Mommy Dearest,

My husband and I don't consider ourselves to be too strict, but there are certain actions that are absolutely forbidden. Hitting, pushing and cursing are among those that receive prompt disciplinary action – time-outs, lectures, etc. – regardless of where we are when they occur. We recently faced a dilemma when visiting friends for the afternoon and their daughter, 3, began pushing our three-year-old son. Since her parents didn't say anything, we told her to stop. When it happened again, we asked the other parents to separate the children for a while. They said "kids will be kids" and that we overreacted. How do I handle other kids' bad behavior toward my son when their parents see nothing wrong with it?

– Miffed Mama

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Miffed Mama,

Even the most well behaved children have bad days and that's just par for the playdate course — young kids are often unpredictable. It's appropriate for you or your husband to step in when your child is being bullied and say something or approach the other tot's parents, but it doesn't mean they will agree with your take on the situation. At that point, it may be best to exit. You might also want to consider setting up playdates with families who share your views on child rearing since it's not your place to discipline someone else's child.

—Mommy Dearest

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