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Do you *discipline* other people's kids?

791 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  bri276
I don't. I hate it when people try to discipline mine. But I'm in a really hard place right now.

I live in an apartment complex and our duplex is at the end of a cul-de-sac. Everyone has their own semi-enclosed backyards, but there really are no front yard boundries. We have a neighbor who just moved in with two 5yos and one 3yo who are free range. They come and go as they please and are not required to stay around their house. They've taken a liking to us so whenever we go out they practically attack us. We live our life with their faces pressed up against our windows watching us.

Yesterday I walked out side and the 3yo ran out to watch me and stood in the middle of the road. Even though it's a dead end, sometimes people zip right up here. I didn't say anything cause she's not my kid, yk? And no one was coming. She did finally go back home. Later I looked out my kitchen window and saw her CLIMBING INTO the dumpster outside. Very dangerous and totally gross, but I still kept to myself. Still later we went outside - me, my three kids and a friend's child who is about 4 1/2. All 7 of the kids were playing and things got out of hand and the twins started throwing dirt. Not to be mean, they really are sweet kids. Not being comfortable with correcting other people's kids I just said "Guys, throwing dirt probably isn't a good idea because it's dangerous". Besides, their mom was right outside watching. They stopped, but later came back to it. This time dd got dirt in her eye and in her hair (she has such long, thick hair that it takes hours to get that amount of dirt out of it). This time it was the 3 yo that had done it. I very calmly called my dd out of the sand box and explained why. This got the mother's attention and she asked who threw the dirt. It told her the little one did and she yelled "3YO, DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH THAT DIRT! YOU AREN'T GOING TO THROW DIRT AT OTHER KIDS OR YOU'RE GOING TO GO TO YOUR ROOM, BAD GIRL!"

So, now my options are severely limited. I don't want to go to the mother when the kids are trying to get into my house, or when the 3yo is wandering in the road or woods by herself or any other thing is happening because I don't want to make them be yelled at (btw, this is the only way I've heard her talk to her kids. Most of the time she just ignores them). I don't want to step on toes by correcting them myself. But, it just doesn't seem right to me that a 3yo baby is running the neighborhood unsupervised!

The other neighbors don't see a problem with it cause they're all pretty much alike. If there was a top 10 list of non-ap neighborhoods in the country this one would be #1.

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I'm horrified on your behalf! Though I can understand why you are reluctant to get the children screamed at you can still step in yourself. You are an adult and as such there for the guidance of children, especially when they are in danger! I can't see why you can't quietly point out to these kids when their behaviour isn't ok, perhaps step in if things get out of hand and assign them 'tasks' or a new game such as building castles etc. Children who aren't getting a lot of attention will often respond really well when someone takes an interest. Though the other parents don't do things your way you may be able to institute some positive change. Don't feel that you have to turn away from things because they are not your kids and don't feel you can't set boundaries. Explain to the little one's that now is a private time and that they should find something else to do. Also think about getting some blinds for your windows and don't feel bad about shutting them!

Good luck.
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It's not right at all that a 3-year-old is running around unsupervised. Honestly, I'd call the police without hesitation. And if the child is standing in the middle of the road, by all means help her move. That's not discipline; it's safety.
My general rule of thumb is that is the parent isn't present at the moment and/or the child is doing something dangerous (e.g. throwing dirt) I intervene. That may be redirecting, making a request to change behavior, helping child engage in something else, etc. I would always get a child out of the street (or dumpster - gross), regardless of oncoming traffic or not.

We used to have similar neighbors - with kids unsupervised running all over the place. Even a 3 or 4 year old who would be blocks away. My friends used to find him in their garage going through their stuff. Someone finally had a talk with the mother and that seemed to help the problem.
How about when the mother IS there? What would you do?

I do like the idea about redirecting and suggesting other activities. If I do that it's more like I'm playing with them than correcting them.

I am always nervous to get too friendly with other people's kids though. I've had problems with parents in the neighborhood that just dropped their kids off at my house in the past. There wasn't any way I could say no, I answered the door and the child was there and the parent was driving away

We are desperatly trying to find a new place to live. We were out looking the other day and when we came home we found a fire blazing in the outskirts of the woods beside our house. Kids were running everywhere - parents were out there but not paying any attention to the kids. When the fire truck pulled up one of the mothers (the one who's kids I was talking about) grabbed the hose right off the back and started for the fire with it. When the fire fighter stopped her she got all nasty and taught all the kids a few new words
: Kids up here start fires in the woods at least 4-5 times a year.

