Public Discipline - Feedback Friday

My local news covered a story this week about a Pittsburgh area mother who is being charged with simple assault for slapping her child's hand off her shirt after her child grabbed her shirt while shopping at a local grocery store.

The witness (and several others) called the police to report abuse and claimed that the mother could have disciplined in a better way and took the incident as abuse.

The mother, in her own interview, states that she doesn't see anything wrong with chastising her kids as long as she isn't leaving bruises or marks. In this interview, we hear the mother speak out and a demonstration of the slap in question from the accuser (I can't figure out how to embed it!): VIDEO

It's Feedback Friday...

What are your thoughts on this particular form of public discipline?

Do you think this mother should be charged with assault?


  1. In these types of news stories it is always the mother and not the father. I think it is ridiculous that the media is covering this. In fact if you research what is considered abuse it is when the child is left with a physical type of mark like bruising.
    A few months ago I witnessed a father slug his 15 year old son. He was not hurt although it was very disturbing to all of us on the baseball field who saw it. Nothing happened to the dad. When some moms told the police who were called, the dad said it was not her business. Of course there were repercussions from the baseball commissioners to the dad who was a coach and the son by banning them, there was nothing else that came out of it. I have mixed feelings on this, but in your example I feel the media need to find something else to report.

  2. Assault charges..no, but family therapy or counseling...absolutely.

    If this is happening in public, just imagine how they are treated in private.

    Leaving the little ones unattended is what really bothered me. Child snatching can happen an instant...just ask John Walsh of America's Most Wanted.

    Janet xox

    PS..Personally, I am not a believer in hitting. If hitting really worked it should only have to be done once...right? It rarely works that way.
    A neighbor once boasted that his Dad always spanked him and it always worked....WHAT!

    If it always worked, why was he always spanking?
    Because it didn't work..that's why.
    Just my thoughts ;->

  3. Hmmm, many thoughts.
    Hitting out of anger isn't the answer for sure but I (we) also don't walk in that mom's shoes.

    I wonder how people who are at their boiling point would react if we extend a word of encouragement rather than pointing a finger. Sometimes all a frustrated parent needs is someone to listen.

    I surely didn't win any awards for Parent of the year but in this world of violence and chaos, a little kindness can sure go a long way. What ever happened to the "random acts of kindness"?

  4. Wow, what a good topic! Thanks for posting :) Let me just say that I think there is a huge difference between hitting and spanking. Hitting is abusive and results from anger and frustration, while spanking is a form of discipline in love. One should never lift there hand to a child when angry, that's when you step away. As a christian mother, the bible is my source for all instruction in life -- and the "rod of correction" is no exception. Discipline in the form of spanking can be a wonderful tool if done in love, with a calm voice and additude, and instruction. With that said, I would never use this form of discipline in the middle of a grocery store or public arena. And this specific instance sounds like it was a quick reaction out of frustration -- which is not the right way to do things. Home life would determine if this woman is truly abusing her children or not. Its hard to say when you weren't there. If several people called the authorities, there may be some underlying anger that was shown toward the child to raise concern.

  5. For all we know, those two children could have been driving that woman mad, pestering for food all around the shop (I know they can!)

    I have no problem with the idea of parents smacking their children or giving them a tap on the hand if they're misbehaving, though I do think they should give the child a warning first e.g. 'stop that or you'll get a smack'.

    Seriously, rather than bothering about a stressed mum that slapped her child's hand in a supermarket, the world should worry about the kids that are suddenly much quieter in school, who 'fall over a lot' or are kept out of school for extended periods of time.

    Obviously having not been there and seen that stuff happen firsthand it's hard to have an unbiased opinion. But from the sound of it, that woman was just another stressed mother at the end of her tether.

    Children misbehave. In my opinion, they don't always learn not to by being told 'stop that' or 'if you don't stop you won't have ice cream' or similar, nor do they necessarily stop misbehaving through distraction tactics or bribery!
    (Speaking from experience as a child, sister, and a friend of a single mum of one!)

    So no, I don't think she should be charged with assault. As the mother of those children, it is her right to discipline them if they are misbehaving. Assault or abuse would be if she was really laying into them, hitting/punching/biting etc.

  6. O.M.G. Charging her assault is ridiculous!!! So she slapped her kids' hand in the store, so what? Everyone I know would have to be locked up then. Some people just have nothing better to do than put their nose in other people's business. A smack on the hand is NOT abuse! Hitting a kid hard enough to leave a handprint, now that's abuse.

  7. I think it's beyond ridiculous to charge that woman with anything. Kids are master manipulators, and if they figure out that they can do whatever they want in public, because "Mama" will get in trouble, then they will act up.

    I do think that a warning should always be given..I usually question if mine "want a heinie spanking" but it is not a stranger's place to reprimand a mother, nor to waste the police time on this issue. There is spanking and there is child abuse, and unfortunately, too many people have stuck their noses into this issue and have blurred the lines.

    Can you see my imaginary soapbox?

  8. I don't think it should be a crime for parents to discipline their children as they see fit, as long as they're not injuring them. I personally don't believe in spanking children, but it is a form of discipline that I think parents have the right to use if it doesn't cross over into abuse. It's not like she slapped her in the face, and if it's okay for her to be arrested should it also be okay for a parent to be arrested for slapping their child's hand if they are reaching for something hot or dangerous? The government should stay out of affairs that are best left handled by parents, and my opinion on that extends to other areas such as censorship too but that's a different story... ;-)

  9. It isn't a crime for a parent to discipline their child the way they feel is best as long as the child isn't injured. I personally use the naughty step, the only time I have ever slapped my son is when he hasn't done as I said and it has put his life at risk. i have only ever slapped him on the back of the hand. It doesn't even go red but the shock makes sure he remembers to not do that again and to stay safe.


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