Handling Another Parent’s Out-of-Control Child

handling another parents child
Photo by Marina Oliphant

WASHINGTON COUNTY – Restaurants across the country have recently banned children under six years old from dining at their establishments, but the ultimate reason for this decision could be misunderstood.

An upscale Pennsylvania restaurant banned children from its establishment in June of this year because the children frequenting the facility were out of control and the parents were not taking action toward the reckless behavior.  The owner of the restaurant is not implementing this ban because he hates kids, he blames the children’s parents for not taking appropriate action.

Is it appropriate to approach another parent about their child’s behavior? If so, when? Is it after one scream from the child, or after a fistful of mashed potatoes meets an innocent bystander’s table?

Chrissy VanHouten a local resident and mother of one said, if the child is simply acting his or her age, then she doesn’t mind; however, she did say she can only stand so much of the out-of-control behavior before her patience runs out.

“It depends on what the child is doing,” VanHouten said. “The parents will mostly be caught off guard, and [you must ask yourself] is [the behavior] worth starting an argument over?”

However, other parents may not be so bold and speak to the child’s parent, but rather go about it with a more passive approach.  Joanna Williams, a Washington City resident and mother of two said her approach is the more passive, aggressive way:

“I have a hard time talking to other parents about their children’s behavior,” Williams said.  “However, I wish I didn’t.  I usually say something to someone else hoping that the parent will over hear.”

Both parents agree if a child is in danger, the other child’s parent must be spoken to before the situation gets out of hand.

According to “Parenting Styles” by Kendra Cherry, a parent who does not intervene with their child’s reckless behavior is considered to use a permissive or uninvolved parenting style.

“Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation,” Cherry said.  “These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.  Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.”

Parenting tactics can also change depending on the setting of the situation.  For example, parenting strategies have a different dynamic when extended family is involved.

VanHouten said she does not intervene at all when it comes to talking to her siblings about parenting their kids.

“I do not touch that conversation with a 10-foot-pole,” she said.

Williams on the other hand approaches the situation head on.

“If [my sibling’s] kid is doing something wrong I will tell the parent,” she said.  “I [will] be the aunt and let the parent be the parent. There needs to be a line. I hate when other people try to parent my child. The punishment should come from the parent not from a family member.”

Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.


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