Other People's Children

Some children are awesome: impossibly cute, funny little people.

Sometimes, so I’m told, even the cutest can run amuck, seemingly to a parent’s blind eye. So when, if ever, is it appropriate to discipline another person’s kid?

Firstly, if their safety is at stake, speak up. I’m occasionally baffled by who has bred (Darwin! Help!), but if a child is about to run into traffic, it is not the time to worry about offending a parent. Which leads me neatly to my next point: potentially offending parents.

I’ve spoken up to parents sometimes, tentatively, and if that fails, I’ve taken up my case directly with the wee offender. A toddler cutie was tugging on my purse waiting in line at a store. I made eye contact with his mom and she wasn’t getting it. I made a joke about his strong little arms making my heavy bag that much heavier. Still, no dice. At that point, I asked the little guy to please let go of my bag, which he did, without issue. I’ve done the same with tiny legs kicking the back of my seat, which, let’s be honest, when you’re three, is probably a really good time.

Please though, don’t confuse bad behaviour with kids just being kids. They cry, throw world-class tantrums and occasionally say silly, uncivilized things that don’t warrant an outsider getting involved.

By Karen Cleveland

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  1. Anonymous
    October 22, 2010

    Cry, throw world-class tantrums and occasionally say silly, uncivilized things? I think that’s a trait of kids and some adults, alike.

  2. Anonymous
    October 22, 2010

    Excellent point! And perhaps *those* episodes do warrant third-party involvement (or a swift dose of ‘man up’).
    Thanks for the comment!

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