• Wed, Mar 7 2012

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

I really hate to sound like that old-timer complaining about the way things used to be, but I’m going to do it anyway. When I was a child, absolutely every adult was a “big person” that I considered to be all-powerful and all-knowing. From teachers to babysitters, from second cousins to the person at the grocery store check-out, I held my tongue and smiled politely. The balance of power was very clear – there was no balance. It was all tipped on the other side of the scale.

As a kid, I wouldn’t have batted an eye if a neighbor scolded me while I was playing in front of their house. It would never have seemed odd to hear extended family tell me to “Mind my manners.” And I would’ve never, ever ran to my mother assuming that she would take my side over a grown-up who had chastised me.

Alas (these stories always have to use that word, it’s a literary contractual obligation), times are different now. Some parents consider someone else disciplining their children to be the height of insult. And ya know what? Children understand that.

Two days a week, I take a little girl from pre-school to daycare with my daughter when their morning classes end. Her mother works for the school district and isn’t able to leave in the middle of the day. With my more flexible schedule, I volunteered to run the girls back and forth to school.

And two days a week, this little girl asks if I’ll turn on a movie for them to watch on our 3 second drive from pre-school to daycare. In the beginning, I assumed it was a novelty. After all, I think that having a DVD player in the car is kinda nice. And even though I normally don’t let my daughter watch it unless a long trip is involved, I conceded and let the girls watch approximately 5 seconds of Oliver & Company or Monsters vs. Aliens on our trip.

After a while, this routine got to be a little tedious. I had assumed that the glamour of a movie in the car would’ve worn off a little. I started to explain to the girls that it wasn’t a long trip and we didn’t need a movie. During one such conversation, I turned around to see my daughter’s classmate sticking out her tongue and making faces behind my back. She was obviously angry that I was telling her no. When I began to chastise the little girl for making inappropriate faces at an adult, she rolled her eyes.

Moms, you know the eyeroll I’m talking about. It’s that exaggerated, “You have know idea what you’re talking about” eyeroll that little girls perfect way too soon. I’ve seen this look from my daughter before and I’m pretty sure that in the right circumstances, it could incite a riot.

In that moment, my disciplinarian came front and center. I got my best glare on and I said, “That makes me very upset to see you behave that way to an adult. I’m sure your mother would be very disappointed. You know better than make faces at a grown-up.”

The little girl, who I know is a sweet child that just happened to make a bad choice, stayed silent for the entire car ride. She didn’t speak to me as she walked in to daycare and sat down to lunch. She never apologized. When our confused daycare provider asked me what the problem was, since angry pre-schoolers aren’t normally subtle with their emotions, I started to explain about our trip home. The girl whispered to her friends, “The problem is that Brenna’s mommy is a jerk.” Don’t you love how when kids whisper, you can always hear them.

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  • NotThumper

    EXACTLY. If little miss perfect parent doesn’t want you disciplining her snowflake then perhaps she should handle her child’s transportation on her own.

  • LaLa

    I agree with ALL of this. I correct my nieces/nephews and friends children. My siblings and friends do the same to my child. I want them to correct my daughter if she’s behaving in a inappropriate way. Children aren’t born knowing good manners, respect, etc. It’s our job as adults to teach them those things. I feel like so many parents forget this. They loose sight of what their actual responsibility as a parent is. It’s to raise your child so he/she can be a functional adult. It’s not so you can brag about them being “gifted” or “free spirited.” Or so you can get in on the latest mommy trends. It’s about raising your child in a way that they can successfully navigate the real world. And learning manners (and learning that Mommy and Daddy wont fix all of your problems) is a huge part of that.

    • Auntie

      Exactly! I don’t even have children but I correct my nephews and nieces if needed. I’ve grown into it naturally. My siblings always tell their kids “Remember, grandma/grandpa/uncle/auntie is in charge, do what they say!” And you know what? Sometimes I over-correct because i’m over cautious (i.e. if they are jumping from somewhere). Their parents will say “oh, that’s ok, they can do that” (mind you, this is usually some physical situation that looks a bit too wild to me so i cant be sure, but the parents know their kids limits better than i do). No drama, no “ZOMG i cant believe you scolded my child!” so nobody has to be embarrassed.
      And what some people don’t seem to get, it’s nothing to do with “adults are superior”, it’s just adults usually know better, and it’s their job to keep the kids safe and teach them how to interact with others and function in the world.
      It just doesn’t work if the parents are the only ones who can correct their children! So what, you leave them to grandma/aunt/friend, but they can’t say anything when the kids do something wrong? How is that gonna work? The parents will make their own life easier when they give the authority to the caretaker! Caretaker can correct/discipline the child -> the caretaker can handle the child -> the parent can leave them to the caretaker and not worry -> the parent can have some time on their own!

