Dealing With Strangers (Other Parents and Kids) As A Parent and Father
October 8, 2013 4:32 AM Subscribe
As a parent and father, how do I, or how can I or should I, deal with parents of other children whose badly behaved kids do something mean or nasty to my own kid?
posted by Effigy2000 to human relations (22 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
So the other day my almost 2 year old son was purposefully tripped by some other persons 2 year old kid. I wasn't there at the time but my wife was and thankfully in that situation the other kids mum disciplined her child for doing what he did. But it got me thinking... what if I had been there, and the other kids mum hadn't done anything to discipline her brat?
It brought me back to a situation about a year ago when my son, just a bit over one year old, was at a kids party and happily playing with a toy, when a girl, probably about 2 years old, ran over, screamed at him that the toy was hers (it wasn't) and took it from him. I remember my son looking like he'd done something wrong. The girls parents saw but didn't say anything. I felt I should say something but didn't. Had they been people I knew I could have talked to them about it but they were strangers... friends of friends of friends. Having a chat with them about their lax parenting seemed inappropriate somehow.
Ever since then I've thought about how I should have dealt with that situation. Even now after the tripping incident I'm still no closer to an answer.
I'm fully aware that as a man the idea of me getting angry or telling off someone else's kid is possibly more fraught with peril than it might be for, say, my wife. There's the whole intimidation aspect, plus these days a lot of parents are generally just mistrustful of strange men having any interaction with their kids. So having a meaningful discussion with some strangers kid about what they did seems out of the question.
Then there's the whole thing about trying to set a good example for my son. As in, I should be showing my son that you don't deal with conflict with anger. So I know (in other words, you don't have to tell me) that I shouldn't start yelling at either the kid or his/her parents... even though in the tripping situation I probably would have wanted to had the kids mum not stepped up.
And I need to balance this all with my intense desire to stand up for my son when I feel he's being picked on or bullied. I know eventually he'll have to stand on his own two feet and kids will be kids... but right now he's barely two and he's so full of love.
So as a parent and a father, what's the best way to handle these situations? What's your best advice for dealing with other people's kids bad behavior (both kids you know and don't), and for dealing with parents (again, ones you know and ones you don't) who just don't seem to give a shit?