I’m a big believer in the “it takes a village” mindset when it comes to raising my kids. In most parental circumstances, I realize I probably need help and I know there’s immense value in having the input of others outside of my husband and I, who can step in when needed. So I have something important that I want all my friends to know:
It’s okay if you step in to discipline my child when I cannot.
I know this is kind of uncharted territory since most moms are so set on the whole, “Don’t you dare give me unsolicited advice and excuse me? That’s my child, not yours.” I know it’ll mostly likely feel awkward for you to stand up to my kid, especially if I’m not far away. But in a moment of need, I do need you to step in to discipline and guide when I can’t.
For example, when I’m not there and you’re babysitting for me. Please don’t be afraid to put my kid in time out, revoke privileges, and deal out consequences if you see fit. I trust you; that’s why I left my kids with you. That means that if they are being little butt holes, and you see fit to bring the hammer down, don’t be afraid to do so. I know you won’t beat them and mask it as a spank, so it’s okay.
If we’re on a play date and I’m off changing a blow out diaper while you watch my toddler for 5 minutes, I’m leaving her in your capable hands! If she starts wondering towards the street and is flat out ignoring your warnings to stay put, I wouldn’t want you to just sit there and watch her get closer to her death! I’d obviously want you to intervene and if you scold her for me, I won’t be mad. You just saved my kid while I was otherwise distracted—I’ll give you a high five and thank you! I’ll back you up and reinforce to my kid that she needs to listen to you, an adult, when I’m not around.
If my kids are disrespectful to you, that’s not okay so don’t let them get away with that. I am trying to raise them to respect others, and respect their elders, and they will probably need that reminding from you sometimes, too. They might need you to teach them, “Hey, calling someone fat is actually not a nice thing,” because maybe they don’t know that yet. So even if I’m sitting right there, if I don’t catch it, please feel free to speak up.
And my kids will think they can scribble on your walls every time they come to your house if you’re a pushover and only politely ask them not to a few times. If you need to scream, “PUT THE CRAYONS DOWN AND STEP AWAY FROM MY BLOODY WALLS” to get them to finally listen and obey, then scream away, girl! I want you to want my kids to come back again so help me teach them to respect your property.
I cannot be there 24/7 to watch my kids and make sure that the qualities I’m trying so hard to teach them are sticking. Sometimes, my kids will push your limits and boundaries, just like they do mine, and I’d hope you would feel comfortable enough to put them in their place. Help me out, don’t let them get away with any crap, and I’ll do the same for yours.
Stay tuned for the upcoming article: How To Discipline My Kids Without Overstepping