You see a mother in a supermarket slap her child.

Vous voyez une mère dans un supermarché qui gifle son enfant.

be sad, ignore it

Cringe and comment to whomever is with me.

Depends. If it's real bad, I might call the cops

Do nothing.

Don't mess with it.

gasp and make loud comment about child abuse

I applaud.

I do not feel it is my place to lecture people on how to take care of their children.

I do nothing.

I do nothing.

I think that the child deserved it.

I will be surprised.

I would be shocked but I wouldn't say anything.

I would continue walking.

I would first be appalled, but I'm not sure I would do anything except to avoid her as well.

I would pretend that I didn't see it happen.

I would probably react like most people and do nothing.

I would think she should be more gentle.

I would think that she doesn't know how to raise kids.

I would think to myself, "the kid probably deserved it."

I would wonder what the child did.

If the child is unruly, then I would approve, perhaps laugh.

If the child wasn't doing anything seriously wrong, I'd probably glare at them, but not intervene.

Ignore it.

Is the child abused?

It's not my place to intervene though I myself do not approve of such methods of discipline.

Just continue about my business; if that is how she wants to raise her child, then that is her issue, not mine.

Keep walking--that isn't a situation I would feel comfortable getting involved in


Unless the child were being beaten, I would not intervene.

"il l'a bien cherché!"

C'est bien il l'avait mérité ce sale gamin, c'est interdit de voler! au moins il ne recommencera pas .

C'est normal si l'enfant fait des bêtises.

Cela ne me regarde pas mais j'aurai de la peine pour le petit si je me rends compte qu'il n'a rien fait.

il l'avait certainement mérité. Cependant, il existe d'autres manières de prouver son autorité et de se faire respecter.

il y avait forcément une raison, mais ce n'est pas une raison de lever la main sur l'enfant. il y a d'autres manières d'exercer son autorité.

j'essaye de me détacher de la situation et de comprendre le geste de la mère.

j'interviendrais que si elle était sur le point de le tuer.

je lui lance un regard assassin

Je me demande pourquoi elle fait ça, mais je ne dis rien.

Je me demande quelle est la raison de son geste mais je n'interviendrais pas.

je n'intervient pas parce qu'il s'agit d'une affaire personnelle

je ne lui dit rien mais je pense qu'elle aurait peut être pas du si se n'est pas justifier.

Je ne réagis pas car l'éducation n'est pas la même dans chaque famille et que surement l'enfant méritait cette punition.

je regarde la scène amusé mais je ne suis pas choqué car sans doute l'enfant a fait une bétise et donc logiquement sa mère le punit.

je respecte la vie privée de la famille, je n'ai rien à dire. mais je n'adhère vraiment pas à ces pratiques

je rigole mais j'ai pitié de l'enfant par la suite

Je souris au petit en signe de compassion.

je trouve ça anormal, elle pourrait le gronder et attendre d'être chez elle pour avoir un geste comme celui la!

je trouve ça choquant

Je trouve cela horrible, mais je n'ose rien dire

l'éducation de chaque famille n'a pas à être remis en question . Si la mère a giflé son enfant, c'est qu'il devait y avoir une bonne raison .

soit il l'avait mérité soit sa mère est une dingue et je pense que l'enfant n'est pas aidé dans la vie

une ça passe, deux ou trois ca commence à être génant


The responses from both sides were very interesting. I think for the most part, they were very similar. Many American students stated that they would ignore the event while the French said the same but gave the reason that it was a private affair that they shouldn't intervene in. Several people stated that they wouldn't agree with the mom but wouldn't take any action. More people on the French side agreed with the mother's actions, stating that misbehaving children should be punished which hinged on the assumption that the child had done something wrong. Only one person from both sides said they would get involved if the situation escalated. 

These responses make me wonder how much people as a whole value the illusion of privacy, especially in public, which seems to be in direct opposition with being in public but people expect it and it is easily given to them.

It also makes me wonder how serious a situation has to become for people to intervene, for it to acceptable to invade the privacy barrier. (Don't get me wrong, in the posed hypothetical, I probably would keep walking but I'm wondering why so many others share the same reaction)

And why did so many assume that the mother's actions were a result of misbehavior of the child when the question doesn't imply one way or the other.

