My friend discipling my child in front of me - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 03:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

I feel awful and embarrased by my friend discipling my child today. I know my daughter was annoying her son but I did not interven promptly. I feel that my friend was right to discipline my child but at the same time I felt so embarrased and humiliated and inadequate. Do you think if my friend has the right to discipline my daughter in my presence? This did not happen once but several times. So I am quite sensitive about it. And I kind of sense that she thinks that my daughter is a bully and trouble maker and I know she is trying to protect her son, which is very understandable. My daughter is a bit on the wild side while her son is quite.

Today there was a gathering. The kids were at the table. My daughter was very tired and hyper so she would not sit down at the table (She gets too hyper at a party)She would have a bite and run around. Her son is very disciplined so he would sit at the table eating. The boy's mom was next to him helping him. It was obvious that she was annoyed by my daughter. My daughter started crawling under the table. I did not realize quick enough but she was tickling her son's feet. And he was annoyed. I told her to stop and kept eating and chatting. And then my friend took her son and my daughter to another room. Then I realized that she tickled him again. My friend was explaining to my daughter that her behavior was annoying her son so she would have to stop and say sorry to him. My daughter started crying and said sorry. My daughter seemed embarrased and hurt by being told off by somebody other than her parents. I was embarrased too. I felt like a failure as a mom that I did not discipline my child enough to sit through a meal and allow her to annoy others.

I just want to share this story and hear what others have to say about this touchy situation. Did my friend do the right thing and am I just being too a small person to take criticism?
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#2 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 03:37 AM
 
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Sounds like a great friend! She handled it very well. I'm sure you felt terrible and embarrassed, but these are the great learning moments in life! Part of her being this good friend is she's showing you the way, right? She's right with her kid guiding him... And yours probably needed your guidance in the moment also! It's hard taking kids to parties, isn't it? It turns into a field experience for the kiddo, and it's hard to get any adult time in. But, alas, all the coaching you put in today will ensure your ability to hold a conversation in the future. Your friend will see you in a truly positive light if you tell her about feeling bad about that moment. If you tell her it seems your dd needs a bit more attention from you at these types of things and you're so happy she was guiding your dd for you until you caught on.

The first time my dd pulled my friend's kid's hair (they were 1-ish) I was briefly paralyzed, and thank goodness my friend kicked in and just did a "gentle touch" thing with her. I felt like a total doof, and I let my friend know I appreciated it.

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#3 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 03:42 AM
 
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That doesn't sound too harsh. I have been side tracked at a party and not noticed my dd doing something as have my friends with their kids. We all do this with each others children so it isn't something that I think is a big deal.
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#4 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 03:43 AM
 
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No help here. I just want to know what others think, since I am on the other side of the situation.My kids are very well behaved and I would just stop hanging around a kid that would make my children uncomfortable.
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#5 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 04:00 AM
 
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mama are you sure you are not reading too much into it. yes your dd was surprised and shocked - but was it because it was another person other than parent?

why are you feeling like you failed as a mom? this really has nothing in a sense to do with your capabilities as a mom.

the thing is your friend is not a stranger to your child. she knows your child.

my close friends discipline my child all the time - when i have missed something or was elsewhere.

but in your case it seems a break from playdates might be a good idea for now. we did this with one friend. dd, very much like yours, with her activity was too much for my friends son. he was too sensitive to screaming and a lot of noise and was overwhelmed. so we decided to take a break. and we did. we moms hung out on rare ocassions. then my dd went thru the quiet phase and her son thru the 'unquiet' phase. after all that was over we were finally back to playing with each other.

this summer we did a lot of sleepovers. i had to parent quite a few of my friends kids since of course parents were not there. so its natural for our kids to see parents parent all children, their own and others. our kids are used to being disciplined by an adult, not necessarily their parent.

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#6 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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remember mamma, it takes a village!

I think your friend did what any of my friends or myself would have done in the situation. And your dd probably was shocked and didn't know how to react if this was something she hadn't experienced before.

Our group of friends has all made it clear to one another that we don't mind if eachother discipline (for lack of a better word) the kids as long as it's within our parenting norms...(which thankfully are all similar). Ie. asking another child to stop doing something that is disturbing us or our children would be perfectly ok. For me, asking the child to say sorry might not be part of it...as I don't use that method, but they all know that. Perhaps you and your friends could talk about such situations before they arise so you all know eachothers comfort level.

There have been times where I have been so grateful that one of my friends has stepped in when I have been otherwise distracted with conversation, cooking etc...and all it took was a thanks and we all moved on.

