Discipline in Public: Parenting Without Concern

by on March 7th, 2015
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There are quite a few challenges parents today have to contend with our parents didn’t have to worry about when we were little. Today’s parents have to worry about things like cyber-bullying, sexting, gun violence in schools, and so much more. These challenges are of course highly publicized, but one challenge that parents often do not hear about is the challenge they face of disciplining their kids in public.

Parents today are getting more and more scrutiny of practices that at one time were commonplace. Spanking in public is one example that has landed some parents in jail recent years. Some parents have been arrested for washing their kids’ mouths out with soap after hearing them utter naughty words. The list goes on and on, and this constant attention to parenting methods and disciplinary measures makes it ever more difficult for parents to discipline their kids. Yet parents who don’t discipline their kids properly also fall under scrutiny. So what is a parent to do?

Understand the Laws. Not too long ago, a friend of mine spanked her kids in a gym parking lot, and a fellow gym patron threatened to call the police on her. This other patron followed her to her car and essentially was harassing her. So my friend turned the tables and called the police on this patron. When the police arrived, my friend was allowed to leave because she was within her legal rights to spank her kids, and the other patron was reprimanded for harassing her. When you understand what your rights are as a parent, you can know when and how to respond so such complaints about your parenting style.

Learn Modern Accepted Discipline Measures. The fact is that while parents of yesteryear did use soap in the mouth to punish the use of foul language, this is widely known as being unhealthy for kids today and in some cases has resulted in kids being rushed to the hospital. There are other more commonly accepted practices such as small amounts black pepper, cumin, or hot sauce in the mouth that may be equally as effective. This is one example of a modernly accepted discipline measure that parents need to learn about.

Don’t Be Embarrassed or Scared. The fact is that kids will learn very quickly that you won’t discipline them in public if you don’t discipline them in public, and this can create a situation most parents don’t want to contend with. Don’t be afraid to leave a toddler screaming for a minute or two in public rather than cave in to a public temper tantrum. Don’t be afraid to make even an older child stand in a corner in a public setting when disobeying. The fact is that while you may get some dirty looks here and there, most parents have actually been in your shoes and completely understand your actions. Just make sure the tactics you choose are legal and safe for your kids.

Here are a few other articles written by this author:

How Positive is Your Parenting?

Helping Your Kids Through Fights with Friends

Kids and Friend Drama: When to Step In


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