You see a child acting aggressively toward another child and
their parent isn't doing anything about it. Do you step in to
correct the child's behavior?
We posed that question to the 23 members of our Parent Panel,
and here's what they said. What would you do? Comment below!
See more from
the Parent Panel and meet the parents!
Yes, in general as a parent, I try to watch out for other's
children-that means protecting and correcting when necessary. I
hope people would do it for mine if they see them in need of
either, as well.
Morrison, Oak Park
Yes! I have done this before. As an adult, our job is to "train
a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not
turn from it." Prov. 22:6. It takes a village to raise a child!
Jackie Sergeant, Richton
Not only would I step in, I would feel it was my responsibility
to do so as the adult nearby. This is where "It Takes a Village"
comes into play. Sometimes I feel we're all on the defense when it
comes to someone else correcting our child, but we need to take a
step back and realize these little people are not born knowing
right from wrong. Parents, and other adults in the community, at
times, are working collectively to teach them.
Quirin, Downers Grove
If the child was in harm's way, I would step in regardless. Now
what to do when my child is acting aggressively towards me?
I honesty can say I have no idea if I would step in. I probably
would do the teacher thing and ask the child, "Would you like it if
someone did that to you?" and look into it. Nowadays you don't know
if a parent would take something the wrong way and hurt you or your
child. There are a lot of crazy people out there.
Rebecca Moulfarha, La Grange
All adults have a responsibility to help protect a child who is
being threatened. It is always best to act through a parent, if
available, and to be calm and reasonable, but no one has the right
to threaten a child.
Reilly, Elmwood Park
Yes, I would step in and try to deflect and/or distract the
aggressive behavior. Every child has the right to be safe,
including the child acting aggressively.
I definitely would step in. I would be gentle but firm in my
approach with the aggressive child so they knew their behavior is
Tracie Guzolek, Chicago
Yes, if I'm sure that the other child is in need and not just
joking around with a sibling or neighbor. I watch the nonverbal
clues closely and try first to redirect everyone to a more
peaceable way to play!
I would absolutely step in in this situation and would expect
other parents to do the same with my child. While I would never
shout or scream at another person's child, I would talk with the
child and try to correct the situation. Now, if it is a playful
aggression and a case of "boys will be boys," then keep an eye on
it, but no reason to overreact.
Correcting someone else's child is not your responsibility;
creating positive play is. Intervene and direct your child to a
different activity. In a calm and non-threatening way, explain this
to either the child acting aggressively or to the child's parent if
Aileen Robinson, Chicago
Vigilant Mom alert! I never hesitate to step in. The parent
chose not to be involved, and the child generally welcomes the
adult direction. They are often surprised and thankful to be called
on the actions they already know are wrong.
Heather Earnhart, Chicago
It's probably best to stay away unless things get out of hand or
a child's well-being is in danger. However, I would keep an eye on
the aggressive child to make sure this does not continue.
Yes. I would try to redirect a child who is acting aggressively
toward another. As a parent of three, it's hard sometimes to be
aware of what each of my children are doing all the time. I
appreciate other parents looking out for my children and I do the
same for theirs.
Rebecca Pobloske, Itasca
While there's great value in kids resolving their problems,
sometimes an adult needs to stop situations from escalating. The
Mama Lion in me has been known to roar when an aggressor doesn't
stop after they've been told to stop.
I would step in if a child is endangered. If my child was the
object of aggression, I would join him and offer suggestions on how
to respond verbally to the aggressor. Generally, I follow my
I would definitely step in to correct any child's aggressive
behavior, especially if their parent isn't doing anything about it.
Of course, I would do it in a polite manner, in order not to scare
Chely Carrillo, Chicago
If my child were the victim I most definitely would step in! I'd
explain to the misbehaving child what they were doing wrong and why
they should stop and then stay with the child until their parent
arrived. But if I didn't know either party involved, unless the
child was in immediate danger, I would mind my own business.
Yes! No child should be allowed to run amok terrorizing others.
It is OK to gently ask the child to stop and also to ask, "Where is
Cherish Walsh, Streamwood
Absolutely. It's the right thing to do. I believe in the African
proverb that says "it takes a whole village to raise a child."
If you know the parties involved, step in. If not, judge case by
case. Will it break up on its own? Are other children threatened?
Unfortunately we live in a crazy world, so protect your children
and yourself first.
Absolutely! As a parent, it's my belief that it's my
responsibility to protect my children and any other child from
doing harm to themselves or others. To watch the inappropriate
behavior take place and not say anything just isn't in my nature.
If the other parent responds to my reaction negatively, I would
respond with "OK" and keep it moving!
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