Discipline and other people's children - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Do you do this? I have a very high tolerance, but when I'm watching a performance and my seat is literally being kicked (very hard, not taps) for half the performance, it gets annoying. Yet when the mother is sitting right next to the child and doesn't say anything, I feel like it would be rude to turn around and say "hey, can you please not kick my seat?" Especially since the child was very young and might have needed more than a request from a stranger.

When in social gatherings, I don't mind telling other people's kids certain limits I have. but these are kids I know.

Another example... we went to the museum and there were kids playing tag, no parents around, and they kept bumping into us. OR later on, my child was waiting to try an exhibit for a very long time while one child just sat there poking at buttons and the mom sat right next to her ignoring. I guess I would have said "oh, honey, there are other people waiting to try this out. how about you try one more time and then give them a turn."

So do you say something even when the parent is sitting right there? Or say something to the parent? Or ignore?

And to clarify, when I say "discipline" I'm not talking time-outs or anything like that. I'm talking about verbal requests/explanations.
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#2 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 02:45 PM
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That's not discipline, that's just existing in the world with other people. It is fine to say, "Please don't kick my seat." It is not fine to say, "If you don't stop kicking my seat, I'm going to put you in time out." If you can't get the child to stop, it's ok to say to the parent, "Please help him/her remember not to kick my seat" and if that doesn't work, go find an usher.

I also think it's fine to ask when someone else is going to get a turn or ask people who are running not to run into YOU. For me, if that doesn't work, then I move on to "Where are your parents" or finding someone else in "authority" who can remind them of the rules or kick them out.
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#3 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 03:35 PM
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I have absolutely no problem with someone asking my child (especially if I have not noticed what they are doing, and when you are tracking 3 it can be hard at times), to not do something. If the parent is trying to get the child to stop, I would maybe stay out of it, or if mom was able to get it done, turn around and tell the child "Thank you for not kicking", and then tell the Mother "Thank you".

But I know there are some parents who really don't give a crap what they child is doing as long as it is not annoying them. I was on a airline flight years ago (before children). I had a kid who for the whole 2 hour flight, was constantly kicking the back of my chair. I tried everything, except telling the parent off, to give them a chance to stop the behavior. I made comments loud enough for them to be heard about wow, I really wish I was not getting kicked in the back. Even the flight attendant couldn't do anything.
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#4 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 03:46 PM
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I don't think telling someone to stop running into you or to stop kicking your seat is discipline. I really don't have a problem telling a person to stop kicking my seat or stop repeatedly bumping me. If it was only one bump or one kick then I would ignore it even if the child seems out of control otherwise, but I won't ignore something that is happening repeatedly.
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#5 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 06:23 PM
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I would have turned around in a New-York second and said politely and nicely, "Please stop kicking my chair." And I would have gotten right into it if the parent had said anything to me, believe me. That's me in a nut-shell.

As for the example of the kid that was taking too much time at the museum exhibit and not taking a hint from the fact that other people were waiting, and neither was the mom, well, that's harder. I MIGHT have said something such as "Do you think this little girl could have a turn soon?" but I would make sure to say it in as nice a way as possible. I live in a big, crowded city and honestly it is just amazing how some people act as though they're the only people within miles in it. That said, lots of people are used to having to wait, take their turn, share, because of living in said city.
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#6 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by haleyelianasmom View Post
my child was waiting to try an exhibit for a very long time while one child just sat there poking at buttons and the mom sat right next to her ignoring.
I would ask my child to ask the other child for a turn.
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#7 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 10:14 PM
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I agree, that's not discipline, it's common decency.

You have every right to ask that your (reasonable) personal boundaries be followed. If it were an adult kicking your seat, you'd ask them to stop, right? Or, if they were doing something else annoying like clicking a pen through the performance.

The other parent and child have no way of knowing they're irritating you if you don't say something directly to them about the situation at hand. It doesn't have to be rude, mean, or confrontational. You can certainly be pleasant, polite and gentle. But by silently enduring the seat kicking, you're in effect implying to the child and the parent that it's OK with you. If you're annoyed, say something!
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#8 of 8 Old 03-01-2010, 10:54 PM
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In the OP's seat kicked situation, I would turn around and look behind me first. If that subtle clue didn't work, I'd ask them to stop (though it REALLY burns me that you'd even have to ask - the parent should stop the kid or take him/her out before it even gets to that point). If that still didn't work, I think you are perfectly within your right to get an usher to have them move. Or you could just move if there were other seats open that were acceptable to you.

People who don't help their children behave appropriately in public top my list of pet peeves.

We were at an office holiday party years ago. Two boys (maybe 8 to 10 year old - old enough to know better) were throwing hackeesacks up in the air as high as they could, easily 20+ feet. We were in a warehouse type room with super high ceilings so I can see the temptation, but they couldn't control where they came down throwing them that high. They hit us once, and landed them near us over and over. I looked around but no parents seemed to be watching them at all. Second time it landed within inches of my baby, I picked it up. Kid comes over to get it back and I told him that I wouldn't give it to him, but I'd be glad to give it to his parent, and to send one right over. He thought better of that, and I kept it.
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