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When an adult punishes their child at your house

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 
We had two kids over for a play date the other day, and at the end of the time one of the parents came to pick up the kids. I invited them in, and we chatted for a few minutes while the kids wound down. The parent wanted the children to help pick up (I really don't care about it, but the parent does), and one of them whined about it. So the parent marched the child into the kitchen (out of my view) and squirted soap into the child's mouth. I didn't know what was happening at first; I heard the child protesting softly and by the time I got into the kitchen it had already been done.

The parent is a friend of mine, and I don't want the children to not be able to come over anymore, but I was pretty upset by what they did, esp in *my* home, which I try hard to make a safe, peaceful place.

It's been a few days now, and I haven't said anything. WWYD? Would you let it go? Would you say something? I obviously can't control what they do outside our home, but I would like our home and our desire to be respectful of each other to be respected.

ETA these kids come to our house regularly, and I want them to continue to come over to play; they're wonderful kids.
post #2 of 86
WHOA. That is so far over the line, I wouldn't know where to begin. Maybe start by mentioning all of the not-so-great chemicals that are in soap? Jesus. I'm sorry that you are in this position.
post #3 of 86
You can't dictate how a parent is going to discipline their child, even in "your" home.
post #4 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatulip View Post
You can't dictate how a parent is going to discipline their child, even in "your" home.
Well, first of all I don't dictate to anyone.

But second, I do think it's perfectly reasonable to be asked to respect the "house rules" while one is a guest in someone's home.

My question is not in the rightness of such a request. It is rather how to do it in a way that respects both the child and the parent and does not humiliate either of them.
post #5 of 86
All of my friends know loud and clear that my house is a No Hitting house. This also includes anything I wouldn't use for my own children. They are happy to comply with my rules because they respect the way I parent.

Now what they do i their own house and in public is fine but in my house its just unacceptable.

Denise
post #6 of 86
Oh, YES I CAN dictate that child abuse not happen in my home! Discipline, abuse, hit, soap mouths, do whatever, no I CAN'T stop you - at your own place. You will NOT do those things in my home, in front of my children. I would have physically stopped that. And I wouldn't invite such nitwits back.
post #7 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmzbm View Post
Oh, YES I CAN dictate that child abuse not happen in my home! Discipline, abuse, hit, soap mouths, do whatever, no I CAN'T stop you - at your own place. You will NOT do those things in my home, in front of my children. I would have physically stopped that. And I wouldn't invite such nitwits back.

I totally agree with this. However, if this is the first offense, I would talk to the mother about our house rules and invite them over for another visit. If it happened again though, the mother would not be invited.
post #8 of 86
I would call or have coffee with the parent. I would practise what to say, but it would be along the lines of, "It has been a couple of days, and I can't shake feeling upset about something that happened at my house when your child was over. I figured that since I am still upset about it, then I should probably bring it up to talk to you about before it has a chance to affect our friendship."
post #9 of 86
and other than not associating with this family again, how would you all "enforce" this? If you really want to get right down to it, sounds like you should have called CPS.
post #10 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatulip View Post
and other than not associating with this family again, how would you all "enforce" this? If you really want to get right down to it, sounds like you should have called CPS.
Read Mamaduck's post right about yours. This is the polite and adult way to handle it.
post #11 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
I would call or have coffee with the parent. I would practise what to say, but it would be along the lines of, "It has been a couple of days, and I can't shake feeling upset about something that happened at my house when your child was over. I figured that since I am still upset about it, then I should probably bring it up to talk to you about before it has a chance to affect our friendship."
Yes, and understand that this mama must be feeling frustrated and not know any other way. So important to be loving and supportive while helping her to come up with other ideas. Whining can be hard to deal with and she may need some positive ideas and encouragement. I would not want to lose the friendship or come off as judgemental and make things worse for her and the kids.

Many people do think picking up is important so I would model a fun game at the end of play dates too like setting a timer or a silly song so we can all pick up together and then have a group hug or something to create a predictable pattern to help everyone transistion and know that it is time to go home.
post #12 of 86
mamaduck has a great way to go about handling this one now.
for the future, maybe at the time of it happening, or if you see something like that about to happen you can step in ans say soemthing like, "in my home children are safe from being hurt by adults, i cant tell you how to raise your children, but i can stop you from hurting them in my home"
post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatulip View Post
You can't dictate how a parent is going to discipline their child, even in "your" home.
I would not allow someone to come to my home and smoke, drink, hit, curse, or anything else I think is either physically or emotionally damaging to my child. Technically, you are right ~ it's not our place to tell them someone how to behave ~ however, we can explain that we will not allow someone in our homes that behave a certain way.

