Another Kid Acting Up? Here’s What To Do When Your Friend’s Child Misbehaves

As a parent, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about the behavior you want your child to display. Whether excellent table manners, being polite, or playing nicely with others is your top priority, chances are you’ve worked hard to help your child develop the skills to meet your expectations. What happens then when another child, specifically the child of one of your friends, starts acting up? Should you step in or leave it alone? Check out the tips below to help you deal when a friends child starts acting up.

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Remember what’s age appropriate

As parents, it’s easy to take credit when our little ones are well behaved; after all, we’re the ones who’ve worked so hard to help them do so! In reality though, while how we discipline absolutely impacts our kid's behavior, all kids are different and some simply are easier than others.

When a friends child starts acting up take a minute to consider whether your expectations are in line with what’s developmentally appropriate. Babies cry in public, toddlers throw tantrums, and young kids hit and grab when they are frustrated – it’s just what they do. While parents should address troublesome behavior, acting up doesn’t mean that a parent is doing anything wrong or that the child is being defiant.

Try to avoid comparison

Just like some babies sleep through the night at a month old while others still wake up several times a night through toddlerhood, some kids excel at listening or sharing or using their inside voice while others struggle. Do your best to avoid comparing your friend’s child to your own when they start acting up. Even if their behavior seems shocking to you, I’m willing to bet your child has done something that would leave your friend at least a little surprised.

Remember that different doesn’t mean wrong

Sometimes children’s behavior is a direct result of a parent’s philosophy and actions. If a child is doing something you think is out of line, like questioning their parent, not sharing a toy, or bossing other children around, it may be that their parent prioritizes an open dialogue, a child’s right to their own belongings, or fostering assertiveness. If a behavior isn’t endangering your child, it can be helpful to remind yourself that that different doesn’t mean wrong.

Ask your friend how they’d like you to handle the situation

Sometimes, when your not sure what to do, all you need to do is ask. Try to phrase your questions with the love you feel for your friend in mind and keep the conversation solution focused. Try something like this, “Sarah, I noticed that Ryland seems to shove Azir out of the way if he wants to go down the slide first, what do you think we can do to make sure both of our kids are safe and having fun together?”

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Address it with your child

Often, when a parent sees another child act up one of their biggest concerns is whether their child will pick up on a behavior they don’t like. If your child is verbal it can be helpful to let them know that you saw their playmates behavior and that they’re still learning, just like every child.

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Another Kid Acting Up? Here’s What To Do When Your Friend’s Child Misbehaves

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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