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When Kids Get into Trouble….

I remember when our son was young and his friends would get into trouble at our place.

When about 8, they wouldn’t stop running through the house. I advised. I warned. It continued. I asked them all to sit on the steps to cool their heels.

My son knew that included hands folded on lap and quiet. As he sat in that position, his friends watched and slowly the three others settled down too with their hands in lap.

I thanked them as they finally settled down and their play was less boisterous afterwards.

When about 13, they were wrestling in the basement. Our son came up to say one of the kids hit the wall with his shoulder and broke the drywall. Yikes.

After making sure there were no injuries, we set a time for Saturday morning when they all had to return to plaster and paint the wall with me.It became a learning experience.

Kids get into trouble…. The challenge can be how we manage them in our home and how they may be managed in the home of another.It’s not that you can’t direct, correct or even discipline the child of another, the issue is how. To that end, don’t think of punishing, but redirecting and where necessary, slowing things down. Think of how to lead to desirable behavior.

Resist scolding, yelling, shaming or demeaning. Teach and guide. Facilitate making things right.

At times it may be necessary to report to a child’s parent for their direction or to address a situation regarding their child.

If your child has been inappropriately disciplined at the home of another, speak to the parent and use curiosity. What happened? What led up to it? What was my child’s part in it? How was it handled?

Regardless of what you are told by your child, assume nothing. Learn. Get to understand the situation as well as the other parent.

If then you see any issue arising than speak to it as may be necessary, but seeking to be nonjudgmental, blaming or shaming. How you respond can teach that which you may seek.

With what you learn, then there may be a need to talk things over with your child, to debrief and problem solve for the future.

Good parenting takes time and thoughtful consideration. We will be confronted by many issues.

Remaining calm, being concerned with safety and approaching from a place of curiosity and kindness helps.



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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
(905) 628-4847  


Gary Direnfeld is a social worker in private practice. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider Gary an expert on child development, parent-child relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations, social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a Section 112 (social work) report.


Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.


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20 Suter Crescent, Dundas, ON, Canada L9H 6R5 Tel: (905) 628-4847 Email: gary@yoursocialworker.com