Manners and other people’s kids

Okay, so we’re at the shoe store yesterday. This particular shoe store has a huge children’s section which has a lot of toys and books and stuff for the kids to play with. Of course, this creates its own chaos. There are kids running around with just one shoe on, parents asking, “where did you get that?!?” and, even though there are numbers to take for a salesperson, there are a ton of people jumping the line.

So, I am at the little play table with my daughter, playing, as well as making sure she gives back any toys she grabs away from another kid and apologizes. She’s still learning the whole sharing thing, so we tend to have to “hover” a bit. So far, she’s pretty good at sharing things she doesn’t want, and that’s about it.

While she’s playing with this… uhm… I don’t really know what it is. Some sort of playset for freaky looking people or animals or something. Anyway, while she’s playing with it, a bigger kid butts his way in and starts playing with it. My daughter is intimidated, and quickly grabs a couple other toys nearby and holds on to them for dear life. The older kid’s parents weren’t around to say anything, so I just stood there like a dummy not knowing what to say.

My question is, what could I have done or said to this kid, if anything? Is it okay to attempt to teach manners to other people kids? Is it okay for me to explain to my daughter right then and there that some kids are just rude, or don’t know their manners?


3 Responses to Manners and other people’s kids

  1. Cap'n Jack says:

    I haven’t been able to figure that one out myself. I’m looking for any ideas, too.

  2. bloglily says:

    I think it’s fine to talk about taking turns with other children, as long as you feel like you can do it in the same tone you’d like to hear another adult use with your own child. To get there, you have to start by reminding yourself that this older kid isn’t bad, they’re just learning the system like your child. And then you can be kind when you intervene. (In my view, no matter what you say, if you say it as though you’re speaking to your own child on a good day, things will go fine.)

    In this instance, you could model for your daughter the thing you do when someone pushes her away from a toy. You’d say to the other child, “Ms. Kaz (I hope that’s your daughter and not your wife!) was also playing with that toy (if it’s a toy two children can play with). How about if you do x and she does y?” Or if it’s a one child toy you say, “Ms. Kaz was playing with that toy. She’ll be done with her turn in about five minutes and then you can have a turn.”

    Children almost always react well to the concept of taking turns. They’re less happy about “sharing” which they rightly understand to mean “giving up and never seeing again.”

    [Kaz: Thanks for stopping in, bloglily! I often try to do something like that. I agree that kids are usually good about the concept. It isn’t the kids I worry about reacting badly, though. Unfortunately, it is the parents I am worried about! Sometimes parents don’t take kindly to stranger “reprimanding” their kids. Oh, and Ms. Kaz is my wife — I wanted to use a name that would convey her relationship to me as well as respecting her use of her maiden name. I will, until I find a better term, refer to my daughter as, well, my daughter. 🙂 ]

  3. bloglily says:

    Thank you for that clarification Mr. K.

    You’re right — parents can be total weirdos about stuff like that. Still, as long as you’re using your nice voice and the parent doesn’t look like he or she is carrying a weapon of any sort, I’d say go for it.

    This could be a geographical thing, though. Where I live (in northern california) people seem okay with this sort of thing. Other places, that kind of bossy, it takes a avillage to raise a child attitude can really piss people off.

    Best, BL

    And thanks for the naming clarification. I haven’t thought of a blog name for my sons, preferring just to call them, my son, the violent one or my son, the violent one, or my son the violent one. (there are three of them and they are indistinguishable in their commitment to acquiring every weapon ever made or used.)

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