It's like no one believes in parental supervision anymore
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I do it when it is necessary to prevent harm to the other child or my own, and the parent is not present, or not acting.
Yes, I do step in. But never in a harsh or punative way. You know having another mama demonstrate positive ways to correct my kid's dangerous behavior helped ME immensely when I was trying to figuer out how to GD. I would never want someone to yell at my kid, or belittle him. But to say, "Try this instead." Or "Please be careful of such-and-such" is fine and good. I think ESPECIALLY if the mama is watching you. For the sandbox situation, for instance. If you are in the sandbox with them, or near them, and got down on their level and said, "We don't throw sand. It can hurt people. But we can rain sand through our fingers," and demonstrate for them, then you are playing with the kids and guiding them. The mom can see that and maybe learn something.

And no, I could never sit back and keep quiet while a 3 yo. kid plays in the street or climbs in a dumpster. If that child were hurt or killed, you would feel responsible.

I think you are living near this family for a reason. Have you asked the mom to have coffee with you???
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Honestly I don't step in, I'm the type to keep to myself though.

I think your neighbors twins live nextdoor to me though, they are out playing in the street (a semi-busy dead end street) throwing balls at the house and on comming cars, crawling under their grandma's (the mother is in prision, they live with their grandmother) van...once I even saw them playing Lawn Darts with 2 pairs of sicssors!

The grandmother scares me so I haven't said anything to her, any time she is outside with these children (6/7 and ~9) she is yelling "Get the BEEP off that BEEP BEEP BEEP *whatever*!!" "BEEP get your BEEP BEEP BEEP over/back/ here BEEP BEEP!!" Just constantly...I've talked to other parents in the neighborhood and they are afraid to correct the children because then they will target you with their 'rock snow balls' and baseball car dodge ball's rotten...

Good luck!
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If the parents aren't present and the kids are doing something dangerous, to me it's 'mother to one (mine), then mother to all (the other kids)" and I do step in, and redirect.

If some kid were 'stalking' me because their parents don't care to watch them, I'd go over there and gently tell the parents that I don't care to have them looking in our house, etc. If that didn't help (with the street thing) I'd call the authorities and let them handle it. If something should happen to that child, that young being the fault of the lazy parent, I'd feel awful if I could have prevented it.

Now if the parent is there, *watching* and letting their kids get away with unsafe things, Oh Well. Deal with the consequences of their kids getting hurt, I guess. If their kids were somehow infringing on *My* child's safety, you'd better believe I'd say something to both the child And the adult.
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I think I know where you're coming from...I myself hate confrontation because specifically where I live the smallest things tend to escalate but where do you draw the line?

As an adult, as a parent, and neighbor it's your duty to guide the youth-your children and their peers included. All too often children are left to fend for themselves because they are neglected. If something were to happen to any of those kids you might feel guilty because you didnt say or do anything. If you don't want to personally get involved call social services, the police anybody. Children need direction, good direction. Left to wander they often drift off course toward bad things. BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO THE GOOD, THE INNOCENT AND UNSUSPECTING EVERYDAY!
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My dh and I were talking about this very thing last night! I "discipline" other people's children quite often, but as I was telling him, I try to do it in the nicest way possible. If I see a child doing something unsafe at the park or something, and I also see that there parent is distracted, I don't feel uncomfortable stepping in and helping them or redirecting them. I keep it as positive and playful as I possibly can. I do this for my friends' kids, too, and they do the same back. I think, like mamaduck said, this can really help other parents see a different perspective.
like other have said, I will if they are presenting a danger to themselves or others, regardless of parental supervision. I'm not going to stand by and let a two year old grab my dd's face in the store whether their mother thinks its okay or not.
In my house, my house rules go, but my house rules are very relaxed, I don't freak out if a kid starts climbing on my couch, making a mess, or pushing all the buttons on a remote- that's what kids do. It really has to be a dangerous situation for me to put my $.02 in, I have enough on my plate with my own child to teach manners or life lessons to other ppl's kids! lol
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