Childrearing

It Takes A Village: I’ll Discipline Your Brat If I Need To

By  | 

Once again, I reminded the child that she needed to be respectful with adults and that I knew she had been taught better manners. Honestly, I’ve taken a trip to the zoo with this family. Her parents would’ve never allowed her to speak to them like that. I decided to call the mother of the child involved to let her know about her day. If the positions were reversed, I would want to know about my child’s behavior so that I could speak to her about it as well.

I was shocked at the response I got. As I explained her daughter’s behavior and my subsequent chastising, the mother cut in to say, “You don’t have any right to discipline my daughter. She’s going through a rough phase right now. In the future, just call me if you have a problem and I’ll address it with her later. But don’t discipline my daughter for me.”

Whoa there friend. Don’t discipline your daughter? By asking me to drive her to school, you placed her in my care. You made me in charge of her well-being for about fifteen minutes a day. And I’m pretty sure that I would be expected to discipline her if she ran out into the street.

Is the problem that I questioned this little girl’s manners? Because they were pretty egregious. Once again, that doesn’t make her a bad child. It means she made a bad choice. When my daughter makes a bad choice, I correct her. If she makes a bad choice at school, I expect her teacher to correct her. If she makes a bad choice at my sister’s house, I expect my sister to correct her. I think you understand where I’m going here.

I understand a parent’s desire to be in charge of their child’s upbringing. I think it would be a different matter entirely if I had spanked this child, or even given her a time-out. Any punishment at all. The fact is that I told a young child that her actions were inappropriate. Kids need to be made aware of that and they need to know that it’s a problem. [tagbox tag=”discipline”]

I can appreciate a parent who doesn’t want their children to follow every direction an adult gives them. Most of us like to encourage independent thinking in our offspring, and none of us want to see our children hurt or abused by an adult in a position of authority. However, that doesn’t mean that we should undermine every grown-up they encounter. You can talk to your children about physical contact and why no adult should be putting their hands on them. You can encourage children to talk to you about an adult’s behavior. And you can still tell them that the adult they are with is in charge and deserves respect.

If the woman had been present when her daughter behaved poorly, I would’ve expected that mom to step in and discipline her child. But she wasn’t. I was the grown-up in charge and I considered it my job to reprimand a little girl who forgot her manners. Honestly, I still do consider that to be my position.

I suppose I should start warning parents, if your child gets in my car, I reserve the right to correct their behavior. I reserve the ability to enforce manners and proper decorum through the use of intense glares and stern voices. If that’s a problem, perhaps you should drive your kid yourself.

Pages: 1 2