So a few weeks back I caught myself amongst an interesting predicament. I was at my daughters swimming lesson and there was a particularly disruptive child that day. He wouldn’t listen, he kept endargering himself and he was distracting and splashing others. My girl who normally sits quiet as a mouse started to follow suit even.
I felt for the swimming teacher that day as it was a hard situation to handle.
Five 3-4 year olds all pissing about in water unable to swim.
The child in question then started to repeatedly splash one of the girls. It wasn’t malicious and I am sure he wasn’t trying to be spiteful he was just being a three year old enjoying himself. That said being splashed in the face is annoying. Disrupting a swimming lesson is irritating for everyone and it was hard for the teacher to keep a handle on things whilst she was taking another three year old round the pool.
The child’s mum wasn’t sat poolside, unfortunately. She was within watching distance, just not speaking distance.
So the parent of the child being splashed took it upon herself to ‘tell off’ the disruptive child. Quite sternly, in my humble opinion.
At the end of the lesson the parent of the ‘told off’ child was quite upset and the swimming instructor found herself caught between two parents each with their own point of view.
Valid points perhaps.
See the parent who’s little girl was being splashed sat and watched it for quite some time before interjecting. The ‘disruptive’ child had been so for all of the lesson and had made the lesson difficult for all the children. His mum wasn’t there to tell him otherwise.
But, the parent of the child who was ‘told off’ was unhappy with the way in which someone else spoke to her child. I can understand that too.
It’s not an uncommon situation. I mean we’ve all been at soft play or a playgroup when someone else’s child has been a little heavy handed with our own.
I have been sat with my son at soft play before when an older (but still young) boy started hitting my child repeatedly on the head. Forcefully. His mum wasn’t there and in all honesty I felt I had no choice but to tell him stop. I didn’t shout or rant and rave but I did tell him ‘not to do that’ anymore. I mean is that crossing the line?
Where is the line?
If a child is misbehaving or worse, putting themselves or other children at risk what do you do? What is acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to discipling other peoples’ children?
I know I wouldn’t like a stranger to discipline my child, especially not in a way that I wouldn’t myself. Yet equally I wouldn’t expect my child to ‘get away’ with something that is inherently ‘naughty’ or dangerous. I am not sure where the line is. Perhaps it is situation dependant? Or child dependent? I don’t know.
On the same note it would make me really uncomfortable to discipline someone else’s child. It is not my place. We all have different ‘standards’ for want of a better word, different methods, different motives, our children are all different and what works for one might not for another. It’s a minefield and complicated at best.
What would you do? Would you tell off someone else’s child? Have you? Has someone told off your child and how did it make you feel? I’d really love to hear from you.