As for your LO's reaction...perhaps if she was used to it occuring it wouldn't phase her...this is our experience.

HTH?

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#7 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 08:59 AM
 
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I see no problem with it. I have noticed that sometimes my boys will respond to another person especially if they are tired or wound up.

Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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#8 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 10:32 AM
 
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Your friend sounds like she was quite nice and she did not "tell off" your daughter. This seems like a minor incident IMO and not something to feel like a failure over.

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#9 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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I agree with the other posters. It sounds like your friend was very appropriate in how she handled it. Don't be so down on yourself--if you realized that you should have done something differently, learn from it and do it differently next time.

Perhaps your daughter's personality and behavior requires you to be more vigilant about where she is and what she's doing. That doesn't make you a bad mom. She is who she is and you just work with that reality.

I don't think there is anything wrong with close friends participating in gentle discipline when it's necessary, but if it really bothers you, you need to make sure you are the one who is aware of what your child is doing, and the one who is the first to step in when she is doing something that is unacceptable.
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#10 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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I don't think it's that big of a deal, and you are being too hard on yourself, and your friend. Now you know to watch out next time. You could bring it up and thank her for handling.
I don't think you should feel so bad ~ it wasn't like you sat there while your daughter hit, punch, or kicked. Now you know for next time.
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#11 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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I agree w/ PPs. Not a big deal, and you know she's a really great friend for just dealing with it quietly, and not making a scene. My BFF has a very wild, spirited daughter who fights her on EVERYTHING. She is exhausted. The other day we were out way past naptime for both kids, and things were on their way downhill. Since I know her DD fights tooth and nail getting into the car seat, I carried her to the car and strapped her in. I did it so quickly and she was so shocked she just sat there. Anyone watching me would never believe the stories of how this child fights getting in the car. It was nothing. My friend asked what I was doing and I just said, "I had her anyway, I figured I'd save you a step." I just wanted to see if her DD would fight me, too, and she didn't. (Maybe if I do that more frequently, she will, but at least in this situation I was able to help avoid a fight no one wanted.)

My point is that even kids who are frequently out of control (not saying your daughter is, just using my friend's DD as an example -- your DD sounds like she was just having a good time) will stop and listen to someone who's not their parent. Don't feel bad. Your friend was doing what she felt she needed to do to keep her son content, and she did it without publicly humiliating anyone.
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#12 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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My best friend has a 4-year-old and a newborn, and she's always been of the philosophy of it takes a village to raise a child". She fully expects people to stop her toddler if he does something wrong, and expects her toddler to listen. I've always liked that idea.

Many people would have just walked away or gave a dirty look, but your friend took the time to talk and teach. That takes effort--and it shows she respects and cares for you and your LO. Plus our kids will all do something they shouldn't--they're kids!

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#13 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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thank her. Seriously. My friends & I all disciplined each other kids when we were together. We don't always see everything & sometimes someone else will & can take care of it. Sometimes if a parent does see something but seems overwhelmed or busy at the moment to deal with it someone else can deal with it.

Take it as a learning experience, that's essentially what parenting is. 1 big long, exhausting learning experience.lol

You mentioned this happened several times so look back at what you could have done differently.

Your dd running around nothing wrong with that, as long as she wasn't getting into people's way or being quite loud in an indoor place.

Crawling under the table while people are eating, depending on how big this table is may or may not be okay.

You noticed she was tickling his feet & didn't like it. You told her to stop & kept on your way. Does she normally stop when you tell her to? If not then yeah you could have done more, so now you know next time you do more.

I don't know what the other incidents were that happened where your friend had to keep disciplining her. I would talk to your friend to make sure she doesn't feel like you were expecting her to take care of your dd while you got to sit & visit(not saying you were expecting her to, but some people would take it like that). My aunt used to be horrible for that, everywhere she went she expected everyone else(including us cousins who were roughly 11-16) to take care of her kids while she sat around & did nothing. She could visit & eat without interruption becuase she expected everyone else to feed her kids, make sure they weren't getting in trouble(they were hellions), etc. however if someone did get after her kids for something she'd be all over the person trying to discipline them whether she was in the vicinity & had a clue or not. They're adults now & 2/3 of them are lazy, living with their Dad, no job, no career, everything paid for them, no reason to do anything if everyone will do it for them(pretty much the same as their mom).
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#14 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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I would be fine with a friend correcting my child, but not with taking them out the room without me, or with telling my child to say sorry.

In your friend's shoes, I would have asked your dd to stop, then if she did not, I would have fetched you and asked you to handle it. That is what I would want a friend to do for me.

