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October 25, 2004

Comments

VJ

I don't so much tell parents what I think of their kids; rather I choose who my son can play with, where, for how long and with what supervision.

There is one family nearby whose kids feel like my kids and my son, their son. We don't worry about telling each other how our kids behave, and have a mutual understanding about disapline. They have had to take Tony to task, and I've dealt with their kids as well.

For me it's an honor to be considered the only family they will leave their kids with on an overnight sleepover. They don't even let their kids spend the night with cousins or grandparents!

daddydaycare

Only if they asked, and then probably in the form of what we do or some kind of positive spin story rather than a good preaching. Maybe both of you have set in motion a troublesome path in labeling a kid at a young age where it isn't necessarily deserving. Kids change too. One years bully is another years good samaritan. One years wimp is another years Congressional Medal of Honor winner. What sucks is labels...and this lady obviously has no tact. (grin)

Tammy

This issue came up for us just last night. Our "best" friends feel free to comment on our children, and our parenting choices. I know how it makes me feel, so I DO NOT say what I think of their family. The only time I break this rule is in my own house. Then I think I have the right to say "no swearing or cursing at the kids, please" or "no, we don't eat spaghetti in the living room. Stay at the table." Do you sense I might have some issues here?!

Auntie M

I think my father told me when I was in my teens judging the way my sister was raising her kids "it's always easier raising someone else's child." I've found that to be true. Everyday I think about how I raise my kids because I live in a country that does child raising very differently.

Goldberry

If I was asked for advice, then I would guess, if I even had a guess. Every child is different, so I won't know what would help the other parent's child. I am not brave enough, either to just point out a child's malfunction.

Helene

No - unless it's family ... and even then I approach it with extreme caution

Elizabeth

I'm not a parent, so I don't really know how difficult things are. There's no way that I'm going to tell my friends with kids that they should make their kids eat more politely or that they should keep their baby from sticking small chokeable items in their mouths. They're not my kids, and they're not my responsibility, and I don't know how hard it is. But I have no problem telling a kid when I'm babysitting that even if my rules are different from house rules, they're still the rules when I'm in charge.

Depending on the behaviour, I also don't have a problem asking a parent "Wow, that looks tough to deal with. What do you do when X happens?" I think that's a lot different than "I can't believe your child just did X! He/She is such a ____". But it also depends whether you're sincerely asking the question or just finding an alternate way to be nasty. I also wouldn't say anything in front of the child.

Jo

Not without being asked first. And in that case, I'd sugar coat it, more than likely. We have a situation with our nephew who is a biter and overall, a very Big Brat right now. He's three and a half. We are not favoring him or his presence at this time. We also feel his parents aren't helping the situation. We love them all, and we have been tempted to say something, though we haven't. We were going to leave our son with them for a weekend, but we had reservations about their youngest's behavior. We had no idea what to do. Our plans changed last minute, and we were likely going to leave him anyway, because we trust our SIL to not let her son go rampant on ours. Nonetheless, it is a sensitive topic when you disapprove of a child's behavior. I have learned that in so many ways, I am *that* parent - the one I thought I'd never be, LOL. It's not easy at all, so I try to remember that when I see a child who is not acting pleasantly for whatever reason, age, or stage.

Derbs

no way jose. not even if you paid me.
lord knows I want to tell one of my neighbors i think her kid might be a serial killer but no way. i might need her to babysit one day! lol

Elizabeth L-B

I'd never tell another parent that I thought a child was a brat or whiny or rude. But I feel free to tell random children in the park to say they're sorry or excuse me or to stop throwing sand.

Keisha

You know, I had an opportunity today to tell a 4 year old's mother just what her son had been up to all morning. As much as I wanted to, perhaps to have her help him get over his attitude troubles, I did not. I do not know this woman and she doesn't know me.

