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Hitting Someone Else's Children

Updated on April 18, 2013
Sylvestermouse profile image

"Strives to see the beauty in every creation, even though sometimes the beauty is hidden at first glance." Quote by Sylvestermouse

What in the World is Going On

I can't help but ask, "What in the world is going on?"

What makes people think it is acceptable for them to hit children. I am absolutely shocked at the recent news about two different people who hit someone else's children in public.

Please read the two accounts below and tell me what you think?

Do You Think It Is OK to Hit Someone Else's Child?

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Georgia man Roger Stephens hits child that's not his at Wal-Mart when she won't stop crying

Thursday, September 3rd 2009, 7:12 AM

A slap-happy 61-year-old man is in big trouble for smacking a wailing 2-year-old.

Annoyed with the toddler's sobbing inside a suburban Atlanta Wal-Mart, Roger Stephens slapped the child several times after warning the kid's mother to keep her quiet, cops said.

He hit the girl at least four times.

"See, I told you I would shut her up," Stephens, of Stone Mountain, is alleged to have said.

Now he's being slapped by the law. Stephens is charged with felony cruelty to children.

It was unclear if he had a lawyer, and a telephone call to his home yesterday was unanswered.

Authorities say the girl and her mother were shopping Monday when the tot began crying.

The police report says Stephens approached the mother and said, "If you don't shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you."

Authorities say Stephens then grabbed the 2-year-old and slapped her.

The child began screaming and Stephens was arrested.

Police say an examination showed the girl's face was slightly red.

A call to the girl's mother, identified in the police report as Sonya Mathews of Grayson, was answered by a woman who identified herself as Sabrina Mathis, the victim's aunt.

Mathis said Wednesday that the girl is doing fine.

"As of today, she has really forgotten about it," Mathis said.

"She's been playing." Mathis said the girl's mother was shaken up over the incident.

"She's as well as to be expected," Mathis said. "Right now she's just trying to calm down."

The Associated Press ~ Complete story copied from

Read more:

Spanking Leads to Assault Charge

CINCINNATI (Sept. 16) - Police say a woman has been arrested for allegedly spanking another person's 2-year-old son in a Cincinnati store.

Gloria Ballard was due in a Hamilton County on Wednesday to face an assault charge.

Cincinnati police say the toddler said something that apparently annoyed Ballard inside a Salvation Army store on Tuesday. Police say she then told the boy's mother she didn't know how to take care of her son, put him over her knee, and spanked him three times.

Police say the two women didn't know each other and that the 44-year-old Ballard wasn't given permission to touch the child.

There was no attorney listed for Ballard.

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    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 4 years ago

      I think spanking another person's child is so wrong, outrageous even.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      If someone touched my daughter, spanking, slapping etc. I would lose it. That's beyond unacceptable.

    • aviwolfson profile image

      Avi Wolfson 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      If someone touched my daughter, spanking, slapping etc. I would lose it. That's beyond unacceptable.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      How can someone just hurt children, specially someone's else's children. When in a public place, things happens kids are noisy, they cry, they scream. But as adults, we should be the one to understand. There are other ways to calm children down and that is not by spanking.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I disagree with spanking. If spanking becomes illegal, it will force parents to literally think twice before resorting to such selfish act. Even if spanking instills fear, it is not the correct way to teach your kids right from wrong. Tell you what, if your kids won't listen to you and you feel your all out of options, the alternative to spanking would be to lock him/her up in a room. And if he/she tries to escape, tell him/her that duration of lock-up can only increase for every successful attempt to escape. And if that is not enough, tell him/her to stand up straight (legs and arms straight) and continue for a few hours to see if he/she is willing to correct wrongdoings. Keep in mind that you can monitor his/her posture as well as conduct when he/she is standing up straight for 6 hours. Trust me, his/her legs will go sore and he/she will think twice before commiting another misdemeanor. I've experienced it before and I did not have to be spanked in order to learn my lesson. If I was a very bad kid, my parents would've expelled me from their home and I would've had to find a new way of life. Spanking to me would've been my last resort option when the types of punishment mentioned above have failed.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Any person with a brain knows that you should always hold the hands of children, especially at that age... if anything it was the adults fault for not taking proper precautions.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      I have never spanked another person's child... and if I ever did, it would only be with consent of the parent, and they child would have to do something pretty darn terrible to warrant it... these situations above are absolutely nothing even remotely close to it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Only 2 months ago our then very close family friends felt it was ok to smack my 3 year old son because he was in her care. My son was apparently running towards the road and did not stop (as 3 year olds would) which distressed my then friend and she felt she had to smack to teach him a lesson. I am equally upset that she was not holding his hand and that she did not have better control of the situation to keep him from harm. She had a duty of care and him running on the road was her fault. I felt even more sad that she witheld this information from me. my daughter who witnessed it told me that my friend smacked him. I am still very upset over this and my then friend refuses to apologise as she felt she did the right thing.

