 12, 2012, 01:30:13 PM
I hate to dogpile Toots, but I have to agree your examples came across as lectures (and actually quite condescending) to me.  If I were the kid I'd stop listening to you well before you even got to your point.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Tabby Uprising on December 12, 2012, 01:33:57 PM
I almost *always* go directly to the kid, esp. if the parent isn't there.


This weekend, I stopped at kid (about 8?) at the church Christmas party who was walking across the room with a candy cane in his mouth. And I said, "Can I ask you a favor? I want to ask you not to walk with something in your  mouth, and here's why. It really bugs all the grownups. All these grownups have really good imaginations--you think kids have all the imagination? Ha! And when they see the thing in your mouth, they immediately start picturing you falling, or someone waving their arm and bumping the candy cane, and then it scrapes the roof of your  mouth, or punctures it, or maybe even it goes up in your BRAIN, or it knocks a tooth loose, or even if it just makes you cry! And then they get all antsy. So it would be nice of you to take it easy on them and not walk with something in your mouth. And especially don't RUN!"
  He said, "OK," and took it out and walked off.

And I smile and use my friendly voice.

I wouldn't like this at all. Maybe his Mom has no issue with him walking while eating a candycane? I don't think that giving a child a great big long lecture is appropriate. You could have asked him not to, and if he questioned as to why, maybe then you could explain why. You didn't even ask before you gave him a lecture.

I didn't think of it as a lecture. I thought of it as an explanation. I tried to deliver it that way as well.

I think kids deserve explanations, and I think it makes them more likely to act safely in the future.

And given that this was at a function sponsored by *my church,* and my church gave the kid the candycane (liability issues), I think I have the right to *ask a favor* of the child. As one of the organizers, I don't care that you will let  your kid run around with a candycane in his mouth. It's our event, and I'm partially in charge.

(Some other place, where I didn't feel I had a stake in things, I probably wouldn't say anything.)

Because I did not "correct" this kid or state any sort of rule--I just asked him to do all us nervous grownups a favor.

I take those differences in terminology very seriously.

I think in this instance it would have been better for the adult handing out candy canes to tell the children they had to sit down to eat them before passing them out - maybe confined to one area while a story was being read or something.  That way everyone, including parents, knows the rule before they get the candy cane.

Personally, I wouldn't have given a second thought to a child walking around while having a candy cane.  Once I as the parent have been informed of that rule I can make sure my little one enforces it.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Sheila Take a Bow on December 12, 2012, 01:50:47 PM
Personally, I wouldn't have given a second thought to a child walking around while having a candy cane.  Once I as the parent have been informed of that rule I can make sure my little one enforces it.

This is exactly why I see a problem with Toots asking the kid not to eat the candy cane while walking.  It wasn't a rule -- and Toots points out the she didn't tell the kid it was a rule -- and I'm not clear that it was the church's preference.

If I had been told of a rule about eating a candy cane while walking, I would enforce it.  But if there's no rule, and it's just the preference of one of the church volunteers, I'm going to trust my child to be able to walk and eat at the same time.  I'd be really annoyed that anyone told my child that an action that doesn't even register on my radar is something that "bugs all the grownups."
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Auntie Mame on December 12, 2012, 02:17:26 PM
Hmmm, I don't have kids myself, but I do have kids in my life I don't hesitant to correct if I see them breaking what i know to be a big deal rule (hitting someone for example or demanding something without a please).  The hitting will get an instant timeout and an apology and the demand will get a "Want to try rephrasing that?' with a raised Auntie Mame eyebrow.  However, this small group of kids are kids of very close friends and I have at some point (sometimes several points) in their lives babysat them.  My friends thank me when I see something they don't and enforce consequences. Again, these are children I have known a long time and I have been established as one of the village by their parents.  I know the rules, they know I know the rules, and they know I speak for Mom and Dad when I enforce the rules.

That said, I would never never correct a kid I didn't know, barely knew, or just met.  The most I've ever done is call attention to dangerous behavior "Hey there, be careful, that's not safe" which get their parent's attention, or loudly saying something like "You kids okay?" if I see them fighting.  Or "you need to go back to mommy and daddy now" if a child I don't know is in my space. 
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 12, 2012, 02:26:41 PM
The only time I really intervened when a child I didn't know was running around in public was at a KMart.  His mom was nearby, in fact she was halfway down an aisle and he was running in my direction so I stepped in his way so if he didn't stop I could gently stop him if necessary but it wasn't. He just stopped and looked up at me and his mom caught up (she saw me step in his way), grabbed the little boy and thanked me for helping. 

Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Auntie Mame on December 12, 2012, 02:29:48 PM
The only time I really intervened when a child I didn't know was running around in public was at a KMart.  His mom was nearby, in fact she was halfway down an aisle and he was running in my direction so I stepped in his way so if he didn't stop I could gently stop him if necessary but it wasn't. He just stopped and looked up at me and his mom caught up (she saw me step in his way), grabbed the little boy and thanked me for helping.

LOL, I've done that as well.  When I spot a jail break and a frantic running parent I'll step in front of the kid.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 12, 2012, 02:34:18 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: snowdragon on December 12, 2012, 02:38:05 PM
I will correct a child who is getting in my stuff, even if the parent objects. I will also correct a child who is doing harm to myself or the kids I might be with. Other than that I ignore them.
 But if I kid is trying to play with my computer, craft stuff, or purse, I am not stopping to search for a parent, nor am I putting up with the idea that "they're not bothering anyone" when this is going on. This is as much bothering me as is kicking, hitting,hair pulling or anything else one miht think of. If it affects me or my family or my stuff, then I'll say something, beyond that - they are their parents problem.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: pierrotlunaire0 on December 12, 2012, 02:47:48 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.   Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

I was about to disagree with you, until I reread the phrase I just highlighted above.  In the cases where I did discipline, it has always been for behavior that I would have addressed with an adult behaving similarly (yelling, disruptive).  And when I have addressed issues with children, I am always ready to take it up with the responsible adult.  To my surprise, however, most parents keep their head low and avoid my glance, or they use what I am saying as a cue to address their child themselves.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: SiotehCat on December 12, 2012, 02:58:15 PM
I don't parent any kids but my own and I don't want anyone parenting mine.

For kids that are misbehaving in public, I try to stay as far away from them as I can. If I have to alert management or an usher, I will do that.

If you try to reprimand or lecture my son about something that you don't like, but isn't necessarily wrong, I will approach you and tell you to never speak to my child again. An example of this is Toot's candy cane example.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Fleur on December 12, 2012, 03:30:09 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

I'm sorry, but I don't agree with this. If a child runs over my feet in a shop, as has happened, I am going to speak up. I actually don't know if we do disagree, as I would also do the same to an adult though I have never been disturbed by an adult in public in that way. The other side of parents being allowed to parent is that they actually have to parent: if they don't, they don't get to complain when others step in (I'm not counting Toots' candy cane example, but more something disruptive)
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: misha412 on December 12, 2012, 03:41:48 PM
If a child is about to harm themselves or harm someone else, I have no qualms about saying something to them or blocking them. If they are trying to get into my belongings, hitting me, or are being rude or obnoxious to me, I have no qualms about saying something to them.

