Other People’s Kids
by Elizabeth Pantley, author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect ParentingDo you have a friend, relative or neighbor with kids who drive you crazy with their misbehavior?
I think we all know one family that fits this description. It puts you into a very uncomfortable position. You know you can’t discipline the kids, but you want to be able to enjoy your time with their family. What to do? Here are a few ideas that may help:
Spend more time on your turf
When possible, meet at your home. Let all the kids know exactly what your expectations are. In other words, My house, my rules. Be kind and friendly, but firm, “Hugo, in this house we don’t jump on the sofa.” Often the kids who misbehave at home will behave correctly when given rules to follow at your house.
Stick to the current problem
Don’t try to raise other people’s kids. Focus on the specific issue at hand. Find a solution to the problem only to the extent necessary to make things run smoothly where your children or your property is involved.
Don’t stew and mumble
It’s easy to gripe and complain about a kid’s behavior. It doesn’t solve anything. Instead, avoid accusing or blaming. Simply state the problem and suggest solutions. Once you have a plan, calmly follow through.
Let them handle it
Memorize this line, “They’re not my kids.” Allow the parents to deal with the misbehavior (or not deal with it, as the case may be). Step in only to protect your kids or your property.
Visit without the kids
Do you enjoy the parents, but dread time spent with their kids? Arrange for more visits to occur when the kids are in school or otherwise occupied. Or meet at adult-oriented activities where the kids will need to be left home with a babysitter.
Pick your battles
Ignore the petty stuff, focus on the important things, and be thankful your own children are well behaved
Copyright Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)
About the Author:
Elizabeth Pantley is the author of several books, including Gentle Baby Care : No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry — Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby, The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, Kid Cooperation (with an introduction by William Sears, MD), Perfect Parenting, as well as her latest The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and is also president of Better Beginnings, Inc. She is a popular speaker on family issues, and her newsletter, Parent Tips, is seen in schools nationwide. She appears as a regular radio show guest, and has been quoted in Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, American Baby, Working Mother, and Woman’s Day magazines. Visit Elizabeth’s web site http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth.
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