How to handle others disciplining your child
Have you ever encountered a friend or family member who took it upon themselves to discipline your misbehaving youngster? Find out how you can control the situation whether you're there or not...
The issue of a stranger stepping in to discipline your child is a real divider among most parents.
Some would be furious that another person interfered and crossed a line to discipline their child, while others accept it as a part of life and growing up.
With this in mind, we bring you some things to remember regarding the topic of others disciplining your child.
Setting boundaries and communicating about discipline
If you are comfortable with having others discipline your child, then it may be because they are a member of your family, a friend or childcare support worker whom you trust and have built a bond with.
Even so, it is still advisable to set the boundaries on how others discipline your child and mete out punishment. This way you still remain in control of the situation.
As a parent, I have often heard that our daughter behaved wonderfully at a friend’s place, and yet have had her misbehave under our own roof.
This suggests that she knew not to cross the line when in another’s company.
Even so, we as parents would always ask other parents if there had been any trouble or discipline issues to ensure that communication was a two-way thing.
We would also outline what was and what was not acceptable; what we would expect if our daughter was staying under our roof and, if things got bad, for the other parents to call us.
We wanted to take discipline in our own hands, and the way we achieved it was by telling others to call us if anything got out of hand.
This way strangers didn’t overstep their boundaries, and we still remained in charge.
We also encouraged our daughter to tell us what happened while she was away at a friend’s to ensure nothing untoward had happened or no discipline matters arose.
We would also tell her what we would expect of her being in others company and her limits, but also, if she needed to call us immediately, to do so.
More on this topic on the next page…
New ‘voice’ of authority
Sometimes, although it’s not perfect, you will wonder why your child responds better to a stranger when being disciplined rather than you.
It’s a simple fact that a different person using a different voice and tone will often have the ability to switch things around. Sometimes this might be the reason why some parents actually overlook the issue of others disciplining their child!
Even so, when others discipline your child while you are there, it can still be unnerving for most. Many would be riled at the thought that another adult had to step in and is often seen as undermining your own ability to manage the situation.
Rather than cut yourself up over the situation, take a good look at where your boundary lies and those of others in the discipline stakes.
And don’t be afraid to discipline your child in public, even if you get the cursive glances or an opinion or two on how to tackle a misbehaving child.
For the child, if they are disciplined by a stranger you will find that the behaviour in question will most probably never be repeated because they know that they are in the wrong, particularly if someone else had picked it up.
Ultimately, when it comes to setting the boundaries on others disciplining your child, it’s up to you.
Your child looks up to you for guidance to set down the ground rules.
We recommend telling the temporary ‘carer’ what is acceptable and what is not from your point-of-view.
How do you handle the situation when others discipline your child? Tell us by leaving a comment.