But then, my kids are highly sensitive and being taken to another room for a chat by another person would be hugely upsetting for them. Whenever I talk with another child about any behavior, if the parent is there, I always do it in their presence, or if I can, ask them to handle it.

But if you and your friend are comfortable with removing children like that, and asking for apologies, that changes the situation, and only you can judge if it is appropriate.
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#15 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Do you think if my friend has the right to discipline my daughter in my presence?
Yes, if you're not doing it.

I'm comfortable with other adults correcting my children as long as they are gentle with them about it.

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#16 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
I would be fine with a friend correcting my child, but not with taking them out the room without me, or with telling my child to say sorry.

In your friend's shoes, I would have asked your dd to stop, then if she did not, I would have fetched you and asked you to handle it. That is what I would want a friend to do for me.

But then, my kids are highly sensitive and being taken to another room for a chat by another person would be hugely upsetting for them. Whenever I talk with another child about any behavior, if the parent is there, I always do it in their presence, or if I can, ask them to handle it.

But if you and your friend are comfortable with removing children like that, and asking for apologies, that changes the situation, and only you can judge if it is appropriate.
ita

i would be absolutely*fine with another mama asking my child to stop doing something, but would want them to speak to me about handling it.

just seems like common courtesy.

all it would have took was, "please stop tickling him" and then to come to you and say, "can you talk to your dd, she is really upsetting me, my kid, etc etc"

i find people tend to be more uncomfortable taking an issue to an adult. like they feel in more of a power position with children? i dont know.

I prefer to be the one speaking to my*child about this stuff.

i understand it takes a village- but in true villages, there is more cohesive parenting practices- and even amongst AP groups- i have seen a vast difference in treatment of conflict.

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#17 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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Yes, if you're not doing it.

I'm comfortable with other adults correcting my children as long as they are gentle with them about it.
i always wonder why people want to correct other children.

i, personally, never want to. it feels like shaming to me. if a child is bothering me, I remove myself or do the bare minimum.

in m¥ experience, most children overreact when a nonparent disciplines them. it always seems harsher coming from another person than they are used to.

my children get embarrassed/scared easily and have definitely been upset/traumatized before. In every situation I was right there. either I didnt notice the infraction or I was unaware that it was bothering/upsetting anyone.

it seems that it would always be in the best interest to just alert the parent first? i would think disciplining another child would be a last resort type thing.

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#18 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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all it would have took was, "please stop tickling him" and then to come to you and say, "can you talk to your dd, she is really upsetting me, my kid, etc etc"
it sounded to me like the OP was sitting right there, close enough to see her dd was tickling this kid's feet. The OP did ask her dd to stop.


Quote:
I would be fine with a friend correcting my child, but not with taking them out the room without me, or with telling my child to say sorry.
I can see taking her dd out of the room to deal with it in private. Not for privacy away from Mom, but away from the entire group of people there.
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#19 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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it sounded to me like the OP was sitting right there, close enough to see her dd was tickling this kid's feet. The OP did ask her dd to stop.

i thought the OP said she also asked her dd to stop when she saw it happening under the table?

when it happened again, she could just have asked her to stop again OR said to the mom "you really need to do something. its really upsetting my child/me"

im not understanding why its a "i must deal with this myself" issue.

if the mom is right there- she either didnt see it or didnt think it was a big deal, right? i feel like people would rather discipline the child themselves than say "I need you to control/intervene/do something else with your child/act in a more authoritative way to keep your child from upsetting my child" to an adult.

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#20 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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Your friend sounds like she was quite nice and she did not "tell off" your daughter. This seems like a minor incident IMO and not something to feel like a failure over.
Yep, this. No biggie.
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#21 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 04:10 PM
 
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It sounds like your friend was gentle. However, I agree with the following:

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Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
I would be fine with a friend correcting my child, but not with taking them out the room without me, or with telling my child to say sorry.

In your friend's shoes, I would have asked your dd to stop, then if she did not, I would have fetched you and asked you to handle it. That is what I would want a friend to do for me.

But then, my kids are highly sensitive and being taken to another room for a chat by another person would be hugely upsetting for them. Whenever I talk with another child about any behavior, if the parent is there, I always do it in their presence, or if I can, ask them to handle it.

