What's the big deal about Young Living

So You Think You’re Going to Correct My Kids?

So you think going to correct my kid

How do you feel about other people correcting your kids?

Many people bristle at the thought of someone else telling their kids what to do. The reason I know this is because I have had mothers tell me in no uncertain terms that they did not appreciate me correcting their child's behavior.

Since I was a public school teacher for 8 years, I spent a lot of time telling other people's children what to do. Or not do. Or do over.

Then I had 8 children of my own, so I still spend a lot of time telling kids what to do. Now days, my time is spent mostly telling my own kids what to do, but old habits die hard.

That's why when I was in line at Six Flags last week and 2 boys were rough housing, and one of them actually kicked me right in the booty, I told them in my best Mother Voice to calm down and knock it off.

I don't know where their mother was or whether she appreciated me doing it, but frankly I didn't appreciate getting kicked, so I'm guessing we were even.

After I put that little story on my Smockity Facebook page, and my friend Lisa put it on her Facebook, I saw how many people do not like others correcting their children.

Honestly, I don't mind if someone else corrects my children.

I even think it is good for them if the correction is not something I would have told them myself.

For instance, I don't mind my children cart wheeling around in our yard. But if they are in the church yard cart wheeling around, and a little old lady tells them to stop doing it, I expect them to say "yes ma'am" and stop.

Now, this may not have been something I would have thought to tell them. Maybe I usually allow cart wheeling on the grass. Maybe I don't see a problem with cart wheeling on the grass. But if an adult has a reason for telling them to stop, then they should do it immediately without question. (We actually had something very similar to this happen.)

They may come to me if they have questions about it. They may not ignore the little old lady, laugh at her, or say, "You are not the boss of me."

Another example: I am one of those annoying moms who lets her kids go up the slide at the playground. My kids know that if there is someone else playing on the slide, they should not go up because that would keep others from enjoying the slide. But, let's say I am reading a book and don't notice my kid is going up while there are other kids waiting to go down.

I would hope there would be another mother there with enough gumption to tell my kid to get down. I would absolutely be mortified if my kid said, "My mom lets me do it!"

Even though it is true "my mom lets me do it," we are not in our own home. We are on public property, and someone else is being inconvenienced by the behavior.

It is good for my children to realize that there are other standards for them besides my standards.

There is no running allowed in the grocery store.

There is no singing allowed at the library.

There is no talking allowed during worship service at church.

Now, running, singing, and talking are all things I allow at our home, but we are in a public place, and there are other people involved. That means other standards apply to my children. Not just my standards.

It actually makes me glad when my children are able to find out while they are still young that sometimes they must accommodate the world around them, instead of the world accommodating them. Sometimes they must bend to the wishes of others.

Then when they are adults, it won't come as such a shock.

How do you feel about other people correcting your children?

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  1. I was always glad when other people would care enough about my kids to gently correct them when I wasn’t around or not paying attention. I have five kids (grown up now), and you can’t watch them every second. Plus I still let them go to the park by themselves after they were a certain age, and if they misbehaved or bothered other kids, the parents of those kids would have had every right to ask them to stop.
    And I did the same for other children (who sometimes became rude, or their mothers getting mad, unfortunately).
    I do believe that my children feel the same way about their children. They’re all Christians and go to churches were ‘everybody is one big family’, and so everybody feels some responsibility for everybody else’s kids, which is as it should be.

  2. Kristin Evans says:

    This is great food for thought. At first I said I don’t like people correcting my children but actually in public it is appropriate. What I don’t like are know it all 18 year olds who correct my children in my house with me sitting right there. Happened with a young woman who was living with us. Had to tell her to back off. Ends up she had a really bad attitude towards my kids.

  3. Jennifer says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Presumably, these kids have to grow up and live in a world with plenty of rules they don’t like, don’t follow in their own homes, and don’t think are necessary. But if they’re going to have a good shot at functioning in this world, they have to learn to do so, with grace. Those who don’t will be forever unhappy in a world that doesn’t make any sense to them.

  4. Crystal M says:

    If my kids is rough housing in the church parking lot while I’m strapping the other little ones into their carseats, PLEASE feel free to say “Hey! Get over by your mama!” The only time I become offended is when I’m RIGHT THERE watching my kids and someone says “No going up the slide” while I’m saying “Nobody’s playing on this playset right now, you can go up the slide, wow look how strong you are!” or along those lines. You’re right, sometimes I’m looking at my little ones and don’t notice the big ones making a mistake.

  5. By and large I agree with you, Connie. Our church is quite small, and is made up of at least 50% frail old ladies and gentlemen, so I have no problem with someone else telling my small children to stand still a moment while someone goes by on their zimmer frame.

