Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Social Politics with Friends

I've been getting together with some friends with kids and it suddenly occurred to me I need to know what is the right thing to do when it comes to discipline....

No, I'm not speaking of my own children. I encourage anyone to correct my girls, or reprimand as needed, especially when safety is an issue- because I sure get exhausted by doing it constantly. But when it comes to other children, what is the correct thing to do since every family has their own rules?

Should this be a topic cleared with your friends before play begins? I know I have a sister that got in trouble from another sister for reprimanding her children when they were out of control. She made the request "please don't discipline my children", when she feels that children should never be disciplined by anyone. So yes, in this case, maybe my sister should have looked the other way, unless the child was in danger.

So what should be done when a little child is clearly breaking commonly accepted rules and is getting away with it when the parent is looking away? Should the friend step in and make the correction, or should they too look the other way?

Before I had a chance to post this article, I had a few friends over to ask the question, and they all agreed that speaking up when a little one is getting away with - let's say something as simple as sticking out a tongue at another friend, is totally acceptable. This teaches kids that they should be respecting all adults. I think we all agreed that it makes our lives a little easier to have other adults watching out for our children since we can't be everywhere at once. I guess with this in mind, it really helps to spend time with other adults with similar rules for their kids. I had a friend/neighbor tell me once that once I had children, I would suddenly select friends with similar parenting styles, and I have come to realize that it really does make sense, especially with child rearing such a large portion of my life now.


Michael said...

I enjoy yelling at other people's kids. "Get off of my lawn" and the like.

StuntBec said...

Uggh. I remember that day far too well. But a good lesson or two was learned. First of all, from my perspective, social politics within the family (sister to sister) are much more touchy than with just friends. I know, it shouldn't be this way, but it is. Reading about it again, even after a few years have passed, makes my stomach do flip flops.

So, unless I have a clear thumbs up from another parent, if we are not in MY house, on my territory, I keep mum about most anything, unless it is to the danger of the child. Now, it turns out, for the most part, I hang out with parents that share the same (more or less) values that I have.

But, if we're in my house, my general rules are to be followed. They are nothing out of the ordinary (I think). Here are a few:
1. No running in the house.
2. No mean name calling.
3. Clean up toys after playing.
4. Say please and thank you.
5. Do not molest the cat (it's amazing how many kids want to do this).
6. Do not take toys from kids that are younger than you.

I can't think of any others. That list seems pretty cut and dry. Nothing shocking, right? We have a decent number of kids that come and play - they all seem to be just fine about these rules. All kids (mine definately included) need to be gently reminded, and it's not a big deal.

So, when a kid comes over to my house, and refuses to comply (it has happened a few times), I patiently explain the rules. When I do this, the parent usually steps in, and backs me up. And if he or she still insists on breaking the rules, then it's sit-down quiet time.

What do you think of this? And if your friendship with your laissez-faire friend is suffering due to differences in parenting skills, maybe you should get together with your friend, solo, when the fathers are watching the kids?

StuntMom said...

Do you post these rules too- like at a swimming pool?

StuntBec said...

Now why did I guess someone would ask me this? No, I don't post them. Kids can't read until 4 or 5 - and I'm not quite that uptight. Close, but not quite. If you spend any time at my house, you'll hear them repeated time and again.

I forgot one:

Absolutely no jumping on the couch or beds.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot!
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