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“AITA For Telling My Friend Her Kid Has No Manners?”
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“AITA For Telling My Friend Her Kid Has No Manners?”

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Being a parent is one of the most rewarding yet challenging things that you can do in life. But with so many different parenting styles and unique family situations, it can be hard to know how to react when a friend’s kid starts to misbehave around you, at your own home. It can be a very awkward situation! At some point, though, you might have to speak up and talk to them about the disruptive and damaging behavior, as well as about establishing some common sense boundaries.

That’s exactly what one anonymous woman, who was hosting lunch, did after a friend’s son threw a precious ring out the window. Bringing up the issue, however, didn’t go down well with the entire social group. Read on for the full story, as shared on the AITA online community.

We reached out to Samantha Scroggin, the founder of the witty ‘Walking Outside in Slippers’ parenting blog, for her thoughts about whether or not to call someone out for their kid’s misbehavior. Scroll down to read the insights she shared with Bored Panda.

Children want to have fun, but they shouldn’t overstep certain boundaries. Especially when they’re not at home

Image credits: 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič / unsplash (not the actual photo)

One woman, who had guests over, shared how everything went downhill after a friend’s kid got hold of a precious ring

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Image credits: 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič / unsplash (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: Liza Summer / pexels (not the actual photo)

Image credits: Admirable-Cold-8875

“I’d hope that someone I’d choose as a friend would have the good sense to try to raise their child well”

Challenges involving different parenting styles and friends’ children are often very sensitive, and complicated, and usually don’t have clear-cut solutions.

“I personally don’t have the self-control to not say something if I had a friend with a misbehaving child who harmed me or my property,” Samantha, the founder of ‘Walking Outside in Slippers,’ told Bored Panda in an email.

“Granted, I’d fully expect the friend to address the issue before I could say anything,” she pointed out.

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“I’d probably give the friend a few seconds to jump in. But I don’t know that there is a right or wrong way to handle a situation like this, aside from of course not taking any physical action against the child or parent,” Samantha said.

We asked the blogger whether it’s at all appropriate to comment on a friend’s parenting skills when their children misbehave in public.

“I don’t think I’d find it appropriate to comment on a friend’s parenting, in front of their face at least! I’d hope that someone I’d choose as a friend would have the good sense to try to raise their child well,” she shared her perspective.

“Of course, parenting issues come up for all of us and our kids act out at times. I think we can be understanding of accidents or isolated incidents, and also expect a child to not cause serious damage to people or things,” the founder of ‘Walking Outside in Slippers’ said.

Parents need to accept that it’s their responsibility to teach their children proper manners

There is a definite difference between being playful and misbehaving. While that line might (usually) be obvious to many adults, it might not be as clear to kids. Especially if their parents haven’t yet taught them about good manners, how to behave as guests or in public, and why they shouldn’t go around stealing people’s jewelry and then yeeting those sentimental heirlooms out the window.

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All of this might sound like common sense, but there’s no way of knowing these things unless they’re taught. That can happen through experience (e.g., learning the lesson the hard way when strangers call you out) or through the loving and careful instruction of a parent over a long time.

If a child doesn’t know that they should respect other people’s property, the responsibility falls on their parents. Maybe their kid is still too young to fully understand these concepts. Maybe the kid forgot all they’ve learned and made a simple mistake like all kids do.

Or maybe—just maybe—their parents haven’t been enforcing any boundaries on their (mis)behavior, so the kid doesn’t know that what they’re doing is wrong. They think that anything goes because they’ve never had to face the consequences of their actions.

There is nothing wrong with having fun and playing at a guest’s home. But if you’re going around mischievously harming other people for your own amusement, something’s gone terribly wrong.

Image credits:  Monstera Production / pexels (not the actual photo)

If you’re going to broach these sorts of touchy issues at all, do everything as diplomatically as possible

Parenting is a super touchy topic as it is. So, if you’re going to call out your friends about how they’re sorely lacking in their parenting skills, it’s probably not going to go down well.

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How you phrase everything becomes key here because the message itself might make anyone, even some of your closest friends, react very strongly (even if you’re right).

Try to be as diplomatic and understanding as possible, even if you’re furious inside. Where parenting issues are involved, one of the most powerful things in your arsenal is the ability to stay calm under pressure.

In this particular case, it probably would have been best to explain to the friend exactly why the ring is so precious and meaningful to you and your partner. Then, ask them and their child to help you with the search.