But if you and your friend are comfortable with removing children like that, and asking for apologies, that changes the situation, and only you can judge if it is appropriate.
I would be most upset if someone took my kid to another room to "discipline" them in their preferred method and have them say sorry. I'm a big believer in not forcing kids to say things they don't feel.* I don't want to have to explain to each of my friends that feels sufficiently "close" to me to take matters into their own hands how we handle each little thing like this. I'm not going to consult them for each parenting practice I chose and don't want to get into it with them why we have decided to raise our kids the way we have. I've already gotten into some uncomfortable conversations with other parents about sharing (I don't think kids should be forced to share personal toys; sharing playgrounds/public toys is appropriate) and it's not even that big a deal. It also undermines the authority of the parent - it wasn't good enough for Mom to tell you no, Suzy had to do for it to stick.

*In this situation, I would have explained to my daughter that tickling Johnny's feet really upset him. How do you feel when someone does things to you that you don't like? Can you understand how Johnny was feeling? Do you have anything you'd like to say to Johnny? Prompting for a true statement of feeling is one thing, forcing "Sorry" just makes it a meaningless platitude shoved out of one's mouth to stop the confrontation. This method worked incredibly well with my birthdaughter - she will say she's sorry when she genuinely is and will say "I'm sorry I upset you" when that's what she means and will say "I'm sorry you're upset" when that's what she means - and she's seven.

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it sounded to me like the OP was sitting right there, close enough to see her dd was tickling this kid's feet. The OP did ask her dd to stop.

I can see taking her dd out of the room to deal with it in private. Not for privacy away from Mom, but away from the entire group of people there.
This is exactly why she should have let the mom (OP) keep handling it. Redirecting Mom's attention to the daughter's behavior would have been far more appropriate. Mom is _right there_ - she can handle her daughter's behavior in the way that is appropriate for her.

We know people who have children that they don't discipline, pretty much at all, and we limit our time with those people. If their children's behavior is too much for us to handle, we will remove ourselves, perhaps explaining to the host that we just aren't comfortable. I get to decide who is in my parenting "village" - not you. I try to extend that to others; they have not placed me in a parenting role for their children and I will not place myself there.

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#22 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 04:18 PM
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i thought the OP said she also asked her dd to stop when she saw it happening under the table?

when it happened again, she could just have asked her to stop again OR said to the mom "you really need to do something. its really upsetting my child/me"

im not understanding why its a "i must deal with this myself" issue.

if the mom is right there- she either didnt see it or didnt think it was a big deal, right? i feel like people would rather discipline the child themselves than say "I need you to control/intervene/do something else with your child/act in a more authoritative way to keep your child from upsetting my child" to an adult.
The op was right there. And didn't do anything.

The friend took care of it herself because there was not time to wait on the op. Obviously the op wasn't concerned or willing to do anything. For whatever reason. The friend got sick of it and handled it.

I'm not sure of the age of the child (nevermind, it doesn't matter) - but crawling around under the table while people are eating is unacceptable at any age. And then to actually disturb another person by tickling their feet!? Not cool and needed to be stopped immediately.

OP - don't sweat it. Mothering is a work in progress. And every mother should realize that. The fact that you came here to work this out in your head shows how willing you are to be versatile. You're doing great!!!!

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#23 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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wow! I'm surprised-- I think the mother mom owed you a heads up. "Oh, your kiddo is ticking my son and it's bugging him".


I guess I wouldn't mind if it was someone very close to me and my son; my sister, for example. But I'm suprised just a 'friend' would think it's ok to take another mom's kid into the room to scold her.

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#24 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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I just re-read your post and it you mentioned that htis has happened several times.

Not ok at all in my book. I would put your foot down.

discipline should be dealt out by someone with the child intersests at heart. Not a 'friend' who is making your kid out to be a bully.

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#25 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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My daughter seemed embarrased and hurt by being told off by somebody other than her parents.
When I was about four years old, my parents took me to a cookout/get-together at the home of some good friends of theirs. The three-year-old son of another of their friends was also at the party, so I played with him that day (he was a frequent playdate playmate of mine). I was being bossy with my friend, but not aggressive or rough. Apparently his dad didn't approve of my behavior. In front of a large group of adults, this man-- my mom's best friend's husband-- told me to leave his son alone, and if I didn't, he would spank me. I was humiliated. I looked at my dad, who was sitting next to my friend's dad. My dad looked shocked, but he didn't say a word to his friend. I ran into the house to find my mom. Five minutes later we were in the car on our way home, and I was bawling. My dad admonished himself for not confronting his friend. That was cold comfort!

This happened almost thirty years ago, yet I still remember how horrible and embarassed I felt being disciplined by an adult who was not my parent (actually, I think this man's behavior wasn't so much discipline as it was threatening and abusive, but I digress).

IMO, nobody has a right to discipline another person's child, unless a dangerous situation exists. This was obviously not the case in the OP's situation. OP, I think your friend may have meant well, but she should have pulled you aside to discuss your daughter's behavior.

