Being Criticized or Questioned by Strangers for Discipling Your Children in Public - FamilyEducation
Being Criticized or Questioned by Strangers for Discipling Your Children in Public
06/28/2007 at 01:34 AM

Whenever you have to discipline your child, especially in public, do total strangers come up and either ask or criticize you for the way that you choose to discipline then?

I have no kids myself, but I've seen plenty of parents, especially mothers, hitting, screaming, and  yelling at their kids in public if the ever misbehave. There's times that I just felt like going up to them and asking why they treat their child like that, but I just do the right thing; I keep my mouth shut and  mind my own business. In this day and age, you never know if they're gonna have a gun or a knife on them.

If you have ever encountered this, please let me know.

hi nanlisa,This is happy I have responded to a couple of your other messages on  the boards .Like i have mentioned before I have three children ages 7 ,6 and 3. To answer your question yes Ihave encountered people diciplining their children in public .Ibelieve that after a warning  3 times then they get a tap on  their bottom .My children rerely get to that point because I have taught them how to act in public.I think that you are doing the right thing by minding your business these days parents do not like strangers  in their business ESPECIALLYif you don"t    have children of your own. If and when you become  a mother you 'll understand. Question what do you suggest the parent do when their child is misbehaving in public ?  please respond .


Hi Happy.

Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I am way past the childbearing years now. I decided to just simply let my biological clock run out. I never wanted to be a wife and a mother; I wanted to  just simply work and travel. I am happy the way I am: single and childless, and I love it that way. Thanks and have a Happy Fourth of July.


Hi nanlisa,

I understand that to see a parent discipline their child can be upsetting.  What I  propose is that if you do see a parent or care provider discipline a child--ask if they need help.  If you have no kids you wouldn't know the stress, time, and dedication that a parent has to take.  Kids can be very busy and not want to listen.  You was a kid.  And at one time, I'm SURE you too got into "trouble" and your parents corrected you in public. 

I have seen parents go overboard .  If that be the case-- call someone.  That leaves you "out" and then the child is safe as well.



I agree with the others. Stay out of it unless it is child abuse. Then tell social services. If you can follow the parent long enough to get a license plate number that will help, even though you might have to deal with red tape like a court appearance. If you feel it is a huge problem in your community, volunteer with agencies that try to help families that need to learn better parenting strategies.


Responsible parents should carefully select appropriate public places to  work with their children on  behavior. In rearing children, it is important that kids be taken into public places.  However, as parents, we are generally aware that there are bad times to take a child anywhere--and it is our responsbility to protect the public from our children's tantrums.

The problem arises in that moment when our general awareness fails us, and we find ourselves at a five-star restaurant with a child that needs managing.  I believe that one of the important reasons we discipline our children is so that they can function civilly outside our home.  And this is where it gets interesting.  In that moment of child-management, I've seen parents shift the public focus off their misbehaving child by turing themselves into genuine monsters.

It is never appropriate for parents to make  bigger scenes than their children.  And when parents do this, if it seems safe,  it is reasonable to gently offer help (as said above) and  remind them that they are in public and upsetting me and my children.  


Hi!  I have a 3 y.o. and a 10 mos. old and I find myself wanting to approach strangers at times!  I firmly believe that there are ways to discipline your children that are better for and worse for them, but I suppose it isn't OK to interfere.  Since becoming a parent, especially a parent of a spirited child, I have become so invested in the topic that my goal is to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education to teach classes to parents at community centers, etc.--to people who are more likely to parent without reading and researching best, healthy practices.   


To Attyzoemom

I just wanted to let you know your plan to pursue an education in New Kid Ed. for the purpose of guiding parents without a valid "I know how to raise my kid" license is great! Your experience with your own kids will give you the edge too many 'teachers' lack.

I don't mean for this to sound old school, but, back when a family had more old people around with some experience, young parents could be guided by them. Now, it seems many young parents are alone or trapped by their own arrogance of ignorance.

Good Luck, hope you can make a dent!

DaMoKi Bob


Hi -  This foxfollower and I am new here.  This has been bothering me a lot recently in light of the Baldwin matter.  Is this like phone tapping?  He wasn't even in public.  What was said and certainly the tone are inappropriate, but haven't most of us had those days?  The words might be different when I say them.  But exasperation is a part of parenting and being human. 

I was reading this article this morning and it made me wonder how we forgive ourselves along with forgiving our kids for being kids.

I would appreciate feedback on the forgiveness idea.


Thanks -  Foxfollower Massachusetts


I think instead of criticizing or questioning someones parenting skills, maybe you can offer a kind smile or a can I help you with anything.  Nobody likes to be judged, especially when it comes to parenting.  Even those who think they know everything have their struggles as parents.  Any parent  who is acting out towards their children is obviously already frustrated and on edge, maybe the kind gesture will remind them to calm down and handle it differently.  I would have to agree and disagree to whoever made the comment "it is our responsibility to protect the public from our childs tantrums".  While yes we should choose wisely as to were we take our children, I was always taught it takes a community to raise a child.  Children don't learn how to behave in public by not experiencing it  and being taught the do's and don'ts, I take mine out and when they act up I take them out and talk to them until they listen. 


It is everybodys business to intervene when they see a child being abused.  Kids don't have a voice, so we need to stand up for them.  Too many people look the other way... have you seen the video Concrete Angel? 

We have to address abuse... and not look the other way.  Parents need to be held accountable. 

And by abuse, I do mean spanking, a tap, or whatever word you choose to call it. 

"How are we going to teach our children it is not okay to hurt others when we keep hurting them?"




Never strike your children. you'd simply be teaching them to solve problems with violence. Bad parents are worse than no parents. Case in point: Ronnie Paris Sr. He murdered his son. Want children to enjoy reading? Simple solution - buy them an adventure game or RPG. Sport will only make them miserable, especially if they have no natural talent for it. Force children to do something they hate, and they will consider it work. They will want compensation (and more importantly, they will DESERVE it). It will also make them feel like they're being punished for no reason. Corporal punishment can hurt children emotionally as well as physically. This is amplified if they are not given a reason other than "I said so." Furthermore, NEVER break a promise and use the "I didn't lie! I just changed my mind!" excuse.