At the park the other day my son was playing with another little boy. I watch as they played, from a safe distance to be available, but not helicopter-y. They appeared to be getting along great when the other little boy turned to his mom and said something about not listening. In that moment I witnessed the look, the one that I know I have made myself many times over. Do I address this child’s behavior, or do I not cross that line and leave it for their parent to address? Well let me reassure you momma: Please parent my child.
I love my children, and I try very hard to instill in them a sense of right and wrong as well as teach them the basic skills of how to act in polite society, but I am still amazed at how quickly those lessons can be forgotten when someone has a toy they want or there is a perfectly good couch to put their shoes on. I am always grateful to find that another parent has my back and is able to remind my sweet angles turned barbarians that they must follow the rules. Yes I am embarrassed that it is my child that has to be reminded. And yes I wish I would have caught it before someone else had to say something, but more than anything I am just thankful that the incident was corrected.
If you’re worried that you are overstepping by correcting a behavior, don’t be. You have rules and expectations and while they may not be the same that we follow in our home it is important that my children learn that there are different rules for different settings and situations. Concerned that my child will disregard your intervention, don’t be. I may not always agree with your rules, but I will respect them and will not undermine your authority with my child. From school, attending friends’ birthday parties, and play on sports teams they will be receiving direction and correction from other adults. Learning early that you need to listen to those in a position of authority and be respectful even if you do not agree with their rules and expectations will be a lesson that will serve them well for the rest of their life.
I know that not everyone may feel the same as me and because of this I will continue to be cautious about correcting someone else’s child. If my child was the one telling me his playmate wasn’t listening, I would most likely reassure him that his mommy will talk to him about it, rather than addressing the behavior myself. But ultimately we are all in this thing called parenting together and all of our children have needed some redirection a time or two, so if you need it I’ve got your back…and I hope you have mine.