  • CW

    Physical discipline? No, only a parent or possibly a very close relative like a grandparent has the right to do that. Verbal discipline? Absolutely, assuming that it is done in a respectful-but-firm manner. No wonder so many kids are horrible brats these days, and no wonder so many teens and 20somethings have made absolute train wrecks of their lives…

  • xobolaji

    lindsay, YIKES! i’m not sure what you wanted to achieve by disciplining someone else’s child? this is a gray area and clearly a sensitive area for all involved. of course the mother reacted this way because you don’t know what the intimate circumstances of her child’s behaviour is such that this child would use “offensive” language to you.

    i also think that this whole “parents/adults are superior” attitude and therefore demand your supreme attention and deference is pretty dogmatic. how about teaching children that it’s important to respect human beings, the environment, animals, etc., and to treat others as you would like to be treated?

    for the record, i have no problems with anyone briefing my children about what the rules are when my children are in their care, and i expect that the parents and i would have a conversation about said rules prior to playdates, etc being set up. this way the child does not have to act in a way that is offensive to the almighty parent in question, and the parents do not have to feel indignant about the different ways each responds to the act of disciplining children who are not their own.

    • frankisthechamp

      I think there’s a big difference between “parents/adults are superior” and listen to the adult in charge. I get to work in a lot of classrooms and it *still unfortunate* surprises me how many kids argue with their teachers (we’re talking 5-8 year olds). Many of these kids have no respect for adults and as a consequence it seems think they’re smarter and know more than adults. That’s not being respectful to anyone.

  • bl

    I don’t like bratty kids either, but I think you took this a bit too far. First, recognize that you did get the dvd watching started, so many kids would be disappointed when you suddenly get tired of it. Disappointed does not equal rude, though, and you certainly have a right to tell her that you found the faces rude and that you won’t tolerate them from her or anyone.

    However, you say she’s a good kid who made a mistake. How about letting her know that. How about keeping up some light, if awkward, chatter in the car and trying to include her, to show that you’ve moved on.

    Also I’m pretty appalled that you were prepared to discuss the issue with the babysitter in front of all her friends (that’s how I read the whisper scene). Way to make this minor incident a huge embarrassing deal for her by repeating it to all these people she finds important. Five-year-old me would think you were a jerk too, and one who seemed still mad about the issue, even if you had moved on.

    I think it’s perfectly ok to enforce our own boundaries on rude behavior when taking care its other people’s kids, but I don’t think it’s our place to teach them big discipline lessons and tell them their parents would be disappointed. Enforce your own boundaries and take up big things with parents.

    • Julie

      “Enforce your own boundaries and take up big things with parents.”

      Sounds to me like that’s exactly what she did. And it sounds to me that you’d rather sit by and let 5 year olds run your day. She did nothing wrong. The daycare provider asked what the problem was and she explained it. She doesn’t have to mind whether or not a 5 year old is listening in- she’s the adult.

      Make polite conversation? She did say it’s a 3 minute drive. Sounds like the whole confrontation would’ve taken up the trip.

      Kids act like they get to run things these days and I firmly believe that parents like this girls mother are to blame. Kids know that when mommy and daddy aren’t around they can do whatever they want and get away with it because if anyone does have anything to say about it their parents will step in and take care of “the problem”. It’s outrageous. I wasn’t raised this way and I won’t let my children believe this is OK either.

  • Melissa

    Whoa. “Don’t discipline my daughter”? Um, you didn’t! You told her not to talk to you like a little brat while she was under your charge, which is a far cry from “discipline”. Lord, if my kid behaved like that to an adult who was taking care of them I would HOPE the adult would tell them to knock it the heck off. Furthermore, I would hope the adult would let me know so I could discipline my kid because that kind of behavior doesn’t fly in our family.

