Baby Hints & Tips

Dangerous parenting decisions

chained heartHow do you approach another parent if you are concerned what they are doing with their child is dangerous? For example, incorrect car seat use, starting solids super early or leaving children home alone at a very young age. When should you take it further and who should you approach?

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Please keep all responses helpful and non-judgmental.

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  1. Lindsay says:

    I’d start by asking the parent why they have chosen to do that particular thing that way. I’d ask a few follow-up questions along the lines of “Aren’t you concerned about XYZ happening?” and go from there. The main thing is to not sound judgemental as that is likely to set off defences and make the discussion very hard and less likely to be effective.

  2. BabyHintsandTips says:

    I would give them information presuming they may not know. There is so much info out there, sometimes people have good intentions they are just misinformed. I think this can be done subtly and non-confrontationally. Tanya

  3. Renee says:

    I prefer not to interfere unless the other parents choices are affecting my own children or there is imminent/obvious danger…if I felt it was extremely serious it would really depend on the general response of the parent! If I could start up a conversation (assuming the person is not known to me) then I might make mention of the issue in general conversation. If they entirely rebuff any communication and what I see falls into the category of abuse or serious neglect then I would have to do what was right and contact an authority. When it comes to things like feeding early/unhealthy choices, leaving children home alone – I’d rather keep my opinions to myself unless a response is asked for =)

  4. Darrell Milton says:

    Wow, where do I start with (I was going to say with whom, but they’ll remain anonymous)?

    – Sharing spoons for their twins when they were first starting on solids. We nipped THAT in the bud…

    – Leaving the twins at home whilst the mother dropped the father to the station. Sure it is 10 minutes there and 10 minutes back out of peak hour, but it can be a 30 minute round trip. The thing is, the next-door-neighbours were willing to look after the twins (the trip to the station was early and both the kids were still asleep most of the time), so why wouldn’t you take up the offer? The threat of reporting to DOCS cleared that one up…

    – Using the same hanky to wipe dad’s own nose and then that of one or both of the kids. Yuck. I had to say something…

    – Dressing the boy twin (the twins are both boy and girl) in girl’s clothes because the mother or the twin’s mother only shopped for girl’s clothes because “little girl’s clothes are beautiful…” Ummm, no. Put the boy in boy’s clothes always. Several photos of the boy wearing these clothes circulated (emailed and Facebook upload) to the social circle with the parents copied in stopped that ridiculous practice.

    – And tonight, I was doing some handyman work at the house where the twins live and both of the twins (now 4 years old) were not wearing socks or slippers (and it is freezing cold tonight). I was pulling out the old shower screen in readiness for their new shower screen to go in and the installers charge extra for pulling the old one out so I offered to do it seeing that I have heaps of power tools and the want to use them (grunts somewhat macho like; think Tim The Tool Man Taylor). The girl wanted to come into the bathroom without her slippers on and there were chards of glass and aluminium shavings. The dad just yelled at her, not explaining anything. Now, seeing that I am their God Father, I picked her up, explained what we were doing in the bathroom, why it was dangerous for her to come in bare foot, and told her that if she put her slippers on then she could come and watch us.

    The good thing is, with this couple, they rely somewhat on my handyman skills (amongst other things) so they have no choice but to listen to me when I pull them up on the dangerous or ridiculous things they do.

  5. Wendy says:

    Seriously, if a child is left at home alone I would ring the police, and have done so. Not acceptable under any circumstances.

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