Would You Discipline Another Parent’s Child?
This past weekend, I found myself heading out of town on one of those long bus rides made infinitely longer by a child who lacked discipline. The child, a 10-year-old boy, sat behind me and proceeded to kick the back of my chair (incessant thump thump thumps) every 5 minutes for each hour (and there were long, long hours) we sat on the bus. The child also whined, made fun of, and talked back to his mom throughout the entire ride.
What bothered me most besides the child’s spoiled behavior was the mom’s inability to discipline her son. With every complaint, the mom would bend to her son’s will and try to appease him; when he threw a tantrum after not getting an ice cream cone, she gave up after 5 minutes and bought him a treat. She couldn’t bear disappointing him or having him stay mad at her. The child’s dad looked the other way, never saying a word either.
While I thought of a million ways I could discipline the child, I never said a word to the mom or to the child. Unfortunately, she was also a casual family acquaintance…and not having a child myself, I decided to avoid an awkward situation by choosing to grin and bear it. This got me thinking how Parents readers would handle disciplining other people’s children. I’m sure you’ve all been in a situation (whether it’s on a bus or a plane) when another parent’s child is driving you crazy. Would you talk to the child directly or to the parent? How would you handle any unbearable situation?
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