    I do childcare 2 days a week and I don’t tolerate disrespect from the kids. I simply do not. I am never cruel and I know I can’t “discipline” other peoples’ kids, but I don’t have to take their crap either. No adult should have to. Kids don’t run the world – we do. And I am so over adults making excuses for their kids’ bad behavior and letting it go.

  • Angela

    Seriously?? I could see getting worked up if you’d spanked her but you didn’t even place her in a time out. Honestly I’d talk to the mom in question and explain that while you expect kids to act out occasionally and test boundaries that you aren’t comfortable taking charge of a child if you have no authority to give gentle but firm corrections for misbehavior. What if next time she decides to hit, bite, or throw a full-blown tantrum? How is that fair to your daughter if you still expect her to follow all the rules but her friend is given cart blanche to do whatever she wants?

  • kate

    I agree with you that she should have listened and been respectful. At a birthday party recently I asked some of my sons school friends (whos parents were not near by) to please give my son a turn on the game they had been occupying for quite some time. one of them gave me a flippant “no way” (these are 5 year olds) While i said nothing to this child, I did tell my son later that if he EVER spoke to an adult like that he would be in big trouble.

  • Lex

    I think you need to let her know that since her kid’s having such a “rough time”, she’s responsible for transporting her from here on out. If I had stuck my tongue out at an adult, my mother would have made me very, very sorry, and I would have been forced to apologize immediately.

  • Lilac

    I hope you told her that your schedule has changed and you won’t be able to driver her child around anymore. Bad parents always make bad children better to get away from her now.

  • Amanda

    I would seriously tell her to drive her daughter herself as the daughter is/will likely become a bad role model for your own daughter. I think that not only has the daughter disrespected you, but the mother has as well. I’d cut ties if I were you.

  • bl

    @Julie. It won’t let me post below you.

    Listen, I have no problem with calling out rude kids. I just think there’s a difference between disciplining them, and telling them what kind of behavior YOU expect in your car. To me that’s an important difference because, while the eye roll is pretty universally rude, other behaviors might step into gray areas.

    As for the car ride, I only suggested it because the author made a point to note the girl’s silence. If it was noticeable, then there had to be a small amount of time available for talking. Plus I would interpret the silence as anger, shame, sadness, or some negative emotion and I’d try to use the time to offer guidance on managing emotions and leaving situations in a positive way. We are talking about preschoolers here, not teenagers. And we don’t have to restrict ourselves to discipline with other people’s children.

    Also, I stand by my comment that it was rude to discuss it with the babysitter in front of the kids. She’s a kid, but she gets respect too.

    • xobolaji

      @BL i co-sign everything you said this time and the first time as well. discipline and respect is a two-way street. sometimes we as parents conveniently forget that children need love and guidance in order for them to turn out into the people “other adults” believe they “should.” if we don’t teach our children what is expected of them how are they to learn?

      children react to certain situations in children-like ways. and when adults strongly assert themselves to “child-like” behaviours, children react accordingly. it’s alarming to me how many commenters are taking the side of “adults rule the world”–really/!–over the more mindful approach of figuring out how to leave this 5 year old with confidence and security rather than feeling like this “jerk” of a lady is making her feel bad. wow.

    • JMB

      Oh good lord, I’ve worked with kids who had parents like you, who figure any sort of reprimand damages a kid’s soul.

      A kid who’s sticking her tongue out knows it’s offensive. That’s why they do it.

      They will not crumble to pieces if someone states firmly what is not permitted.
      Otherwise, you end up with teenagers and adults who crumble to pieces because they’ve never learned what was right or heard ‘no’ and learned to deal with it.

      Confidence comes from learning to deal with adversity and disappointment from time to time and realizing you can make it through just fine, not from adults bubble-wrapping them and only ever saying what a kid wants to hear. Talk about setting a kid up for emotional failure down the road.

      Good job showing the kid your boundaries!

  • Owned by Spellcheck

    “You have know idea what you’re talking about”

    I lol’d.

  • Eileen

    “If you do not want me to discipline your child, I’m not comfortable having her in my care.”

