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Letters From Listeners

Disciplining Other People's Kids

Dear Dr. Laura,

I was babysitting the two oldest children of a good friend, ages 7 and 5. Our kids play together all the time and these kids know me.

Well, Mr. 5-year-old and my 5-year-old got in a fight. I didn't see who started it, but it was over a toy. As I was approaching them (he was choking my 5-year-old), I was telling him to stop choking/hitting/fighting. He wouldn't stop.

Now, the story came out that my child took the car away from him. But the fighting wasn't okay with me, so I put them both in a time out on separate couches. He didn't like it and started hitting me as I walked him to the couch. My son was gobsmacked that this boy was hitting his own mother and told him to stop.

I was worried about telling my friend how her son behaved, but honestly, I'm not interested in having this boy over to play in the future. He sat on the couch and lectured me on how I shouldn't "get mad." Believe me, Dr. Laura, I was keeping my cool. He was lucky he wasn't my own child. I told my friend what happened, but I'm not sure how much got through. She made an excuse for her son's behavior, but I expected that.  Honestly, it's sad.

I don't know what the answer is for everyone else, but if you're at my house, the rules apply. I won't spank another child, or put soap in their mouth, but I can utilize corners and time-out chairs until they're worn out. And you won't get invited back.


Tags: Behavior, Disciplining children, Manners, Parenting, Stay-at-Home Mom
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