Kids at the Party

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Dear Dharma,

My friend hosted a birthday party for her husband the other day and people were allowed to bring their kids. I was already annoyed because you cannot have a grownup event with kids needing attention but I guess that’s a personal preference I cannot push on to others.

What I am upset about is one of her friends let her kid run around like a feral animal! The kid jumped on the chairs, tipped over (full!!) glasses and no one dared to say anything. I shot angry glances at the mother but she did not seem to get it and just looked at me like, “Isn’t he so cute!”

I wanted to jump in and tell the kid off but can you actually do that these days? Any advice what I could do next time? Besides calling animal control, lol?

Out of Control

Dear Out of Control,

I’m not sure if I think telling off someone else’s kid, no matter how ill-behaved they are, is going to go over all that well.  On the same token, I don’t think the only option is to do nothing.

Most people, including yourself I’m sure, don’t respond well to criticism and anger.  Throw in “from a stranger”, “in a public place” and “about their child” and I think you can see this is not the way to accomplish your mission.  And that’s the objective, right?  To get the kid settled down so you and the rest of the guests can enjoy yourselves without dodging breaking glass all night.

Start by approaching the mother with something like, “Wow!  Your little boy is just a fire cracker, hey?  What a cutie, so much energy!  You must be exhausted all the time…”

Right away you’re a friend who likes her child.  You’re understanding and empathetic, and you acknowledge that thing no else does – she’s tired.  You might just be her new BFF.

As opposed to the enemy who despises her precious Billy.

Now that you’ve disarmed her, you should have no problem delivering the punch.  “I’ve noticed he’s been up on the furniture and knocked over a few glasses.  I’m really worried he’s going to get hurt.  Do you think it would be okay if we asked him to calm down a bit?  I don’t mind doing it if you want to relax for a few more minutes.”

Smile, smile, SMILE…

Likely (hopefully!) she’s going to step in now to show she’s a good parent and reign this kid in.  However, if he starts acting up again, it’s now okay to approach him directly with a “Hey Billy, didn’t your mom just ask you to the settle down?”  This way, it’s still coming from her, and no one can fault you for having his mom’s back.

For what it’s worth, Dharma is completely on your side here.  Parents that refuse to parent tick me off, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before.  It’s just that sometimes you need to employ the “bees to honey” strategy to have things go the way you want.  The better scenario would be if mom stepped in without prompting and explained to her kid that this isn’t the way you behave, at home or in public, and to knock it off.

Dharma

kid

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