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This week’s question:
My child's best friend is notoriously naughty. There is always an issue that arises just after I feed them lunch, and it puts me in a difficult position. Short of cancelling playdates, can I punish the child, just as I would my own if they continued to do the same thing?
Coryanne: Disciplining someone else's child is always a delicate topic. I like to start off each playdate with a clear yet friendly reminder of what our house rules are. I find that if you start off the playdate with firm rules, your guest is more likely to respect them. If a rule is broken, I try to interject a bit of humor with something like, “You know in our house, if you do [XYZ], you have to do the dishes after dinner. Do you think you mother would let you stay longer to do the dishes?” With a bit of humor and a firm stance, that guest should start respecting your rules and transform his/her self into a delight.
Mindy: This is a tricky situation, yet is one that, in the moment, can be nipped with a gentle but firm reminder. Keep in mind this isn't about discipline, but more about ground rules. If you haven't already gone over house rules with your children (and the troublesome guest), this is the perfect time to do so. Start with something like, “Oh dear, I forgot to tell you our top three house rules.” If the house rules continue to be broken, planning future playdates might be something to reconsider.
About Our Experts: Mindy Lockard is The Gracious Girl and offers traditional etiquette advice with a modern gracious twist. Coryanne Ettiene believes entertaining at home should be an everyday affair; she shares contemporary advice for modern living at Housewife Bliss.