Should you discipline your child in public? Do you use different discipline techniques while you're in public?

Whether a reprimand or a spanking, some moms think discipline needs to happen immediately following an incident of misbehavior, while other moms think these things are best kept in the home. What do you think - and why?

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20  Answers

149 34

I always disciplined my children at the time the incident happened. Children, especially young children may forget what happened over time, then when you get home and you begin to reprimand, they look at you like your crazy and may not understand why mommy is upset. So, as with puppies, immediate response is necessary. If you require privacy, take your child to the public restroom, you might be surprised to find another mother in there doing the same.

32
503 54

I do. I have nothing to be ashamed of with my style of discipline and children need consistency everywhere! One time while waiting in line @ a deli, I had three boys acting up. I have a three strikes and you're out rule, so after two verbal warnings, I had them all sit in different corner of the store within my line of sight until my order was complete. People would come in line and look at the boys, then look at me, I just simply smiled back =)

15
0 15

I have 6 children ranging in age from 16 to 7 months. If my child or children act up I don't hesitate to take action immediately. If the behavior is serious enough they will have a time out right there on the floor in the store and I get right down to their level and explain what they have done wrong and why it is not acceptable. They are told if they continue their behavior after the incident that we will be going directly home and that they will be placed in their room to think about their actions. And Yes, I do the same with my older ones! How embarassing would it be for a teenager to get stared at while having a time out in the middle of walmart and being sent to their room!!! They only do it once :)

9
321 14

If my children misbehave in public I will discipline them, even in the middle of a busy store. If the people around don't like it, tough luck really.

9
321 14

My friend's son was misbehaving so badly in a supermarket once that my friend told him that if he didn't stop she would put him in the freezer and walk away (an open top freezer, not one with a lid). He carried on, she did exactly what she threatened (obviously she only walked just out of sight). He got upset as he thought she had left and called for her. She went back, got him out the freezer, all apologies made and he never did it again. I must admit, I probably never would do anything like that, and i'm not sure the staff in the supermarket would have been very impressed, but at the end of the day it did work - sometimes I suppose you may need to go to extremes.

1 20

I am a firm believer not to let children go, just because you are in public. I take my child firmly by the hand, go down to their level, and tell them to look at me. I say: " If you continue to behave like this in public and will have to accept responsibility for your behaviour." You have a choice, behave or I will take your favourite toy away for a whole day, or we are going home immediately." For me it always to give them a choice but also the consequences should they continue misbehaviour. Sometimes (only if Im not in a hurry) I would put them on timeout on the floor and linger in that isle for a while until the time is up.

8
0 15

My friend was in a store where a boy was throwing a 'fit tantrum' on the floor. The poor mother was so embarrassed she tried to ignore her son. My friend (Being an overweight woman with an extremely outgoing personality) threw herself on the floor next to the boy and screamed just as loud while kicking her legs in the air. None the less the boy immediately stopped shouting, got such a fright that he jumped up and ran to his mother. Extremely embarrassed the boy kept dead quite at his mothers side the entire time his mother spent in the store looking over his shoulder for the 'mad' women. People thought my friend was crazy but I doubt the boy will do it again. ;-)

7
0 2

My son has ASD and if someone did that while he was having a tantrum in the mall I would have a hard time convincing him it was safe to go back to that mall again. Most of the time parents know what they are doing in disciplining their children and there is many reasons for handling things in a particular way which are not apparent to an outsider. So many strangers who think they are 'saving' me from embarrassment just end up seriously freaking out my son.

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9 0

I discipline in public only because I feel like it either creates too much anxiety for the child to have to wait until they get home to be disciplined and there is the possibility that they will forget why they are being disciplined or the child never learns how to behave in public. Sometimes though, I will take my children to the bathroom or a lot of times I will whisper sternly in their ear.

5
5 24

It's so hard to discipline your child in public because you never know what people will do. I do discipline, because the children forget and sometimes don't remember. Knip it in the butt.

5
0 6

I am a proud mother of a beautiful 3 year old boy. I firmly believe that discipline must take place immediately following misbehavior. I have had to pull my son out of a few situations so I can either reprimand him or place him on time out. Even though it is embarrassing at times, I have to keep a consistant pattern of discipline for my son, regardless of where we might be.

