I'm not a mother, but I frequently help watch my niece and nephew. I've been requested by my sister Heather to find a parenting forum to discuss a recent situation. I appreciate all feedback. My brother Cory began watching my niece Kelsey after school at the end of August. He works nights, so he gives up some sleeping time, but he really enjoys doing this. Truth be told, my niece is a cute little kid, and she can be fun to have around. Every day, my sister picks her up from our apartment, after first picking up our three year old nephew Colton from daycare. He's fun sometimes, but he often has too much energy and simply has no regard for authority. When he comes over, our mild-mannered niece often starts acting out too. Our family isn't sure if it's because she's excited to see him, or if she's trying to make up for attention lost when he's around, but it happens regardless. The other night she came to pick up Kelsey, Colton came in, and he and Kelsey started acting up, ie running around the apartment, and Colton was jumping on, running on, jumping off, and climbing up the arm of the couch. In about a ten to fifteen minute period, I told him twice to sit on the couch, and my sister told him twice. I told him a third time, so he jumped off the couch and proceeded to climb up the arm from the side (which is right where my sister was sitting.) I stood up, grabbed him under his arms, set him on the ground, and gave a firm but not hard swat on the behind. He didn't cry, he just sat down right where he was. He sat there for about five minutes; under verbal warnings, he never stopped. It was the first time I've ever spanked a child, and truly, can't imagine hitting or abusing a child; I simply gave him one spanking on the behind, and let it be. My sister made as if she was going to hit me, and then proceeded to tell me how she's repeatedly told me not to lay my hands on her children. Less than three weeks prior, my niece was touching my very expensive computer, which I told her twice not to touch. She touched it a third time, so I came in, picked her up under her arms, carried her to the door, and merely said, "Put on your shoes; we're leaving [for dinner] now." This occured while both my sister and brother-in-law where here; in fact, my sister was not six inches from Kelsey when she was touching the computer. Long story short is, my sister spent an hour giving me an angry lecture about how I don't know how to deal with children, and how I merely undermine her role as a parent by taking things into my own hands. The question is, was it irresponsible for me to do this? We have clearly defined rules here, which both kids and parents are aware of. If the parent does nothing, is it wrong to do something myself? Are our rules, not jumping/climbing on the couch, too tight; is that something little kids don't understand, as my sister insists? She said to post and get some feedback. This really isn't about spanking, not meant to spark some big debate on that, but merely focused on this specific instance (which, as I said, is the only time I've used a spanking as discipline.) Thanks, and if anyone has questions/needs clarification, I'd be happy to do so.. EDIT: In at least one place I changed "spanking" to "swat on the behind." I gave my nephew one swat on the butt. Apparently some people hear spanking and think, pants pulled down, bent over a knee, and repeatedly hit. That was by no means the case.