This boy, we'll call him Conner, is in a small class of 5 or 6 four year olds in his PreK. When he arrives in the morning he's banging on his window to wave at me or my four year old who's in his class. The moment Conner steps onto the grass, he flips out. He latches to his mother's leg. Nothing strange there, most kids do. (Not mine, he's like BYE MOM and he's outta there)

Conner's mom has his teacher help pry him off of her leg, she gets back into her Lexus SUV and leaves. The teacher is left to literally drag or carry this kicking and screaming young man down the hall to class. He cries and throws tantrums for about the first 10-15 minutes, and then he's fine.

I say fine, but mean he stops crying. The rest of the morning (9am-12pm) he runs around the room saying "poopy", "doody" and "peepee". Just for fun. He refuses to listen to the teacher. He calls the other students "baby", which if you have a 4 yr old you know is like fuel for the fire. He was trying to swap random items with other kids saying it was his. Pushing and shoving on the playground... etc.

Conner's a good kid, but even in a good mood he's literally climbing and bouncing off of things you hardly see 8-10 year olds bounce and climb on. He's wired all the time. He's either a young Jim Carrey or needs something/someone to calm him down. I dare not tell his mother.

I hope someone tells me if my child is like Conner one day though. Not that I think it's completely the parent's fault, or even their fault at all. That's not my place to decide. If I have an opinion on another person's child, I certainly don't tell them. It's rude. I don't tell them anything I wouldn't want them to tell me. If it would hurt me to hear it, it will hurt them and is best left unsaid.

sarah

I will jump in and stop a child from harming themself or someone else, and inform the parent, if they aren't around, but I won't criticize someone's parenting skills to their face. That's just rude.

For example, when I found my neighbour's 18 month old son trying to leave the building at nine o'clock the other night, I brought him back to his apartment and told his mother what he was up to.

I did NOT tell his mother that she should pay closer attention to her kids and maybe get them to bed at a reasonable hour. I saved that opinion to share with my husband, and now, the internet.

Michelle

No, I wouldn't. But if they continued to be hellions all the time I might limit my kid's time with them.

melissaS

Oh sure I'd tell them what I think.....IF I DIDN'T WANT TO BE FRIENDS ANYMORE.

I can't think of an easier way to end a friendship!

I don't tell my friends their faults, I certainly wouldn't tell them their kids faults.

Liz

I deal with this with my sister's kids. I love them very much, but oh my lord are they savages. She has twin two year olds and a seven week old, so she has every right to be tired and over it. I'm not going to fault her for that. But if she's going to give up and let them go all 'Lord of the Flies', maybe she should stay home?

We met for lunch at a restaurant last week. As I cradled the new baby, I watched my niece Rachel climb out of the high chair and on to the chair next to her about eight times. Safe? Um, no. Not without a parachute and a lot of Charmin wrapped around you. Meanwhile, my nephew Ben took every packet of sugar, sweet & low, equal, splenda out of the holder, and systematically opened them to make a giant mountain of sweetner granules. All while my sister stares at her diet coke and tries to avoid eye contact with others.

So do I tell them no! don't! quit it! for christ's sake! ??? Or just tip REEEEEAAAAALLY well?

Liz
Mom to Chloe (who is too young to make sugar mountains)

Lei

Oh no! Your friend's not very diplomatic, is she? I'm sure my two-year-old son would be characterized a mommy's boy. :( But that doesn't compare to all the names I could call some of his playmates! Labelling kids is just a bad idea no matter what the label is.

Terry

It's such a sure way to end a friendship. That said, I think it is ok to report inappropriate behavior -- "your kid did such and such to my kid in the cafeteria today" -- but then save the sweeping characterizations -- "because he's an animal" -- for pillow talk with your sweetie. Comment on the behavior, not the child.

Kris

Um, NO! If asked directly, maybe. But, what's the point? Kids are kids, they all have quirky kid-type habits. Unless a child's inflicting physical harm, I keep my lips zipped. And I wouldn't be too appreciative of criticisms of my kids, either, unless they came from a teacher or babysitter.

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