What to Do If Someone Scolds Your Child

The last thing a parent wants to see is another adult berating their child. This makes you angry and overwhelmed by negative emotions, and there is a perfectly normal evolutionary reason for this intense state. Basically, it signals to the ancient reptilian part of its brain that danger is upon us. As your heart rate speeds up, hormones flood your system and the  “flight or fight response is on”.

However, it is important to keep your balance and approach the situation in a polite and constructive way. We want to introduce you to the 6 steps you should take when someone disciplines your child in an undesirable way.

Make Your Presence Known

First, asserting yourself in the situation completely changes the dynamics of the conversation. Your child feels safe and secure, as the opposing adult has to be more respectful facing someone of their own age — they are not the final authority of the situation now.

You can try this technique: imitate the posture and body posture of the other person. This is called relationship building and it is a powerful way to resolve potential conflicts and appear genuine and trustworthy.

Assess The Situation Before Reacting

Anger is never a wise counselor, so it is crucial that you calm down and handle the situation logically. Take a break and gather information about the entire ordeal. It is quite possible that your child is wrong: that they have hit another child, have broken someone else’s property, have misbehaved in class, etc.

Your impulse may be to attack the other person, but it is helpful to consider what you would have done in the situation if the roles had been reversed.

Make Your Child Feel Understood

Any situation can make your child feel disoriented or scared. It is important to be patient with your child and make them feel that their emotions are understood and validated.

Get down to eye level and ask them to explain what’s going on. Maintain your judgment at this point and listen to their interpretation of events.

If the child feels understood, there are more likely to understand what you have to say and to reconsider their behavior in the future.

Be Direct With The Other Person

Being direct with someone is often synonymous with being rude and indifferent. But beating around the bush regularly does more harm than good.

Be frank with the other person. Politely let them know that you feel disciplining your child is strictly your concern and that you would appreciate them not getting involved in the situation.

You can also suggest that they look at the situation with the roles reversed: you are the one who reprimands your child (if they are the parents themselves).

Being direct requires a certain level of assertiveness, as well as being diplomatic, calm, sincere, and open-minded about the situation.

Use Humor To Diffuse

If you see red, the last thing you think about is making jokes. But humor has a great ability to dissipate difficult situations and lower stress levels. Instantly telling a happy joke can make the people around you feel closer to you.

It can also help remove the urgency and seriousness of the event and provide all parties involved with a fresh perspective on the situation.

Of course, you have to be careful about the specific jokes you are making. Some types of humor can sound sarcastic and dismissive and can definitely make things worse.

Set Boundaries

If the adult in question is an authority figure in your child’s life (teacher, coach, parent), it is important to set limits to avoid similar situations. Of course, you are not asking for the green light for your children to go crazy in the classroom or on the court.

You are just negotiating for the person to use the same discipline techniques that you use at home. In this way, you are creating a coherent vision in your child’s eyes of what is right and what is wrong, and how evil is punished.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? What was your reaction and what was the result?


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