You see a mother in a supermarket slap her child.

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


Depends on the reason and how hard. Mostly, if I didn't see the reason why, I wouldn't assume or do anything.

do nothing because its not my business

Feel horrified, but don't interfere.

give her a very shocked look then smile at the child

I actually have no idea what I would do. Probably look at her shocked.

I say nothing because the child must had done something bad.

I will let it be because that is not rare in China...

I would be sad, but say nothing.

I would disapprove but say nothing -- it's not my place to correct a parent disciplining their own child.

I would feel sorry for the child.

I would judge her

I would raise my eyebrows and be horrified, but not make any comment.

I would speak to the mother.

I would think that thats wrong - and she should explain the correct thing properly to her child.

I'll be upset but probably won't say anything to her.

ignore it. I would be shocked but it is none of my business.

It's nothing out of the ordinary. Discipline is important, and I'm in no position to mess with a mother's disciplining of her child. I'd ignore it and walk on.

Look away. Unless she is obviously abusing the child, it is none of my business.

Probably the child is annoying.

Shake my head and think internally how ineffective that is.

Someone might call police. It's really rare to see.

That is their business, not mine.

will be surprised but i will say nothing

You ignore it, so long as it does not get out of hand, as it is not your business to tell a parent how to raise their child. Contact the authorities if it gets out of hand.

ça ne me ferait pas d'effet

C'est normal si l'enfant défie l'autorité parentale.

Ce n'est pas mon problème et cela ne me choque pas forcément, suivant le cas.

ce n'est pas mon problème, je ne sais pas ce qu'il s'est passé avant

Cela ne me dérange pas, si l'enfant l'a mérité.

Cela ne me regarde pas, il l'a peut être mérité.

Il l'a bien mérité!

il l'a mérité

il l'a peut être bien mérité

j'imagine que cette maman à une très bonne raison d'agir ainsi.

Je me dis que l'enfant a certainement dû faire une bêtise qui justifie cette gifle.

je n'y prête pas attention.

Je ne cautionne pas ; mais les méthodes d'éducation diffèrent en fonction des parents.

je ne connais pas les raisons, donc je ne peux pas juger.

Je ne dis rien, vu que je ne connais pas les circonstances qui ont poussé à cet acte.

Je ne fais rien puisque je ne connais pas le contexte de cette action.

Je ne fais rien.

Je ne fais rien. Cela concerne la mère et l'enfant.

Je reste indifférent, il doit l'avoir mérité.

qu'il devait la mériter

Si l'enfant faisait des bêtise je pense qu'il le mérite, s'il ne faisait rien de particulier je pense que c'est une mère trop autoritaire


Visiblement ça vous choque plus que nous ... les parens ne donnent jamais de claque chez vous?

ça ne choque pas grand monde ici en tout cas!

There are a lot of similarities in the responses, as most people would not do anything, but it is true that such behavior would be much more surprising, or shocking, if it occurred here in America.  The reason is that people here are overly conscious of child-abuse.  Smacking a child here is considered abusive behavior and is not socially acceptable in any situation, expecially in public. It is even possible to get arrested for such behavior, obviously depending on the extent of the slapping. However, I do not think there is real danger of criminal action with just a slap to a child, but people will definitely take notice and will show you their disapproval by facial expressions or comments, which I am sure can be embarassing to the parent. 

I also do not think it is common for parents to hit their kids at home here in America anymore.  I believe this was common a generation or two ago, but nowadays you dont hear about this in the mainstream at all.  This is again considered socially unacceptable in America.

The French responses reminded me of a previous phrase that we previously analyzed - "A good parent is..."  It seems to me that French parents are very authoritative! 


Question - Why did most French students assume that the child deserved to be slapped by the mother? 

Modern social norms in America encourage parents to avoid using physical means to discipline their children. Instead, parents are supposed to take away TV privileges and computer time and other similar things to punish children. And, as mentioned above, there are now stricter laws against hitting children than there were a few generations ago.

I was surprised that none of the French students said they would be shocked by this situation. Do you see parents slap their children in public often?

How is child abuse viewed in France? How far can a parent go before "authority" becomes "abuse"?

Question to those grown up in France -- Do you personally see, those of you who get slapped occasionnaly when you were growing up, that it was an effective measure?How did you react?

Question to those grown up in US -- The children always find ways to go around parental will, if there is something they really what to know or to do. How did you go around these non-physical punishments, in order to do something that parents would take your TV time away for?

I believe that hitting children is frowned upon by most Americans because children are for the most part considered defenseless.  They don't really have a choice in living with their parents and cannot leave/avoid them as children are taught to do when encountering problems.  Hitting children definitely still happens, but is now considered a final resort and even then is still frowned upon.


Do you feel that children are hit less often in France than in the past or is hitting still considered a regular punishment?

En France quand un enfnt dépasse les limites cela ne choquera personne que ses parents le giflent ou lui mettent une fessée. Cela n'est pas considéré comme un comprtement violent envers son enfant, juste une punition. Cela dit de nos jours je pense que c'est un peu plus mal vue, mais c'est surtout le discours de moralisateur. C'est un comprtement que mes parents avaient, et je le comprend très bien. Une claque quand l'enfant va trop loin ne peut que le calmer, et normalement il doit faire la part des choses et se rendre compte que si ses parents ont du aller aussi loin c'est qu'il doit se remetttre en question.

