Okay, here's a modern etiquette question: is it a no-no to speak with parents these days about their child's inappropriate behavior, when you don't know the family?
While walking my dogs, I have had a couple of run-ins with a boy who lives a street over. He is inevitably on a scooter (must really love it) and drives it top speed right at us, then stops in front of us and demands to pet my dogs. One of my dogs is afraid of scooters at the best of times, but NO dog enjoys getting rushed like this. I have explained to him before that the dogs are afraid of his scooter and it's not okay to do this, and then attempt to keep walking, but he will either block our path (!) or follow us, pestering and demanding. Rushing up behind us, rushing past us and then circling back, shouting at us. Meanwhile, my dogs are getting a bit freaked. So then I'm trying to navigate the street while keeping my dogs calm, while trying to get it through his thick little skull, in the nicest way possible (I happen to love kids) that this is not okay to do with my dogs and to just let us walk. It happened again yesterday before supper and it was the worst time yet. At one point he picked up a stick and was shouting DO THEY LIKE STICKS? As he's doing all this he's completely oblivious to cars.
Truth be known, my dogs do meet other people and kids and dogs in the neighborhood. A nice "may I meet your dogs?" is fine. But if someone has not been taught how to approach an animal (and its owner, for that matter) in a safe manner, then I opt not to interact with them. My prerogative. This kid's approach is definitely not pet-friendly.
This boy is about 7 or 8 years old, by the way. I have never seen an adult supervising him. I have seen an older gentleman working in their driveway from time to time, but he has never been friendly. For all I know he's a contractor or handyman. Because I think this behavior is inappropriate, and because it could be dangerous for this child one day when he does it with someone whose dogs finally snap, I thought I might knock on their door this weekend and talk it over with the parents. Not a "your kid is a brat!" conversation, but rather explaining the situation (they're never out there so they may not know what's happening) and maybe explaining why it's so important for him to know how to behave in the street. Perhaps suggest some supervision...
But I mentioned this to someone else last night and she was horrified. She feels that it is simply "not done", to talk to parents about their kids if you don't know them (and many times even if you do). Her belief is that it is the parents' business how their kids behave, not anyone else's. She'd tell someone to shove off if they knocked on her door to talk about her sons.
For the record, in order to avoid this street I would have to go significantly out of my way, and on a much, much busier route. And it's not like he's never anywhere else in the neighborhood.
So: is it bad etiquette to ask to speak with the parents about this? What IS the etiquette for such a situation?
Thanks for listening... sorry this was so long.