Can you discipline my child?


Our parents grew up in an era where not only did aunts, uncles and grandparents help discipline a child but along with them the neighbors, teachers and their mamas jumped in too.

In our generation, it would probably go to the extent of aunts-uncles, and grandparents.  I’m not sure how things are presently in Pakistan, but in America your neighbors mind their own business and the teachers better be wise in how they say–what they say.

Now we jump into present-day where some people feel that only the parents have the right to raise their child their way.  I don’t quite agree with this philosophy.  I firmly believe in the fact that it takes an entire family to raise a child.  If Eesa’s grandmother is telling him “don’t touch” then it is for his own good.  The authority figure that you have chosen to watch your child also loves the child and would want to see that child flourish and be the best in his or her manners.

For example, my sister loves my son as her own.  She does everything for him from changing to feeding and everything in between.  Therefore if she were to ever reprimand him for something then that should not bother me.  If she can change his diapers, and spoil him rotten, then she can most certainly help correct him when he’s doing something wrong.

Sometimes, children listen to relatives more than they listen to their own parents; Parents should use that to their advantage.  When I am out, I usually tell my mother-in-law or others to tell Eesa not to do something, because I know he will listen.

Another scenario is when parents leave their children with relatives.  Parents are not around to see their children misbehave, therefore on those occasions I think the authority figure has the right not only to reprimand but perhaps punish them (i.e time out, take a toy away etc.)

If these adults are not given the right to reprimand your children, then the children may take advantage of that and in turn lose respect for their elders. The child would take advantage of that by 1) pushing their boundaries and 2) Not take them seriously if the relatives were to say something.

Another way to look at it is that if a child were to have some sort of problem, then that does not just affect the parents, it affects the entire family.  At that point, the entire family has an obligation to step up and offer whatever advice or help they can.  My nephew is like my son, therefore I would correct him out of love and concern, the same as I were to do for my own son.

My father recently taught my son a lesson in a funny way.  Every time I were to put Eesa in the car seat, he would throw a tantrum.  Naturally, he did the same with my father; My father took him back inside the house and closed the door while leaving Eesa inside.  My father was standing right outside the door for a mere few seconds, and in that time Eesa started knocking on the door.  Baba opened the door, brought him back in the car seat (peacefully) and as he was buckling him, Eesa let out a loud chuckle.  I don’t quite understand the logic, but hey it worked Alhumdulilah!!

So if your family helps you take care of your child, then they should be allowed to discipline them as well.

For the parents who disagree, I would love to hear your viewpoint!

Something to think about…

0 thoughts on “Can you discipline my child?

  1. Abeer, this is an interesting article I wonder though, extended family may have some very different ideas of how to discipline, how do you set boundaries with the extended family while still allowing them to play that role in raising your kids?

    • Good point… I think it is ok for a child to experience different styles of discipline if it is not prolonged… cause the child will go to school and the teachers may not treat him/ her like the parents would. in that situation, the child should be a bit prepared to handle such a situation when the parents aren’t there….

    • well that all depends on a few factors, such as what and how? If it is something a parent disapproves of then perhaps they can kindly bring it up to the relative in a manner such as “we’ve noticed that that approach doesn’t work but try this method instead” or “thank you for handling the situation and if he/she does it again then this is what we do.. (and then tell them)” that way you aren’t offending the relatives and at the same time you are letting them know that you would like them to handle the situation 🙂

  2. I do agree with the family part but not so much the neighbors or friends. I remember a time where one of my closest friend got mad at my daughter for not eating the entire egg that she made for her. That really annoyed me because in my friend’s viewpoint, the entire egg should be eaten whereas I know my daughter just does not like the yolk. Lol. So it didn’t bother me that she didn’t finish her egg but bothered me more that my friend was mad about it! Lol, sounds funny when I say it, but that’s just one example that popped in my head. everyone’s viewpoints are different but in general matters it should be okay (like don’t point at people or don’t hit other kids, etc).

