Sure, this sounds like it is easier said than done, after all, kids are good at giving lip to adults who do not have direct power over them, while giving lip service to the rules and regulations set forth by those primary caregivers. Nonetheless, keep in mind that indeed it does take a village to raise a child, and while each parent is first and foremost responsible for raising their own children, it is up to the rest of the people to step in and help out if the parent’s back is turned at some point.
School discipline is a very good example of this precept. The parents are still in charge of the children, primarily responsible for their education, with the teachers and principals simply being the hired hands that help out during the day. Yet in the absence of the parents during class time, it is up to the teachers to uphold similar values as the parents, to correct the children in their care, and to – while making allowances for their youth – discipline them as is appropriate if they break the rules that are set forth. Parents understand this and will usually not be taken aback if their child receives a note home that for lying they will have to suffer the consequences of detention the next day.
Yet while it appears acceptable in the school realm to correct a child, it sometimes appears off limits elsewhere. Take for the example the grocery store. Who has not encountered a child – or a number of children – who appeared to be simply out of control? While they are still in their youth, discipline will help them to understand that a grocery store is not a playground. Yet how many of us will throw a mother dirty looks when she fails to reign in her boisterous boys, rather than lending a helping hand? Do you not think that she knows her kids are out of control? Of course she is well aware! Yet after a long day at work, dealing – perhaps – with bill collectors, juggling – perhaps – a baby, and trying to put together some kind of dinner for her family, she needs help not judgmental stares.
So what are you doing to help out? Are you part of the problem – the person who says nothing but walks on in a huff - or are you part of the solution: the person who steps up, asks permission to help out, and maybe helps to distract the boys while mom does her shopping? Do not waste the kids’ youth, discipline them! Even if they are not your own; remember that it does take a village to raise a child, and in the end it is the village that will benefit from a well-raised and well adjusted child. Are you up to the challenge?