What To Do About Other People’s UNdisciplined Children

Posted by in No-Cry Discipline

Do you have a friend whose children are unruly and disobedient – yet this parent does nothing to correct them? What should you do?

First, think about it

When you and a friend have different parenting styles it can become a very sensitive issue. Chances are she doesn’t see her kids the same way you do. Tread lightly when you approach issues about other people’s children because life-long friendships can be broken over contrasting parenting approaches.

Eli & Mommy

Eli & Mommy

Things You Can Do

Use distraction and redirection.
If you see a problem brewing, step in and invite the children to get involved in a game or an activity. Keeping the kids busy may help avoid confrontation or problems.

Focus only on the issue at hand.
Find a solution to the current problem only, don’t address personality or lifestyle. Do what’s necessary to get through the visit. Make your comments about the action or the group, not the individual child.

Share parenting knowledge in a non-threatening way.
Invite your friend to accompany you to a parenting class or to attend a lecture. Share a copy of your favorite parenting book – tell her what you love about it and maybe point out an interesting but non-threatening passage.

Pick your battles.
Try to take pleasure in your visits and overlook the petty issues. Focus on the things you enjoy about your friend and open your heart to finding some things to enjoy in her children, as well.

Have child-free visits.
If her children’s behavior affects your own children or causes too much stress for you, then schedule mainly adults-only social events.



What Not To Do

Don’t parent other people’s children.
Allow your friend to deal with her children’s behavior (or not deal with it, as the case may be). Get involved only when something involves your children or your property.

Don’t think you can change other people.
Don’t expend energy thinking you can change your friend’s family life with a few well-placed comments. Forcing change on others can make them hurt, angry or defensive. Furthermore, unless she asks for help she may be content with things as they are in her family.

Don’t stop seeing your friend.

Friendships are precious and important to your health and happiness. Children eventually mature and grow up, and you won’t be around her children as much as they get older. Find ways to make this situation work for you.

Henry, 3 yrs

Henry, 3 yrs

Need more tips? The No-Cry Discipline Solution is your answer for gentle ways to encourage good behavior without whining, tantrums and tears.

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  1. I am a kindergarten children and I have found some of your postings helpful in my classroom!

    • Hi Mary – I assume you are the teacher – and so happy you find these helpful!

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