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to tell off a child that is not my own?

(185 Posts)
Sheeta Mon 27-Jul-09 17:25:42

It was raining this afternoon so went to the soft play centre.

DS is 20mo and was playing in one of those little tikes plastic cars. Older boy (about 5?) smashes into him and yells 'GET OUT OF THE WAY' in quite a horrible way (properly yelling). Scared DS quite a lot and he started crying.

I just said 'please don't talk to him like that, it's not very nice'

The Mum tells me off, asking me not to tell off her son. I point out that maybe she should have said something first.

Was I out of order? If you think I was, please tell me. I have never thought twice about asking another child to be careful/not walk backwards/don't hit etc. I understand that some people might not like it, but I just assumed that the Mum hadn't seen it happen (as it was she was right there, watching. she just ignored it hmm)


hercules1 Mon 27-Jul-09 17:27:05

yabu to go to one of these --hell holes-- places but certainly not unreasonable to tell her child off.

hercules1 Mon 27-Jul-09 17:27:39

try again


HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 27-Jul-09 17:27:57

No. I don't think you were. I think that if the mother was just sat there, watching him behave like that, then shame on her.

That kind of parenting raises a brat.

bigchris Mon 27-Jul-09 17:28:30


but you are very brave!

Itsjustafleshwound Mon 27-Jul-09 17:29:00

Not at all - --hell is other people's darling children

claricebeansmum Mon 27-Jul-09 17:29:44

You did the right thing.

Like McDonalds, soft play centres are brilliant morale boosters as you can easily see that your parenting is a lot better than many others! winkgrin

LIZS Mon 27-Jul-09 17:30:56

yanbu but I do think if you venture into to such places <shudder> in rainy school holidays you have to expect that older kids will be present and may not play "nicely".

Sheeta Mon 27-Jul-09 17:31:28

Meant to say in the OP - after she told me off, she told me he was autistic, and that's why he was doing that... OK, but don't understand why that means that bad behaviour is ignored.

Besom Mon 27-Jul-09 17:33:08

Yanbu - think I would probably have done the same.

LIZS Mon 27-Jul-09 17:35:29

ah that puts a slightly different complexion on it. He possibly wouldn't undertsand the consequences of such behaviour (ie shodutign makes a younegr child cry) nor that your ds wouldn't automatically understand his "rules". The mum may well have had confrontations before and know your words would ahve little effect, and may have to watch more carefully than others might a child that age. She can't automatically expect you to have understood though.

prettyfly1 Mon 27-Jul-09 17:36:58

I was initially going to agree with you but
mmmm - I think you should have perhaps had a quiet word with the parent first to avoid the embarrasment of telling off a child with a learning disability.

The reason there is no point is that is could well distress the autistic child or could quite possibly not register at all. Not nice for your little one I agree to be shouted at but autism cannot be controlled by a telling off for bad behaviour - because in the autistic childs mind it isnt - she should probably have done more then she did though to protect smaller children if her child has issues with being bumped into in busy places. Fault on both sides me thinks.

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 27-Jul-09 17:37:25

It doesn't. My 2 both have autism and trust me - if they started with that stuff (and they have!) they would be dealt with (and they are)

Autism is not an excuse! It is NOT a reason to do nothing. In fact, you have to work HARDER to help them, to teach them how to behave, and to ensure that they do not do things to other people!! Or if they do that you are on it as fast as lightening!

Drives me fucking NUTS when people play the "Oh, he's autistic, he can't help it" card. It's a crock of shit.

Even if he can't help it, she fucking can! Or rather she can be on top of it and intervene.

I can do it with 2 of 'em and I'm nothing special!

you don't sit by while an nt child runs riot and you don't sit by while an autistic child does.

prettyfly1 Mon 27-Jul-09 17:40:16

Hecates that is a really interesting viewpoint and I hadnt thought of it like that - would you have preferred someone to say something to you though or handle things perhaps in a way that could be mis constructive with the kids? I would like to know should I ever face this sitaution myself.

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 27-Jul-09 17:40:40

liz & prettyfly, please don't think that this behaviour should be tolerated/accepted in a child with autism. It's no excuse for a parent's failure to be on top of things.

