When I was 20, my mom, aunt, little cousins, and I took a road trip to Virginia. During our stay, my mom and aunt went food shopping and left me with the kids. While they were gone, one of my little cousins opened the door and took off running down the hallway of our villa. She made it out of sight quickly and as I searched the vacation property for her, I thought of all of the terrible things that could happen to her if she ran into the wrong person before I could locate her. Thankfully, I was able to find her safely before my mom and aunt returned. But when I found her, I gave her a pop on the hand.
I have since matured and I have a lot more sense. For one, I don’t believe in hitting children. And I for damn sure don’t believe in hitting children that aren’t mine. My aunt never checked me for getting handsy with her granddaughter — even though should have been well within her right to read me for filth — but I learned my lesson without her needing to. When it comes to disciplining people’s kids, I tread extremely lightly — as in, I mind my business unless they’re in danger or hurting another child. And even then, the most that I’m doing is removing the child from the dangerous situation and dropping dime to their mama in the event that she missed what happened.
That pop I gave my little cousin way back when often comes back to haunt me often since I had a child of my own because I often wonder what I would have done or how I would have felt had one of my relatives did that to my daughter. It’s one of those thoughts that makes my heart race a little bit. Thankfully, I have not had one of those experiences but I did recently have a situation where one of my relatives attempted to discipline my toddler in front of me and I dealt with a whirlwind of emotions in the aftermath.
My daughter was walking around with a paper in her hand when she wandered into the kitchen where a relative, who was visiting with us, was seated. The relative, who is on the young side and does not have kids, apparently thought she shouldn’t have the paper and attempted to take it from her. At this point, things went left. My daughter took off running with my relative on her trails. The relative then proceeds to wrestle the paper out of her hand and my daughter is having a fit. At this point, I’m repeatedly telling the relative to leave her be and that it’s fine. She would not let up and to this day, I’m not sure if she couldn’t hear me or was flat-out ignoring me. As I get ready to physically step in, my daughter falls to the floor and begins to cry. I focused on consoling my child at the moment, but needless to say, I was livid. I quickly addressed my relative about what happened and kept it moving.
The scene would replay over and over in my head the rest of the day and the entire night. I felt guilty for not moving quickly enough and physically stepping in sooner. As I tried to make sense of what was most upsetting about that situation, what I landed on was that I don’t want anyone disciplining my child in my presence and definitely not that aggressively. Neither I nor my spouse ever felt the need to be that aggressive. My daughter is such a gentle child and more than likely, if you ask her for something, she will willingly hand it over without the drama or the tears. Leaving my child in someone’s care is one thing, but having someone take it upon themselves to discipline my kid is a completely different story.
I realize that as a new parent, I might be a little sensitive. So I’m interested in hearing from other parents? How do you feel about people disciplining your child in your presence? Who is allowed to and who is not?