On peut voir que globalement, les personnes auraient tendances a continués leurs chemin sans se soucier de l'enfant. Cette gfle dépend de toute facon de la gravité de se qu'a pu faire l'enfant, mais est t'il fréquent aux Etats Unis , que les parents gifflent leurs enfants ?

je me demande si les parents qui utilise la force comme punition le font en public, on peut penser que comme souvent les larmes et les cris sont suivi de ces "manoeuvres :p" il peut être particulièrement génant de parcourir des lieux public avec un enfant dans cet état.

en France en tout cas les parents transportant des enfant en pleine crises de nerfs sont vu d'un air désaprobateur par les autres. mais en est-il de même au états-unis ?



Like others had said, the responses on both sides were quite similar, marked by a large number of people who said that they would do nothing at all, even if they did in fact disapprove of what was happening.

Whether the child was misbehaving or the mother was overacting, there are other ways of disciplining a child other than physically hitting him or her. If the majority of people seem not to approve of this method, why do they also allow it to happen? I think it's a common repsonse to things we do not like to think about or face as reality, to simply ignore them. This is the same reason why people can be attacked in broad daylight on busy streets without anyone coming to help. I don't think people are necessarily trying to protect the right of the mother to raise her child however she wants. Rather, they are simply afraid or just unwilling to create the conflict they suspect may arise if they were to protest about it in some way. Granted, I too said I would do nothing, but I don't exclude myself from this analyzation.

To Julien:

It depends where you are in the United States and how you were brought up.  The area I was brought up in, very few parents hit their children, but I did know some that would beat the kid senseless, right in the middle of a crowd if it they had to.  I wouldn't say it's frequent, but again, it depends on where you are and what type of community you are brought up in.  Friends have told me that they've been beaten by friend's parents; it's just the life they were brought up into.


To Sébastien:

If a kid is crying, and the parent can't control it, no one says anything outloud, but everyone is thinking "Shut the Kid Up!"  It's really annoying, and everyone around makes faces and glares at the parent.  Just last week I was on a plane, and I was sitting in front of a baby who cried the whole flight (thankfully only a one hour flight).  The mother could not calm the kid and just let him cry; and you could see the anger, frustration, and pain in all those around. 

Honestly though, I can't see why you would do anything; it's one thing if the parent was slapping your child, or her actions were directly affecting you.  Some parents use it to control their children; it's just a different form of parenting.  Yes, we don't know the context, but I don't feel it's anyone's place to ask "Hey, why did you just slap your kid?" because the answer is going to almost certainly be "Excuse me?  Mind your business."

I was actually wondering, how acceptable is it to correct another's parenting?  In the United States, I feel it is definitely taken as offensive.

I think the responses were pretty similar for the most part.  Both the American and French responses were usually that they would do nothing, which makes sense because, as Justin said, people don't want to get involved with what other people think is appropriate parenting.  Although both sides' responses usually involved no action, I think the French were far more sympathetic to the mother than the child.  In many of the American responses, people expressed surprise, shock, or sadness at the mother's disciplinary choice, but the French responses seemed to agree with the mother, or at least assume that the child deserves this punishment.  I thought it was interesting that the French mentioned so often how it's each person's own individual decision to determine how to raise his or her children, which I thought was interesting since in all other aspects, the French do not seem to like individualism or people having very different individual opinions and acting on them.  From these responses, I can only assume that moderate physical punishment (slapping a misbehaving child) is more socially acceptable in France than the United States--is this true? 

Les responses  pour les étudiants Francais et Americains les memes choses: quelques-uns négligons; quelques-uns ont offert l’abbrobation et les autres ont offert le désabbrobation. Je pense qu'il dépend comment sévère la grève était.

Hillary: it depends on region and other cultural factors. In the northeast, it is less common, but in the south, it is more common. The US has many immigrants and cultures, so it can be difficult to generalize.

Merci justin pour de m'avoir répondu.

Pour répondre à Hillary, je dirai qu'en France, les parents frappent de moins en moins leurs enfant. Autrefois, les parents gifflaient beaucoup plus leur enfants, cela faisait parti de l'éducation, c'était normal, même à l'école les professeurs pouvaient giffler l'élève, ou lui taper sur les doigts avec une règle en fer. Mais aujourd'hui, cela à beaucoup évoluer, les parents frappent beaucoup moins les enfants, voir jamais, il arrive même que des parents ne punissent jamais leur enfants, se qui en fait des " enfants rois ". En ce qui concerne les professeurs, c'est maintenant impensable, et dans les rares cas ou cela se produits, les parents, très souvent, portent plainte contre le professeur, et l'histoire se finit au tribunal devant la justice.