    I worked retail when I was a senior in high school/freshman in college. It was amazing the number of mothers (hate to generalize, but it was a women’s clothing store, so there weren’t any dads) who’d bring their kids in and more or less expect us to supervise them, then get upset if we tried to stop them from doing things that would damage the store property/possibly get themselves hurt. One mom told me point-blank, “Oh, he won’t listen” when I asked her, nicely, to get her son out of the window display. I like kids and liked having them around, but I seriously wanted to tell her to get her obnoxious little kid out of our display, where he was running around and fiddling with the mannequins, and go home if he couldn’t be controlled.

    • Amanda

      i worked in retail for quite a few years and that’s one of the things I hated the most! I worked in the cosmetic department in a few different stores & people would literally leave their children in our makeover chairs for us to watch while they shopped. Well, they got a reality check because each time someone did so, I called security and had them make an announcement in the store that someone had left their child and that they would have to be picked up in the security office.

  • AmyRenee

    In general, I agree with the author. I often have a chat with my almost 5 year old about how he has to listen to adults & respect them, and any time I leave him with another adult I give him the “So-and-so is in charge, you need to follow their instructions” speech. It’s also understood between our group of friends that we will all give gentle reminders of manners, taking turns, etc. The only tiny bit of me that is on the other mother’s side is if her daughter is going through a defiant phase, trying to use rude behavior to get attention. My son is doing this now, and lectures on rudeness just get us more rude behavior and tantrums. What we have found to be effective is to use time outs/remove privledges at home, and simply tell him once “That’s rude, stop it/don’t say that” etc then ignore him if it continues. But if that was the case, the other mother could have told the author that instead of getting made for correcting her (I wouldn’t even call it disciplining, as no punishments or consequences were handed out). I agree with other posters that if you can’t give me authority over your kid when I’m watching them, then I can’t watch them anymore. This was also a major problem I saw when I was working in the schools – parents would get called in to a conference for an issue, then afterward I would hear the parent telling the child, “You don’t listen to that teacher, if Johnny hits you, you hit him back!” or whatever. WHAT?! You can disagree internally with a rule all you want, but DO NOT tell your kid not to listen to a teacher/parent/ other authority figure – no wonder there is so much disrepect out there!

  • Rebecca

    Oh wow, I had no idea going through a rough time was an excuse to act like a little snot. If this mother knew her child was having a hard time she probably should have warned the other mom to begin with. When I was a kid being rude to an adult was unthinkable under any circumstances. I think the other mom is giving her child the wrong message. If your having a hard time at work and flip out on a customer I’m pretty sure the boss isn’t going to say, oh we can’t discipline her because she’s going through a rough patch right now. And you’re completely within your rights to expect to be treated politely and respectfully in your own car. If the other mom doesn’t feel simple rules like that should apply to her daughter then she needs to make other arrangements for her.

  • C.

    I am a child care provider of 2 two year old girls and a three year old girl part time besides my 13 month old son and 3 year old stepdaughter. Every one of them all receive time outs a minute for their age beginning after they have settled down. The number one reason they end up in time outs is not respecting adult authority. They question everything they are told to the point they receive a time out.

  • bl

    @bolagi, Again, replies aren’t working.

    I think we originally posted at the same time, and I missed it, but I agree with you as well. I was put off a bit by the author’s justification that the action was rude because she did it to an adult. It would have been rude if she did it to a child as well. I would have told her that the eye roll offended me, as a person, not me as the supreme adult in situation.

    Kids should respect everyone. They should do what adults say out of that general respect. No tv in Lindsay’s car because that’s how she runs her car, no screaming in class because that’s how the teacher runs her classroom. No pulling Susie’s hair (even though she’s 5 and not an adult) because it’s hers and she deserves respect.

  • Schmuz

    I wouldn’t give the little wretch a ride anymore. Sounds like she needs her mouth smacked.

    • Avodah

      Well, um, that seems a bit extreme. I think the author’s actions were appropriate.

  • LiteBrite

    Sure kids deserve some respect, but adults are still in charge and set the boundaries. If a kid is in my house or general care then it’s up to me to enforce the boundaries if the parent isn’t there (or isn’t willing).

    The same goes for when my kid is at someone else’s house. For example, if he’s at my sister’s house then she’s in charge. If he breaks the rules, I fully expect her to call him out on it. It’s good for him to be chastised by others because it teaches him to respect boundaries of other people.

