Parents Talk: Public Displays of Discipline

If a child you don't know was being disciplined by their parent, would you intervene?

Over the weekend, I was out in public with some cousins and their kids at a busy . While we were there, one of my little cousins made a mess and his mother made him clean it up. Accident or not, in my family we have our children clean up whatever they messed up. We do this so that when they become an adult they will know that they have to be responsible for their actions... mistake or not. Anyway, he started crying and whining because he didn't want to clean it up. While he is cleaning up, a stranger comes over and helps him clean up the mess and starts consoling him and giving him hugs, etc. And turns to my cousin giving her the "How Could You?" eye. Now, my cousin didn't do anything in response to this, but to me this was slightly crossing a boundary. 

My cousin never raised her voice or yelled at her child, she simply told him to fix what he messed up. If a parent doesn't redirect the actions of their child, then who will. It's the responsibility of the parent to discipline their child how they see fit. Being a parent is already a huge task, without the intervention of some random stranger "saving" the day. 

It's true that no one likes to , but when a parent is disciplining their child shouldn't that parent be able to do so? As long as the child is not being abused or neglected, I see no reason for anyone to intervene with a situation like this. 

There are so many children who act a complete nut in public all because they know mom and dad won't correct them there. But for many parents waiting until we get home to discipline a child is not good enough. Especially when many parents completely forget to discipline their child for something that happened hours ago. 

So the question I have for all you brilliant parents is when is it appropriate to intervene when a child is being disciplined in public?

Katha Blackwell July 13, 2011 at 11:28 PM
I agree Kelley! I think it is really messed up how parents have to think twice before disciplining their children in public.Punishment for misbehaving is 24/7 no matter where we are.
Carol S. July 14, 2011 at 12:09 PM
Maybe if you two were not so insulted you would atually learn about parenting. But I think I am expecting to much, good parenting is more than just not beating your child with a stick. Frankly I can see about four parenting skills your cousin needs work on just by this article, even though the peice was written clearly skewed to make people believe your cousin was right, and people who care about child welfare are wrong. Can you tell what your cousin needs to work on in order to be a good parent?
Katha Blackwell July 14, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Hi Carol,thanks for your input.We are talking about more than spankings. In the scenario given, there were no spankings involved. So in what way do you think my cousin was wrong? Please enlighten us.
Rachelle Mitcham July 14, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Good thing it was not me that the "intruder" decided to step in and save the day for my child, the scenario would have been quite differently. The parent was correct in this instance in making the child clean up what he/she had knocked over. I'm sure the do-gooder thought the mom should have assisted the child in the clean-up, but that's not teaching the child consequences for their actions....good or bad. Kudos!! to mom for setting the stage now, that whatever you do in life, there are consequences and I may not be around to assist you in the clean-up, Really, "buttinskys" should resist their urge to assert themselves in matters that really do not warrant their intervention.
Katha Blackwell July 14, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Thanks for your comment! I agree. We only have a certain amount of time to instill those core values into our children. Intuder beware.


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