The betterment of society depends on the mutual respect, contribution, and cooperation of all its individuals. And your wonderful, magical little spawn needs to know that.
One of the biggest lessons I had to learn growing up was when it was appropriate to speak my mind, and when I would be better off keeping my thoughts to myself. And in most situations, I feel as though I have mastered my ability to manage my opinions effectively—until recently.
Every time I have taken my child to the typical playground for kids (inflatable jumping gyms, the local playground, etc.), I end up running into a playground bully. Just to clarify the kind of behavior I consider as playground bullying, this child usually fails at taking turns properly, takes toys away, pushes and/or shoves the other children, and in general is just a disruption to the peaceful playing. Whenever this behavior is exhibited, I immediately search to see if the parent is nearby, witnessing the behavior. But it never fails—the parent is usually not present, or not paying attention.
Now, I am not here to pass judgement about the parent, or their parenting skills in that moment, because that isn’t fair. I firmly believe how a person (or child) may appear in a moment is not always a reflection of who that person (or child) is in general. Plus, parenting is hard, and I too like to take advantage of the moments when I can relax for a second, because that wild hyena I call my child is running around safely in the safari. I get it. But something has to be done about the little bully.
At first I struggled with correcting another parent’s child, because I felt like it wasn’t my place to do so. But then I realized, not only am I passing up a teaching opportunity for my child, but for another child as well.
So, here are my five reasons for correcting your kid:
1. Silence is NOT always golden.
When another child is bullying my child, and I am there witnessing the behavior, but I do nothing about it, I am telling my son that it is OK for someone to treat him that way. I am saying that his physical boundaries are not important and that he does not need to assert himself to remain safe. That is not a lesson I am OK with him learning. Whether it is a bully or an inappropriate adult, I want my child to know that it is okay for him to say NO if he is uncomfortable in a situation.
2. Smart confrontation is key.
Confrontation is not bad—how it’s done is where it matters most. When I correct your child, I will do so with love, compassion, and respect. Showing your child and mine, that confrontation should be done in a mature and level-headed manner.
3. Your child is taught self-awareness.
No matter how hard we try as parents, our children are not always aware of how their behavior will affect those around them. And truly, adults can be just as guilty of this. But when I correct your child, I am letting him know that their behavior (although unintended) is not being received well by those around him. This is setting your child up for success in multiple social situations going forward. I am showing your child how to make friends and how to get along well with other children.
4. I am helping YOU out.
As a parent, you can’t always be there to monitor your child’s behavior, no matter how hard you try. So when I correct your child (again, lovingly), I am helping you out. I am present for a situation that you were not. On the flip side, I would hope that if my child needed to be corrected and I was not there to make the correction, you would do the same.
5. If YOU confront me…
I used to worry that if another parent caught me correcting their child, it would ultimately cause conflict. But again, I don’t want my son to go through life avoiding conflict. That does not help anyone out. So if he sees a parent confronting me, again it is another opportunity for me to show him how to handle confrontation appropriately.
Ultimately, all of us parents are united in a cause. Yes, having a family is wonderful; and yes, carrying on the family genes is a bonus. But when you are raising a child, you are prepping another human being to (hopefully) contribute to the betterment of our society. The betterment of society depends on the mutual respect, contribution, and cooperation of all its individuals. And your wonderful, magical little spawn needs to know that.
Laura Farhy left a promising career at a full-time job to became a stay at home mom, and to finally pursue her dream of becoming a published writer and author. Her blog, “A Stay At Home Blog” (astayathomeblog.com), chronicles her thoughts on motherhood, life, and her journey into the publishing industry. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, four furry babies, and her son Kasen.