Happy Friday to all of you! Today, I am going to jump into a question I’ve been pondering a while. I was asked some time ago about when it was appropriate to correct other people’s children. This is a bit complicated but I read a blog recently with a story I’ll share. I have some general rules but I’m not exactly opposed to breaking them as you’ll soon read. My hope is to give you my perspective but let you decide for yourself if it’s ever appropriate.
Let me start with the easy part. When I was at St. Josephs Children’s Home, our kids were divided into departments. The thing was, though, none of us were territorial with the children. We had a common purpose which was to prepare kids for adoption or foster home settings. Therefore, kids from another department acted up, I had no problems correcting them and never received grief for doing so. In turn, I never gave a house parent a hard time when they corrected my kids.
Therefore, the first lesson to be learned is to have a clear understanding with the parents before correcting their children. You may be surprised to learn that few parents whom I’ve actually talked to have objected to me correcting their kids. To be honest, I can’t think of one although there may be a situation that has slipped my mind. This isn’t a taboo topic. Most reasonable parents understand that as long as you have the child’s best interests, odds are that correcting their children is probably all right. Don’t get me wrong. Problems can still occur. In most cases though, it should be fine.
The second part of this is a bit trickier. What if I don’t know the parents? In this case, I am very hesitant before correcting any child unless they that child is causing imminent danger to themselves or someone else. Though I’ve helped a lot of kids, I can’t raise everyone’s children. So if, for example, I see your child throwing tomatoes down aisle 6 at the grocery store, I’m likely to keep pushing my cart until I reach the next aisle. Some parents have no control of their kids while others are confrontational. In the end, it just cannot be worth it to me.
This leads me to the story I teased at the beginning of the blog. A mom was fixing lunch for her child and his friend (Johnny) at their house. Johnny asked if he could have Pepsi and mom said, “No.” (Her own child was drinking water) After receiving the answer, Johnny replied, “F*ck You!” Mom was pretty shocked (understandably so) and asked Johnny if he talked like that at home. Johnny replied, “F*ck yeah.”
Keep in mind I don’t know how old Johnny was. In saying that, if your kid is in my home, I expect a general sense of politeness. If I don’t get it, your child will not be in my home for long— one way or the other. This is a case where I would correct the child and put them on a short leash. (figuratively speaking, of course!)
I’m fully aware there are many scenario’s left unanswered in this blog. Yet again I have chosen a topic that could be a chapter in my next book. Regardless, I’m interested in hearing your opinions and if/where I am off base.
Thanks for reading this and passing it along to other parents. It is really appreciated. I started this blog April 7th and write twice a week. Would you believe before this was posted, the blog has garnered over 1,000 hits? You guys are incredible!!!
Thanks as well for all of the interest in my book Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures. I’m keeping my fingers crossed about some speaking engagements in the fall. Click on the book cover located at the right hand side of the blog for more info. The entire preface has also been copy/pasted at the top of my page. The book will make you laugh, cry, and think about your parenting. One of my readers said she’ll need to read it twice. The first time would be for entertainment and the second time, she would need to take notes. Feel free to check it out.
Have a terrific weekend and I’ll have another blog ready on Tuesday.