It can really get under our skin when other adults– relatives or strangers– tell our kids to stop splashing, or sit still, or any other directive we might or may not agree with. But when should we go full Mama Bear, and when should we let it slide?
It can really get under our skin when other adults– whether relatives or strangers– tell our kids to stop splashing, or sit still, or any other directive we might or may not agree with. But when should we go full Mama Bear, and when should we let it slide?
Pamela recently wrote us (and so can you! email@example.com):
I'd love to hear your thoughts on handling relatives (or even strangers!) that try to discipline your kids. I recently had family in town and my six-year-old was given quite a few lectures on MINOR behaviors by a relative that has no children of their own. Things such as sitting in a chair well past when he was done eating, or accidentally kicking (when said relative started the roughhousing to begin with…)
I’m able to call it out but why oh why does this happen?!
Frustrating, to say the least, and confusing for my son!
There are two matrixes that apply here: the "see this person 3 times a week / will never see this person again" axis,
and the "totally not their business/ actually my kid was really bothering them" axis.
Being clear on where a particular example lands can help you respond with more finesse, and in this episode Amy breaks down those differences.
If a particular example of discipline leaves your child red-faced and tearful, and the adult's reaction seems like an overreach, then attend to your child and make her feel safe. There are usually minimal returns for confrontation with a stranger– let alone a relative– but do what you have to do.
But check your story. Did your kid brush it off and run along to play? Is the worst part of it all the "How dare you!" feelings you're left with? Reprimands from other people aimed at our kids can really sting us, because there are secondary (okay, primary) messages directed at our own parenting choices implicit within them. But if we keep our child's safety as top priority, other people's rights to a nice dinner or a no-throwing-sand sandbox a close second, and our own indignance a little further down the totem pole, knowing what's right to do in a given situation usually gets a little easier.
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