      Our families are no longer friends because of this incident as they have told us they would do it again if he was in their care. SO SO WRONG!!!!

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 7 years ago

      Anyone who could lash out at someone else's child and hit or spank that child in the presence of the parents and other adults really scares me. If they'll do that in public, what do they do in private?

    • Alfiesgirl LM profile image

      Alfiesgirl LM 7 years ago

      @Stazjia: ..not just wrong but terribly dangerous as well

    • lakern26 lm profile image

      lakern26 lm 7 years ago

      I have two boys of my own and care for my nephew on a regular basis, so I have plenty of experience in the public tantrum department. When my first son was young, I remember leaving a few stores during tantrums due to my embarrassment. Public tantrums are a fact of life and I've since learned a variety of non-violent methods for dealing with them. I've also witnessed countless of them from other children. I absolutely do not believe in disciplining another person's child, especially with physical acts. That is the responsibility of the other parents. Unfortunately, though, there are many who don't bother to do it themselves. However, speaking to the child about their behavior might be quite appropriate depending on the instance.

      This is obviously a very controversial issue and I think you've done an excellent job of presenting it. Well done.

    • jgelien profile image

      jgelien 7 years ago

      I agree it is very annoying to listen to a child scream but a pattern that I notice in this situation very often is lack of common sense on the part of the parent. Why take a small child on a shopping trip when it is clearly during their usual naptime, bedtime or meal time? I've seen babies out that are obviously ill and crying while parents scream at them to be quiet. As for the two accounts above, I'm sure their own children have some horror stories to tell. Disturbing but well done lens. 5*

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      I was at an antiques fair (show) in England and I was chatting to a dealer I knew well when a couple and their toddler stopped to look in the glass jewellery case on his stand (booth). The little boy lay down on the floor on his back and started kicking the glass side of the case (it was waist height, like a store display). The parents ignored him and carried on looking at the jewellery in it. The dealer and I watched for a couple of minutes and I said "Go and ask the parents to stop the boy kicking the case." He didn't like to so I went over and said to the child, "Don't do that, you might break the glass and cut yourself." I said it quietly and pleasantly.

      The parents grabbed the little boy and said, "Darling, don't do that." They didn't apologise to me or the dealer or tell the child off. I don't believe he learned he done anything wrong.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      While shopping in a grocery store on day when my oldest daughter was about 2, she started throwing a full blown tantrum because I wouldn't buy her a toy. The first time it happened, I was so embarrassed that I left the store without finishing my shopping. Felt bad about that but I just couldn't disturb the peace of the other shoppers in the store. My choice of leaving that day really bothered me as a parent. I honestly didn't feel that was the right thing to do and didn't feel that I had made any sort of impression on my daughter.

      The next time it happened..the follow week! I stopped, got down on my knees and looked her right in the eyes. FIRMLY but quietly I told her that if she didn't stop right now that I would smack her right there in front of God and everybody. She stopped immediately and never pushed her luck again.