Pour moi il y a dérive à partir du moment où l'enfant commence à avoir peur de ses parents, et où la gifle devient systématique.

I see your viewpoint. This happens in India as well - either to calm down the child or to exhibit some sort of authority. But do you think that it is healthy for the child to fear their parents? and how has the culture changed now with regards to this deed? 

I was curious about people's comments about the American viewpoint on spanking, so I looked up a few surveys online and it seems like American parents are about split down the middle when it comes to spanking their kids.  And almost 3/4 of Southern parents actually don't disapprove of physical punishment (I'm from the South, so I've been getting mixed signals about what the "typical" American view on this issue is).  

That being said, I definitely agree that American society as a whole is moving away from punishing children physically, because of studies that are being done by psychologists on the effects of spanking children (and these studies get a lot of media attention, but you don't often see news reports telling people that they SHOULD spank their kids).  

And another question for the French... what forms of punishment do children usually receive other than being hit? 

I am also curious about punishments other than hitting.  At what age does hitting children usually stop in France? After parents stop hitting/spanking their children, what punishments are considered effective?

I think the threat of being hit is still common among American families, even if the actual hitting/spanking never occurs.  I remember when I was younger, my mom would threaten (if I misbehaved) that I would "get the wooden spoon" when we got home -- i.e. I would get spanked with the wooden spoon.  

When I got older (6+?), my punishments were more along the "no TV for 3 days" line.  Once, my punishment was no BOOKS for a week (with the exception of those NEEDED for homework).  I recall this being the most torturous punishment I ever received.

I agree with Tina and Alain on this subject.  I personally also think that a lot of the idea that physical punishments are bad or ineffective is perpetuated by media or groups that assume the worst because it "sells" and gets people involved.

To Akansha:  Though I agree there is a certain level of fear of a parent for such actions, I would say that there is a fine line to draw between the effect of instilling fear and teaching the association of actions with consequences.  A person who is told that messing around with electricity is dangerous won't necessarily avoid doing so...but if they experience it, they will understand.  Think about hearing people say "they never thought it could happen to them"...until it does.  This is where I feel strong punishment associations for inappropriate behavior should come into play as there's almost always something worse that can happen.

Ce n'est pas une question de peur mais plutot de limite..un enfant cherche toujours les limites autour de lui quand il se prend pour le centre de son monde...Et oui, la fessée, la gifle n'est pas le premier avertissement (normalement !!!). Pour les autres moyens, je pense aussi que les menaces de le priver de quelque chose sont les plus courante, de la TV à ses jouets, au dessert... Autrefois, on revoyait de table, ou dans un coin de la pièce en isolement mais je pense que cela retombe aujourd'hui...

Globalement, en France, même si certains déclarent etre contre la menace physique, la majorité l'explique, et l'utilise si necessaire...c'est a dire si c'est mérité...En voyant une gifle, on pense/espère que cela est mérité, je ne vois pas quelqun ramenerait son enfant au supermarché pour le taper !!

Pour la question : jusque quand...ben quand l'enfant grandit, il murit et évite si possible la gifle en s'arretant avant ! ou sinon, les parents ne sont plus pour lui l'authorité et la cela ne sert a rien de le limite doit etre autour de 5 6 ans dirais je ! Après la menace suffit, nan?


Je suis du même avis que Eric et Pierre et je pense que c'est la grande majorité en France.
Néanmoins, je pense que c'est aussi une question de génération et qu'aujourd'hui les parents sont peut être plus laxistes. Tout ce que je peux dire c'est que je ne connais personne dans mon entourage qui ne ce soit jamais pris de claque par ces parents et aucun n'éprouve de rancoeur à leur sujet vis à vis de ça.

En revanche, en ce qui concerne la limite, je la voie un peu plus que 5-6 ans, je dirais bien que ça peut aller jusqu'à l'adolescence...

I also agree with the opinion that strong punishment is needed for a certain degree and that there is a certain age limit to use spanking as a punishment. Punishment wouldn't have the same effect as the children grow because they have fears for different things as Tina has mentioned.

It's also interesting how Stephane said it depends on the generation of parents. I feel it is also true in my country as well. It almost seems like people are becoming more "Americanized" and many parents don't hit their child for punishment compare to their parents...

It may be the American idea that they should not hit children or to be friendly with them is spreading across the globe.... like every other things.

Usually kids appear to be more obedient in front of the parents who punish them with slaps.. Because of the fear, kids might be more likely to avoid making mistakes in the early stage of their life. I feel that's important to let young kids remember there are borderlines that theyshouldn't 't cross. Slapping sometimes is the most convenient way to let children remember. Other better ways might take much more efforts, however, I feel they are worth trying.

I have heard that the people, who get slapped by their parents at young age, although hated it, but when they become parents, use slapping to educate children.. That's a bad cycle.

You must remember, also, that it is very difficult to reason with a child.  Also, kids know what they can get away with and can get spoiled very easily.  Usually it is more embarassing for parents when kids act spoiled and do not listen in public, than a simple slap.  I can understand why parents would use a simple slap to punish their children, as long as the slap is a way of showing the kid that they are breaking rules and not actually hurting them.  My daughter is very young, so I have not used this approach, but I can understand why parents would, as long as they are not physically hurting their children.