Ainsi , la violence parental sur les enfants n'est plus vraiment acceptable en France, l'éducation viserai à mettre en pratique d'autres méthodes de punissions, même si dans certaine familles , les enfants sont encore gifflé, mais cela dépend aussi de la gravité de la faute. Pense tu qu'il soit parfois nécessaire de giffler un enfant, ou qu'au contraire, il faudrai banir cette pratique ?


I think you raise an interesting point about French culture that I have also observed in American culture:  people hit their children less.  My dad tells me stories about how when he was a kid and talked back/misbehaved, his dad would either hit him with his belt or with an actual "switch", which is a branch broken off from a tree.  This wasn't unusual during the time my dad grew up, either--most kids were hit if they misbehaved, and it was just a part of life.  Now, however, our culture is not only more senstiive in general (much more of an emphasisc is placed on being "PC", or "politically correct", etc.), but we are also much more aware of the very real problem of child abuse.  There is a fine line between physically disciplining a child and beating him or her, and I think some people who do abuse their children attempt to hide behind an excuse of typical corporal punishment.  I think that when each generaion grew up, they remembered what they disliked most about growing up, and I bet punishments like being slapped were usually one of the first things that came to their minds.  Thus, some people probably decided not to do the same thing to their children.  I think a cominbation of these factors have caused the dying out of physical punishment. 

Although I'm definitely not for excess physical punishing of children, and I understand that it's in their nature to be more energetic and occasionallly misbehave, I do recognize that sometimes it can be a acceptable, effective, and justifiable reaction.  I think hitting one's children to dsccipline them is definitely not the only effective alternative, but I also recognize that to some extent, it's each parent's right to determine if he or she is ok with slapping a child if he really misbehaves.  What do you think?

Hillary je suis d'accord avec toi.

Pour moi, punir un enfant en le frappant c'est qu'on est arrivé à un stade où on ne peut plus le gérer. En france, certains parents pensent qu'une bonne fessée est la meilleure solution pour punir l'enfant et lui faire comprendre qu'il a fait quelque chose d'interdit. Cependant, si on n'explique pas à l'enfant pourquoi il est puni, il recommencera encore et encore.

Je pense qu'expliquer à l'enfant ce qui est mal et ce qui ne l'est pas et l'envoyer au coin reste la meilleure solution.

C'est vrai que de nos jours, les enfants deviennent de plus en plus insupportables et les parents arrivent à un stade où ils ne savent plus comment réagir! Ils pensent que de frapper son enfant pour le punir est la solution! seulement comme le dit Alice, si on n'explique pas à l'enfant pourquoi il est puni, il ne comprendra pas l'acte de ses parents!

Alors d'où vient le problème? L'education ? Les parents ne laisseraient-ils pas trop de libertés à leurs enfants?

Having been hit a lot as a child, I know that what I learned most was an irrational fear of my parents. Hitting one's child doesn't teach them the difference between right and wrong, it teaches them fear. While fear may very well make the child behave, it will not actually solve the problem. I recall simply trying to hide the things that I did wrong, rather than not do them. One time where being hit wasn't all bad, however, was when my mother slapped me while I was throwing a temper tantrum and wasn't listening to what she was telling me. When she slapped me, it certainly caught my attention! After that, she explained to me why she slapped me and what I was doing wrong. I actually learned from that. Ultimately, unless hitting the child helps to convey and explanation of what is being done wrong, it will not help.

je pense que l'éducation francaise et americaine sont relativement similaires . on peut difficilement porter un jugement ou les comparer . mais dans cette situation les americains semblent plus choqués que les francais . Pourquoi?


I believe because of "new parenting" methods employed by late Boomer parents (Americans who were born in the 1950s who began having children in the 1980s). Many of these parents tried reason and other tactics...hence, the student respondees find this topic rather shocking.

Since I am older than most of the other students, I don't think I would find it as shocking, but at the same time, I agree with Derreck, without adding explanations, slaps create fear not respect.

It is interesting that, in the home, Americans prefer "diplomacy" over violence; and yet in foreign policy, our actions are the reverse. And France seems the opposite?  Is this the case?