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It is ok to tell other people's children not to do things. Discuss.

(33 Posts)
lingle Thu 21-Aug-08 21:55:56

Well, is it?

I think it is ok and also important that any adult should feel able to tell any child to stop doing anything that is unsafe for themselves or others. A nice boy of 3 at our party was pushing others on the bouncy castle. His mother wasn't there.
I told him to stop pushing. He looked at me in complete confusion and said "you're not my mummy" then carried on pushing. Even at 3, he'd learnt, wrongly, that he answered to no-one except his own parents.

thisisyesterday Thu 21-Aug-08 21:57:31

yes, of course it;s ok. even more so when it's for their own (and others' safety).
if i'd been you I would have said, no i'm not, but you are not to push or else you;ll have to come off.

MrsMattie Thu 21-Aug-08 21:58:54

I am happy for other adults to guide my son's behaviour if I'm not 'on the scene', especially when it concerns safety.

ChippyMinton Thu 21-Aug-08 21:59:21

yes, you were in charge of him at the time.

juuule Thu 21-Aug-08 22:00:17

Yes it is. Why wouldn't it be?

In response to the 3yo I'd have said something like

'well should I get your mummy?' or

'no I'm not. But I'm sure your mummy would be unhappy with what you are doing. Shall we go and ask her?' or

'no I'm not but that's very unkind of you to be pushing and if you carry on then you'll have to get off the bouncy castle'.

Any of those or all of them.

lingle Thu 21-Aug-08 22:14:06


That's the point though, isn't it? I shouldn't have to refer to what his mother might think. At my party, he needed to answer to me directly.

abouteve Thu 21-Aug-08 22:22:25

Yes it is. Bit different but as a mum of a teen if I here any of her friends talking about others in a nasty way I will step in.

It might not have occurred to them that people will challenge their prejudices (as they are repeating what is acceptable in there own homes) and the sooner they learn the better IMO.

For younger children I would also correct their behaviour, explaining that this is how we do things here. I learnt a lot through this.

juuule Fri 22-Aug-08 08:15:01

If you don't want to refer to his mother probably just use something like the 3rd response I listed then

Sometimes referring to their mother can make a 3yo stop and think about what they are doing. But it's not necessary.

twentypence Fri 22-Aug-08 08:47:04

I would have told him that if he carried on I would call his mummy to come and get him to take him home - and then I would have.

I took home a boy who had only been at our house for 20 minutes because he tried the "you're not my mum" line after hitting my son. When his rather surprised mother answered the door - I said "he wanted his mum" and politely went away never to return her calls again.

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 22-Aug-08 08:48:39

Definitely OK to take charge - you're an adult and it's important that children recognise that they listen to all adults and not just their parents.

But then I'm an old witch anyway.

feedmenow Fri 22-Aug-08 08:52:40

I agree. In my home, my rules apply. If another child is here and they start jumping on the beds they'll be told not to do it - don't care if they are allowed to in their house, they aren't in mine!

So for something like that where someone could get hurt I would definately have told him not to do it.

Wonder what will happen when he goes to school and starts saying to the teachers "you're not my mum"......

lilymolly Fri 22-Aug-08 08:56:49

surely when you send your child to someones elses house/care you tell them that Mrs X/X Mum is in charge and you do what they tell you.

Is that normal?

DD. is only 2.7 so not reached that stage yet, but thats what my mum said to me and thats what I intend to tell dd when she is old enought to go to other peoples houses

lingle Fri 22-Aug-08 09:22:18

"he wanted his mum" is brilliant. I might use that some time.

I see loads of threads on mumsnet where people are angry because someone dared to speak to their precious child. It's not always an intentional criticism of the mother (though alas, people being bitchy as they are, it sometimes is).

I separated a playgroup fight a while ago and one of the mums loudly defended herself against this perceived personal attack and told me "she was doing the best she could and knew Jonny had problems but I'd made her feel really bad". She wouldn't listen to my apologies (not that I owed any). In the end, I had to point out that I had no opinion on Jonny simply because I had idea which child was Jonny. That quietened her down.

Shoegazer Fri 22-Aug-08 09:26:42

Would be very happy if someone asked my child not to do something especially to push etc. I recently arrived at nursery slightly early to pick up DD (2.2) as I arrived she was being asked firmly not to do something. From the situation it seemed as if she had been asked before to stop doing it. The young nursery nurse had not seen me standing there and when she turned round and saw me she went red and apologised for telling off DD. Now the only thing that she had done wrong was apologise to me! She was being firm and fair as far as I had witnessed (and I had been there a good couple of minutes and saw what DD did). I told her that I was very happy for her to tell DD not to do something like that and I would be more unhappy if she was not given boundaries at nursery. I wondered if perhaps the nursery nurse had had a run in with a parent previously about a similar situation?

I'm very happy for DD to be asked/told not to do something by other adults as long as the adult is being reasonable!

slim22 Fri 22-Aug-08 09:42:16

of course ok.

takes a village bla bla bla...

Most parents I know would not object tbh.

serenity Fri 22-Aug-08 09:44:26

I do it a lot (far too often imo) because there seems to be a small proportion of parents who seem to think that IKEA (where I work) is some kind of free play area, and I see children doing the most daft and dangerous things pretty much unsupervised. I'd rather get dirty looks from parents than be calling first aiders tbh.