4
0 0

You can't win. The people that give you the "look" in public when your child is acting up and you want to discipline at home are the same people who will give you the "look" when you discipline your child in public. These people will have a problem with whatever tactic you use so it's best to just do what you feel is right for the moment. I wish other people in our society would be more understanding. It really does "Take a Village". Sadly people are so caught up in "how things look" and not enough with what you're trying to teach. Next time one of them give you that death stare just say to them, "Excuse me, If I could get less of the judging eye from you that would be great since it's exactly the opposite of how i'm trying to raise my child. Thank you."

3
1 16

Nice. It amazes me that everyone is so judgemental yet still complain that our children are so very rude and disrespectful. If more people would see "disapline" as it should be to teach your child right from wrong and do just that. People need to realize that "disapline and abuse" really are two different things. If all parents would disapline there children there would be no need for abuse. And I have a 15 year old that really pushes me to the max, but I don't and would never abuse her.

3 0

I have 2 stories of what happened to me in public with my son:

The first time we were at Wal-Mart and I was about 7 months pregnant with my 2nd son. I was tired, just got off work from a long day, and was already in a bad mood. My son (3 yrs old at the time) just wanted to make a bunch noise like a typical 3 year old. There were many times I had told him to keep his voice down, but nothing I said was working. After a while I started to tune the noise out because I was already not in a great mood. This older lady was walking by and said to me, "Aren't you going to do something about your son"? I just stared at her with frustration. Then the lady asked me the same question again. In an upset tone I asked her, "What do you want me to do, spank him, would that make you happy"? She came back at me with, "I have granddaughters and they don't act like that". At this point my blood is boiling. I told her, "You can walk away now". A minute later someone (I think it was the older lady's daughter) came around the corner and yelled in my sons face. People around, especially the one's with kids, were wondering what the heck just happened.

The 2nd time we were at my son's soccer game. He was 4 years old at the time and my 2nd son was about a few months old. My husband usually go to all of my son's soccer games, but that Saturday he had to work. My sister came with me and the kids to watch my son play soccer for the first time. He was behaving so badly and was not listening, to me, my sister, or his coach. I realize because daddy wasn't there my son thinks its ok to ack up and be bad. So I took him to one of the stalls in the restroom to have a talk, and discipline if the talk wouldn't work. Well, the talk didn't work, so I gave him a few spanks on the butt. After the spanking he still refused to listen to me. Keep in mind the restrooms at the soccer games have a very loud echo effect, so any noise that is made in the restroom is about 10 times louder. I spanked him again and he just kept screaming at the top of his lungs, and still refuse to listen. There was a lady in the restroom that told me she was going to call someone (CPS) if I don't stop. I asked her how she would handle this situation and she told me I should get psychiatric help. She said she was in my shoes once and that's what she had to do. I text my husband to let him know what was going on at the soccer game, and he got very upset. He called so he can talk with our son. Our son started doing a lot better after the phone call.

So here are 2 situations I just can't seem to get right for the public.

3
9 0

That really stinks! Unfortunately we can't really win with people because everyone has a different opinion. :(

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0 2

Spanking your child is illegal in New Zealand so I wouldn't do that here. But I always reprimand my son in public, it is much more important to deal with the issue at the time than to keep face. Important to remember when watching other peoples parenting styles that ignoring a child can be an effective form of reprimand, especially if it is the parents attention that the child is after. Most parents know what the most effective form of discipline is with their child and I wouldn't step in to correct them unless it was abusive.

2
0 0

I'll second that. If I payed the slightest bit of attention to my son during a "whining fit" his whining would go from 15 seconds of crying to full out yelling and screaming. So yeah I am a master at ignoring that and other people giving him attention makes it worse to. That's why I pay no attention to other kids misbehaving. Not my kid not my problem.

2 38

Depends on the age for me. I never could talk reason to a child under three.

When my children were at this age and they fell apart in public, more often than not, I carried them outside (removed them from the situation) where they had the opportunity to cry it out and then settle down (got to have warm weather for this technique. In cold weather, we went to the car and shivered until they calmed down.) If the fit continued after that, we went home. If they were still throwing a fit when we got home, I placed them in their room and closed the door. Then I would go do something else in the house until they settled down. Any attempts to escape their time out would result in them being carried right back to their room. I've even had to hold the door shut. (My youngest would reopen the door and shout at us just for good measure). The kids only went to this extreme a few times a year, usually after crashing on sweets, tired from a full day of stimulation and fighting sleep.

Now that I can somewhat reason with my kids, I give them two choices when they misbehave. Choice one is to stop right now and the other choice is loosing a privilege (or toy) if they continue to act up. If they just can't contain themselves after that first warning, they loose their privilege. If they still can not act right after loosing their privilege, we go home, miss out on whatever nice thing we were doing and I guilt them all the way home. When they get home there are extra chores waiting on them to complete, right then.

