A toddler who pushes the limits may challenge a friendship.

How to Deal With a Friend's Naughty Toddler

by Kathryn Hatter

While you could turn a blind eye to some shenanigans, there may come a time when the naughty behavior of your friend’s toddler reaches your limits. Use wisdom and a cool head with behavioral issues of other people’s kids. Although you don’t want to offend your gal pal, it’s not cool to have to deal with naughtiness that affects your own kids, your property or your sanity.

Scope out the situation to determine how to proceed. If you’re on your turf -- your house or your yard -- you’re free to set your own limits and make your own rules for how people behave, advises psychologist Lawrence Kutner, with the Psych Central website. If you’re in neutral territory, you may need to use a little more diplomacy regarding the naughty tot.

Step in quickly if the naughtiness involves any kind of danger, recommends child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett, with the Family Education website. If anyone’s health and safety is at risk, including your own kids, other people’s kids or other people, interrupt the behavior or the action by physically stopping the child. You might say something like, “Oh, no! This isn’t a good idea!”

Redirect the toddler in much the same way you’d redirect your own, if the situation is less dire. You might just call his name and show him something interesting to divert his attention away from naughtiness.

Call your own kids away from the naughtiness, if applicable. While you’re redirecting the toddler, get your little ones busy with a different toy.

Apprise your friend of the situation. You could say, “Jaden was heading for the street, so I headed him off at the pass” or “The kids had a bit of a scuffle, but we solved it by getting busy with the blocks.”


  • Some toddlers show behaviors that are energetic, aggressive and even oppositional, state Seminole County Public School psychologists Linda Hyust and Jean Stutes, authors of “Managing Misbehaving Toddlers and Preschoolers.” Parenting techniques can make matters worse, especially if parents are indulgent, inconsistent and even neglectful. It’s likely the toddler will respond to an adult other than a parent who redirects or disciplines, but if the toddler doesn’t listen, you may need to stop spending time with your friend and her youngster.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

Photo Credits

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