    The child in this case was rude, and a “rough phase” is no excuse. I agree with everyone else who said perhaps this mother should find her own damn transportation going forward.

  • heather

    I tell my friends and family to treat my kids like they treat their own. If they see something my kids are doing wrong, I would only hope that they would step in and discipline my kids if I am not close by. I also tell my kids that “soandso” is in charge and you are to listen and respect them.
    Yes, I am one of those parents at the park that if they see a child about to do something that will injure either them or someone else I step right in. I have gotten dirty looks, but I would take a million dirty looks than have a child get hurt.

    • RCIAG

      And I bet if a kid had an accident because you didn’t bother to try & stop the accident the other parents there would be all over you or calling their lawyers for just sitting there & not stopping it.

      Children want & need boundaries & if the adults they’re with, whether it’s their own parents or the provider of their carpool, can’t provide that we better start building more prisons.

  • Andrea

    A rough time does not justify calling an adult a jerk. I would tell Mss Perfect Mommy that since you are not allowed to discipline her brat, you can no longer provide transportation.

    I would NEVER allow a child to call me a jerk. I don’t care what kind of rough time he/she is having.

    • CW

      A young child who is going through a rough time at home may act out, but the proper thing for the mom to do is to apologize for it and then make her child do the same. I would imagine that had the author received an apology from the mom and the child, she probably would’ve been much more sympathetic.

  • Nikki

    I agree with this woman 110% – she had every right to reprimand a rude little girl that had been put in her care. That little girl obviously knew she was being rude too – and that Mum would let her get away with it. When I was a child, ALL adults had to be respected (Parents, Extended Family, Babysitters, Teachers etc), and all of them had the right to reprimand you if you forgot your manners or if you were disrespectful towards them. I’m only 25 and I’m disgusted at the way most children talk back to adults these days.

  • Somnilee

    I think you did the right thing. Firstly, if the child was going through a rough time, I would’ve expected the mother to tell you that up front (at the beginning of the week, for example). But generally I think you did the right thing, because even if it was a “one off” it can have repercussions later in life.

    I life in a household of legal adults (All 18+) and there’s one girl, who is 21, who acts for the most part like she’s 5. She expects to be babied and coddled, she throws tantrums if she doesn’t get “her way” yet is also very insecure and won’t make decisions or take any “risks”. It’s a long story and I’m diverting. The story I want to offer you is that last night, I caused a full meltdown in this girl. Why? Because I told her not to make out with her boyfriend at a quiet tea party (housemate’s birthday) that was taking place. This wasn’t a peck on the cheek or lips, this was a full on tongues and all affair, you know, an “I’m about to rip your clothes off”. I just said “Would you mind not doing that when there are people here? It’s not something everyone wants to see.”
    Her boyfriend, for the best part, then kept up the “no kissing”, reminding her of what I’d said whenever she tried it. But I could tell she was getting stressed – she’d never been told “no” before. She eventually started crying, in a room full of people, and when I asked what was wrong the following exchange happened:

    Her: I’m having a tantrum!
    Me: You’re not three.
    Her: I CAN ACT IT!
    Me: If you act it, that’s how people are going to treat you.

    I didn’t raise my voice, just spoke truthfully. And she stormed off, not to be seen again. So yeah, discipline your kids, discipline other people’s kids, or you’ll have a whole bigger mess to end up with later down the line than a momentary moment of “So and so’s mum is a jerk”.

  • Dawn

    Sing it, Sister!

  • JDStraw

    First of all, the parent of the little girl who is a child, was dead wrong in enabling this little child in her disrespect of an adult. If parents don’t want their children disciplined by adults then they need to keep them home and do everything at home for them including home-schooling, then they won’t have to be around other people. It’s a shame how people rear children now. Years ago, before children began being called “kids’ (baby goats!) they had much better manners. And because all parents taught their children from home and all parents (the majority of them anyway) taught their children basically the same kind of manners and social graces as all other parents in the neighborhood, and they instilled in them the principles of having and showing respect to adults. We couldn’t dare act the way most children act. It didn’t have to be the biological parents either. It could be a neighbor, the teachers, church members, aunts, uncles, etc. Parents would never side with their children when they were wrong. If we, when I was a child, ever did something when out and away from our parents and were chastised, we’d PRAY that the person who had to chastise us would forget to tell our parents because our parents did not condone it and would never even think of being rude to the person who would report us. There was automatic discipline for disrespecting elders and it WAS NOT being placed in “Time Out!”