That said, b/c what took place was out of view of your child (I think that's what I understood ), I agree w/PP's about gently speaking with the other mama. Though, I would also feel inclined to point out how dangerous the practice is ~ it's an old tradition that was probably done to that mama and sadly you only have in your repitoire what was given to you.

I think that you could respect her wish to have her child help pick-up ~ you might not care, but it's not a bad thing to teach children and it's quite respectful of those who have invited you over. It sounds more like the whining was the issue and she equated "bad mouth" with "punishing the mouth". (I don't agree, it just seems it's the connection that she made). Turning pick-up time into a game as PP suggested would be great.

If it can be worked out, probably the best thing you can do for this mama is model graceful/gentle parenting and hope she picks up a few things.
post #14 of 86
I agree with how mamaduck suggested you handle it. I know whenmy kids are over at someone home I insist they help clean up even if the other person says not to worry about it. They helped make the mess they will help clean it up. That said I would not wash their mouths out with soap for it, I would do hand over hand clean up. Of course I may have a few choice words for them about not returning if they can not help with the clean up once we were back in the car. I think that the pp who suggested calling CPS was going over board though. If you call cps on all your friends because you disagree with how they discipline you are going to have no friends left. Approaching them with your concerns is the best way to handle it.
post #15 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
I would call or have coffee with the parent. I would practise what to say, but it would be along the lines of, "It has been a couple of days, and I can't shake feeling upset about something that happened at my house when your child was over. I figured that since I am still upset about it, then I should probably bring it up to talk to you about before it has a chance to affect our friendship."
I think this is a perfect way to approach this. This may be the event that changes the way this woman thinks about discipline. You have the oppertunity to be a good friend and a good example to her.

Soap mouth is terrible. I can't believe someone would do that ESP AT SOMEONE ELSE'S HOUSE. It's unbelieveable.
post #16 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatulip View Post
You can't dictate how a parent is going to discipline their child, even in "your" home.
Sure I can. It's my house. One of our rules here is no hitting of people. If someone wants to break that rule, whether it's a kid hitting someone or an adult, they can leave.

Same goes for wasting the soap.
post #17 of 86
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. You're right, I was in another room - and I was so surprised by what happened I was literally speechless. I just didn't know what to say.

I like this person; they are in many ways a wonderful parent and I know they love children dearly. But I also believe my ground rules are worthy of respect, and never want a child to feel afraid or anxious to come over to our house.
post #18 of 86
I'd like to throw into the conversation one of my first thoughts when I was reading about "house rules." These have always affected me as an adult since there are many family member's homes that my wife and I cannot frequent because of their house rules that "unmarried" couples not sleep in the same room under their roofs. Several other posters brought up uncontroversial negatives like drinking, smoking, hitting, etc. in the home but that's the first thing I thought of. This could be a situation where the mom does not feel like she is in the wrong at all (every single mom in my spooky neighborhood would be like this).

The reason that I think my thoughts are relevant is because any gentle conversation about what I'm allowed to do as an adult to be allowed into others' homes would definitely be taken wildly personally by me and put me on the super-defensive. I don't know how open this parent is to suggestions, because no matter how kind, you are setting up new rules for your relationship based on her behavior.
I don't think there's any way that this could be put to me that wouldn't be extremely off-putting. FWIW, I'm not sure I'd mention the soap unless I was prepared to lose the friendship and the playdates (ditto cps). I hope this isn't the case in your situation and she really was at her wit's end and didn't like what she felt she had to do either.

Perhaps you have some idea of how she will take this conversation that will help you decide or find the most gentle way to go about it?
post #19 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by imatulip View Post
You can't dictate how a parent is going to discipline their child, even in "your" home.
Well, you can dictate what you are not comfortable with having happen in your home.

We let our friends who use physical punishment know that we are not ok with it happening in our home.

Edited to add: The way that we typically phrase it is, "You know that we do not use physical force to discipline our son, and that's because we are very uncomfortable with it. I respect that you are a thoughtful parent who has chosen to discipline the way you feel is best. I would ask you to please avoid using the types of discipline that you know make us uncomfortable when you are in our home, and in front of my children regardless of where we are. If there is anything we do that you'd rather not expose your children to, please feel free to let me know, as well.
post #20 of 86
It is their child, they have the right to punish thm as they see fit, where ever they happen to be. It is up to you whether to invite them back or not.
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