Disciplining another Parents Child – Yes

The need to discipline another parent’s child is an awkward and difficult thing to do but sometimes it is also necessary. Tread carefully on this one!  It really depends on the situation and you only want to do this if you absolutely need to.  You can end up losing a friend very quickly if you don’t handle it well.

If the child is in your care and doing something that might endanger either himself or your child you definitely can’t sit by and do nothing.  You need to intervene in this case.  Just make sure you do it carefully and disciplining does not give you the right to physically discipline the child ever. 

There is nothing worse than when your friend comes over for a visit with her kids in tow and they misbehave or make a mess of your house and the mother, your friend, does nothing.  Sometimes it is better just to suck it up and do nothing.  You can clean up after they leave and next time either go to her house or meet somewhere like the mall or a local kids place.  Losing a friendship just isn’t worth it over something petty.

However, if the child breaks something of your child’s or is disrespectful to you you need to do something.  Perhaps carefully discussing the rules with the child in front of the child might work.  If it doesn’t then you might want to discuss the rules with your friend.  Just be prepared for an argument.  It is difficult when you are a stricter parent.  Every mother knows another mother that just does not discipline her child.  She lets them do whatever…whenever.  That doesn’t make it ok. 

You never have the right to put another parent’s child on a time out or take something away from the child unless it is something that really is dangerous or valuable.  If the child is not used to being disciplined the child might just lash out at you.  There is nothing worse than you trying to negotiate with a three year old while the mother sits there doing nothing.  Follow through and be firm.  If the child is at your house and destroys something make sure you discuss it with the child’s parent.  If they do nothing then tell the child that what he did was wrong.

It is a sad realization but you might lose your friend over this and that might just work in your favor.  Lettting your child be friends with an undisciplined child might teach your child his bad habits and behaviours.  You will have to discuss it with your child (depending on his age) because it is pretty much guaranteed that you will both lose your friends.  Pick your child’s friends while you have the power to do so.  He is your child and your responsibility and the influences of friends is extremely important in his older years when you can’t choose his friends so teaching him to choose friends with good qualities when he is young will set the standard for how he chooses his friends when it really matters.  He will learn to choose friends with good behaviours and his behaviours and choices will probably be better ones than that of the undisciplined and , perhaps, unguided child.