A stranger disciplined my 4-year-old son

Somebody scolded my 4-year-old son in the grocery store the other day because he was running around. I was right there, and I don’t appreciate someone else interfering with my parenting.

What should I have said or done?

It is a well-known proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child.” This means a child has the best chance of becoming a healthy adult if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child. However, only parents make the rules about how that village is allowed to contribute when you’re around or when you are not around. And, as happens with all rules, there are a few exceptions, such as when children are engaged in dangerous behaviors that could negatively impact them or others.

In this particular situation, the best solution for both your child and you is to introduce yourself to the person who is disciplining your child, ask what specific behavior of your child is interfering with his/her activity, and clearly state that you will take care of the situation. Don’t forget to say, “Thank you for calling my attention to the situation.”