I do not consider that "parenting" the child. I am addressing their actions to them at the moment it is happening. I do not care if their parent is three steps behind them. A child should expect another human being to address them if they are doing something that is harmful.

Now, if a child is being obnoxious and running about, I will not say a word to that child, until it becomes a safety issue. I will give the glare of death to the parents however. On occasion I have said something to a parent if their child is disturbing a gathering.

On one occasion, I did help a parent out with a runaway toddler. A mom had her kids at the mall's play area in the food court. One was about 2 years old. Mom was busy with a smaller baby and thought the little one was occupied in the play area. Well, zippy, zappy, blink of an eye. The little one is out of the play area and scooting through the arrangement of tables around the food court. Mom is trying to get up while dealing with a baby only half dressed. I was sitting at a table and saw what was happening. I put an arm out and caught the little one. I took her back to mom who was glad someone had got her. If that is "parenting" I am guilty.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: WillyNilly on December 12, 2012, 03:46:03 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

I disagree.  I think sometimes the Village needs to step in, if only because sometimes adults don't fully realize the impact of actions either.

Here's an example, from years ago in my life.

I went to a basketball game.  This was a Big East team and even though they were bleachers, they were assigned seats.  I went with a season ticket holder, so he really wanted and expected us to stay in our seats.

One or two rows in front of us was a group of about 5 or 6 boys, about 10-11 years old.  they had an oaktag sign supporting the team (or a player, i can't remember).  When ever there was a basket made or that team member made a basket everyone would cheer and the kids would hold up the sign.  Over their heads.  Directly in our line of vision.  There were adults around, but I wasn't sure which adults were with the kids, or their relation to them.  I spoke directly to the kids: "hey guys, could you do us a favor?  We're fans too and when you hold up your sign you block our view.  I know its tempting but please don't raise it above your heads.  you can block your own vision but not ours."

The kids totally 'got' it and a woman sitting near by overheard and later I saw her address a kid by name and remind him about lifting the sign.

I think that was a bit of 'parenting' on my part - to an adult I probably would have been a bit more blunt (or honestly an adult might have had long enough arms the sign didn't bother me, and I would have left it to the people behind me).  But I don't think it was inappropriate.  I think the kids and the adult all appreciated I had enough respect for the kids' intelligence to just deal with them directly. I think the adult simply hadn't realized the sign would be in the way, so its not like she was being irresponsible or ignoring an issue, she didn't realize there was an issue to be dealt with until I said something.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MrsJWine on December 12, 2012, 03:52:56 PM
If it affects me directly, I say something to the kid. If it doesn't, I keep my mouth shut. If there's imminent danger to the child or to someone's property, I say something. There are gray areas between each of these categories, but 99% of the time it's pretty clear-cut to me. I've also welcomed it on the few occasions it's been my kids.

I know some kinds respond well to a certain look, but most kids of my acquaintance don't. In my experience, small kids are completely oblivious to most social nuances and cues. I need to be firm and direct with them instead of sitting there, stewing.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: misha412 on December 12, 2012, 04:00:14 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

Sorry, I have to disagree with the bolded statement above. When an adult is being rude and obnoxious to me or someone in my company, I will say something and tell them their behavior is not welcome. If a child is interacting with me and doing the same, I will wait a bit to see if a parent intervenes. But I will not sit there and take it just because the parents are absent or oblivious. I will say something to the kid.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Aeris on December 12, 2012, 04:06:27 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

Sorry, I have to disagree with the bolded statement above. When an adult is being rude and obnoxious to me or someone in my company, I will say something and tell them their behavior is not welcome. If a child is interacting with me and doing the same, I will wait a bit to see if a parent intervenes. But I will not sit there and take it just because the parents are absent or oblivious. I will say something to the kid.

bah12's very next line after the one you bolded was "If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child." I'm confident she was referring to 'correcting behavior' as correcting behavior that doesn't directly affect you.

I haven't seen anyone advocate staying silent and just putting up with a behavior from a child (or adult) that is directly affecting you, and yet I keep seeing posts that appear to be arguing against this as if someone had been advocating it.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Micah on December 12, 2012, 04:09:19 PM
Within our close group of friends we basically do parent each others children. If one gets too rough, breaks things, doesn't share, etc whichever adult is closest will put the child in time out, tell him/her off or separate them from the group. That said, we know each other very well, our kids see a LOT of each other and at any given time there could be ten kids running around so it does take a 'village' so to speak.

I don't like it when strangers get involved though. My son is five and quite small for his age (about the size of some three year olds). Only a few weeks ago I was at an Op shop that has a fenced yard with a child proof security gate. The gate is there because a play group runs from that location once a week and is normally left open when it's not playgroup. My son wanted to go to our car to get his money to buy a  toy he wanted. I was standing at the shop door watching him and as he got to the gate, a lady coming through the other way slammed the gate shut, nearly hitting him, and full on yelled, "No! Don't go through there!"

She really upset my son. He's shy at the best of times and being yelled at by a stranger for doing something he knew he was allowed to do made him distraught. If she had stopped him and asked nicely, "Are you allowed out there? Where's your Mum?" He would have answered her politely and articulately and I would have had a chance to speak up, "He's fine, I'm watching him."

It took a great deal of restraint not to say what I was thinking  >:( :-X
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Fleur on December 12, 2012, 04:18:33 PM
Within our close group of friends we basically do parent each others children. If one gets too rough, breaks things, doesn't share, etc whichever adult is closest will put the child in time out, tell him/her off or separate them from the group. That said, we know each other very well, our kids see a LOT of each other and at any given time there could be ten kids running around so it does take a 'village' so to speak.

I don't like it when strangers get involved though. My son is five and quite small for his age (about the size of some three year olds). Only a few weeks ago I was at an Op shop that has a fenced yard with a child proof security gate. The gate is there because a play group runs from that location once a week and is normally left open when it's not playgroup. My son wanted to go to our car to get his money to buy a  toy he wanted. I was standing at the shop door watching him and as he got to the gate, a lady coming through the other way slammed the gate shut, nearly hitting him, and full on yelled, "No! Don't go through there!"

She really upset my son. He's shy at the best of times and being yelled at by a stranger for doing something he knew he was allowed to do made him distraught. If she had stopped him and asked nicely, "Are you allowed out there? Where's your Mum?" He would have answered her politely and articulately and I would have had a chance to speak up, "He's fine, I'm watching him."

It took a great deal of restraint not to say what I was thinking  >:( :-X

I am a little confused by this story, why did she thin she could tell him what to do? Did she think he was part of the playgroup?
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: misha412 on December 12, 2012, 04:37:31 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

Sorry, I have to disagree with the bolded statement above. When an adult is being rude and obnoxious to me or someone in my company, I will say something and tell them their behavior is not welcome. If a child is interacting with me and doing the same, I will wait a bit to see if a parent intervenes. But I will not sit there and take it just because the parents are absent or oblivious. I will say something to the kid.

bah12's very next line after the one you bolded was "If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child." I'm confident she was referring to 'correcting behavior' as correcting behavior that doesn't directly affect you.

