I'm at something of a loss. I hear plenty about disciplining other people's children (i.e. when/if and how to do it) but not very much about the subject I have in mind. You see, I'm starting to worry that our more "lax" style of parenting (lax by certain Japanese standards) may be doing my reputation harm.
For instance, here in Japan, not wearing one's shoes inside the house is a very strict rule. Big no-no. The problem is that Peanut loves her shoes. I mean she *luuuuurrrvvves* her shoes. Once we're indoors, she would happily play with her shoes, taking them off and putting them on again for 30 minutes at a time. Occasionally that spills over into her wanting to then run around the house wearing them - in part to inspire a game of tag since she knows someone will likely chase her down in order to pry the shoes off her feet. Gboy and I have largely adopted a kind of hands-off approach here. She's not hurting herself or anyone else and as long as the shoes aren't wet or muddy, I don't worry too much about it. For the record, I would be fine with holding fast on this rule of no shoes, if for no other reason than to ensure peace and harmony in his parents' house, but Gboy is the oldest son and this will be his house one day and since he's said it's okay- he's pretty much laid down the law for everyone.
The problem is that when she sits in the entryway, playing with her shoes, other children often mimic her. This means that her cousins who have mostly learned that this a very unacceptable behavior, often join in and then get in trouble with their parents. My concern is that this isn't winning me any brownie points with the other family members (MIL & FIL and then of course the parents - specifically my two SILs).
I'm just not sure how to handle this. I'm sure as Peanut gets older we'll run into other similar problems. I'm not going to discipline her the way that they discipline their kids just because they think I should or "that's how parenting is done".
Ultimately the dilemma as I see it is what if my choice about how I parent conflicts with the parenting choices of other families around us? Am I obligated in some way to tell my child, "That's not okay to do here" in order to protect other kids from getting in trouble? And at what age do I start making those distinctions? With a 16 month old, I'm guessing there's not much reasoning going on - not enough for her to understand "here it's okay, there it's not" and to really comprehend that. At least not for a while longer, although with enough practice and repetition starting now, this might work. I just really want to be sure that I'm not damaging any relationships with family members here (I doubt it), or tarring my reputation (more likely I suppose).