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What can I say?  Disciplining in public is always a touchy subject!

We have a spirited three year old.  Does this describe him well enough? 😉  He pushes the boundaries.  Each of our kids did, at some point.   I want to share with you the reasons that I try to be consistent in our discipline in public, like I am at home.
discipline in public

1- They know!  He knows if we are out that he can test the limits.  Will I still put him in time out in a store?  Yes.. and I have.  Sometimes he will cry, but I stick with what I learned in the book “The Magic of Love & Logic” and I tell others “sorry- we are just teaching him something here” when they look at me funny.   He will cry and pout, but I just apologize to them and keep at it.   If I prolong this behavior, I will regret it.

2- My Dad and Mom have said that they respect parents MORE when they discipline their kids in public and I agree.  If you see a child that is misbehaving, do you want the parents to just laugh it off or to correct their kids?   I feel like we need to correct our kids no matter where we are.

3- I want him to get over this phase and move on!   I do not want to ‘pause’ this phase any more than I have to!  He tests the waters and I want him to know that we will be consistent, no matter where we are, what we are doing or what he is up to.

This was something that our older kids have done, as well.  They try to get away with a little more when we are out and that is completely normal.  It is hard to discipline when we are out (& sometimes I see myself letting it go just to not have to disrupt someone or not to make a scene) but I think that if we are consistent when we are out, the kids will respect this even more.   My husband’s parents had two boys under a year apart and they said that they did this, as well.  Kids just test boundaries and it is up to us to steer them the right way.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Awesome! We saw the author of that book at a retreat we went to. It is good stuff. I think often parents don’t discipline in public because the way they discipline is not something they want other people to see (I would guess). We try to discipline at home (and in public) in a way we wouldn’t mind if someone else was observing. Good reasons!!! The quicker you respond and correct, the faster the phase will peter out. 🙂 Great post. Found you on Pinterest!