What do you do if you don't approve of the behavior of Other People's Kids?
I have to say, I love kids. I love the sheer innocence about them; the ability to think freely, to play without a care in the world; the utter simplicity about their humanity.
But I'd be lying if I didn't admit to wanting to throttle other people's kids at times. You know, the ones that never say "thank you," the ones that think it's funny to sass back, the ones that think the best game in the world is throwing rocks ... at your car ...
These are the hair-pulling moments when I am just not down with OPK (Other People's Kids).
I used to be the type of mom that wouldn't dare correct someone else's kid—especially in the presence of his or her own parent. Oh my, that would just be rude and inappropriate! But things have changed over the years. Maybe it's my confidence in being a mom; maybe it's a certain I-don't-give-a-damn that comes with getting older. Whatever it is, I have adopted four rules for kids that are in my care:
- You must be nice.
- You must be polite.
- You must be respectful.
- You must be kept safe.
I don't think I'm asking too much by requiring adherence to these expectations.
It's kind of an "it takes a village" mentality. And that's not to say that I think my village is run so much better than anyone else's—certainly not. But if I can lend a hand in these four areas of child rearing, I certainly will. I don't yell or scold. I just make it very clear, when certain behavior is not appropriate, that this kind of garbage just won't fly with me.
And I would hope that should my own children need redirecting in someone else's care, I could count on it happening in a loving manner. We are all moms, doing our best to raise great kids, and we do need each other's help. And nice, polite, respectful, safe kids are the only kind I personally want to have around.
So, what about you? How do you handle OPK?
Written by Pam Toigo, a part-time working, full-time mother of three. She's also a wife, decorator, shopper, runner, and blogger, among other titles. To read more from Pam, visit www.thepulledtogethermom.com.