Other People's Children

>>  Thursday, October 07, 2010

Well I've got myself into a right old bother again...trouble is my middle name... usually with a small t but enough to cause another sleepless night.

Would you rebuke a child that wasn't your own?  How would you react if another adult rebuked your child?

If my daughter was being rude to an adult and I wasn't there I would expect them to tell her she was being rude.  If my daughter dropped litter, I would expect another adult to say "hey, pick that up".  It is clear though,  not all parents feel the same. 

Some of my telling children comes from being a Guider.  For example whilst sat in the village car park once one of the Guides walked past and dropped a wrapper.  I wound down my window and said very sternly "A Guide does not drop litter".  She was very put out but picked it up!

Many moons ago in the school playground, as I was seeing my daughter off for the morning, a boy kept repeating everything I said in a sarcastic voice.  I said "please don't do that"  and he said "please don't do that", I said "I don't like it"  he said "I don't like it" ...get the picture.  I said "if you don't stop if I will tell your mum or your teacher that you are misbehaving" and he stopped with a sulk, 'end of' I thought.  No not end of...after school his mum came and banged on my house door with son:
 "did you tell my son off today" 
"he has been very upset about it"
"has he"
"he is never naughty, even his teacher said at the parents evening he is a proper gentlemen"
"he says he didn't do anything"
and so the conversation continued until I apologised to her and her son for clearly being mistaken, just to get rid of her.  But what example does it set to him?  If my daughter came home and said "Mrs Smith told me off today" I would want to know why and my answer would generally be "well you must have done something to deserve it" and the final rest, if we both decided it was completely undeserved, would be to say "what a grump", not to go chasing after them.

Today, a similar thing occurred.  2 years ago I rebuked a brownie (in the school playground) for whispering horrid things about another girl to her friend withing clear earshot of the girl and a 'whisper' loud enough to be heard.  For a convoluted reason this has now come to light.  Rebuke is probably too strong a word for it, I will have said something like "that was a mean thing to do" directly to the girls.  So today I find myself justifying my position again.  Sadly the reason for it coming to light is from something I said which would have been better unsaid.  Not a direct child rebuke, but a comment about a child's behaviour that was passed along.  That was a time to keep my mouth closed for sure but should I also be sorry I told a child to stop being mean?

Supernanny would go teach the parents, but I  don't think I'm going to take it that far and to be frank there are many days when I could do with her myself.

But when did behaviour control stop belonging to the community?  When does turning a blind eye to young children's misdemeanours in the playground become ignoring an old person being pounded with snowballs or young children  being picked on by older ones at the park. I want responsible adults to be able to say "hey, no, don't do that" without fear of what their parents might do or say.

Sometimes I want the moon on a stick.

Rant over, in my poke around the interweb for other people's opinions on this I found out about Child Mentoring with Chance UK.  I'll turn a rant into a possible positive, have a look you never know it could be for you.

If you are outside London Home Start has a great opportunities to get out there and help parents and their under 5's.

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