You see a mother in a supermarket slap her child.

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

Do nothing, unless I see a pattern of repeated abuse, in which case call the authorities.

I give her a look but do nothing otherwise.

I give the mom a dirty look.

I glare at her briefly and keep on walking.

I look the other way.

I probably wouldn't say anything. I'm not a huge fan of corporal punishment, but as long as the mother wasn't being abusive, I wouldn't feel within my rights to question her parenting style.

I would be horrified

I would gasp and walk away

I would give the woman a dirty look but I wouldn't say anything.

I would just ignore it.

I would keep shopping.

I would stare at her.

I wouldn't say anything unless it seemed extremely violent, in which case I would tell the store management.

Make an exclamatory remark so at least she knows that what she did in public was inappropriate

Nothing, my mother used to hit me and my siblings. I would feel bad for the child, but who am I to interfere?

She is the mother... reminds me of my childhood.

That's a horrible thing to do. I wouldn't directly do anything about it though. She can raise her child however she likes.

try to ignore it

ça ne me choque pas

Bien que ce cette réaction soit assez violente de la part d'une mère, je ne ferais pas de remarque.

c'est que l'enfant l'a mérité

Ca ne me choque pas, l'enfant a dû le mériter.

Cela ne me choque pas, chacun est responsable de ses enfants

elle a surement raison

elle fait ce qu'elle veut, elle doit avoir une bonne raison.

Elle joue son rôle de mère, même si cela se passe dans un lieu public, cela ne regarde qu'elle.

je m'en fiche, c'est son affaire

je me dis après tout c'est qu'il l'a mérité je m'éloigne pour ne pas l'entendre pleurer

Je me dis que si sa mère le gifle c'est qu'il doit bien y avoir une raison.

je ne dis rien mais je pense que gifler n'est pas la solution bien que je sois pour la fessée ce n'est pas la même chose

je ne trouve pas ça normal de le faire devant tout le monde

je pense que soit il a dû le mériter, soit que la mère n'a pas un grand sens de l'éducation.

je suis choquée. Pour moi, on ne gifle pas un enfant

Je suis un peu choqué, mais si l'enfant est "énervé", il faut le gronder.

je tend un tube de biafine à l'enfant

L'enfant l'avait surement méritée.

Quelque soit ce que son enfant a fait elle n'a pas besoin de le ou la giffler en public

S'il a fait une bêtise, ca ne me choque pas. Mais s'il n'a rien fait, je serais un peu étonnée.

Si il y a un motif à son acte… il n’y a rien de surprenant

Si l'enfant l'a mérité elle a eu raison, alors je trouve ça normal


While most Americans give a disapprobatory look to the mother or do nothing, most French students approve the mother's action ("the child must have deserved it"). Maybe corporal punishment is more acceptable in France. I would say that, in the US, it is largely unacceptable, at least in public.

Also, I think this is related to what "a good parent" is, and what society expects the mother to do. "Good American parents" love their children, and therefore they would not like to be seen in public slapping a child. People would judge the mother: does she really love her child? Why does she have such a short temper as to get annoyed and slap the child?

In contrast, according to previous forum posts, "a good French parent" is above all an educator. Then, my explanation for the French responses is that a French mother must show in public that she educates her child well, thus correcting the child when he/she misbehaves.

Is corporal punishment (like face slapping) of a child acceptable in France? Is it common?

In America, coroporal punishment is discouraged and looked down upon, especially publically. However, I do not think that this is reason to not discipline a child in public. If I saw a mother slap her child in public, I would just assume that the child was doing something wrong and the mother was disciplining the child. I don't think that is the only way to discipline a child and there are probably more acceptable methods especially in public. Are children disciplined frequently in public in France? In America, it seems like instead of disciplining their children, some parents simply try to appease children so they won't be embarrassed.

In the last few decades, America has publicized greatly the existence of child abuse. Many more cases are being reported than in years past and teachers and other members of society are educated on how recognize abuse patterns in children. With so much awareness about this issue, Americans have become very cautious when it comes to child discipline. Perhaps the reason why Americans are quick to judge someone slapping their child in public is that they would be concerned that perhaps it was much worse at home without public pressure to restrain the amount of punishment. Public spanking or slapping is becoming a faux-pas in American culture, so it is easy to think that perhaps the public slap was not simply a method of discipline but simply the tip of the iceberg in a pattern of abuse. How much awareness of child abuse exists in France? What is the limit to corporal punishment in France?

Another interesting thing to note is that American students would not only disagree with the action that is being performed, but also voice their disagreement (for example, one person said he would go as far as to "make an exclamatory remark so she knows that what she did in public was inappropriate", even though this is clearly a matter of personal opinion regarding how to raise children.) In France, is it common for people to walk up to strangers to let them know they are doing something they do not personally agree with, or do people judge strangers' actions without actually verbally expressing their disagreement?

I was very surprised by the responses to this situation. My personal reaction was that of shock and disapproval. This reaction was shared by several on the American side and a few on the French side. But I was very surprised to see how many people, especially on the French side, were not surprised or bothered at all by it! Perhaps this is partly the way I personally was raised but my parents always taught me that hitting was wrong. They continually emphasized the importance of working out my differences by using my words. I think I would have found it highly hypocritical of them if they had turned around and disciplined me by hitting me. Is this same idea of 'use your words' taught to young children in France? And if so, how does it mesh with slapping a child being acceptable?

Etre giflé, en France, tout le monde est passé par la étant petit, cela fait parti de l'éducation que les parents nous donne.

Cela ne veut pas dire que nos parents ne nous aiment pas ou quoi que ce soit d'autre, simplement qu'il faut poser des limites a l'enfant et lui montrer qu'il ne peut pas faire ce qu'il veut, quand il veut, ouil veut.

Si les parents laissent tout faire a leurs enfants, ils deviennent vite incontrolables et il est donc de leur devoir de leur montrer ce qu'ils peuvent faire, ou ne pas faire.


Gifler des enfants n'est pas forcément acceptable en France, sauf quand l'enfant dépasse trop largement les limites et que les explications ne servent plus à rien. Mais il faut aussi savoir que ça n'est pas la première solution choisie dans l'éducation des enfants! Au contraire, c'est vraiment l'une des dernières selon moi. Bien sûr il y a des menaces qui sont faites mais très souvent les parents ne vont pas jusqu'au bout.

Quant à nos réactions dessus, cela dépend aussi de la situation: si c'est justifié, je considère ça comme acceptable mais si non, il peut m'arriver de penser que certains parents ne devraient pas l'être.