I haven't seen anyone advocate staying silent and just putting up with a behavior from a child (or adult) that is directly affecting you, and yet I keep seeing posts that appear to be arguing against this as if someone had been advocating it.

Her first statement was that there is no reason to correct anyone's behavior regardless of age. The second statement does not modify that assertion. She is basically saying she would not correct anyone's behavior, child or adult. I disagreed with that assertion.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 12, 2012, 05:05:34 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

Sorry, I have to disagree with the bolded statement above. When an adult is being rude and obnoxious to me or someone in my company, I will say something and tell them their behavior is not welcome. If a child is interacting with me and doing the same, I will wait a bit to see if a parent intervenes. But I will not sit there and take it just because the parents are absent or oblivious. I will say something to the kid.

bah12's very next line after the one you bolded was "If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child." I'm confident she was referring to 'correcting behavior' as correcting behavior that doesn't directly affect you.

I haven't seen anyone advocate staying silent and just putting up with a behavior from a child (or adult) that is directly affecting you, and yet I keep seeing posts that appear to be arguing against this as if someone had been advocating it.

Her first statement was that there is no reason to correct anyone's behavior regardless of age. The second statement does not modify that assertion. She is basically saying she would not correct anyone's behavior, child or adult. I disagreed with that assertion.

Actually, that's not what I'm saying at all. Please don't speak for me.  I said that children are no different than adults when correcting behavior.  I don't go around telling adults how to behave, regardless of how boorish it may be and it's not ok to do that to children who are not under your direct care.

And yes, the caveat is that the behavior doesn't directly affect you and is not a safety issue.  The discussion here has been correcting children's generally rude behavior when their responsible adult doesn't do it.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Sophia on December 12, 2012, 05:06:50 PM
I hate and loath the "It takes a village" idea.  If there are active parents then the village is completely unnecessary. 

But, I think it depends on whether or not the behavior effects my child or innocent children.  If it does, then yes I will correct another child.  If it doesn't, then I won't. 

I don't think it needs to cross into safety.  For instance, if a Monster_Child threw food at my Angel_Child and the parents ignored it you bet I would step in and use my mad Mommy voice to tell Monster_Child that you do NOT throw food, and even more important, you do not throw food at someone else.  If the parents had a problem with that, I really do not care. 
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 12, 2012, 05:10:21 PM
There's a big difference between "parenting" kids who are in your care, or who you have a close relationship (approved by parents) with and "parenting" random kids you see in the grocery store, at the movie theater, at a party, etc.   All safety instances aside, it is absolutely not your place to correct other people's behavior...regardless of age.  If you wouldn't correct an adult, then don't do it to a child.  Parenting is the responsibility of the parents and as we've seen on this board, everyone parents differently.    Yes, it's unfortunate that some parents don't properly supervise their kids or teach them how to behave properly.  And as frustrating as it may be to see, it's still not ok to step in and take over the parents' job.  If the kid is being really disruptive, then find the parent or other authority figure (if necessary) and have them handle it.

***all "you's" are general***

I disagree.  I think sometimes the Village needs to step in, if only because sometimes adults don't fully realize the impact of actions either.

Here's an example, from years ago in my life.

I went to a basketball game.  This was a Big East team and even though they were bleachers, they were assigned seats.  I went with a season ticket holder, so he really wanted and expected us to stay in our seats.

One or two rows in front of us was a group of about 5 or 6 boys, about 10-11 years old.  they had an oaktag sign supporting the team (or a player, i can't remember).  When ever there was a basket made or that team member made a basket everyone would cheer and the kids would hold up the sign.  Over their heads.  Directly in our line of vision.  There were adults around, but I wasn't sure which adults were with the kids, or their relation to them.  I spoke directly to the kids: "hey guys, could you do us a favor?  We're fans too and when you hold up your sign you block our view.  I know its tempting but please don't raise it above your heads.  you can block your own vision but not ours."

The kids totally 'got' it and a woman sitting near by overheard and later I saw her address a kid by name and remind him about lifting the sign.

I think that was a bit of 'parenting' on my part - to an adult I probably would have been a bit more blunt (or honestly an adult might have had long enough arms the sign didn't bother me, and I would have left it to the people behind me).  But I don't think it was inappropriate.  I think the kids and the adult all appreciated I had enough respect for the kids' intelligence to just deal with them directly. I think the adult simply hadn't realized the sign would be in the way, so its not like she was being irresponsible or ignoring an issue, she didn't realize there was an issue to be dealt with until I said something.

Yes, but in this example, the signs were blocking your view.  They directly affected you.  I'm sure you would have asked adults doing the same thing to do you that same "favor". That is not the same as telling a child (or an adult) to correct their generally rude behavior when it has nothing to do with you.  Which is what I'm referring to.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MamaMootz on December 12, 2012, 05:15:21 PM
Did anyone see the show they had -- on one of those hidden camera shows where they purposely put kids into a diner situation and told the kids to be obnoxious and run around the restaurant to see if the other patrons would stop them? I think it's what would you do or something like that. None of the adults really did anything or spoke up, except for a couple of people who were teachers, interestingly enough.

Yes! I saw that. And I wasn't sure what I would have done. Probably said nothing and just been horrified.

Who should one direct their comment to when the child is misbehaving and the parent is right there - the parent or the child?

For example, DH and I were on an airplane and the kid in the seat behind me kept kicking my seat. It wasn't a small tap. He was actively, roughly and repeatedly kicking my seat. For minutes on end. The kid looked to be 7-9 years old and his father was seated beside him and awake and did nothing. This was before I had kids, so I didn't feel comfortable saying anything. I used to be very non-confrontational. Now, I'd definitely say something but I don't know if I should say to the father "Please, stop your child from kicking my seat" or just say to the kid "Stop kicking my seat."

I like to think that I'd have been one of the people addressing the kids, but more than likely, I would have spoken to the manager about the disruptive family or requested that we be moved and giving the parent the Icy Glare.

On the airplane, though, I'd have had no problem turning around to the kid and his parent and saying, "Your child is kicking my seat. Can you please get him to stop?" I've had to do that a few times on planes myself and most of the time the parent helped out. I've had to stop DD from kicking the seat in front of her in her younger days and I've apologized to the people in front of us.
But if it's either say something to the kid/parent or endure a 5 hour flight being whammed by little feet, I'll take say something to the kid/parent every time.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 12, 2012, 05:23:08 PM
I have always thought the "It takes a village" was referring to how, if a kid acts up in public, someone who knows him might not correct him themselves but they'd let their mother or father know what the kid did when they weren't watching so that the parent could correct them.

Make the kid realize that even when they're away from home they had better still behave themselves cause word may somehow still get back home. 
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: MrsJWine on December 12, 2012, 05:30:18 PM
I'm okay with "it takes a village" in some ways.

