Julia is an in-house
freelancer who works for our content team. Although only temporary, she is the
author of numerous articles on Care.com and has become part of the Care.com
family over the past few months. But it turns out she has a "deep, dark secret…"
My kids still refer to five memorable minutes one summer as "The Water Country Incident."
The Water Country Incident was when I called some teenage boys out on their behavior – loudly and in a crowd. I didn’t try to be discreet. I yelled at them from the ground level where we were waiting in line so they could hear my voice at the very top where they stood -- leaning over a railing and spitting into the hair of the girls below them.
Yes, I yell at other people’s kids.
For someone pretty mild mannered, I have little patience for kids who are misbehaving. And I won’t hesitate to let them know.
But I don’t mean kids who are laughing too loud or kids who are giving the dog a mud bath or bringing chipmunks in the house (a story for another day). I actually have nearly unlimited patience for messes, general goofiness and kid mayhem. I am talking about kids who cross the line. You know it when you see it because you think, "Where are their parents??!"
The boys at Water Country? Their behavior needed to stop, immediately. If no one else was going to say something, I sure would. Yes, my girls were embarrassed, seeing their mom standing there in a pink bathing suit bellowing at these boys only a little older than they were. "That is disgusting!" I yelled. "Stop that!"
My girls edged a few inches away from me as I got cranked up, but I know they also understood why I did it. "If someone was doing that to you," I told them, "I would want someone to tell them to stop." And if no other adult who saw them (and there were quite a few) would tell them to stop, what lesson does that teach?
Even when my kids were younger, playgroup bullies would hear from me when they pushed some other child (not even necessarily mine). Standing by when something wrong is happening makes you part of the problem, even if the problem is a pint-sized kid.
It’s not like I enjoy disciplining others’ kids. I don’t even like disciplining my own kids. And treading on another family’s actions is touchy to say the least. But if my girls are ever out of line, I hope some other person would speak up. Are they talking too loudly with their friends in the movies? By all means, shush them. Did they sound sarcastic? Tell them they sounded rude.
Let’s face it, these kids probably know what they are doing is wrong. So let’s let them know they can’t get away with it.
In the end, the boys at The Water Country didn’t stop. Instead, they sassed back at me from the security of three levels up. But that’s okay – the point was made. My kids still tease me about it, but I like to delude myself that they might secretly be proud of a mom who won’t stay quiet when something is unjust.
I think they would just rather not be there when it happens.
Tell me, how do you handle another child’s bad behavior on your watch? "Like" this if you have -- or would -- yell at another person’s kid.