A Strong Coffee: Should You Tell Off Someone Else's Child?

Friday, 30 January 2015

Should You Tell Off Someone Else's Child?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some kind of Cartman trying to assert "my authoritah" but I am shocked that some people won't even approach a child if they see them doing something stupid/dangerous/darn right wrong.

There have been a couple of incidents in the past year that have really got me wondering why some people prefer to turn a blind eye to bad behaviour rather than stand up to it. 

The main event in question happened last summer holidays in Legoland. Yep, more fool me to brave such a place at peak season. As we have annual passes we don't try and attempt the hour long queues and opt for the playground and building zones. In the imagination zone you can test your building skills by making a tower from Duplo and simulate an earthquake. We arrived to find two older children standing and wobbling on the machines. 

I don't like telling other people's kids off. I would rather I told my own children off than another adult doing it, but I appreciate that that can't always be the case. I stood and looked around for a parent. Other adults in the building didn't appear to be associated with the boys. No one was telling them what they were doing was silly. They could have hurt themselves, broken the machines but most likely it was going to encourage younger children to do the same. They would me more likely to hurt themselves. 


I spoke to the boys and asked them to get down. They weren't apologetic, more defensive. Why should they? Eventually they both got down with a few grunts of discontent. One left, and another went to his Grandma who had watched the entire thing. I was pretty annoyed at the situation. Annoyed that the kids were questioning why they couldn't stand on the Lego machines, but even more annoyed that not one adult in there had said anything to them. Not even those that were looking after them. 

I know that standing on an earthquake board isn't the end of the world, but if no one actually tells a child that they are doing something silly/dangerous where does it end? Do you stand by whilst another child hits a classmate? (Yes this happened too and yes I did say it was wrong.) Do you turn a blind eye if you see someone shop lifting? Do you say anything if a large group is taunting a child? 

Surely as adults we are role models to all younger children around us. If we are too scared to tell a child they are in the wrong for fear of upsetting them or their parents, where does that leave us?  


What would you do? Have you confronted other people's children or do you take a step back and hope that their parents will say something?

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13 comments:

Clare Scott said...

This is such a difficult one, isn't it? I always tend to check whether the parents themselves are nearby /aware of what is going on. I have to confess that I feel uncomfortable telling other people's children off but if safety/damage is likely - and no-one else is acting - then I force myself to speak up. Thanks for posting on this thorny issue! #PoCoLo

afra willmore said...

Ooh I'm so glad you wrote about this. I have even spoken to children in our playground while their parents looked on seemingly not bothered about dangerous activities. I always tell my friends to treat my children as their own and If I'm not there or I haven't spotted mine being stupid or naughty that they should feel free to jump in and tell them off. Or if we are altogether we just give a nudge and gesture in the direction of the child in question to allow the parent to parent! It takes a village.....

Louise Fairweather said...

I hate doing it. Infact I spend ages questioning myself afterwards. But I think it is necessary and if we don't then it is just accepting poor behaviour x

Louise Fairweather said...

yes I would much rather nudge the parent!

Merlinda Little said...

Tricky situation to be in. I say you made the right decision. Those kids are in danger and you are the adult there who cares. Safety is something that we shouldn't really think twice but take action on. I say that its the right thing to do that moment. #pocolo

Louise Fairweather said...

I could see mine thinking it looked good fun!

Tom Briggs said...

It's a difficult one, but I would - and, in fact, have - told off other people's kids if they're doing something that's likely to end up with someone being hurt. Come to think of it, I've told off a fair few adults for cycling on the pavement too for the same reason!

Andy Davis said...

Before having children of my own I would never have told off someone else's. It never seemed to be my place, or I didn't want to step on the toes of the parent/carer. I've found the more children I've had (now at three) less that bothers me. I don't stomp around the high street being the fun police, but in a situation like you described I absolutely would say something.

Victoria Welton said...

I would and I have told other peoples kids off. No question. Especially if they are doing something silly or dangerous that would either hurt them or other people.I would do it to adults too! Great discussion post. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

Louise Fairweather said...

I think I worry too much x

Louise Fairweather said...

Adults are often worse than kids aren't they

Louise Fairweather said...

:-) I think I was worried that I was being the fun police

Suzanne Whitton said...

I would also jump in and say something, especially if they were doing something to hurt/upset my child! I would obviously look at the parent first to reprimand but if they were doing nothing then yes, I would definitely step in! Then again, you probably knew that already ;) x