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What Would You Do?: Stranger "Chewed Out" My Child?

What Would You Do?: Stranger "Chewed Out" My Child?

What happens when a parent acts like a child? We were at a private jumpy house party when my son came running over to me in hysterics— choking on his words and pointing in the direction of the blow-up slide he had been on. Before I could calm him down to figure out what happened, the grandfather of another partygoer came over to tell me that he had "chewed out" my 3-year-old because he had pushed the man's granddaughter on the bouncy stairs. Almost as a reflex and before I could comprehend the situation, I had my son say sorry for his alleged behavior.

It was only after a few minutes, and we had been ushered into another playroom that the man's inappropriate behavior began to sink in. Who "chews out" a preschooler and where did this guy (a complete stranger) get off disciplining my child? It was then that a representative approached me about the "incident" that had occurred. I apologized to her saying I hadn't seen what had happened because I was on the opposite side of the slide waiting for my kiddo to come down. As it turned out, she had witnessed the entire thing and wasn't concerned with my child's behavior, but that of the grandfather. To find out what he did and why I was perplexed,

. After explaining that my lil guy hadn't done anything more than help the girl when she fell down on the stairs and then pass by her, the woman said the man "crossed the line" and screamed in my son's face while standing over him in an intimidating manner and pointing at him. I felt nauseous, then enraged. I wanted to march over and confront the guy, but I didn't want him to create another scene and ruin the child's birthday party. I also didn't want him near my son so I let it go.

Once we were in the car heading home, I apologized to my son for what had happened, particularly for having him say sorry when the man was in the wrong. I also explained what the kids should do if anyone (especially an adult) ever approached them in that manner. This situation taught me to never feel too comfortable and that bad things can happen when you are just feet away from your kids. What would you have done?

Join The Conversation
GMarie GMarie 7 years
I have no problem gently asking another child not to push, but doing that is VERY different from screaming at and intimidating someone else's child. That is not "discipline", that is an adult who is out of control. Because I'm kind of a wimp, my knee jerk reaction probably would have been to apologize too, and, like the poster, I'd have been SICK afterward, thinking of how panicked my child would have felt with a strange man, looming over him and screaming. Toddlers push each other. They grab things from each other. They behave irrationally. THEY'RE TODDLERS. What's this guy's excuse?
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I think you did the right thing. I agree that it would have caused a gigantic scene, at which you would be the center, and not having witnessed the situation, it wouldn't have ended well. Although, I would have explained the situation to the host. They need to know what happened and how he was behaving at the party to make sure incidents like this don't happen again. He is a grown adult yelling at someone elses VERY young child.. it's not an appropriate situation, and he was fully aware and proud of what he did, so hes a problem waiting to happen.
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
You definitely did the right thing. From the man's reaction to your son, you talking to him would have definitely just got him more fired up and caused a scene.
imariec imariec 7 years
I think at first I would have reacted by going toward the man and confronting him, but as I read the rest of your post I realized you had done the most adult thing by talking to your son and apologizing to him. I am making a mental note of what you did in case I am every put in that situation. And of course, I'm sure next time something like that happens you'll ask your child to tell you his side of the story before making him apologize.
medenginer medenginer 7 years
You did the right thing. You explained to your child that the adult was out of line and what he can do in the future. I probably wouldn't have confronted him there at another person's home with everyone present because he would have gotten loudly verbal and children should not be subjected to that. I think to get the grandfather's number or the child's parents number and call them after the party explaining the eye witness version and acting appropriate is in order. I do not discipline other people's children in public but will find the parent/adult to explain what their child as done. I don't want or expect anyone to discipline my child but me.
lilegwene lilegwene 7 years
You handled the situation very well! I think probably perfectly. I would have pulled the man aside to talk with him. I would ask to hear his version of the events again, tell him what the other eye-witness said, and tell him it is inappropriate to discipline irregardless of which tale is true: he should've gotten the child's parents. The problem with my reaction, and I can see this already, is that based on his reaction to a child he sounds like he has a really hot temper and the talk will probably just rile him up. He will most likely not gain anything by the exchange and will just be more angry and self-righteous about his duty to "discipline the child when the parents obviously aren't up to the task!"
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