We do, however, have times where my kids get so overstimulated or something emotionally upsetting has happened to them that they can not head off a melt down. Funny thing is these times are as embarrassing to them as it is for us to witness. My husband and I know the clues and we will direct the boys to an out-of-the-way spot where they can decompress and work the emotions out. Then we give them a little more time to cool off and wait for them to walk back to us, which they usually do because we stay within sight of each other. Mind, we have to be in a safe place to do this. If the place is unsafe or crowded, we leave for the car, go to the next place on our errand list or go home.

We have spanked our children as a last resort with mixed results. Strangely enough, their suffering a hardship as a direct result of my children's poor choices is the best teacher, especially when they can understand the correlation. Until that point in my children's development time outs, removal from the situation and scheduling more chill time between highly stimulating events worked for us.

My husband and I have developed a "don't give a crap" attitude to anyone who judges our parenting style in public. As long as they don't interfere, we ignore those kinds of people. If they interfere, then they get the brunt of our angst, (as long as it doesn't distract us from paying attention to our struggling child.) Very few individuals have actually interfered, but several have mouthed off at my children or us. If my kids smart back at them, I shrug my shoulders because that mouthy adult asked for their verbal abuse.

1
0 20

I have no thoughts you cannot win in this situation !

1
0 37

AMEN......just do what you gotta do !!

0 0

I have a 6 year old daughter and she is told once what she has done wrong or a spank if she does not listen after that i pull her pants down in public and spank her or if she is big trouble I pinch her if that does not work I take all her clothes off and spank her and pinch her and it works

0
1,883 0

It depends. Some things need to be dealt with immediately and it's reasonable to handle things on the spot. Other things should be dealt with in private - like if it's a more complicated issue, the child will be embarrassed, the issue is very emotional, etc. I am much more likely to leave a public place if our kids can't meet the standard of behaviour than to stay unless the situation can be handled very quickly and easily. The grocery store is for grocery shopping, not for a family therapy session. I won't necessarily wait to get home though... just to a more private space.

0
123 3

Depends on the circumstances.. if it won't embarass the child unduly, then it's ok to let the child know his/her action is wrong. Last thing is to use shame as a 'lesson'.
Sue Atkins, parenting expert, also shared about using spanking here
http://eczemablues.com/2012/06/friday-qa-with-sue-atkins-discipline-for-eczema-children/
Mei

0
32 21

I have found from personal experience as a child that if some form of discipline or reprimand delivered publicly is humiliating and fosters resentment, which can defeat the entire purpose and even backfire. However, if a reprimand is deserved for inappropriate behavior in a public place, if I was taken aside and it was dealt without public display, I nearly always behaved better afterward (of course, no child is perfect).

From personal experience as a parent, I have found that when the level of behavior merits simply a reprimand, if I take my child aside and deal with it quietly, I am well-received (again, no child is perfect). But sometimes the behavior warrants more than that. When such is the case, I still take my child aside and issue a stern reprimand, but then give notification of the consequence which will occur after leaving. Sometimes that involves cutting the activity short and leaving immediately.

If you spank your kid in public (I offer no personal opinion on spanking, whatsoever), you do risk someone deciding to call authorities and accuse you of child abuse. I've seen it happen before--once at a grocery store! Just letting you know. Again, no personal opinion offered.

A book I read which has proven extremely valuable is "Don't Shoot the Dog" by....oh, bother, I forget the author's name. But I highly recommend it!

0
0 3

i believe it is better to do it right then and there so the child can link the two together knowing that what they did was wrong and need to be punish for same. leaving it for when they reach home might have some confusion in mind of why am i getting punished? as well as the child may develop some self esteem issues when continuously being punished in public. remember these are my VIEWS

0
0 0

I agree you can't win. I am from a predominantly Hispanic community and I can talk sternly and spank if I need to and no one some much as bats an eye. But now that I am in an Army community. I can not even talk to my son sternly because I get the look of death from women. Much less spank him. I wonder if that's why a lot of army kids are brats. They get "talked" to. I've seen it work for some. But If not lets try something else please. I'm not afraid to disciple my son but it is hard to.

0
0 9

i totally agree with taker's your child out of the situation in which they are misbehaving. i often take my daughter of 3 out side or into the toilet and explain what she is doing wrong and tell her what i expect of her when we re-enter the situation. i lay down the consequences and it usually works. USUALLY!

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