Telling off someone else’s child is a sensitive issue – and on Jan 10, 2018, a father was fined for slapping someone else’s child at a playground – but some parenting experts support intervening if a child is misbehaving and there are safety concerns.
Singapore Women’s Weekly asked its readers how they felt about disciplining a stranger’s child and the results were pretty one-sided:
77 percent of you said “yes” to stepping in if a child is being naughty, while 23 percent of you said “no”.
“Parents can see criticism of their child as criticism of themselves, so they quickly become defensive,” says Dr Justin Coulson of Happy Families. “If a child steps out of line, whether we know them or not, it’s appropriate for parents to sensitively guide any child.”
Dr Julie Green, meanwhile, says setting boundaries gives a foundation for learning. “Children will explore boundaries and may behave in ways they aren’t aware are unacceptable. As a society, we are bound by rules of behaviours and that’s no different for a child,” she explains.
While none of us what to be seen as an overt disciplinarian, here are some ideas to help guide you when dealing with other people’s children.