    My one concern is this, though: that we don’t teach our children to unquestioningly obey any adult, regardless of who they are. The scenario I have in my head is, “Come with me a minute…would you like a candy bar? You’ve been a good girl today…give me a hug….you’re so special, let’s keep this as our little secret.” I DO NOT want my child to say “yes sir, yes ma’am” to that. I’m wondering how we go about teaching our kids discernment and judgment. How do we get a 6-year-old to tell the difference between graciously accepting the kind of correction that’s necessary, and not ending up in a harmful situation because they’ve obeyed blindly? In our house we have rules like, you don’t go off anywhere with somebody without telling me what’s going on, no matter who it is – because abusers are often upstanding and respected members of a community, and I can’t expect my child to discern that. Is that enough? How do we get the right balance between protecting children, but also allowing them to learn and interact with other people?

    • malissa says:

      That’s exactly what I was wondering. Obedience to someone who wants to hurt them? Do they have that discernment? Of course they should never be rude but neither should they always obey others!

    • I think there is a HUGE difference between corrective comments and ‘come with me little child!’ I know my 5 year old knows the difference between the two, and I do think its not a hard lesson to teach. Saying yes ma’am to someone telling them to stop a behavior is clearly different than saying yes ma’am to getting in a car. I don’t think we’re going for blind obedience here, but respectful obedience to requests to change an offensive action.

    • My kids know that if they are being rebuked by someone else, they need to listen. They also know if someone offers them candy, even a friend….they have to come to me and ask permission. If someone asks them to get in the car….they have to ask my permission. They have been taught “let me ask my mom first”. They have also been taught that if someone says, “this is our secret or just between us don’t tell anyone” (especially coming from someone much older than them) then that is a sure sign that mom wants and NEEDS to know. Even my younger kids know that if one of the older kids say things like “if you tell mom I’ll…..”, the kids know that is the most absolute time they definitely need to tattle. Threats (or our little secret) is not tolerated. The kids can be taught the difference.

  6. Stephanie says:

    I think it is fine to correct a child who is hurting someone or themselves or might if they keep going. However, unless I have a good relationship with the family, I’m not going to correct for general standards such as going up the slide. Some families are fine if their kids go up the slides even if other kids are playing and I can’t say my standard of only going up if no one is around is better, it is just different. And if my kids are doing something I have said is okay and someone tells them not to, I want them to either say “my mom said it is okay” or come to get me. That adult can then discuss it with me.

  7. I generally don’t mind other people telling my children what to do. What really bothers me is when I am telling my children what to do or talking about what they did wrong and other people join in talking to my child, like my mother or other family member. It’s my child and I am dealing with it. When I am not around and they NEED correcting them please do it, but not when I am there to do it myself

    • Karen, I agree with your entire comment. I actually don’t mine people correcting my kids, and I expect them to obey. But, there is often a chorus of correction going on when I am instructing my kids. That annoys the day lights out of me.

      • Or when you are correcting them and others walk up and say things like “oh it is okay no harm done” or “is your mom being mean and not letting you do such and such”.

      • I have had to say to my own mother plenty of times, in a very KIND voice, “It’s okay mama, I’m taking care of this.”

  8. I am not a huge fan of people correcting my children when I am right there to do it myself, but I would not mind it if it was done in a gentle loving way like I would do with their children. I absolutely wouldn’t like it if they were yelling at my children and being obnoxious. Sometimes kids need correcting, and I am not afraid to correct other children’s behavior especially when I need to protect my own children. I have seen some adults who feel it is their place to severely correct someone else’s child when the parent is busy especially if the parent is a leader at a church, and that is one reason I got very upset by the idea of others correcting my children, because I never want some adult to squash my child like I have seen others squash church leaders children. That is my two cents on the matter.

  9. When my kids were young it was sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. WHile helping one two others may have been horsing around or worse yet fighting. If I was in public and someone nicely asked them to cut it out I would have appreciated it. If someone was nasty I would have told them off, but then talked to my kids as well.

    Now I am a grammie to 26 grands and 5 great grans. I am constantly giving direction and telling kids. I am so thankful that almost all the parents appreciate it as habits die hard. My step daughter is expecting me to handle things even if she is right there and does not react first and I do.

    One thing that is not ok is for someone out of the blue to just come over and try to discipline them. If they are bothering the person behind me in line etc then it is ok to say something, but not someone walking by that is not directly in the “war zone”.

    Fine line I guess.

  10. Recently at the hair salon two boys were being very rough and wrestling around on the floor while their father got his hair cut. When they began punching one another in the private area and knocked over a display, I scolded them and separated them, making one sit next to me and the other across the aisle quietly until their father was done (the employees were watching in horror, but said nothing). When he got done, he commended them for their good behavior (sitting quietly), and I politely informed him of what they had been doing previously. He thanked me, and they left. Later, through a mutual friend, I heard that they were quite angry that I corrected their children, but honestly, someone was on the verge of serious injury with heavy bottles of hair product falling off of high shelves, and I would do it again if needed!