Like, if my kid is acting up, and I'm not available for whatever reason, I believe other people totally have the right to correct her and/or protect property. I don't get to be all mad about that if my attention has slipped, or if we're in a place where it's okay for them to run off and play (like at church; all the kids run and play together, but every once in a while a parent has to tell them to get off the stage at the front of the sanctuary). If a kid is turning around and distracting my kids and us during church, I get to tell her to stop.

However, it's not something I should count on, especially out in public, away from good friends. If I'm at Target, and my kid is climbing the magazine display while I look at makeup, I don't get to be mad at people for not corralling her for me.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: kherbert05 on December 12, 2012, 05:59:12 PM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 12, 2012, 06:22:25 PM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: CakeEater on December 12, 2012, 06:34:18 PM
I'm perfectly happy to tell other kids to wait at the top of the slide, don't push my kid etc at the park for example. I do have to reign in my teacher impulses, though.

When I taught at a small private school with pretty strict standards, staff were expected to stop kids in public if they weren't wearing their uniforms properly. The principal had no problems walking up to a family at the shopping centre and telling the kids to tuck their shirts in, or ask where their school shoes were if they had others on, but I could never bring myself to do that. I walked around in public with my eyes firmly on my own feet while I was at that school.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Softly Spoken on December 12, 2012, 06:38:14 PM
I wanted to thank everyone for their responses. I really really want to ask people to please try to respectfully share their differences of opinion. I don't think criticizing other people's etiquette choices is productive. I am interested in hearing people's personal anecdotes, as all experiences and feelings are valid and help give us perspective.

It seems that my use of the word "parenting" has caused a little *ahem* disagreement among a few people. I wasn't really asking about "parenting" a stranger's child as much as how to deal with misbehaving children. I personally don't think basic rules of civilized society are only to be taught to children by their parents - though it is nice when parents make the effort. I would say it falls under the parents job description, but I don't think a stranger is overstepping their bounds by reminding a child when they interact with them.

Of course parenting is for parents - hence the name. ;) But I would suggest that while only parents (or guardians to be PC I guess) can parent (if you define parenting as discipline/control/ethically guide etc.), a child can learn from anyone.

IMHO that is where the idea or perhaps the real spirit of "it takes a village" comes from - a child learns how to get along in the big outside world by going out in it and interacting with the other people they have to share it with. ;D

Slightly new thought/direction on the issue: I have observed an interesting phenomenon with dogs - they have a "cut off point" for puppies that make breaches in dog 'etiquette'. Basically, young puppies get away with almost anything because they don't know any better and are given a certain amount of slack. Then the grown-ups decide that it's time for the puppy to grow up and learn manners and start biting their heads off (not literally but verbally! ::)) when they go over the line. So a puppy that had free reign over the food dish is suddenly chased away and basically told by the older dog that "I'm in charge so I'm eating first." Or a puppy that enjoyed jumping on his older friend's head is now pushed away for playing too rough.

Obviously we aren't dogs, but we are responsible for showing kids what is and is not acceptable behavior. The first thing that comes to my mind when a parent excuses their kid's behavior with "s/he doesn't know any better" is "well, why haven't you told them?" ??? In the grown-up world, "ignorance of the law is no excuse."

I'm sure this is a very individual/case-by-case thing, but how would others here usually decide that it is time to stop "humoring the puppy" and start trying to teach some etiquette?
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Scuba_Dog on December 12, 2012, 06:39:38 PM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.

I don't.  I thought what she said was perfect.  I committed it to memory for the next time I see something like that happen.

Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 12, 2012, 06:44:45 PM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.

I don't.  I thought what she said was perfect.  I committed it to memory for the next time I see something like that happen.

That is great, differing opinions is what keep the forum active!
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Micah on December 12, 2012, 06:48:57 PM
Within our close group of friends we basically do parent each others children. If one gets too rough, breaks things, doesn't share, etc whichever adult is closest will put the child in time out, tell him/her off or separate them from the group. That said, we know each other very well, our kids see a LOT of each other and at any given time there could be ten kids running around so it does take a 'village' so to speak.

I don't like it when strangers get involved though. My son is five and quite small for his age (about the size of some three year olds). Only a few weeks ago I was at an Op shop that has a fenced yard with a child proof security gate. The gate is there because a play group runs from that location once a week and is normally left open when it's not playgroup. My son wanted to go to our car to get his money to buy a  toy he wanted. I was standing at the shop door watching him and as he got to the gate, a lady coming through the other way slammed the gate shut, nearly hitting him, and full on yelled, "No! Don't go through there!"

She really upset my son. He's shy at the best of times and being yelled at by a stranger for doing something he knew he was allowed to do made him distraught. If she had stopped him and asked nicely, "Are you allowed out there? Where's your Mum?" He would have answered her politely and articulately and I would have had a chance to speak up, "He's fine, I'm watching him."

It took a great deal of restraint not to say what I was thinking  >:( :-X

I am a little confused by this story, why did she thin she could tell him what to do? Did she think he was part of the playgroup?

I have no idea why she thought she could tell him what to do, especially in that manner. Playgroup wasn't running that day, he was the only child present. Playgroup only runs on a wednesday, this was a friday and the gate was propped open so anyone could come and go.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on December 12, 2012, 06:59:06 PM
I see your point, OP.  In that case I'd say that teachers and relatives and other adults in the child's world can shape their views of it.   I know my grandparents influence and that of my aunts and uncles had an effect on me. My aunts didn't talk down to myself and my cousins, they talked to us as though we were adults too, which always got through to us more than when adults were condescending. 

My mother used to whine "Why is it when someone else tells you something you listen but when I say it, it goes in one ear and out the other?" well cause she was usually being long winded, lecture-y and condescending and half the time talked out of both sides of her mouth. Ie "Stand up for yourself, be your own best advocate!" but when I stood up for myself against bullies, "Well you don't have to be rude!"  ::)

Once my bff came to visit, she noticed the boys were, despite being told otherwise, using a different cup everytime they wanted a new drink.  She stopped them by saying "Do you realize that every time you use a new cup, it means more detergent and dish soap your mama needs to use to wash them, and a higher water and electricity bill, which means less money your mom and dad have to spend doing fun stuff with you?" The lightbulb went on over their heads and they've gotten better about that.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 12, 2012, 10:13:50 PM
Interesting thread. I don't have kids and don't have much experience/comfort with them. Setting aside safety issues, I would only correct a strange child (heck, probably even one I knew) if their bad behavior directly affected me, like stepping on my feet or messing with my stuff. And by "correct" I would mean--"Hey, stop doing that." Just whatever it took to make them stop, without a view towards actually making a long-term impression.

In other words, if I were at a restaurant and children were running around making noise, I would either ask the staff to do something about it, and/or finish up my meal in a hurry and leave. I would not try to alter the children's behavior if they weren't actively running into me, and I wouldn't go looking for a parent, either. That's just my own personal opinion, because I'm not at all comfortable with kids. My dad used to be a teacher, though, and would probably say, "Boys," in a stern tone (assuming they were boys of course). That "teacher voice" never dies! :)

I'm not sure about the "time to stop humoring the puppy" age... Given my personal preferences as stated above, the age doesn't really matter that much. Like, if a baby crawled over and started messing with my stuff, I would stop them. Maybe saying, "Hey, stop that," wouldn't work, but I could take my stuff away from them and put it away somewhere. I wouldn't let them mess with my stuff at 8 months because they're only 8 months, but stop them at 8 years because "they should know better." It's still messing with my stuff, and that needs to stop. I'm sure my exact methods would vary depending on age, but my goal would be the same.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: wolfie on December 12, 2012, 10:22:23 PM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.

