How do you handle a situation during Park Day, Play Dates, or other gatherings, when someone's child just won't behave?
Our group had a regular, weekly, Park Day, over the summer, with mostly younger kids. It fell apart after one new child started attending. He was disruptive, rowdy, and not very nice in general. When a few of the mom's from our group politely approached this little boy's mom, after witnessing an incident, she didn't want to hear about it. Nothing was done to remedy the situation. It was unpleasant, at best, and families stopped attending.
With the new homeschool year approaching, I'm about to begin a new Park Day, on a much larger scale: Mom's discussion time, Teen Group Gathering, as well as kids of all ages. Sometimes, we'll have structured activites, but not always.
So, my question is: How do we tactfully deal with these types of situations, when they arise? Even after setting *Ground Rules* prior to play, things happen.
If my child is misbehaving, I don't have a problem with another parent gently correcting them, and / or letting me know about it so I can take action. However, some parents become quickly offended if anyone dares to correct their children, or if they're personally approached by another parent claiming that their child is misbehaving.
I've dealt with this problem in my MOMS Club, where one child was a biter as a toddler (has since stopped that and graduated to hitting, I hear). The advantage in MOMS Club is that there is an organizational structure where we have a president who can basically say, nicely as possible, control your child or leave.
We've had hints of the same issues in forming our co-op. We have both kids and moms who were (potentially) trouble for the other members to get along with. We have heard of problems with groups where they basically fall apart due to one (or a couple) of bad apples. Since we don't want a hierachical structure, and no one wants to be the heavy, the only solution we've come up with, and I admit it can be seen as cruel, is this: If any one active, contributing member of our co-op has a sincere objection to someone else's being in the group, then they are asked to leave.
If anyone has a better solution, I'd sure love to hear it.
I care for Apple Jacks a great deal. Co-op member Co-op member :)
Location: The little critters of nature... They don't know that they're ugly!
Hi Barb, I have been in a similar situation. A rough, grabby playgroup kid and her mother who never corrected her (hmm, chicken or the egg?). She also was the kind of mom that was very offended when others corrected her kids. After trying to be tactful and bring bad behavior to her attention, she did nothing. We all ended up just correcting her kids for her (but only when it was pretty extreme socially unacceptable behavior, like pushing or kicking, or snatching other kids' toys). She didn't like that, and eventually she didn't come around as regularly! I guess I feel like I have to set an example for my own kids about what is acceptable, and there are times when I don't mind if I step on toes to do that. But really, I can't think of a good, happy conclusion to that situation! Maybe a whole group intervention to bring up your concerns to the mom?
As a personal confession, I know that there are times at playgroups when I get involved with talking to other moms, and I may miss some of my own kids' negative behaviors. I know that I would want to be informed of what they had done (and I would want other moms to correct them, too!). I guess I would try to give the mom the benefit of the doubt at first (which it sounds like you did).
I don't know if that helps, but I sympathize!
Mom to Hovey, Leedy, and Asher
Some people get an education without going to college; the rest get it after they get out. –Mark Twain
Let me preface this post with; this is a hard call. I am a member, as well as the President of the Taylor Ranch MOMS Club. I personally have no problems telling a member to control their child if another childs safety or well being is threatened, or if that member is a consitant problem.
We want to provide a safe and FUN enviroment. We dont want to be unsupportive to anyone as unlimatley we all have a common goal,(I am sure this coop feels the same way),that being said, People who get offended when their child is either corrected by another mother, or who refuse to correct their own child should be given a choice. Either be respectful of the other members or do not attend.
I am sorry if this sounds strict or cruel, but no one should be put in a position that they not want to atend the events presented by this group because they may come in contact with a member who makes a consious decision not to "curb their kid"
If my child is misbehaving, (This happens someiimes to all of us) I will leave and appologize for thier misbehavior.
Maybe some guidelines or bylaws should be put in place to prevent future occurances. ?
I know that this is not a "Christian group", but I do think that the Bible has some wonderful guidelines and is full of wisdom that we can all use when dealing with situations like this. I do believe that if you have set down some rules and guidelines, and if a mom and child continue to be a problem then it needs to be seriously delt with! Why should a whole group crumble because of one family?
In instances like this the Bible sets up a way to deal with conflict Matt. 18 (you can read this for yourself). Essentially is states that when you have a problem with someone, try to talk to the person yourself about the problem, always in love. If they listen, GREAT. If they do not, take another one or two people with you and attempt to talk to that person again. Perhaps you and the "leader" of the group, or another well respected member. If that still doesn't work, bring it before the entire group. If after all three atempts, the person still continues to be disruptive, you must ask them to leave. For the sake of the group, and the children, I think it is important to handle it this way. This gives the person in question every opportunity to correct the problem. It shows the person that it is not just one persons oppinion that the behavior needs to be corrected, and shows a united front. It will also give your children and other parents a good model to follow when dealing with similar situations.
Another quote to consider.... "Now I urge you , brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and trun away from them." Rom 16:17
I don't hesitate to tell other children who are misbehaving, whose parents are not taking care of their child, to stop whatever it is they are doing. I try to always keep an eye on my children and be quick to act when they are acting inappropriately. However, not everyone feels the same way about parenting. I would want to know if I didn't see my child do something, so that I could make sure they got the correction I see fit for the situation.
I think you have to be fair, or should be may be more appropriate. Was it a one time thing? Did the mom just not care, was she purposely ignoring the situation? What exactly happened? How did it effect the group? A one time mistake shouldn't be sufficent reason to ban a member of your group. But if it was an on going problem that the group had a problem with, not just a single person, then it should be addressed very seriously.
I would say set basic ground rules for behavior that is expected of the children and of the parents. If there are problems let the parent know her child's behavior is inappropriate and unexceptable, and something that absolutely has to be delt with if she wants to continue to be a member of the group. If a mother isn't going to find a way to keep her child from abusing other children in the group than let her know that group is not for her. It isn't fair to your child(ren) or to the other children in the group to be subjected to abuse. As well as it is not fair to the mothers of the group who are watching her child. A play group is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, dealing with a child like that creates a negative atmosphere.
I think there is a fine line between protecting your children and the group in general and waving group membership over their head. I am not saying this is being done, but I don't think it is okay to 'play favorites' when it comes to who's in the group. You're either in or out based on the basic membership guidelines, and then if there is a problem among the group then it should be a group decision to let that person know. It should not be a 'she offended me she's out of the group' type decision. Because it's very easy for one person to not necessarily like another, but the person not doing anything to harm the group. Again, not saying that's what happened here. My opinion to be absolutely fair to everyone, the group and the person, it's best to allow those decisions to be made by the entire group of how to handle such circumstances.
When we have had to address the issue in this group, the question was put, in a hypothetical manner, before all current membership, allowing each of us to offer an opinion. We all agreed that anyone could have a bad day, and if the offending party were apologetic and they showed this through their behavior, we'd all be willing to give them a second chance.
Sadly, in this situation that prompted the need for the decision, the offending party has made it very clear that they do not feel badly for their offensive behavior, in fact, they feel that their behavior was justified and have demonstrated that they would not hesitate to do it again. I hope that your situation has a better outcome.