Disciplining other peoples kids

Disciplining your own child is part of parenting but how would you react if someone else disciplined your child?

Earlier this year I was confronted by a situation where another parent who was a complete stranger made the snap decision to scold my child with me present.

Prior to landing in Perth from our flight from Sydney at the beginning of this year my 3-year-old became distressed. She was tired and just wanted out. For our whole journey a man and his daughter had laid their seats right back practically in our laps leaving us no room. I had considered asking the man if they could put their seats up but decided against it as it was apparent he was not in a great mood. Finally nearing the end of our journey they decided to put their seats upright.
My little girl stretched her legs out a few times kicking the seat in the process.

Unexpectedly the man in front of us leaned around the seat and in a loud gruff voice said directly to my daughter “Stop kicking the seat”. This was the final straw for my girl who erupted into the full range of emotions. Try explaining to a 3-year-old that is distressed they can’t get out of a plane while its flying or reasoning with them to put their seatbelt on for landing.

When it comes to disciplining other people kids what is ok and what isn’t?

Some guidelines to remember when situations may arise:

It is never ok to hit or threaten other people’s kids.
Think about how you would feel if someone you know or a stranger intimidated or hit your child? Try approaching the parent and letting them know there is a problem. Using a unacussing tone is usually the best approach. Starting with: “I am concerned” or “I noticed that your child was upset”, are usually better approaches. No one really wants to hear that their child is hurting other people or misbehaving.

What is discipline ?
The word discipline can sound quite harsh. In all reality it was harsh many years ago. Discipline nowadays is more about teaching children some rules and boundaries and that there is a consequence if they don’t follow the guidelines.

What do I do if another parent becomes aggressive or refuses to deal with the situation?
As mad as it might make you when another person refuses to acknowledge the situation or the possibility that their child is behaving dangerously, the best example you can give your child is to leave with your child.

In our situation where there was no way out your priority needs to be your child not the adult acting like a child. Be the bigger person and concentrate on distracting your child. Getting upset is only going to magnify the situation.

We all mess up sometimes but as adults we really set the example and need to remember that our kids are watching us to see how we react or act in situations.