So you don't think that if a child does something life endangering that you should do something if you are not responsible for that child?

For the most part I haven't experienced situations where a child was misbehaving so this is all conjecture but I wouldn't interfere if it didn't directly effect me. But if they were doing something that could get them killed (and entering an alligator enclosure falls in that category) I would like to think I would do something.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 12, 2012, 10:40:33 PM
Zoos seem to be havens of weird kid behavior. I remember being at a zoo once, looking down over a railing into some kind of enclosure--gorillas, perhaps. It was an L-shape and these two families on the two sides got into an argument because one was letting their toddler sit on the concrete barrier, with only a bit of railing to hang onto to prevent them from falling. The other family didn't think this was safe and called over something like, "Better hold onto your kid better!" and the first family was like, "I'll hold my kid however I want!" and they went back and forth a couple of times. I think a zoo employee showed up and intervened somehow.

It was rather uncomfortable for everyone else there, and I'm not sure if it was really the best way for either side to handle it. But I did feel like the one family must be genuinely concerned, to call out to total strangers in a crowd and risk making a scene.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: AllTheThings on December 12, 2012, 10:50:17 PM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.

So you don't think that if a child does something life endangering that you should do something if you are not responsible for that child?

For the most part I haven't experienced situations where a child was misbehaving so this is all conjecture but I wouldn't interfere if it didn't directly effect me. But if they were doing something that could get them killed (and entering an alligator enclosure falls in that category) I would like to think I would do something.

I agree that it is okay to say something in that case because the consequences of not saying anything are so much worse than the consequences of saying something (the boy gets mad or embarrassed and his feelings hurt).
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Auntie Mame on December 13, 2012, 12:28:27 AM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.

So, it's better to watch a kid get eaten by an alligator and the alligator get destroyed?  Not in my world.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: mmswm on December 13, 2012, 02:54:13 AM
I was a middle school teachers for the better part of a decade.  That teacher "look" never dies.  I've been known to shoot that look to misbehaving kids in public. It's surprisingly effective without ever actually saying anything.  Of course, if safety was in question, I would not hesitate to step and and correct a behavior that could result in injury or death, but that goes for children and adults.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Fleur on December 13, 2012, 03:20:19 AM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.

Why was she out of line? He was out of line and nobody was doing anything about it. I can't believe the zoo employees said nothing, but it was a good job that someone did. Actually, I can kind of understand it: when I worked in retail, I wasn't allowed to discipline ill-behaved children, though sometimes I longed to say something to the most egregious cases. But if someone else stepped in, not a parent, I would be giving them a huge mental thumbs up. I get very tired of the idea that allowing kids to run wild and inconvenience others is a 'parenting choice' that has to be 'repected'. It isn't. It is a parenting cop out.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: kherbert05 on December 13, 2012, 04:46:01 AM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.
Just wondering if I was clear - he was inside the alligator exhibit trying to tease the alligators- a place completely off limits to visitors.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: kherbert05 on December 13, 2012, 05:02:47 AM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.

Why was she out of line? He was out of line and nobody was doing anything about it. I can't believe the zoo employees said nothing, but it was a good job that someone did. Actually, I can kind of understand it: when I worked in retail, I wasn't allowed to discipline ill-behaved children, though sometimes I longed to say something to the most egregious cases. But if someone else stepped in, not a parent, I would be giving them a huge mental thumbs up. I get very tired of the idea that allowing kids to run wild and inconvenience others is a 'parenting choice' that has to be 'repected'. It isn't. It is a parenting cop out.
The employees came when they heard me tell him to get back on the correct side of the barricade. They couldn't see him from the main path because of the landscaping. I've always been pleased with the employees. They are great at answering the kids questions, always seem very knowledgeable about all the animals. The management lets them kick out bad seeds pretty quickly. You can tell by the way the employees handle misbehaving visitors. They are also great in handling kids tendency to climb up on the barricades. They ask the kids in a quiet but firm voice to keep their feet on the ground. Areas that have been renovated have better barricades - that are easier to see through if you are smaller child. (The older areas have barricades that kids tend to pull up or climb on because the barricade blocks the view)
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: onyonryngs on December 13, 2012, 09:04:40 AM
I will correct kids that know me without going to their parents. If I went to the parent instead of correcting the parents would think I had lost my mind.

Strangers I treat kids like I treat adults. If you are doing something that is spoiling my enjoyment (Like kicking my chair) I'll speak up. If you are doing something that puts me, mine, or some other innocent in danger - I will speak up. 

Example I ordered a teenager to get back on the proper side of the barricade at the old alligator exhibit at the zoo. He smarted off that his life wasn't my business. I told him I don't care about you - I don't want a poor alligator destroyed because he ate you - after you offered yourself up as a meal. The look on the zoo employees' faces as they tried to keep from cracking up while kicking the family out were priceless. (This was shortly after that girl climbed into a merekat exhibit, was bitten, then the animals were put down because her parents didn't want to force her to get rabies shots).

Loren has caught on to why I raise my voice (not yell but teacher voice) when these things happen at the zoo. Someone usually responds to protect the animals. She started doing it to. Last trip she told a kid to stop tormenting a wild bunny in a very loud voice. This was followed by the standard rabies warning**.

**We have a wild life refuge/former farm. The kids are going through a lets catch the lizards and cool looking bugs phase. We have a strict no alligators (not even babies), no snakes (all 4 poisonous kinds native to Texas have been found on the land) and no mammals (rabies) rule. We don't do the you have to get 13 shots in your belly thing, because that isn't true anymore. We do say mammals can have rabies. If you get bit or touch a sick one, the doctor is going to have to give you medicine including a shot to make sure you don't get sick too.

I don't know who Loren is, but when she is under your care, you can discipline her however you want, but I think you were totally out of line speaking to the boy.
Just wondering if I was clear - he was inside the alligator exhibit trying to tease the alligators- a place completely off limits to visitors.

You did the right thing.  What was he thinking?  That's crazy.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 13, 2012, 10:30:10 AM
It seems that my use of the word "parenting" has caused a little *ahem* disagreement among a few people. I wasn't really asking about "parenting" a stranger's child as much as how to deal with misbehaving children. I personally don't think basic rules of civilized society are only to be taught to children by their parents - though it is nice when parents make the effort. I would say it falls under the parents job description, but I don't think a stranger is overstepping their bounds by reminding a child when they interact with them.

Of course parenting is for parents - hence the name. ;) But I would suggest that while only parents (or guardians to be PC I guess) can parent (if you define parenting as discipline/control/ethically guide etc.), a child can learn from anyone.

