Have you ever told a child off? A child that wasn’t your own. 

Hands up, full disclosure, I have. Once. 

It’s a hotly contested topic among parents. Would you? Should you? Will you ever? Whichever side of the debate you’re on, hear me out. 

In an ideal world our children would have all of our attention, all of the time. Unfortunately we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world of distractions, of time constraints and of the requirement to multi task.  We can’t be everywhere and do everything all of the time, we need help. We need help with the food shop – get it delivered. We need help maintaining the car – take it to a garage. We need help fixing the leaky sink – call a plumber. We need help with our children – hide away, suffer in silence, slap a smile on your face and hope things get better on their own. Huh? Why? 

If I was distracted from parenting (with a phone call, a pesky wasp harassing me in the park, god forbid having an adult conversation or just 5 minutes peace) and my child was on the cusp of harming another child I’d want someone to step in. If he was about to push another child off the slide then that’s not ok and he needs to be told. The situation needs an adult. It doesn’t have to be me. Does it? 

What message do we send our children if the only adults they need to pay attention to are their parents. That’s not true in school or at gymnastics practice or football coaching.  Now we don’t want children to listen to adults for the sake of our egos, we do it for their safety and to allow them to learn and grow as individuals.  

I’m not a monster, I’m not going to lose it shouting and screaming. I’m not going to hit them or put them on the naughty step. But I will step in with a stern word when needed. 

As parents we should respect each others choices, styles and techniques but when the time comes don’t turn away, step up. You never know what you may prevent, or what friends you may make.

 

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