Is it Ever Appropriate to Discipline Other People's Children?

Is it ever appropriate to discipline other people’s children? I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a stranger’s child act like a complete idiot in public and the parents either did nothing or thought it was absolutely adorable. Yes, one of those parents.

Just a few weekends ago I took my 5-year-old son to “Touch a Truck.” This is where children can get inside different service vehicles and construction equipment and pretend they’re driving while the parents get a photo op. There was a group of brothers who were running from truck to truck laying on the horns. Not for one minute, but beeping the horns over and over again. You never realize how loud a dump truck’s horn is until a bratty kid lays on it excessively. They continued to do this for upwards of ten minutes. Where were their parents? I stood in line looking around, completely dumbfounded, assuming one of their family members would come over and tell them to knock it off, but they didn’t.

The other parents in line began to talk with one grandfather expressing, “this is what’s wrong with our country today. Nobody disciplines their kids.” I agreed with him wholeheartedly. I made my way over to the truck, ready to sternly ask the boys to stop, when luckily for them, their mum finally got off her cell phone long enough to tell them it was time to play some games.

If those were my boys, I would not have left them to their own devices. If mine were acting up like that, they would have been told to stop immediately. As a matter of fact, none of my children would have even thought to do that. You know why? Because they know better. I have taught them respect and how to behave in public. They are not perfect by any means, but they know how to conduct themselves. Not by instinct, but because from the time they were little they learned from their parents. Children are constantly learning, and it’s up to the parents to teach them right from wrong.

Sadly, as I look around while at different events and in public, it seems the virtue of discipline has been lost on many youth. So, back to the question. Is it ever appropriate to discipline other people’s children? If a child is disrupting an event that we and others are trying to enjoy or they are rude to my child and the parents do nothing, you bet I will say something. Someone’s got to do it.


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