IMHO that is where the idea or perhaps the real spirit of "it takes a village" comes from - a child learns how to get along in the big outside world by going out in it and interacting with the other people they have to share it with. ;D


I understand where you are coming from and agree that children can and should learn from everyone.  But, it may be a small distinction, but it is a distinction.  A stranger is overstepping when  they choose to teach manners to a child that is neither their own (or they are responsibile for) or is not directly interferring/affecting their or their children's lives.

For instance, I would tell a child not to shove on the slide, run out in traffic, not to throw things, or to be careful if they accidently bumb into me.  If it's safety related, or interfering with me and/or my child, then it is my place to say something.  I would treat an adult the same.

But, I would not tell a random child not to pick their nose, chew with their mouth closed, keep their elbows off the table, share their toys, pull up their pants, or stay near their parents in a crowded shopping center....all things that  I would and do tell my own daughter every day.  Just like I don't tell adults not to talk on their cell phones when checking out, not to cut in lines that I'm not in, not to check emails during meetings I'm not running, to wear properly fitting clothes or any of the myriad of behaviors that make me inwardly cringe.

It is not our place to be the manner police and as hard as it may be to watch a parent sit idly by and let their kids grow into the adults we all hate to interact with, it is just as rude (if not more) to insert authority where we have none.

Yet, I do agree that children should learn from those around them. Which is exactly why we, as responsible adults, neet to "lead by example."  I even agree with the "it takes a village" sentiment, but as a parent, I get to decide who that village is.  And it absolutely does not consist of strangers inserting themselves into our lives and  telling my child what to do or not to do (with the exceptions I've mentioned).
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Tabby Uprising on December 13, 2012, 10:50:33 AM
I think that's very well said, bah. 
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Allyson on December 13, 2012, 11:06:35 AM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Softly Spoken on December 13, 2012, 11:08:58 AM
It seems that my use of the word "parenting" has caused a little *ahem* disagreement among a few people. I wasn't really asking about "parenting" a stranger's child as much as how to deal with misbehaving children. I personally don't think basic rules of civilized society are only to be taught to children by their parents - though it is nice when parents make the effort. I would say it falls under the parents job description, but I don't think a stranger is overstepping their bounds by reminding a child when they interact with them.

Of course parenting is for parents - hence the name. ;) But I would suggest that while only parents (or guardians to be PC I guess) can parent (if you define parenting as discipline/control/ethically guide etc.), a child can learn from anyone.

IMHO that is where the idea or perhaps the real spirit of "it takes a village" comes from - a child learns how to get along in the big outside world by going out in it and interacting with the other people they have to share it with. ;D


I understand where you are coming from and agree that children can and should learn from everyone.  But, it may be a small distinction, but it is a distinction.  A stranger is overstepping when  they choose to teach manners to a child that is neither their own (or they are responsibile for) or is not directly interferring/affecting their or their children's lives.

For instance, I would tell a child not to shove on the slide, run out in traffic, not to throw things, or to be careful if they accidently bumb into me.  If it's safety related, or interfering with me and/or my child, then it is my place to say something.  I would treat an adult the same.

But, I would not tell a random child not to pick their nose, chew with their mouth closed, keep their elbows off the table, share their toys, pull up their pants, or stay near their parents in a crowded shopping center....all things that  I would and do tell my own daughter every day.  Just like I don't tell adults not to talk on their cell phones when checking out, not to cut in lines that I'm not in, not to check emails during meetings I'm not running, to wear properly fitting clothes or any of the myriad of behaviors that make me inwardly cringe.

It is not our place to be the manner police and as hard as it may be to watch a parent sit idly by and let their kids grow into the adults we all hate to interact with, it is just as rude (if not more) to insert authority where we have none.

Yet, I do agree that children should learn from those around them. Which is exactly why we, as responsible adults, neet to "lead by example."  I even agree with the "it takes a village" sentiment, but as a parent, I get to decide who that village is.  And it absolutely does not consist of strangers inserting themselves into our lives and  telling my child what to do or not to do (with the exceptions I've mentioned).

ITA and I apologize for not making that distinction - it's on me for assuming that this would be common sense and I didn't have to mention it!  ::) When I posted the topic I was not thinking of low-level or "victim-less crime" rudeness like the examples you gave. Obviously none of the bolded things would directly affect anyone else (besides internal annoyance/judgement/being grossed out), and any stranger who commented on such behavior would probably by told to MYOB. If someone else's behavior is intruding on my life, I think the argument can be made that it becomes my business. Proximity matters. A kid being rude next to me is going to hear from me - a kid being rude 10 feet away I will probably ignore unless their shrieking has pierced my headphones.  :P

I think that is one of the ear marks of rude behavior - doing or saying something that negatively affects other people. It is rude to intrude on or inconvenience others.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 13, 2012, 11:14:57 AM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

I think it is a cultural thing.  My family comes from a small village in a European country (where many member still live) where I would say that they are definitely more open to correcting behavior (of everyone) regardless of relationship or circumstance.  And while I'm sure that some areas of the US may be like this too, I think that the faster paced, more crowded, and higher crime rates we have here does play into this.  And also we have many different cultures, parenting styles, etc here in the US, so there isn't a common ground or set of behaviorial standards that we all live by.

I don't interact with children I don't know...or at least I don't initiate contact with them.  Because as a parent, I know that I would be a little wary of a stranger that chose to start talking to my daughter without including me.  Maybe it makes me a little overly paranoid, but the behavior gets my attention and not in a good way.  Also, I just don't think it's polite to correct other people's behavior unless we're in a situation/position where we have the authority to set and enforce the rules. In other cultures that may be acceptable or even expected...but not where I live that I am aware of.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 13, 2012, 11:20:22 AM
ITA and I apologize for not making that distinction - it's on me for assuming that this would be common sense and I didn't have to mention it!  ::) When I posted the topic I was not thinking of low-level or "victim-less crime" rudeness like the examples you gave. Obviously none of the bolded things would directly affect anyone else (besides internal annoyance/judgement/being grossed out), and any stranger who commented on such behavior would probably by told to MYOB. If someone else's behavior is intruding on my life, I think the argument can be made that it becomes my business. Proximity matters. A kid being rude next to me is going to hear from me - a kid being rude 10 feet away I will probably ignore unless their shrieking has pierced my headphones.  :P

I think that is one of the ear marks of rude behavior - doing or saying something that negatively affects other people. It is rude to intrude on or inconvenience others.

