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Joined: 2 Sep 2009
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,159
Location: Fairfax, VA

03 Aug 2011, 7:41 am

I wasn't too sure what to name the subject line. For those of you who are aunts, uncles, or grandparents, do you discipline your grandchildren, nieces or nephews if they are missbehaving? Say for example, you are having a barbecue at your house. You cleaned the entire house before your guests arrive. You invited your family and some friends. Let's say your daughter brings her children over. The youngest are 5 and 6 years old. Let's say they are being loud and throwing things in some part of the house. Their are other guests there too. You can't deal with the noise and the throwing things around since you spent a long time cleaning the house. Do you yell at the children to quiet it down? Not using profanity of course. I think the grandparent or other family member has every right to discipline the child. This situation happened at my aunt's house. She spent the entire day cleaning the house. Her two youngest grandchildren were being very bad and she yelled at them to stop. My cousin was livid that she just picked up the two youngest children, and just walked out of the house with her husband and two oldest children without saying bye to anyone. She told her husband loud enough for me to hear "That is why I hate coming here." This happened July 4. To make it even worse, my cousin emailed her mom saying to never contact her again. Mom called grandma yesterday and grandma told her that still my aunt and cousin aren't talking. What would you do in this situation? Do you think my cousin was right to do what she did? When I was a child, my grandparents disciplined me and so did my uncle (dad's youngest brother) and my parents didn't get upset. Of course if my extended family used profanity, then I can see my parents getting upset. I know in Korean customs you don't go out on your elders. If my cousin did this in a Korean family, she would be disowned.


If you're not happy with yourself, you'll never be happy with somebody else. (Don Omar)


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Joined: 13 Jan 2011
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Posts: 3,494

03 Aug 2011, 9:10 am

I think disciplining someone else's kids (even if they are extended family of yours) is an iffy thing. You don't know that kid as well as their parents do, and you don't know their parents' opinion on how their child should be disciplined. For example, some parents spank, some consider spanking to be abusive.

I think if the parents aren't present and you are caring for the child in their absence, you can discipline them. But you should talk to the parents beforehand about discipline if you can, and if not you should tread carefully and make sure you discuss the occurance with the parents later on.

If the parents are present, though, you don't get to discipline their child. Talk to the parents if the child's behavior bothers you. If the parents aren't dealing with the situation effectively and you can't find an agreement by negotiating, you may take action against the parents (eg ask them to leave and take the kids along).

I also wonder why someone would invite children into a clean house and not expect them to make it messy. Children make messes. It's part of playing. Expecting a child 5-6 years old to keep things clean is just asking for trouble. Especially when there's more than one child playing together. I think some grandparents, if it's been too long since they last had children, they forget what children are really like and have unreasonable expectations from them.

From your cousin's reaction, I'm guessing this isn't the first time something like this has happened, also. There's probably been a long-standing conflict around the children's behavior at your aunt's house. Someone should've probably talked this over and come to an agreement before it got to the point where built-up resentment threatens the relationship.


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Joined: 31 Mar 2010
Age: 49
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,483
Location: Big Sky Country

03 Aug 2011, 1:40 pm

If it was known before hand that small children were going to be invited, plans should have been made for something acceptable for the children to do to entertain them. Possibly if the Mother and the Aunt had talked about this before hand and come to an agreement about what the kids could do, the "mess" could have been avoided. I also agree that the situation was probably a festering sore long before that particular July 4th party. Family dynamics can be a hard thing to change once bad feelings are created. It takes a willingness on both parts to set things straight but some people actually seem to prefer to hold on to a grudge than to make amends. :(