      What my daughter did not know was that I would NEVER have smacked her...she believed I would though and so it worked.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Good topic! I remember all too well being the mother of a screaming toddler in a big store! One time I actually abandoned my shopping cart (knowing that the associates would put the items back) and took my child outside when she wouldn't be quiet. After that, I made sure I had snacks and toys with me when I went shopping, and also told her she could choose 1 item from the store that I would buy for her if she behaved. That pretty much worked!

    A Personal Story

    I had been sick for several days and my husband had been cooking all of our meals. By the third day, I was feeling somewhat better, but not well enough to resume any kitchen duty. In order to give my husband a break, we decided to go out to eat. The restaurant was moderately crowded but not terribly noisy. We were seated in a booth for two across from a family of 3. When the little girl finished eating, she promptly jumped out of her seat and started dancing and singing in the walkway between the tables. Her parents were laughing and encouraging her instead of making her sit back down.

    My head was swimming and I was starting to feel sick again. I wanted to leave immediately, but we had to wait on the waitress who had to dodge the child every time she tried to walk by. As a result, she had started going around the other way to serve her tables which meant she was not coming by our table at all.

    My husband finally got our waitresses attention by waving at her. My head was hurting so bad that I had involuntary tears streaming down my face. I was extremely embarrassed.

    On a normal day I would think the child was adorable, but I would still think that she should behave properly in a public place by remaining seated and using her "inside" voice when talking. We left the restaurant as soon as we possibly could and little "Shirley Temple" was still performing.

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    Clarification Notes

    I hope everyone reading this understands that I am not debating disciplining your own child. I am only addressing the issue of hitting someone else's children. I am not even talking about aunts, uncles or grandparents. I am really only considering when strangers hit children.

    Moderated by Sylvestermouse

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    Image was modiified but origially

    © 2009 Cynthia Sylvestermouse

    Tell Me What You Think About Hitting Someone Else's Children? - Because of other comments I have read online, let me remind you this is G-rated

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      • queenofduvetcover profile image

        queenofduvetcover 4 years ago

        No excuse to hit someone else's child. I couldn't imagine someone putting their hands on my child. I would go nuts! Great lens.

      • profile image

        anonymous 4 years ago

        Great read!

      • KimGiancaterino profile image

        KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

        Sometimes I've been tempted to smack parents who think it's cute when their kids misbehave badly in public. Still, it's never correct for a stranger to strike children. Crying is another story ... there's probably a reason for it and I just walk away if it's super annoying.

      • profile image

        Ruthi 5 years ago

        Great, and controversial, lens, and you presented the topic of hitting other people's children quite well. I have mixed feelings, as I was raised in a time when community really did raise the children, and yes, I was smacked a few times by strangers when grabbing candy bars off the shelf at the checkout counter. And, sometimes I wonder if we should return to the "it takes a village to raise a child" way of parenting children. However, I am totally against physical abuse, so the line is a difficult one to be considered.

      • profile image

        Tarra99 6 years ago

        WOW...thought provoking lens...I didn't even know this was happening...I'd be enraged if someone hit my children...I was raised being spanked and I even warned my mother that she was not to hit my children, that that was not how I was raising them...unbelievable! Blessed and featured here: ...thank you for bringing this to people's attention.

      • Alfiesgirl LM profile image

        Alfiesgirl LM 7 years ago

        Hitting anyone especially a child, be they someone elses or not is totally wrong in my eyes.

      • Stazjia profile image

        Carol Fisher 7 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

        When I was a child, there was no question about smacking children, it happened to everyone. When I had my own children 40 years ago, it was pretty much the same. I never smacked them much but I did make them behave well particularly when we were out. I think it's part of a parent's duty to teach their children good manners and consideration for others. It isn't necessary to smack them to teach them either. I think I would have gone totally mad with anybody who had smacked my children. I would not have tolerated it. I have never smacked anybody else's child either.

        This is a great subject to raise and discuss. Blessed by Angel.

