Archives / 2011 / July
  • Correcting Other People's Children

    I stepped into the story room at the Chelsea Library as a plastic banana came sailing out of the playhouse.  It was quickly followed by a second banana, an apple and some ice cream.  Looking the culprits firmly in the eye, I said, “We do not throw things in the library!”  Appearing mildly, chastened the two children stopped lobbing toy food across the room.

    What makes the incident noteworthy is that these children, perhaps five and eight years old, belonged to someone else, someone who didn’t deem it necessary to keep tabs on her own children in a public place.  Soon after, the younger child began yelling at Elena, my one year old, telling her that babies were not allowed in the playhouse and violently assisting Elena to the door.  I quickly intervened, rescued my baby, and told the five year old, “We do not yell at babies or hurt them!”

    Unfortunately, these minor encounters are not as infrequent as we might prefer.  It seems the need to correct other people’s children presents itself somewhat often, bringing with it concerns as to what is appropriate and what is not.  Each parent has their own level of expectation for their children and a personal method for dealing with …