But being rude in what way?  If the rudeness interferes with you, then yes.  But again, if it doesn't I don't think it matter where they are standing.  Using an adult as an example:  The person in front of me at a checkout line could be chatting away on their phone while checking out.  I find that behavior rude and obnoxious...but I'm not the one checking them out.  It's not my place to correct the behavior even though it's happening right next me.  And children should get that same consideration.   
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Bexx27 on December 13, 2012, 11:34:15 AM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

It seems to me that inherent in the "village" proverb is the assumption that everyone in the village knows each other. Most of us don't live in this kind of environment. We create "villages" for our children composed of friends, relatives, teachers, etc., and these are the people we trust to help us raise our children. What most of us don't appreciate is unwarranted interference from strangers. Since I don't believe the proverbial village was intended to include nosy strangers, and since I do think children benefit from being "raised" by a network of loved ones and authority figures in addition to their parents, I would say the mindset still applies.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: turnip on December 13, 2012, 12:00:27 PM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

I'm reminded of a sig. I've seen - "Children don't care what you know unless they know that you care".  I think the 'village' model can work but it can't _just_ be about correcting misbehavior - it also has to be about celebrating accomplishments and offering support and encouragement when called for.    If you have a 'village' that cares about your child and wants the best for them, then that can be a wonderful thing.  If your 'village' is just a bunch of scolds, then they aren't going to get much of a response.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 13, 2012, 12:26:44 PM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

It seems to me that inherent in the "village" proverb is the assumption that everyone in the village knows each other. Most of us don't live in this kind of environment. We create "villages" for our children composed of friends, relatives, teachers, etc., and these are the people we trust to help us raise our children. What most of us don't appreciate is unwarranted interference from strangers. Since I don't believe the proverbial village was intended to include nosy strangers, and since I do think children benefit from being "raised" by a network of loved ones and authority figures in addition to their parents, I would say the mindset still applies.

I agree with Bexx.  I grew up in a smallish town.  While not everyone knew everyone, you did know a very large percentage.  And as a child, adults might be very aware of what family you belonged to whether you knew that adult or not.  So a random lady at church telling me to sit up straighter or a man in a store reminding a 10 year old boy to hold the door open for somoene was pretty common and you didn't really question if they had the authority to. (Well until you became a adolescent and then you made fun of them behing their back to your friends to cover your embarrasement.) 

I also think parents have become more touchy about their parenting ability and any comment made on their child is seen as a personal slight.  I'm a little tired of the full out attitude of "Who are you to say how my child should behave." I can tell you who I am.  I'm the person that is having to put up with your obnoxious child and having my time at a restaurant or other activity ruined or being trapped on a plane with him.  I was not a perfect parent and didn't believe I had perfect children.  A stranger saying to my 8 year old son "I think you forgot to hold the door open for the man approaching." isn't an insult to me.  It's an assumption that I am teaching my son basic social skills and this nice person is helping me to reinforce them. 

Society has etiquette rules for a reason and if the parents don't want to teach the child is going to have a hard time as an adult if no one else ever offers their counsel.   
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: snowdragon on December 13, 2012, 12:51:14 PM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

 I don't think we ever had it, really. It was a campaign slogan during the first Clinton campaign that was co-opted in ways that were never meant to be.  And the people who used it, used it in ways it was never meant to be - when I worked retail I heard this more times than I care to count for people who left their kids in the toy dept and left ( either the department or the store) and then whined when the kid wasn't there when they got back about how " Why weren't the employees watching - it takes a village dontyaknow?" or the kids who want to participate in X activity and wants the community to pay for a new skate park, football field, band uniform or whatever - it takes a village, but should those self same kids be trespassing or doing damage to public/private property,,,then people get upset at anyone saying anything to the kids.

  Right now this is a big issue in my hometown...the kids and parents want the townsfolk to pay for a skatepark - but scream discrimination when these kids are told to stop blocking traffic with their tricks, stop blocking doorways and driveways to homes and businesses, get off the steps of townhall and not to ride on planters, benches ect because it damages them.  The kids have done so much damage to the benches around the town center and the local nursing home that the benches have been removed from both - so now the kids are trying to skate on the local religious shrine on church grounds.


 It seems that tolerance for it is waning in certain sectors, but it will be a long time before it stops being an issue, I think. I hope it evolves into something more healthy for all sectors of society.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: CaptainObvious on December 13, 2012, 01:06:14 PM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

It seems to me that inherent in the "village" proverb is the assumption that everyone in the village knows each other. Most of us don't live in this kind of environment. We create "villages" for our children composed of friends, relatives, teachers, etc., and these are the people we trust to help us raise our children. What most of us don't appreciate is unwarranted interference from strangers. Since I don't believe the proverbial village was intended to include nosy strangers, and since I do think children benefit from being "raised" by a network of loved ones and authority figures in addition to their parents, I would say the mindset still applies.

I agree with Bexx.  I grew up in a smallish town.  While not everyone knew everyone, you did know a very large percentage.  And as a child, adults might be very aware of what family you belonged to whether you knew that adult or not.  So a random lady at church telling me to sit up straighter or a man in a store reminding a 10 year old boy to hold the door open for somoene was pretty common and you didn't really question if they had the authority to. (Well until you became a adolescent and then you made fun of them behing their back to your friends to cover your embarrasement.) 

I also think parents have become more touchy about their parenting ability and any comment made on their child is seen as a personal slight.  I'm a little tired of the full out attitude of "Who are you to say how my child should behave." I can tell you who I am.  I'm the person that is having to put up with your obnoxious child and having my time at a restaurant or other activity ruined or being trapped on a plane with him.  I was not a perfect parent and didn't believe I had perfect children.  A stranger saying to my 8 year old son "I think you forgot to hold the door open for the man approaching." isn't an insult to me.  It's an assumption that I am teaching my son basic social skills and this nice person is helping me to reinforce them. 

Society has etiquette rules for a reason and if the parents don't want to teach the child is going to have a hard time as an adult if no one else ever offers their counsel.   

I also grew up in a smallish town, and there was always a chance that someone who knew my Parents would report back to them if I was up to no good. I also had a very large extended family, and it was well-known that whoever caught you was going to dole out the punishment.

People don't even know their neighbors names these days, families tend to keep to themselves more than they did 30-40 yrs ago. Kids are busy with a lot of extra-curricular activities and are not outside playing in the neighborhood much. More Parents work outside the home and some have long commutes which don't leave them much time. It is just a much different lifestyle than most of us grew up in.

I don't correct kids unless it directly affects me, it isn't my place, and I'm not going to argue with a child or their Parent. And 9 times out of 10 that is what happens.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: bah12 on December 13, 2012, 01:21:15 PM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

 I don't think we ever had it, really. It was a campaign slogan during the first Clinton campaign that was co-opted in ways that were never meant to be.  And the people who used it, used it in ways it was never meant to be - when I worked retail I heard this more times than I care to count for people who left their kids in the toy dept and left ( either the department or the store) and then whined when the kid wasn't there when they got back about how " Why weren't the employees watching - it takes a village dontyaknow?" or the kids who want to participate in X activity and wants the community to pay for a new skate park, football field, band uniform or whatever - it takes a village, but should those self same kids be trespassing or doing damage to public/private property,,,then people get upset at anyone saying anything to the kids.

  Right now this is a big issue in my hometown...the kids and parents want the townsfolk to pay for a skatepark - but scream discrimination when these kids are told to stop blocking traffic with their tricks, stop blocking doorways and driveways to homes and businesses, get off the steps of townhall and not to ride on planters, benches ect because it damages them.  The kids have done so much damage to the benches around the town center and the local nursing home that the benches have been removed from both - so now the kids are trying to skate on the local religious shrine on church grounds.


