Disciplining Someone Else’s Children

Disciplining Other People’s Kids

It’s amazing what you can learn about society from watching old television shows. I once wrote an article based on the expectations and societal roles of husbands and wives based on observations from how Samantha and Darrin behave on Bewitched.

I have a different twist on that today in the topic of disciplining kids that are not your own. This observation is how societal expectations have changed over the years. I was watching the highly regarded AMC show Mad Men the other day (which is set in the early 1960’s) and I was completely taken by surprise by a particular scene in which one character actually slapped another character’s kid inside the kid’s own house and told the kid to behave.

I can’t even imagine that scene taking place on a TV show set in our times, much less imagine something like that actually happening in this day and age. Can you?

It makes you realize how what we find acceptable has changed so much over the past fifty years. (Kudos to the writers for dreaming up that scene and making it so very ordinary in the context of the show.) If you saw something like that on a show today, it would not be a passing scene, it would be the focus of an entire episode and the parents of the child who got slapped would be suing their former friend for daring to hit the kid, regardless of how the kid was behaving.

That leads to an important question. In real life, how would you handle disciplining a friend’s child?

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