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How do you discipline someone else's kids?

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  • How do you discipline someone else's kids?

    Hey Everyone,

    My kids have been taught empathy and respect and manners. I know they are not perfect, but I can see the difference AP has made, and my oldest is only 7!

    Anyway, my 7 year old DS has two new best friends - Twins! A brother and sister who live behind us. The twins have become known around the neighborhood as being very competitive and rude. I spoke with some other neighbors who decided not to let their kids play with the twins, but I thought that was too extreme.

    So I have let them play at my house many times. At first I tried modeling good behavior, but by the end of the first week, I was worn out by all the fighting and the lack of manners. So I took a more direct approach. I made a Word document called "Friendship Etiquette - How to Behave at Your Friend's House". To make it less threatening to that one family, I passed it out to all of DS's friends. It really helped. The twins are using manners to ask for things and saying please and thank you.

    However, I am still dealing with their competitive nature. Today it was constantly "ME FIRST!", "I WANT THE BEST ONE!", "HE GOT MORE THAN ME!" - all day long! They play date ended with my son getting so upset he broke a pencil!

    I took the twins home early. I told them that I didn't want to criticize them, but that I was noticing how competitive they've acted all day long. I told them that it was not polite to always demand to get the best and to always demand to go first. It was stressing me out that they acted this way. I told them that I've tried to teach my kids to work together, to take turns, and to respect the other persons feelings. I also told them that we need a break for tomorrow, but they could play with my DS again one day next week.

    So my question to all of you is, "How do you use discipline on someone else's kids without crossing the line?" I don't want to step on the other parents toes, but this is getting ridiculous. I'm stressed out,and my kids are stressed out.

    I tired talking to the twins' mother but she just laughed and said, "Yep, that sounds like them!" I guess she just lives with it and assumes it normal behavior.

    AUGH! What do I do?!

  • #2
    I have found the Siblings Without Rivalry book helpful when I was watching another child. Even though you are not officially babysitting for pay, I think its totally appropriate to require them to follow your house rules while they are there, or go home.

    Its admirable that you are reaching out to them and softening their impulses. Maybe you should give her a copy of the book...I am sure her style of parenting only encourages this competitive behavior!
    Really! Read this book everyone, even if you only have one kid! Your kid has school freind, cousin, neighbors==== somebody that you are comparing them too without even thinking about it!

    Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too
    by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

    Here are the author's website-


    • #3
      wow! twins! i can't imagine the amount of energy it takes to raise two well-adjusted twins! history and psychology are full of stories and science behind the competitive nature of twins. i do think this tends to be "normal", but certainly does not need to be status quo.

      i'm thinking that i would try to address their behavior in the same way i would address my own children's, my dh, a friend: in terms of need. constantly being competitive in this way may speak to a greater need being unmet. perhaps they're striving to forge their own identity, maybe they're competing for love, any number of things. but when they're at your house, try to work on ways to get everyone's needs met. they're old enough to talk it out. i.e. here's some toys, how can we work this out, guys? what do you think it would take for everyone to be happy? perhaps they just need a little (or a lot) NVC.

      i also recommend, even w/out the twins, setting up a peace table. it's a place in your house where conflicts can be resolved. we use a peace flower. the person holding the flower gets to talk, while the others listen, then the flower is passed so that each has a turn to speak. everyone stays at the table until the problem is solved. if someone has a problem, they can take the peace flower and hand it to the other person and invite them to the peace table. at first, it will take A LOT of guidance from you in helping to facilitate the discussion, but pretty soon, you won't be needed at all, they'll work out their problems before you even figure out they've been to the table.


      • #4
        yay to you mama, for hanging in there. it is hard to continue encouraging your kid to hang out with kids that cause your kid to be hurt, belittled, or put down. so *hugs* to you for being a force for change in the situation.
        no advice for you, but looks like you got some already - just love!