Thursday, 26 September 2013

Would YOU chastise someone elses child?

This week for my Thursdays Thought post, I wanted to talk about something that actually happened to a friend of my sister.

This happened very local to where I now live, about a year ago, and I have to admit that for once in my life - I am torn about which side of the fence I stand on with this issue.

So What Happened?

A friend of my sisters was at a local soft play centre with her young son, who was then aged 3.

She was with a few of her Mummy friends, and was sitting having a coffee with them while her son played in the soft play area.

A few times she saw her son attacking other children - hitting out at them, and biting them. She knew he was having issues with biting and lashing out at other children, but she was enjoying chatting to her friends and decided to just occasionally tell him off from where she was sitting.

After a while, she suddenly heard her son cry out loudly and when she got to him he was crying hysterically.
There was a man in front of him, who had hold of his shoulders and was shouting at him.

My sisters friend was very upset, and grabbed her son away.

Staff came over to intervene and ask what had happened.

My sisters friend informed them that this man had attacked her son.

The man responded that her son had repeatedly hit and bitten his child, that his guardian was nowhere to be seen, and that he had asked him nicely to stop and leave his child alone on a few occasions.

He said that, when her child bit his child after numerous warnings from him, seeing no care giver in sight to resolve the issue with - he decided to discipline the child himself by grabbing him away from his own child and shouting at him.

My sister's friend was distraught and involved the police in the matter, stating that the man had launched an unprovoked attack on her child.

The man argued that she was not adequately monitoring her child and so he should not be allowed to get away with attacking other children and somebody needed to step in. He was merely protecting his own child.
Afterwards there was a lot of discussion of this incident - everybody was up in arms about the nerve of the man, everybody was disgusted that this had happened to my sisters friends poor child.

And I found myself, for once, completely unable to determine which side I was on.

From my sisters friends point of view - Yes I would be mortified if somebody took it upon themselves to discipline MY child. If anybody dared to lay a finger on him I would absolutely involve the police.
Disciplining my child is MY job to do.

But on the other hand - shouldn't I have been paying closer attention to what my child was doing? Shouldn't I have been the first to see him attack another child and be there to step in?

From the mans point of view - if another kid was repeatedly attacking my child, and I had calmly looked around but been unable to locate their parent. I had calmly asked the child to stop, and they continued to hurt my child - wouldn't my temper flare? Wouldn't I just want to STOP my own child from being hurt?

Wouldn't I possibly see red and possibly make the snap decision to give that child a good ticking off and yank him off of my own child?!

But on the other hand - shouldn't I have had the presence of mind to approach a member of staff about the situation instead? Should I just have removed my own child from the setting, even though it sort of meant punishing them for another childs behaviour?

I find it a tough one to call.

And so I wonder, where do YOU stand on this issue?

If you put yourself in the mothers shoes, AND the shoes of the father in this incident - what do you think you would do?

Is there a clear cut right or wrong here? Or are both parents equally to blame? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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