Playground Rules: Disciplining Someone Else’s Child

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Things can get tricky when bullies are involved.

You try your best to raise your children right. You teach them to be polite and say please and thank you. You show them the correct way to respond to their emotions. You even try to instill social norms and begin introducing them to the social contract that we all abide by. But then you take them to the playground and everything goes awry. Someone else’s child shoves them to the ground.

What do you do in a situation like this? Do you take the time to discipline someone else’s child? Do you approach the parent and take out the issue on them? There is a proper way to handle this and you should teach your child how to react in this situation as well. Spoiler alert- the correct answer isn’t to scold the other child and remove your child from the situation.

The answer to the question comes in three parts. First, model the behavior that you want your child to display. It’s important in this situation not to overreact and do something drastic like saying something nasty and then walking away. Children learn a lot about how to deal with future problems from the way that their parents respond to similar situations. Teach your child the proper behavior and reaction so that they can cope with all future encounters.

Next you should encourage them to follow your example. Instead of peaking for your child in this situation, encourage them to use their words and tell the other children how they feel about it. Prompting your child on what to say is important at first so that your child knows how to feel and respond in such a situation. ” Tell [that child] how that made you feel or that you don’t like that” is an easy prompt that your child can then use to engage the other child.

Lastly, and probably the most important, you should allow your child to problem solve this scenario for themselves. After you encourage them, allow them to work it out with the child. If that doesn’t work, you can approach the other child’s parent in more of a suggestive manner than an accusatory manner. You don’t want your children, or their child, seeing both parents engaged in a screaming battle.

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