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Is it wrong to discipline other people's children when they refuse to do so?

I was eating lunch at an outdoor market. A woman and her son stopped near me, and the boy (who was probably around 8 years old) leaned over my table and stuck his finger in my food. Then he started laughing and ran around in circles. The mom look at me and dismissively said, "He's autistic." Then she walked away. How should I have responded? Is there a respectful way to tell a stranger that her son's behavior is unacceptable in a public setting? Would it be wrong to speak to the boy directly?

Carrie , 20.07.2013, 11:22
Idea status: completed


CFWE, 24.07.2013, 08:30
I would have said something to the kid and the parent. That is disgusting and unhygienic. Could you even eat your food afterwards? I don't care if the kid is autistic or not, if he can't behave in public, that's no excuse and he should stay home.
Stevie, 24.07.2013, 15:09
Great question, I often find myself in situations, usually for safety reasons, where I'd like to gently rebuke someone's little bundle of joy. I almost always refrain because I don't have (or plan to have) children and I worry that I'm being overly critical or overly concerned.

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