      • RhondaAlbom profile image

        Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

        Hi, I am a new angel and had to come back and give this lens one of my first blessings.

      • Brookelorren LM profile image

        Brookelorren LM 7 years ago

        I voted "maybe" on whether it is okay to hit someone else's child, but there's a big "but" to that. There are some situations when a parent gives permission for someone else to spank a child. Say, the child is staying with a babysitter, and the parents say that it is okay, or if the child is in a school situation and the parents say it is okay (most schools don't use that form of punishment, but some private schools do).

        With a stranger... that's kind of weird. Maybe if the kid was coming at me with a baseball bat. If they were hitting me I would probably forcibly stop them, but I would try not to hit them... unless they were teenagers, then I'd call the police. Of course, in your situations, that wasn't the case.

      • RhondaAlbom profile image

        Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

        Wow, these stories are shocking. We live in New Zealand, where it is even illegal to smack your own child. Also, this is a child friendly society. Children here are welcome just about anywhere. A child singing and dancing in a restaurant IS adorable. I really enjoyed this lens, as it is quite thought provoking. I haven't been this passionate about a lens in a while. I have lensrolled it to: Should spanking be a criminal offence?

      • profile image

        GrowWear 7 years ago

        Makes me think of this hectic lifestyle we have going on and people running themselves to the breaking point. I don't believe in spanking.

      • AlishaV profile image

        Alisha Vargas 7 years ago from Reno, Nevada

        It's horrible that these people touched other people's children at all, but I have to say I'm not really surprised. Almost anywhere I go anymore, there are kids screaming and behaving badly, and I've even seen several times where kids start taking things off of store shelves and throw them on the floor or at people. That doesn't sound like the case in these occurrences, but even if it was it still wouldn't make it right for the strangers to do anything though. I just wish the parents' of these children would start being parents, and take care of their kids so the rest of the world doesn't feel like it has to.

      • profile image

        anonymous 7 years ago

        I don't believe it is OK for anyone to hit a child of someone else, most especially a stranger.

        However, that being said. I do work in a retail situation and I am appalled at the behavior that parents allow their children to have in public! You really can't blame the children either, they obviously don't know any better or worse yet they have learned that if they throw tantrums they get what they want.

      • capriliz lm profile image

        capriliz lm 7 years ago

        No one has the right to hit someone else's child - not even school officials. If parents choose spanking as a disciplinary measure, so be it. But, no one else has that right.

        Imagine the trauma to these children when strangers take it upon themselves to "correct" someone else's child.

      • Heather426 profile image

        Heather Burns 7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

        I think it's wrong to hit any child, let alone someone else's! And in fact, hitting an adult is considered assault, so why is it not assault to hurt a child? It teaches that might makes right and causes rage in the child. This is appalling behavior and I hope the perpetrators get the justice they deserve.

      • joanhall profile image

        Joan Hall 7 years ago from Los Angeles

        Yikes! Strangers are supposed to step in if they think you're hitting your children inappropriately, not when they think you've failed to hit them!

        If someone ever decided that they knew better than me how to raise my child and that they were going to show me how it's done, the tantrum I would throw would be ten times worse than whatever my kid had been doing.

      • jptanabe profile image

        Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

        Hitting children is a sensitive topic and you have addressed it well. I believe that if children are to be disciplined with any kind of physical punishment it should only be done after warnings are given, and if the child persisted in the inappropriate behavior they should be told they will receive their punishment later. That ensures that the spanking or whatever is done when the adult is no longer angry. But a stranger just hitting someone else's child without any previous discussion with the parents, no way!

        Actually, I'm not in favor of any corporal punishment, but in my school (now this is long ago!) there were teachers who used a "belt" on us if we broke rules. We all knew the rules, clearly stated by each teacher, and it was never a surprise to be punished this way. This wouldn't happen now I guess. My husband and I did spank our daughter on a couple of occasions, didn't enjoy it! But it was done after we clearly said that certain behavior would lead to a spanking,

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