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How To Deal With Someone Else’s Misbehaving Child

How do you tell doting parents that their child is behaving badly? Here are some tactics for a touchy situation.


  • Step 1: Set house behavior rules for a child guest. Explain the rules at the beginning of the visit. Guest infractions may include jumping on furniture, stealing toys, or talking back.
  • Step 2: Reprimand the visiting child if they repeatedly ignore the rules. Call the child's parents to pick up their child. When parents arrive, have the child explain the bad behavior to their parents.
  • FACT: California's Street Terrorism and Prevention Act makes it a crime for parents to not "exercise reasonable care, supervision, protection and control" over their children.
  • Step 3: Intervene promptly if another child’s health, welfare, or safety is at risk. Politely explain safety issues if the parent objects to your intervention.
  • TIP: The simplest remedy in a public place is to move away from the misbehaving child, or tell your child to stay away if they are being bullied.
  • TIP: Ask a restaurant host to move you if you're seated near noisy children.
  • Step 4: Tell the parent that their child is misbehaving when you're somewhere that third-party intervention is unlikely. Use a friendly, tactful approach.
  • Step 5: Ask a third party for help if another parent’s child is misbehaving in public. A third party can be a waiter, an usher, or a store employee.

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