What to Do if a Spoiled Brat Comes to Your Home
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What to Do if a Spoiled Brat Comes to Your Home

There is nothing more aggravating than an ill-mannered child except maybe the parent that is with him or her. When someone comes to your home and brings their child with them and will not mind their child, it puts you in a very awkward position. You might be out of your comfort zone, but setting standards of behavior early on will save you a lot of irritation later.

When an adult comes into your home, you expect a certain level of polite and civilized behavior. Yet, when a child comes to your home the standard of behavior is different. You, of course, realize that the child may not know any better depending on his age. When the child is without his parent, it is appropriate to set and enforce the rules of your household in a manner that is consistent with the expectations set for your own children.

The problems come when the child is accompanied by a parent and the parent allows the child to misbehave. There may be reluctance on your part to correct a child in your home with the child’s parent sitting right in the room ignoring the bad behavior. You may not want to offend or create conflict with your friend or visitor. So you relent and turn a blind eye to the bad behavior while you wait for the parent to step up to the plate only to fume and complain once the parent has left with bratty child in tow.

It is worth stopping a minute to ask yourself a few questions at this point:

  1. Is your friendship with the parent so valuable that you will overlook the child’s bad behavior and possible destruction of you possessions and harm to your own child?
  2. Are you willing to explain to your own child why the bratty kid is allowed to get away with rude and destructive behavior?
  3. What will happen if you actually get up and correct the child?
  4. Will the parent be offended and leave? (see #1).

It is more than likely that the parent of the bratty child tolerates this behavior at home but that is no reason for you to tolerate it as well. You are not doing this child any favors and you may be doing the parent a favor by setting a good example on positive parenting. And so what if they are offended and leave? (see #1 above).

Of course you don’t want to go in like gangbusters and lose your temper with anyone. Your first course of action should be a gentle hint or request to the parent to correct the child. A remark to bring the parents attention to the situation first would be in order. You might say something like “wow, bobby is a bit rough on the cat, I am afraid the cat might get hurt”. Or “I am concerned that Bobby is going to break Johnny’s toy”.

If the parent is unresponsive you can just get up and take care of correcting the child yourself. Be as diplomatic as you can. If the parent doesn’t support you and the child is not responding to your gentle correction then it would be appropriate to ask the parent to take the child home. The trick is to do this in a way that is as diplomatic as possible. You may have to see these parents on a regular basis. You might say, “I see that Bobby is a little cranky today, maybe you should take him home so he can rest and have some quiet time”. (see #1 above).

You should not see the child again for a couple of weeks before you test the waters again. You might want to even give it a month. If the problems continue, extend the time even longer between visits. It may be necessary to put distance between you and your friend until the children grow a bit older. Continue by all means to require visiting children to behave according to the standards of your household.

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Comments (4)

Your title grabbed my attention! I feel you handled the subject with sensitivity and tact.

I have no problem correcting a bratty kid, its tougher when their parents are around because then I just get mad that the parents are doing nothing, bratty kids are the result of a lazy parent.

You are so right Brenda. It is kinda shocking sometimes what a parent will let their kid do at someone else's home and just sit there and watch.

Great suggestions, Judy and I've had to reprimand parents of a misbehaving kid in my home.  I have a cat that kids like to chase and pull her tail.  She's 14.  I usually put her in my bedroom when kids come, but sometimes a closed door doesn't keep unruly kids away.  As soon as the door is open, the discipline begins with the kid and then the parent.