Publicly blowing up and telling the friend that they should take their kid to see a doctor is a misstep. Yes, your feelings are valid. Yes, it’s okay to be upset. Yes, you’ve been wronged. But if your goal is to find the ring and teach the friend a valuable lesson in good parenting, you can’t go around accusing them. They’ll only get defensive or upset.

These sorts of situations can be a wakeup call about how genuine your friendships really are

It takes a lot of self-awareness and humility to admit that you’ve failed as a parent. In front of your entire group of friends no less! It’s probably not going to happen. So, the better option would be to ask your friend for help finding the ring. Then, later, you might want to have a friendly but private chat with your friend about the concerns you have.

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Alternatively, you might want to (again, calmly) outright ask for compensation for the ring. Then, you can quietly decide to no longer invite your friends’ kids into your home for lunch ever again. Or you may want to reevaluate your entire social circle: if your pals don’t understand why you’re upset and they’re not offering any help, they might not be your real friends.

As we’ve covered on Bored Panda earlier, true friendships are grounded in trust, empathy, and mutual respect. Without those things, someone’s probably a fake friend—they only ever want to be around you because they get something useful out of it, and even then, only when it’s convenient for them.

Real friends stick by you through all of your ups and downs. They’ll understand why you’re upset about a ring getting thrown out the window. They’ll help you look for it. Fake friends will find excuses not to help and make themselves scarce. They’ll make empty promises or twist the situation around to make you look like you’re the villain.

Many readers wanted to share their thoughts while others had some spot-on advice for the woman

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c_o_shea avatar
C.O. Shea
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would have swooped in and ripped the ring out of those slimy little hands. Ma Barker has quite the scam going there with her little "napper."

tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm with you. There'd be no *asking* him to give the ring back. If the mother pulled that passive, no-parenting c**p on me, I'd be walking over and removing it from his little hand myself. This mother, and every other one who had something stupid to say about it, are poor parents. I can't believe people act this way!

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mralt avatar
MR
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't imagine a parent group finding this level of behavior acceptable to the point of calling OP an AH.

writevalda avatar
ValdaDeDieu
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

NTA. At all... This is way beyond unacceptable behavior. The kid's parents are doing him no favors. For socialization, kids need to be liked; so manners are essential, and parents should teach their kid manners. Nobody minds a snarky kid if they have good manners. But an obstreperous, destructive kid is hated, secretly by their social circle and, even their own dumb, weak enabler parents who are perpetually embarrassed. Don't mind those who call you AH. Let them know if they're okay with your property and home being disrespected, they, the parents and the kid are not invited over, ever. Respect is taught. Action, which speaks better than words, is ALWAYS the best teacher.

Load More Replies...
karenhann avatar
Insomniac
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Who else thinks Nora managed to grab the ring from the yard as she left?

adamwestman avatar
Thanos'Fingers
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Bet kid never even threw it. Mom has him trained well to check the house for the valuable jewelry, then make a big show of "destroying" it while really stealing it.

Load More Replies...
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c_o_shea avatar
C.O. Shea
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would have swooped in and ripped the ring out of those slimy little hands. Ma Barker has quite the scam going there with her little "napper."

tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm with you. There'd be no *asking* him to give the ring back. If the mother pulled that passive, no-parenting c**p on me, I'd be walking over and removing it from his little hand myself. This mother, and every other one who had something stupid to say about it, are poor parents. I can't believe people act this way!

Load More Replies...
mralt avatar
MR
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can't imagine a parent group finding this level of behavior acceptable to the point of calling OP an AH.

writevalda avatar
ValdaDeDieu
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

NTA. At all... This is way beyond unacceptable behavior. The kid's parents are doing him no favors. For socialization, kids need to be liked; so manners are essential, and parents should teach their kid manners. Nobody minds a snarky kid if they have good manners. But an obstreperous, destructive kid is hated, secretly by their social circle and, even their own dumb, weak enabler parents who are perpetually embarrassed. Don't mind those who call you AH. Let them know if they're okay with your property and home being disrespected, they, the parents and the kid are not invited over, ever. Respect is taught. Action, which speaks better than words, is ALWAYS the best teacher.

Load More Replies...
karenhann avatar
Insomniac
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Who else thinks Nora managed to grab the ring from the yard as she left?

adamwestman avatar
Thanos'Fingers
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Bet kid never even threw it. Mom has him trained well to check the house for the valuable jewelry, then make a big show of "destroying" it while really stealing it.

Load More Replies...
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