Discipling Someone Else’s Child

I just disciplined someone else’s child. I sat back down a bit shaken from the event after I checked on my own child and ensured that he was okay. He didn’t even cry this time and surely he would have wailed if it had happened at any other time. There’s even a huge purple mark with clearly defined teeth indentations in a round circle on his wrist. How did it even escalate that quickly? Those two weren’t even the ones who had the toy in the first place. My head is spinning.

One toddler boy had the toy shopping cart, and the other two wanted to play with it. It’s something that always happens, naturally but usually isn’t a big deal, everyone wants the fun toy. Within a minute it all changed. All of a sudden I see the little toddler girl bending over with her mouth clamped down pulling upward on the skin of my toddler son’s wrist. I was very nearby less than a meter and I intervened by urgently telling her to stop and by smacking her right on her jaw and neck which caused her to release her teeth grip from my son. I proceeded to discipline her as I would my son. I told her “do not bite” along with a series of similar statements that we do not bite people and that it wasn’t okay. I put my hand on her shoulder gently and told her she had to sit down with me for two minutes and I kept repeating that it was not okay for her to do what she did. She was crying and shocked that I had disciplined her and was still doing so for the next couple of minutes. At the end of the two minutes I asked if she needed some water and offered her a cup of water. She remained sitting there and I tended to my son. We had only been there for a short time and in that visit she had already made him cry and he was noticeably fearful of her coming to stay with me when she was coming near him. She has been pretty full on for a while now but I wasn’t expecting that to happen, nor for me to be the parent to discipline. If her mum had been there, she had quickly went to pick up some pizza less than 5 minutes away, I wouldn’t have disciplined her daughter myself, I would have just tended to my son.

I was really shaken up by it, I still am. When her mum returned and saw her daughter still sitting down she knew something was up and asked “what did she do?” and we told her. Another mum was right next to me during the entire thing and witnessed every moment of it, and she was in full support of what had happened. I was still a bit shocked. I told her I did the exact thing that I would do to my own son if he was harming himself or others. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t discipline in that way, under normal circumstances I don’t smack my child, we have a time in and that usually does the job. The only times when I do something physical is if it is something he is doing that will physically harm himself or someone else, and it pretty much works because it isn’t something that happens often.

I can only project at this stage, but I think my son wasn’t visibly upset because he was witnessing me in that very focused disciplined mode and it wasn’t aimed at him, so he kind of went on quietly playing nearby while I was with the girl.

We had a conversation about it as mums and the mum of the daughter said she was fine with what had happened and the main point of why, other than trusting me as we’ve known each other for nearly two years, so almost the lifespan of our children, and we have met up on regular basis sometimes twice a week, and she knows how I am, but specifically because we are a community and because of that part she said that it was okay. A community in the respect that we are all in it together and we look out for one another. I really appreciated this view.

Also noticeably the girl was not as aggressive after that incident and she very clearly stayed away from my son, which was just fine by me and I would think just fine by him. She did avoid me for a little bit but then seemed to move on.

What an evening!

Discipling other people’s children is not something that I would have thought I would do, I guess I hadn’t thought about it at all in general, but now that I have, it’s the only action I can think of that would have worked. She didn’t stop when I told her to stop, and if I would have pulled her off of him, with the grip she had of his skin in her teeth, it may have actually broken skin off, and what I did and how I did seemed like the only way I could have. I still feel weird about it though. I sure hope she doesn’t bite anyone else in the future, how great would it be if she just never bit anyone else again after this incident. I can only hope.