  3. Nice topic abeer.I agree with you that grandparents,brother and sisters if are correcting your child son so that means they really care for your child.But I haven’t ever seen neighbor role truly speaking I would rather mind if neighbor try’s to correct my child if I think he/she saying something that is opposite to our view point.After all she’s an outsider but if she is correct and thing seems to be sensible then I wouldn’t mind.
    I would like to tell you that I have seen girls who really mind if child’s grandparents or their own brother or sister tries to correct something which I find really rediculous.

    • I agree, my limits would go as far as family, but neighbors being involved depends on the situation, for example if they are witnessing the child doing something bad and needs immediate attention (i.e being violent against another child)

  4. There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child… and that’s true! I guess a better word that “discipline” could be “guide.” The word discipline has many different connotations… but a lot of adults guiding a child would give him/her a better idea of how to function in society and respect authority. And I guess the “neighbors” could be on the same level as day care workers if a child goes there… if the kid does wrong with the parents are not around, the behavior is better guided than left for repetition

    btw cute story with your dad and eesa 🙂

  5. Awwwwww I can imagine Eesa chuckling after Uncle’s little trick 🙂 How adorable!

    Doomi, I agree that it definitely take a village to raise a child. One thing many of us second generation families have lost by being raised in the US is this very important concept. There are many, many benefits of having your child raised among grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in the extended family. They learn compromise, patience, discipline, and how to be “street smart” in ways that most desi children born/raised in the US are unfamiliar in. From what I’ve observed, the biggest problem being raised in the US is the feeling of “I, my, mine, ours” that really creates a selfish attitude, whereas children raised by others in their extended family learn to be more giving. Of course this is a generalization, and just my own observations 🙂

  6. Totally agree with Huma, Doomi and Mariam!

    Abeer, this is a fantastic entry. Very wise topic to talk about. I live in a joint family system here in Pakistan… with in-laws and 4 brother-in-laws (younger than my husband). Never once was I offended when/if any of them tried to discipline my daughter, Azka.

    If you really think about it though… we, parents, are harder on our children than grandparents are, generally, right?
    My husband would find it a bit of a problem if he is trying to discipline Azka, and his mother steps in and tells him to stop. hehe. Grandparents are definitely way more lenient than parents are!

  7. So I have a funny story related to this issue..a few days ago a parent walked into the pediatric office, along with the girls mom, the grandmother and aunt *nani and khala were there. The poor girl walked in kicking, screaming, basically being hysterical. The khala, the mom and the nani all were trying their best to control her. The mom was holding her and the nani was trying to wipe her nose the khala was trying to take her out of the room. It was a mess basically. The mom said the girl had been sick and ever since she started the antibiotics her 3 year old daughter has been going thru temper tantrums even in the middle of the night. She said she had been divorced from her husband and that he used to have ‘behaviour’ problems when he was a child but that the daughter and mom had no contact with the father. She wanted to ask the Dr. what to do and possible reasons why her daugher was acting so crazy all the time. She also said that her daughter had never done that before.

    The whole time she was talking, the nani (grandmother) was talking at the same time, I kept looking between them back and forth trying to keep up. The doctor asked the aunt and grandma to wait while he did a check up and when they left I was so curious to see what he had said.

    I really love that family and teachers along with parents are there to help raise children beacuse everyone offers their own unique view that help shape a child. If these ppl are in the childs life as a positve and nurturing force then they def have the right to dicipline as well. Dicipline in different ways than that of the parents, like some ppl said they are more leniant so they will distract them or take them out for a walk to change the climate of a situation. Dicipline doesn’t only mean you talk to them sternly and expect them to listen. But when I saw this familys situation I felt that sometimes its very hard to differentiat between dicipling and smothering.

    All caregivers/family/friends who aren’t the parents need to be able to make that distinction. Even when discipling, remember they are NOT the parents so trying to dicipline them that way won’t help, they need to find their own way to CONNECT with the child. Once they do that, dicipling can be easy.

    I’ll never forget the time when I was trying to feed my son and he was giving me a hard time, Abeer started a soccer game with him and a huge excerize ball everytime he’d eat a bite he could play with his chachi. It was so easy for me to feed him and he probably had the best dinner time ever. Hopefully my son has that stored in his memory and relates his khalas, chachi and phuppi with always being fun and loving so that when they dicipline him, he listens. Alhumdulillah for family in my life:)

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