  • bluebelle

    I drive a little girl to school 3 days a week with my own kids. Occasionally she will make comments that are totally rude (as do my kids too sometimes) and I let them all know that “we do not talk like that in my car.” My car, my rules, and it doesn’t include sticking your tongue out at me.

    I think there is a difference between discipline and correction. You didn’t discipline her, you corrected her. correction=learning, discipline=punishment

    Sounds to me that the mom is more concerned about being in control than raising a well behaved child.

  • The Mommy Psychologist

    You absolutely did the right thing. There is something seriously wrong with our generation of parents. It’s something I write about repeatedly because it is so prevalent.

    “The child psychologist who thought she had all the answers to parenting until she became one herself.” http://www.themommypsychologist.com.

  • Angie

    You handled it badly. You overreacted. She was sticking her tongue out at you behind your back so she never meant you to see. Ditto when she was whispering to her friends. You have all the power and now you were taking away what little control she had over the situation. She was expressing her 5 yr old emotions at your flip-flopping by changing your mind by not letting them do something that you had previously allowed them to do. You blamed her for your making a decision that you didn’t agree with in the first place by allowing them to watch the movie. I’m sure you’re the one with the on/off control so it was YOUR decision, not hers, then blamed her for reacting when you changed your mind. You should have just ignored it. You obviously don’t like this little girl.

    • Kristen

      5 year old children should not be allowed to get away with poor and disrespectful behavior simply because they are “expressing 5 year old emotions.” Those emotions, when left unchecked, will continue to develop into 10 and 12 year old emotions that are completely unacceptable and, most likely, incredibly disrespectful. Children need to understand (through learning) that the adults in charge have the right to not always allow an event to continue…such as watching TV in the car. Five year old children should not be sticking their tongues out at anyone, regardless of the situation, it’s rude and uncalled behavior. Doing so behind someone’s back is even worse and it’s called ‘being sneaky.’ This type of behavior it something you stop immediately, since it can often lead to being deceptive when they get older. I certainly hope your children aren’t being told it’s acceptable to act sneaky and whisper behind others’ back–it’s wrong and can often be hurtful. We want to teach our children how to be good people, not deceptive brats.

    • marketgirl

      wow, do you suppose that ‘angie’ is the mother of this child?
      does angie realize that it is the adult, not the child, who should be in control of issues like discipline and guidance?
      whoa angie, i bet your children are real winners.
      if they learn they are able to disrespect authority figures like parents and teacher and guardians, you will regret that as they become teenagers and decide that they don’t have to listen to you either.

    • Sarah

      Angie, your response is exactly why our teachers are pulling out their hair with our children in the classroom today. Many children have NO respect for authority. This 5 year old child has a right to express her emotion in an appropriate, respectful manner, not in a manner which disrespects the adult that is in charge of her care. Whether she is going through a difficult time or not, she needs to be reminded that everyone, especially those in authority over her, deserves respect. God help our teachers if you feel this mom overreacted. Sadly the mom of the 5 year old works in a school district….SHE should know better than defending the disrespectful behavior of her daughter.

    • Shelli

      Wow, it’s so interesting how the parent is totally to blame, in your view, and this child had no accountability in her behavior.

      This lack of shared accountability and shared responsibility is rampant in our society. There is nothing wrong with teaching a child to be respectful to adults.

      I have heard this statement(s), ” it’s not your fault that you didn’t do well on that test, it’s not your fault that you were received discipline at school, etc. the person didn’t like you so many times. Sometimes, yes it is the child’s fault and someone needs to teach them how to regroup recognize and identify their errors and move on.

      Your response is not surprising it’s epidemic.

  • Angie

    Your calling her a brat in the title says it all.

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  • Ella

    I don’t think what you did qualifies as discipline and I think the mother over-reacted and probably needs to take a look at why her daughter feels comfortable treating another adult that way. I never would have thought it acceptable when I was five.