  11. Please correct my kids. Please do it while I am right there. Please step in and help us. My husband and I don’t know everything. I am totally willing to humble myself and guess that you may be right.

    Thank you for correcting my kids.

  12. I am, by and large, with you on this too. It is a life lesson to learn that what is acceptable behaviour to us is not always acceptable to other people. I do retain my right to mitigate other people’s comments through private discussions with my kids 😉 or public if the other person is just being a bore. I don’t however expect “obedience” to the dissenter, rather recognition that their behavior is irritating someone, they should therefore 1. cease the irritating behaviour, and 2. give the dissenter a wide berth. Preferrably 2 includes circling back to mom, telling me what occurred and I will decide if they can resume their behaviour or not. We the parents are the final authority.

  13. I agree with you that when other people are being helpful in correcting my children in public, I appreciate the backup. It reinforces what their father and I have been trying to teach them.

    Sometimes when they are correctly reproved in public places, it brings home the lesson, right?

    One thing I will add is that it is quite all right, IMHO, for children to talk in church when they are directly responding to a question from the pastor. For example, recently in our church the pastor asked one of those questions to the congregation. No one answered, but a little girl who was sitting behind me. Our pastor loved it, and it woke up the rest of the congregation! Of course, her mother was mortified, but really, it was just wonderful!

  14. I am thankful for those who correct my children when they are possibly endangering themselves (or others) or being rude. Thankfully, I am usually nearby and can catch their behavior first.

    But I do have a problem with mothers of younger children correcting mine based on “their own rules” when I am caring for my kids. Rules are different for different families and different ages of kids and even at different times (somethings are allowed at the playground that aren’t allowed at the grocery store). I think it’s wrong though to expect 8 yr olds to play the same way a 2 yr old would play. Or telling my children they need to do “such and such” to be “good examples for their kids to follow”. Obviously, my 8 yr old is going to climb higher and do tricks off of stuff…. why do you think I’ve brought him to the playground… LOL!! So he doesn’t do it in the house! And obviously my older kids need to consider their actions and who they may be influencing around them. But I think it’s wrong to impose your own “extra” standards on others, especially if you’re not at that age/stage yet and it’s not a danger issue.

    That being said, this conversation encouraged me to talk this through with my kids today. I reminded them that even if they are corrected on something I have “allowed” that they needed to respond politely and obey. And if they feel like they’ve corrected wrongly then they need to come to me.

    And yes! I do correct other’s kids… if they are being vulgar or dangerous or upholding the rules of our home. I’ve also taught my kids to walk away from kids playing like that:/ But I will correct… it’s that “teacher” in me. And I can sometimes shoot “the look” and not have to say a thing:) If I am unsure if it’s “an issue” I even approach the parents, “Is it ok if your sweet little girl does ______?” LOL!!

  15. Mary OConnor says:

    I’m one of those mom’s who corrects children who are not their own. I would expect my child to say yes ma’am and obey if another parent needed to correct them. I’d like to believe this would never need to happen but then I get a reality check.;)

  16. I find myself slightly torn on this issue. I generally agree with you. If my kids are acting a fool, tell them and let me know, but do it kindly and beware that I may do the same.
    However, I have a good friend whose two sons are both high functioning autistic and she’s had a rough time with them. She doesn’t always deal well with them (completely understandable!) and other people can’t always tell that something is different about them, just by looking. The oldest is particularly sensitive to things being “fair” and can react badly when he sees a teacher or adult treating him, or others in a way that doesn’t seem fair.
    I say all of that because I know they’ve had problem, in the past with strangers disciplining their children and it going badly.
    My hope is that anyone who steps up and corrects a child in public does it because they are concerned for that particular child’s well-being and speaks to them and their parents in a kind and open way. THings are not always exactly what they seem.

  17. Love it.

    And yes, I do correct other people’s kids, but I also work at a school. :0)

    However, yes, I have corrected other people’s kids in public when their parents weren’t around. Last year during the track season a child from another team was making fun of one of the kids on my son’s team. I politely but firmly told him it was not nice to make fun of other children EVER, and that he should be careful talking about others because while the child he was making fun of was not mine, he doesn’t know who his mother is and she would have been VERY angry to hear him talk in such a way about her kid.

    I have had other people correct my kids, in loving but firm ways in my presence and while a few times I have been taken by it, I also recognize that it is good for my kids and did not take offense (or at least got over it after a few minutes, LOL…).