Since more than once your friend has taken it upon herself to discipline your daughter, I would suggest re-thinking keeping her as a playdate friend. Seriously, your daughter's self-esteem is more important than remaining friends with someone who seems to have trouble seeing where the discipline line is drawn.

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#26 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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When I was about four years old, my parents took me to a cookout/get-together at the home of some good friends of theirs. The three-year-old son of another of their friends was also at the party, so I played with him that day (he was a frequent playdate playmate of mine). I was being bossy with my friend, but not aggressive or rough. Apparently his dad didn't approve of my behavior. In front of a large group of adults, this man-- my mom's best friend's husband-- told me to leave his son alone, and if I didn't, he would spank me. I was humiliated. I looked at my dad, who was sitting next to my friend's dad. My dad looked shocked, but he didn't say a word to his friend. I ran into the house to find my mom. Five minutes later we were in the car on our way home, and I was bawling. My dad admonished himself for not confronting his friend. That was cold comfort!

This happened almost thirty years ago, yet I still remember how horrible and embarassed I felt being disciplined by an adult who was not my parent (actually, I think this man's behavior wasn't so much discipline as it was threatening and abusive, but I digress).

IMO, nobody has a right to discipline another person's child, unless a dangerous situation exists. This was obviously not the case in the OP's situation. OP, I think your friend may have meant well, but she should have pulled you aside to discuss your daughter's behavior.

Since more than once your friend has taken it upon herself to discipline your daughter, I would suggest re-thinking keeping her as a playdate friend. Seriously, your daughter's self-esteem is more important than remaining friends with someone who seems to have trouble seeing where the discipline line is drawn.
this is exactly why its best to take your issues up with the adults, not the child. when children are not used to being spoken to/disciplined by others- it can be hard on them.

JUST BECAUSE THE MOME WAS THERE doesnt mean she knew it was as upsetting as it was.

she deserved a heads up. "please keep your dd from doing this- its upsetting me"

why is disciplining the child more acceptable than that? in ANY circumstance?

keep your kid safe, then alert the adult to the behaviour you need changed.

a lot less drama that way. and sensitive kids dont end up crying over a mom not understanding the severity of a situation.

and ive been to many kids parties where kids crawling under tables is quite common... so its not even something that would catch my attention.

~jen~ )O( mama to k 07/05 o 5/08 and c 12/09
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#27 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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Yes, if you're not doing it.

I'm comfortable with other adults correcting my children as long as they are gentle with them about it.
I agree. It is absolutely the parent's right and responsibility to intervene if their child is causing a problem for someone else. But if they aren't there or choose not to, then another adult should be able to (hopefully gently) stop the action.

If Child A is tickling Child B - and B doesn't like it, then it stops. Now. Period. If A's parent is there then he/she should stop it, but if he/she isn't there or doesn't consider it a problem then B's parent or any other adult can stop it. Discipline regarding the issue is still left up to parent A - but anyone can stop the action.

This is a more common problem with firstborns - as it seems that moms mellow more with subsequent children. You either get on the same page with what is acceptable (among the adults whose kids your kid spends time with) or stop hanging out together.

When my dd1 was a toddler, a friend's child was too rough with her - and that mom didn't find it a problem. My kid and I found it a problem. That mom wouldn't stop her kid, so we stopped hanging out with each other until that kid matured enough to play nice.
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#28 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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I think your friend had every right to tell your dd that the tickling bothered her son, and ask your dd to stop. I'm huge on kids respecting others' personal boundaries.

I'm on the fence about taking her to another room, and even less sure about telling her to apologize. It sounds like she was nice and GD about it, but still.

Gently, I do think you should have asked her if what your dd was doing was bothering her son, and acted accordingly. Take it as a learning experience

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#29 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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I do not understand how a situation goes from an adult and child getting annoyed by tickling into a child being taken into another room and made to cry.

Let's just call it what it is- passive aggressive.

It's totally "I don't think you are disciplining your child appropriately, and instead of approaching you and risk confrontation, I'm going to approach your kid that I feel an instrinsic power over and show you how it SHOULD be done!"

~jen~ )O( mama to k 07/05 o 5/08 and c 12/09
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#30 of 100 Old 09-19-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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I think it was reasonable of her to intervene to make sure your ds stopped tickling her ds, but I don't like that she took your ds into another room. I don't like the forced apology thing either, but that seems to be standard fare and I'd expect it in that situation. I find the taking your child into another room to be a real problem, though. I don't see why she couldn't say something right there.
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