    I remember once when I was growing up, my sister and I had a huge fight. I was 6 and my sister was 4. Anyway, she snatched something away from me. Our neighbor was over talking to my mom. The neighbor saw what my sister did and without even waiting for my mom to intervene, the neighbor walloped my sister right on the butt. HARD. My sister burst into tears of course and my mom picked her up to console her. I was shell-shocked. My parents didn’t spank. Ever. If my sister and I were fighting, we were usually sent to our room until we worked it out or put in time out if we ever hit the other. I’m sure my mom was seconds from intervening during our fight on this day, but the neighbor beat her to it and handled it her way. All these years later, I still see red when I think of that woman. She had no right, especially when my mother was standing right there.

  • regina

    Wow. My kids wouldn’t think to act like that. They try it and we spank them when they get out of line or go into a time out. A friend of ours came over the other day with her kid. He is 3. Disrespected me in my own house so I smacked him and put him on the corner cause he wouldn’t listen. I don’t care if she was happy about it or not but you don’t go to anothers house(or ask services of another adult) and not expect them to correct/discipline your kid when they do something wrong

    • Lulu

      Have you ever considered that hitting your child, or another child, teaches them that violence is an acceptable reaction to being upset with someone? Also, if your child only learns to follow rules through fear and humiliation, how will teachers ever be able to manage them in school when they would never (not to mention could never) instill that into them as a method of management? If you find that you’re having to hit your child regularly for poor behavior at school, you might rethink your tactics. Heck, even if you don’t find that–you might want to rethink them. We don’t live in barbaric times. You would do our society good by teaching compassion and non-violent problem solving to your children instead. If you need to be educated in that first, call your school district or local DSHS for recommendations. Many classes for parents are free.

    • Amanda

      I regularly got spanked growing up, even got the belt across my butt a few times, and when I was a teenager, I got slapped across the face for talking back to/giving attitude to my parents. I’ve never once been violent with someone while upset or angry, and I’ve been an honors student my entire life. Just sayin’…

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I used to get a slap on my butt if I misbehaved as a child- did me no harm whatsoever. I personally would never raise a hand to my stepkids, but that is because I know my limit with discipline.
      I am not their bio-mom so I wouldn’t presume that a spank on the butt is my right to do.
      I have corrected them, I have taken their DS consoles away, and when they’re in a “fabulous” mood, I’ve spoken to their father and then he enforces whatever punishment he thinks is fit.
      Yes it has meant they have missed a cinema trip or an outing but they always get over it and apologise.
      My stepdaughter is hitting puberty and has become quite snippy.
      Her dad can’t figure it out and I do have to say to him, hang on, she’s feeling upset and moody for no reason. instead of giving out, chat to her.
      but as we all know ladies, sometimes she pushes it and when we DO chastise her, we get the “IT’S NOT MY FAULT, IT’S MY BODY’S”.

      LOL can’t wait til her hormones settle down. =P

    • Lynn

      I’m all for others telling my children when they are behaving badly, but I draw the line at ANY person hitting my child. If you were to hit another adult like that you could be arrested for assault. I don’t think you were right at all.

      And to the author of the blog, I agree with you. If you aren’t allowed to discipline the little girl, you probably shouldn’t be trusted to drive her, either.

    • Spiderpigmom

      Agreed. Correcting my child (in a respectful way, like the author) when I’m not there to do it? Perfectly normal and expected. Hitting my child? Emphatically not OK. WTF is wrong with you?

    • http://www.facebook.com/valerisexton.jones Valeri Jones

      10000% agreed. My friends and sisters bring their children to my house, and I take mine to theirs. While there, they are expected to follow the rules of that house. If my nieces are doing something inappropriate, it’s fine if I tell them to stop or maybe even put them in time out. Spanking them is not okay.

      However, if my nieces were here and my sisters were not and they needed a spanking for some reason, then okay. But I usually try not to do that. But the same goes for my kid – if I’m not there and he needs a spanking, they are within their rights to give him one. But this has always been discussed between us before the situation arises, this way we know the boundaries of disciplining each other’s children in the absence of the parent.

    • emily

      I agree with verbal reprimand, when child is misbehaving in any way. I have no problem doing it to other kids, I have no problem other parents telling my dd if she does something she doesn’t like. If she’s not sure of what they said, she tells me and we have a discussion.
      But if someone were to put a hand on my dd – I’d put my hands on them!!!!!