  18. I agree wholeheartedly. In fact when I am becoming friends with someone, I often ask them to please speak into my life if they see something amiss, or in my kids’ lives.

    I am fine with other people correcting my children. As you said, if they don’t deserve it, they can come and tell me about it and we will debrief over it. But they should be respectful and not answer back.

    I have also corrected other people’s children, but not as often as I would have liked to. :)

  19. I think it depends. If it matters enough to you to say something to my kid, I hope you’ll give me a heads up too. That way I can manage the rest. Obviously, that’s not possible if you don’t know where the parent is, but it’s important for the parent to know what’s up.

    The other thing is that some adults have standards that I am not willing to enforce. For example, I don’t appreciate adults at parks scolding my 5yo for trying to talk to 8 and 10 yos, or telling me that it’s rude for my son to speak with older children.

  20. I love this post! Thank you so much for saying it! If I’m not looking, or you find the behavior of my children intolerable for some reason, please tell them – or me! Respect is a big deal to us!

  21. I really appreciate what you wrote, I totally understand what you are saying, I was very easy on what I let my kids do at home, but I taught them respect for others feelings and rules. Taught them when you are in someone else’s house or public property to treat it with respect. When kids were over I never let my kids do the things they could do with “mom and dad” so when other children would act out or leave garbage from lunch or snacks, or get really hyper I’d say “can you do that in your home?” and they’d usually think about it and say “no” and I’d say “then why do you think you can do it in my home?” most of the time they’d feel bad and apologize. If my kids are doing something wrong I do not feel badly for another parent correcting them. You just have to watch out for those parents that have “favorites” and ride them all the time. We can only hope we can teach our kids to treat everyone the way they want to be treated. all Parents should be inspired by you!! If mine weren’t grown I would definitely do what you did! Thank you!

  22. OH I couldn’t agree more! My daughter (24) and I have had this conversation many times about how when I was younger (or even she was), it was normal for adults to correct other kids. Do I believe it takes a village to raise a child? Yes, I do. Perhaps not a village operated by Big Brother, but certainly the moms on our street.

    Sadly, too many parents these days take the “not my kid!” stance, as though their children were not born imperfect like the rest of us. Even if they know their kids are prone to badness, they seem unwilling to admit it. I don’t understand that.

  23. Kimberley says:

    In my experience parents that are upset about other adults respectfully correcting their children are just embarrassed about how their children’s behavior reflects on their parenting and are trying to deflect attention and possibly their own emotions on something else. I have seen parents defend the most obnoxious behavior that I kinda believe they would not really be defending if they could redirect their mamabear response in more appropriate ways. I’ve never been offended by others correcting my kids behavior.

  24. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the post based on the title, but after reading it, I couldn’t agree more. I think misbehaving children should be corrected, especially if the parent isn’t around or isn’t going to do it. Accountability is so important these days, as well as respect for others. Thank you for this well written post. I couldn’t agree more. I like your perspective with issues like the going “up” the slide. I handle my children the same way. Thanks, again.

  25. I commented where you mentioned the incident on facebook, but it was a few days late since I was unknowingly on “Top Stories,” and had been off the grid for a few days. 😉 Therefore, this isn’t much different from that comment.

    Anyway, we live and work at a group home for boys, so I spend a lot of time telling other people’s kids what to do. If a kid’s parents are close by and apparently aware of what’s going on, I do try to wait a few moments and give them the chance to correct it themselves if it’s not serious. However, if they don’t, I have no problem doing it.

    Also, since we live at the group home, with four other families and a handful of non-resident staff, there are a lot of opportunities for my own kids to be told what to do/not do by other adults. If they are being annoying, breaking rules, out of the boundaries I have set for them, causing trouble with other kids or in any other way inconveniencing or obstructing the other families daily lives, I welcome their correction by other adults.

  26. In case I didn’t love you before, Smockity, I love you EVEN more now that I know you’re also one of those “annoying moms” who allows their children to go up the slide provided they’re not being rude/obnoxious. Once, a neighbor told me–very proud of herself–that she’d ‘convinced her kids that the slide only worked going down’, so they’d only go down the slide. My only thought was, gee, I’m sorry your kids are dumb.
    I do not appreciate my kids being corrected right in front of me. I do pretty much everything with three boys under four in tow, and I’m now pretty obviously pregnant. My children are pretty well behaved; I don’t hesitate to take them places, and they are not obnoxious, but there are inevitably times when one/more need to be called down. We have addressed most situations in advance, and I have a grasp on it. I don’t appreciate somebody taking the “poor thing, she’s got her hands full, so I’m going to chide her kid” approach. It’s almost always over something very petty–like, playing with the twist-tie I GAVE them to play with while we’re going through the grocery store.