I have however been called an 'interfering minimum wage bitch' by one charming mother after asking her son to stop playing with the scissors on the fabric desk (cutting huge chunks out of one of the rolls of fabric, and barely missing his fingers whilst doing it)

JuneBugJen Fri 22-Aug-08 09:45:31

Its ok, providing its done in a nice tone and trying to respect what the other parent might want.

There was some poor lad paralysed becuase of a bouncy castle (although I think he was older) so it is better to do the wrong thing from an etiquette perpective than to have a child injured and stand by.

Ripeberry Fri 22-Aug-08 09:50:09

On wednesday we were at a large softplay and most of the kids were older but they were very good and let my DDs go on the slides first ect.
But just before we were leaving a slightly younger boy decided to push my girls, so i just went over to him and said quietly that he should stop doing that as it's not nice.
And it stopped him short but then he said he was going to get his dad who would "sort me out".
So i just said, "I'll wait for him here then shall i?"
He never came back ! grin

paolosgirl Fri 22-Aug-08 09:57:13

Depends what you're telling them to do. If they are hurting your child, damaging your property etc etc then absolutely tell them. Not OK to tell them not to do something if the parent is right there and is obviously OK with it - as in the case of my interfering neighbour.

To my dd - "don't walk on that wall"
Me - "no, it's fine" (it's a small low wall beside a shop)
Her - "she might fall and her herself" (she's 8)
Me - "no, it's fine, really"

That kind of thing really annoys me.

paolosgirl Fri 22-Aug-08 10:02:14

Should have qualified - even if the parent is there and OK with their child damaging your property, hurting your child etc then you still are completely within your rights to tell them to stop - just not telling them to do/not do something that is just not to your liking IYSWIM

MmeLindt Fri 22-Aug-08 10:05:56

shock Serenity. What a nasty woman.

I would say something to a child if I felt the child was endangering herself or others or damaging property.

If they say, "You are not my mummy" then my reply is "That is true, but since your mummy is not here, I am in charge. You have rules in your house and we have rules in our house. My children have to obey our rules and so do you"

I did get annoyed at the waitress in a restaurant recently who moved a candle holder off the table while saying, in a patronising voice, "we wouldn't want little fingers to break something, would we?" DS was not even looking at the candleholder and at 4yo he is not likely to chuck it aroudn the room.

snowleopard Fri 22-Aug-08 10:14:19

OMG serenity, what a cow!

The other day 3yo DS and I bumped into (quite elderly) friends in a cafe, DS was wriggling around and accidentally kicked our friend. I made him sit up and say sorry, and the friend (an imposing old man with bushy eyebrows and deep voice) said "OK but DON"T DO IT AGAIN" very sternly. DS looked cowed and behaved himself immediately.

I didn't mind - it was a breath of fresh air and showed me what things used to be like! I'm so paranoid about saying anything to friends' children because there seems to be this culture that it just isn't done - and that includes far worse behaviour than on that occasion. I've wanted to say something a lot of times about things like deliberate hitting, letting their soft toys hog the swings for 20 minutes or running off, but I've never dared in front of their parents because if the parents act as if it's OK, then you're kind of openly challenging their parenting.

Once when a friend of mine left her kids with me for a few minutes while she went to fetch something, I stopped the 3yo from snatching a toy from the 1yo, and said she had to choose a different toy (pretty mild stuff). She screamed so loud and long that her mum came running in a panic. It's a tricky business!

BalloonSlayer Fri 22-Aug-08 10:37:21

I remember some old biddy telling my kids off for doing something I thought was fine (walking on a low wall? or something?).

The DCs looked shocked and outraged and looked at me. I just told them to do as she had said and pointed out to them that different people have different rules, and that what we thought was ok, someone else might not.

I have no problem with other people telling them off as a) it means I don't look like the only killjoy in their life and b) in a case like the above they can see that in some ways I am more easy-going than other people.

Perhaps this is another thread but has anyone else experienced the problem that the kids have the anti-bullying message given to them so much at school - and yes I agree it is necessary - that they think that ANYONE being anything less than totally fawning with them means that they are being bullied? DS1 mentioned being bullied the other day, when I questioned him it turned out that another child, erm, had said something not very nice to him. Cue long lecture from me about the difference between bullying and a bit of ordinary unpleasantness which is just a fact of life.

I suspect that the little boy Ripeberry came across at the Softplay centre was under the same misapprehension - his Dad had probably said "if anyone ever bullies you I'll sort them out", but Ripeberry's daring to admionish him = not being nice to him = bullying him. Perhaps?

paolosgirl Fri 22-Aug-08 10:42:39

So - you thought it was OK for them to walk on the wall (presumably it wasn't her wall, and they weren't damaging it), she thought it wasn't, and you told them to do as a complete stranger said. Really? Crikey...

BalloonSlayer Fri 22-Aug-08 10:52:12

Oh I can't remember what it was, that was just an example of the level of activity it was. It could have been shouting or something. I honestly can't remember, I wish I could. Whatever it was, it was something that didn't annoy me but I could see why it could annoy someone else. And because it did, I told them to do as she said.

The point is I would rather they would take being told off by an adult rather than say, "you're not my mum, you can't tell me what to do."

In essence I was being told off as well, and I chose to take it rather than say "how bloody dare you . . . etc"

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