 It seems that tolerance for it is waning in certain sectors, but it will be a long time before it stops being an issue, I think. I hope it evolves into something more healthy for all sectors of society.

And it works both ways.  If a general person feels that because "it takes a village" to raise a kid that they can correct any and all behavior, are they then going to take responsibility when the kid doesn't listen?

Like someone said "the village" that helps me raise my child doesn't just correct bad manners and behavior problems.  They also love and encourage her.  They praise and point out good behavior, mentor her, teach her the lessons and then help me reinforce and correct them as necessary.  A stranger pointing out "bad" behavior and correcting my child doesn't do any of that.  They don't appear to be helpful at all.  They look like busy-bodies who feel that it's their right to insert their "power" over a child at any given moment.  And 9  times out of 10, they wouldn't correct these same behaviors in an adult, so it also comes across as disrespectful.

My friend recounted a story to me once where her DS was counting cereal boxes in the grocery store (touching them on the shelves as he counted) and some lady came up to him and said "you shouldn't touch those.  Didn't your parents ever tell you that you shouldn't touch things in stores?"  She was livid.  And I would have been too.  She had no authority in that store or over that child, yet she felt that it was her right to correct him.  I may not have taken it as a personal insult, but at the same time it comes across as some serious boundary crossing to think that she had any right to "parent" him at that moment.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: TootsNYC on December 13, 2012, 01:28:46 PM

I think that is one of the ear marks of rude behavior - doing or saying something that negatively affects other people. It is rude to intrude on or inconvenience others.

I disagree with as a blanket statement. I see too many people feeling guilty because--oh, they want to let their dog out and the neighbor's pooch barks at it; or they had a lot of questions for the customer service rep or had trouble filling out their check and made the people behind them wait.

Or too many people crabby because someone else is living their live inconveniently--so they say, "shouldn't the retired people travel to the shore at off-peak times, so they don't inconvenience the other people who can't go earlier in the day?" Or they get mad because the person ahead of them didn't pre-fill-out their check while they're waiting for their purchase to be rung up.

Or they flash some parent the Ice Glare of Death because their kids are laughing at one another in the store, and the noise bothers them.

There's a reason we ended up with the phrase, "Excuse me for living!"

We are all going to inconvenience people sometimes. That doesn't make us rude.

I'm not sure I can completely articulate when "inconveniencing someone" becomes impolite.

Bah12, I love your point about the village--that *is* what the whole concept is, that we all have a stake in, and a responsibility to, create a great environment for children to grow up in. It's not ONLY about things like stepping it to stop a kid from accidentally hurting himself, and it's not about other people having to pick up the slack.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 13, 2012, 01:36:47 PM
Do posters think that we as a society are moving away from the 'village' mindset? Or did it really exist? I hear stories from other cultures that seem a lot more accepting and encouraging of 'everyone can correct a child', but in this culture it does seem we are moving away from that. I suppose like all shifts it's got some good and bad outcomes. I remember casually telling a coworker about a friend of mine who had visited another country where he said social mores were much different, people would think nothing of correcting children. She got actively angry at the idea that someone might do that with *her* kids. Attitudes like that have me shying away from interacting with kids who aren't mine, as I wouldn't want to accidentally offend a parent.

 I don't think we ever had it, really. It was a campaign slogan during the first Clinton campaign that was co-opted in ways that were never meant to be.  And the people who used it, used it in ways it was never meant to be - when I worked retail I heard this more times than I care to count for people who left their kids in the toy dept and left ( either the department or the store) and then whined when the kid wasn't there when they got back about how " Why weren't the employees watching - it takes a village dontyaknow?" or the kids who want to participate in X activity and wants the community to pay for a new skate park, football field, band uniform or whatever - it takes a village, but should those self same kids be trespassing or doing damage to public/private property,,,then people get upset at anyone saying anything to the kids.

  Right now this is a big issue in my hometown...the kids and parents want the townsfolk to pay for a skatepark - but scream discrimination when these kids are told to stop blocking traffic with their tricks, stop blocking doorways and driveways to homes and businesses, get off the steps of townhall and not to ride on planters, benches ect because it damages them.  The kids have done so much damage to the benches around the town center and the local nursing home that the benches have been removed from both - so now the kids are trying to skate on the local religious shrine on church grounds.


 It seems that tolerance for it is waning in certain sectors, but it will be a long time before it stops being an issue, I think. I hope it evolves into something more healthy for all sectors of society.

And it works both ways.  If a general person feels that because "it takes a village" to raise a kid that they can correct any and all behavior, are they then going to take responsibility when the kid doesn't listen?

Like someone said "the village" that helps me raise my child doesn't just correct bad manners and behavior problems.  They also love and encourage her.  They praise and point out good behavior, mentor her, teach her the lessons and then help me reinforce and correct them as necessary.  A stranger pointing out "bad" behavior and correcting my child doesn't do any of that.  They don't appear to be helpful at all.  They look like busy-bodies who feel that it's their right to insert their "power" over a child at any given moment.  And 9  times out of 10, they wouldn't correct these same behaviors in an adult, so it also comes across as disrespectful.

My friend recounted a story to me once where her DS was counting cereal boxes in the grocery store (touching them on the shelves as he counted) and some lady came up to him and said "you shouldn't touch those.  Didn't your parents ever tell you that you shouldn't touch things in stores?"  She was livid.  And I would have been too.  She had no authority in that store or over that child, yet she felt that it was her right to correct him.  I may not have taken it as a personal insult, but at the same time it comes across as some serious boundary crossing to think that she had any right to "parent" him at that moment.

I agree that "stranger" comments should go both ways.  And in my experience as a child and has a parent I do remember more compliments occuring than corrections.

In your example above, I don't see why "livid" was her reaction.  A simple "no I haven't because I disagree that touching cereal boxes on an aisle is inappropriate."

But I agree that if a parent doesn't want a negative comment to be made they shouldn't accept or expect positive ones either. 

You could even switch up your example above.  Your friend could have told her child to stop touching the cereal boxes but the woman may not have heard that so instead comes up and says "Why what a smart child you are to be able to count so well."  In this example she should be livid too because the woman is reinforcing behavior you friend didn't like.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: snowdragon on December 13, 2012, 01:44:51 PM


Bah12, I love your point about the village--that *is* what the whole concept is, that we all have a stake in, and a responsibility to, create a great environment for children to grow up in. It's not ONLY about things like stepping it to stop a kid from accidentally hurting himself, and it's not about other people having to pick up the slack.

Sorry, no, everyone does not have a responsibility to children. Their Parents do and that's it. The rest of us have absolutely no responsibility towards kids at all, beyond paying our taxes for schools and such. Then we can go live our lives as we see fit with out concern for creating anything  for anyone. It seems to me that this whole "village" mentality benefits only one side of the equation.
Title: Re: "Parenting" kids that aren't yours?
Post by: Wordgeek on December 13, 2012, 01:54:34 PM
The etiquette aspects of this situation have been adequately dealt with.