Pussyfooting around a child with a disability and treating them differently and trying to excuse bad behaviour is worse than giving them a telling off!

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 27-Jul-09 17:44:16

grin x-post.

It wouldn't have happened to me because I would never have sat there and watched that unfold.

But if I wasn't straight in there, I would prefer you to deal with my child exactly the same way you would deal with any other child. If that is telling them off, then fine.

But parents generally fall into 2 camps - those who, like me, appreciate the support of other adults and who value their contribution (takes a village to raise a child) and those who think that nobody should ever say anything to their child directly but should go through them.

maggievirgo Mon 27-Jul-09 17:46:42

........... only if your own children are perfect. I remember somebody told off my dc1 years ago, and although it wouldn't have struck me if she'd said nothing to my daughter, from then on, I noticed what a smug little character her daughter was. Always dobbing her children in, telling them they had big ears, criticising the food, telling everybody how great she was at dancing/french etc. I wouldn't have noticed it if her own mother hadn't told my child to stop climbing or whatever minor thing she was doing that wasn't bothering ME.

LIZS Mon 27-Jul-09 17:47:09

No I wouldn't say it was acceptable , just perhaps a little more comprehensible.

maggievirgo Mon 27-Jul-09 17:48:35

Hecate, I don't let my son (with autism) do what he likes, but often, saying no to him or restraining him, provokes a shrieking fit which onlookers also shudder smugly at.... but yes, definitely better to ignore the looks and plough on with attempts to instill some discipline.

shonaspurtle Mon 27-Jul-09 17:48:45

I don't think saying something to a child like "Oh dear, please don't shout" or "it's not kind to hit/push" should get the parent's back up.

Really? Do people really get annoyed if someone mildly admonishes their child? Ok, obviously it does but seeing people sitting judging away for all their worth and saying nothing is more irritating to me.

I just find this "speak to me, not my child" absolutely barking. Obviously you would expect the parent to say something but it's not always possible to identify who belongs to who. Do you just say nothing?

Anyone who sees my child being thoughtless/unkind/hurting someone else when I haven't noticed please feel free to step in. Maybe I should make him a badge that says "my mum says you can tell me off".

HecatesTwopenceworth Mon 27-Jul-09 17:49:21

Funnily enough, I find it less comprehensible now. Knowing how challenging children with autism can be, how hard you have to work to teach them how to behave in an appropriate manner, how you have to be on hand, watching, ready to spring into action etc etc, I find it more difficult to understand how she could have just sat there, than when I thought the child was nt!

Sheeta Mon 27-Jul-09 17:49:35

Thanks Hecates - I know absolutely nothing about autism and did feel bad about it afterwards. 2 reasons I posted this were a) is it acceptable to tell of someone elses child, and b) does the fact that the child was autistic make a difference.

Prettyfly1 - bumping wasn't the issue, he was fine with that, it was the shouting that upset him..

Merle Mon 27-Jul-09 18:03:49

I think it's really important that other adults step in and tell off my/other people's children. It is one way that they learn that certain forms of behaviour are not socially acceptable and that it is not just their own parents who bang on about it, but other adults. It may well have more impact if it comes from a stranger.

Hard sometimes to be on the (parental) receiving end, though.

Well done. Don't be put off doing it again.

Sassyfrassy Mon 27-Jul-09 18:04:02

Yanbu, it sounds like you politely asked him not to something that hurt another child. I find it ridiculous how you're not supposed to ever tell other children off. As long as it's done in a reasonable tone of voice and not being threatening I think i does children good to learn that other adults take an interest.

As a teacher I notice what a shock it is for some little darlings when they go to school, that adults dare tell them what to do and even tell them off.

Analobeseder Mon 27-Jul-09 18:10:07

Good lord, I never hesitate to gently, but firmly, tell other people's children off when they're being horrid. Things along the lines of "please don't hit my DD, it's not nice", or "please don't push, you'll get your turn in a minute". It's never occurred to me not to, since when I do speak to them, they're doing something unpleasant to my child! Luckily no parent has ever given me strop over it.

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