Is It Appropriate to Discipline Someone Else’s Kids?

Playing Disciplining Someone Else’s Child – Is It Ever Appropriate?

Family physician Dr. Deborah Gilboa is back to address a viewer’s question of if it’s ever okay to discipline someone else’s kid. 

Dr. Gilboa says similar to medicine, you have to consider needing informed consent to discipline someone else’s kids. She says you can, and sometimes you have to, but you may experience real pushback.

Watch: How to Handle Whiny Kids

If a kid is at your house, Dr. Gilboa says it is important to enforce your rules because if your kids see the rules don’t apply to their guests, they are going to think “Oh, these rules aren’t for everyone, just me?” and that’s not okay either. If that child is at your house without any adults, they do have to follow your rules or go home.

If the parents are at your house, however, Dr. Gilboa suggests talking to them before disciplining their kids. 

If you know a child is coming over who has been difficult in the past, getting prior consent from parents to follow your rules may be helpful. Dermatologist and mother Dr. Sonia Batra agrees that guests should follow the “my house, my rules” approach. 

Watch: How to Handle a Child's Sudden Separation Anxiety

Dr. Gilboa says it’s even more difficult to know what to do when you are out with other children like on an airplane or in a park. She says back when she was a kid, it was expected that you could be chastised by any adult in your world as a child. Now, if it’s not directly impacting you, your child, or your life is not at risk, it might not be appropriate. She adds you don’t know the child’s backstory and possible issues. 

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork commends Dr. Gilboa on her pragmatic approach and how he loves the title of her book, “Get the Behavior You Want… Without Being the Parent You Hate!”