    • mamita

      I agree. I’m not a mommy myself, but I knew as a child that if I ever misbehaved or was blatantly rude to an adult by sticking my tongue out, and that person disciplined me, my parents would’ve disciplined me again at home! So in other words, I would’ve gotten in trouble TWICE!
      You did NOTHING wrong in smacking the imp. It’s your house. If the parents don’t like it, tough. I’m sure that they are welcomed to not come back if they don’t teach their brat some manners first. I would’ve done the same!

  • Shelli

    Wow, I would have told them Mom, ok, if I cannot correct poor behavior, I don’t think you need to leave this child in my care. If she does not trust you enough to address inappropriate behavior then I question how she views your relationship with this child? You are not a paid chauffeur.

    The negative behavior that this child is allowed to get away with, in the presence of your child, sends a bad message to your daughter.

    I was also (as your were) taught to respect my elders. We don’t that with children much anymore. This child might be going through a hard time but we all do, at some point, and behaving rudely should never be excused.

  • Stacy

    I see that you aren’t above disciplining her mother, either. Should all your acquaintances expect to be shamed in a public setting if you have an ideological difference with one of them? I know 99.9% of the readers here won’t know who you are talking about, but everyone in your social circle will. To me, calling someone out in a public forum because you had a disagreement (owing to the fact neither of you were smart enough to hammer out the details and expectations of your interactions ahead of time) is the adult version of sticking out your tongue behind your friend’s back. Grow up.

  • riodv

    Amen, [author] Lindsay.

    Here’s this: My father taught me a healthy disrespect for authority…the “totalitarian” kind. He fled his European country during the time of a dictatorship with a big mouth that was about to get him imprisoned for his cry of social injustice. HOWEVER, disrespect for the authority of an adult/parent/family member, etc.? Yeah, that was NEVER gonna fly. But he never disempowered me; he instilled in me good-judgment, and the ability to ascertain when even the adults around me (i.e. teachers, strangers, shop owners) were being huge dipshits and where my boundaries to listen to them ended. If I could make an empirical argument for their ass-hattery and call them out on their BS, the door was always open to listen. I never had to flip anyone off saying “you’re not my parents”, b/c if the situation arose where it came as a power play/threat, “We’re gonna talk this over with your parents”, then I had better be ready to stand by my conviction of, “Fine. Let’s do that.”

    I won some; I lost some. But I NEVER would stick my tongue out or have a tantrum or talk disrespectfully to an adult without fully expecting everyone of my teeth to be promptly put down my throat! And guess what?? They NEVER touched me! I think I got swatted on the butt ONCE and the mere “threat” that it existed was enough to deter any nasty, childish behavior until I was old enough to choose any ‘smarter’ battles that I described above. There’s no room for disrespect, in either direction. Agreed. But if I expected it, even as a child, then I’d damn well better EARN it. Stick my tongue out? Roll my eyes? Whoops…just lost it. Feel free to tell the babysitter, the lunchlady, the gardener, whoever. My driver is an adult who is making a decision about what ‘favors’ she is inclined to do me and my lack of gracious acceptance just outted me to the world, for all intents and purposes. And please, no “she’s only 4 or 5 and going thru a rough time”…so was I, and I remember it clearly. Children are smarter than you give them credit for and they are maneuvering for a position at every moment. It’s part of their social/cognitive learning process. Get over it. Look it up.

    There. That’s how you instill a child “with confidence and security” [@xobolaji] without damaging their little bubble-wrapped ‘snowflake’ of a soul. [@JMB - I LOL'd...HARD.] ;p

    You’re welcome.

  • Jessica

    I agree with the several commenters that have mentioned that it’s not just the need to respect adults or the people in charge, but a basic principle to (God, this is so cliche) treat people with respect, regardless of age. And, about the “going through a rough time” situation, I very clearly remember my dad telling me growing up, “I don’t care how bad you feel, there is a standard of behavior.”

  • Lula

    Mm, I would not have allowed the movie in the car in the first place, a firm but friendly No would have sufficed.Plus she made a face at you – big deal, get over it,she knew she could push your buttons! More than anything, it’s the way the adult carries on that determines a child’s behaviour, if they are cool, chilled and non-stupid, the kid will sense that, all right…