Blink—And They're Grown

Parents, Families and Child Care

Who’s the Mommy?

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How do you feel as a parent when you’re in public and another parent or adult reprimands your child? Is it okay to discipline another parent’s child?

My daughter was in the swimming pool with some kids from school the other evening, and her sister came running over to me telling me she had gotten “in trouble.” I assumed it was from the lifeguard since they were swimming, but I found out that she had been reprimanded by another adult in the pool. The woman didn’t like the horseplay between my daughter and a young man, and told my daughter she was not setting a good example for the other young women in the pool, including her own daughter. Well, they listened to the woman, whoever she was, and stopped what they were doing.

After questioning my girls, I agreed that I would have deemed the activity in the pool inappropriate as well, but it angered me that another adult spoke to my daughter about it. It’s that territorial feeling of, “Hey, I’m the mommy,” that first emerges. And of course my child’s first response, even though she obeyed, was, “Um, you’re not my mother.”

This situation is one most every parent is like to experience. I’ve been in others where the adult who is trying to discipline my child will then try and do the same with me, which is a whole other can of worms! Is this ever okay? What about when a parent seems oblivious to what is going on with their child, or if the adult in question is grandma, whose opinion you and your child would normally trust? Everyone has advice, and their own set of values and parenting rules. My personal take on it is if the child is not in danger, leave it alone, and that’s a reflection of my parenting values. What are yours?

– Debbie

One thought on “Who’s the Mommy?

  1. This is a great question. When my son was younger maybe 7 or 8 he was at a recreation center and got into a scuffle with another child. I was not contacted but apparently the other child’s father showed up to pick his child up and was told about the incident. He approached my child and somewhat threatened him about touching his son. This disturbed me because another parent threatening my child is inappropriate. There are rules at the center and the staff should be responsible for consequences. If this parent had approached me than we could have spoke as adults and then I would take care of my end! I do agree that it takes a village but I don’t want someone who does not share my values to have unmanned access to say whatever they want to my son. This is a difficult senario. I think the woman at the pool should have come to you and allowed you to parent your child but no harm, no fool I guess!