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September 3rd, 2009
08:40 AM ET

Crying Toddler Allegedly Slapped by Stranger

On Monday, a 61-year-old man allegedly approached the mother of a crying 2-year-old girl in a Wal-Mart and said, “If you don’t shut the baby up, I will shut her up for you.” A few minutes later, he allegedly grabbed the girl and slapped her across the face. Police said he struck the child four or five times. According to a police report, the man told the child’s mother “see, I told you I would shut her up.”

The alleged “slapper” was arrested and charged with first-degree cruelty to children.

Here in the Newsroom –
This story has made us reminisce about our own encounters with unruly children. We’ve laughed. We’ve cried. And now we want to hear from you. When you’ve met up with a screaming child in a public place…have you ever said anything? Done anything? Wanted to say or do anything? Share your stories here.


Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield • Heidi Collins
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Laura

    Yeah, I generally try to make a crying child laugh. You'd have to be sadistic to enjoy watching a child cry. As for unruly/screaming children, I ALWAYS let the parents deal with him/her. They know their child better than a stranger and how to discipline/get through to the child. Screaming children can get annoying (I babysat my 3-yr-old twin cousins), but eventually you just learn to let your ego go and not let your temper fly...it's all a part of the developmental process in a child. They'll learn to behave as they mature. The only time someone else should interfere in the parent/child relationship is when the parent is abusive or ill-equipped to care for a child.

    September 3, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  2. Kevin in Miami Beach

    This guy is my HERO! Parents get so accustomed to their childrens' abominable behavior and too often bring it out for all to share.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  3. John

    He should have slapped the mother as well. When are we going to stop letting kids run the country. Everything is about the kids enough is enough.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  4. Rob Kerr

    The only thing the guy did wrong,was not slapping the mother.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  5. Zabdiel Dewar

    I am from Jamaica and i think toddlers should have manners but he has no right to try and instill this in the child, thats the parents job.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  6. Mona

    I feel what he did was wrong...He was way out of line and he shouldn't touched the child. If the crying child was bothering him, he should have went to another aisle or store. But he was so wrong!!! I don't like that at all. I hope he get what he deserve!!!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  7. Mike Highland Mi

    Plenty of parents DO NOT know how to manage their kids in public and they should be slapped. But this guy is way out of line. The childs dad should slap him around. In many cases you just ask who these people think they are.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  8. Brittany Jacob

    I agree, let the parents have that discretion to control their own child. That was completely inappropriate to take those matters in your hands as a stranger. I have a little brother and that would not be some news I would want to hear.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  9. Ray Downward

    I do not hold with people slapping other people's kids, but there are a large number of kids out there that need a slap now and then. (a lot of parents need a slap too). Lack of dicipline is the number one cause of the problems with the young people today.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  10. Penny Pease

    Hey Fred, I can tell you one thing for sure, if that was MY child he was hitting, I would have beat the crap out of him before the police got there! LOL And I am a mother of three.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  11. Melissa Perry

    When my daughter was a year old we were yelled at by a man in the target parking lot who spewed profanities and huge arm gestures. It scared my daughter and she started to cry while this man was screaming in her mommy's face. When he walked into target I walked over and dumped my daughter's chocolate milk all over his brand new white Lexus. You don't mess with a momma bear's cub.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  12. Gina

    You have got to be kidding me! Yes many of us have seen crying children in stores and wish they would be quiet but what SANE adult would do such a thing! Keep him in jail AWAY from civilization. Hmmm what will be next, him taking out a gun because traffic is too loud!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  13. Shelly

    Fredricka –
    You may not want to put this on TV, but if that had been my child and he slapped her, he would not be standing long. No one has a right to slap another person's child I don't care how irritating the child is. She was only 2 years old for goodness sake. He needs to spend some time in jail for assault on a minor.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  14. emmy

    I would have tackled the guy in the store..probably would have ended up in jail...also would have called for backup....the man would have been doubled over....

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  15. Stewart

    Although he was wrong in slapping this child, I have been in a store hearing a child scream so loud that I didn't care who shut the child up!

    Stewart

    September 3, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  16. JMM

    He deserves to face charges. No one has a right to raise a hand to a child, with the exception of a parent, and even that is controversial among some people.

    I do my best to contain my own toddler's behavior, but sometimes, there is no containment. I tell him that he has a choice, he can cry or not, but he will not get what he wants.

    In addition, when faced with a choice of giving in to stop the crying, or allow the crying, and having the child learn a lesson, which is the better parenting technique?

    While as with any story, there is probably more to know, but yet, I cannot countenance someone hitting my child. In the end, as a parent, I am the ultimate arbiter of proper behavior for my children.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  17. Carrie B.

    That man should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law – what he did was an unprovoked assault, plain and simple! Having said that, when a child has a "meltdown," it is the responsibility of the parent to take the child to an area where the child can regain control in private.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  18. tim

    This man should be given a medal! I am so tired of parents who are too lazy to control their children. Everywhere I go there is always a screaming child. My Mother would leave her cart and take us home, whip us and then not allow us to go to the store for a long while when we acted like that.
    Parents want to be friends to their children instead of their authority. We need a license to drive, and for many jobs; yet brainless people are allowed to procreate without any guidance. Lets require a license to become a parent, then maybe society will get back on track!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  19. michael armstrong sr.

    No matter how you look at it it's assault on a minor he lucky somebody like me wasnt there because i would have beat the crap out of him.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  20. jay

    Think he should be thrown into general population and let jail system take care of him.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  21. Lew

    I have definately thought about slapping another persons child that was acting inappropriately, yet have not acted on it. This should be a wake up call to all those parents that do not disipline their children appropriately which is the reason for their acting out in public. We have to draw the line between who the parent and the child is in these relationships.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  22. Kat

    I must be frank. Things have changed drastically since I was a child and now. Parents now do not discipline their children, especially in public, allowing them to get away with much more than they ever should. Part of the problem is that so many people will report parents to social services because they discipline their children in public and part of it is the lack of discipline in general for children. I do not condone a random stranger smacking a child but I do believe that our culture has gone completely out of control when it comes to allowing children to act as they choose. The expression "acting like a child" was coined for a reason. Children need to be disciplined by their parents in private and public so that they grow up to be respectable adults. As it stands, we have a whole generation of children and parents who think that children are entitled to whatever they want. It's time for a new culture of parenting and I hope this story brings those issues into a new light.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  23. Alec

    This story cracks me up. I think we've all experienced unruly children, whether at a store, or even the movies and have had thoughts that the parent needed to control the child, and what we'd do. We never go somewhere expecting to be disturbed by someone's uncontrollable child. I can't condone the man slapping the child. I have myself on occassion informed a child's parent that I don't appreciate the disturbance their child was making.
    However, everyone's tolerance for nearly everything is different.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  24. Chris

    Children and toddlers cry. It is inherent in nature. They cry everywhere; movie theaters, grocery stores, airplanes, etc. As embarrassing as it is for the parents who are trying to control the child, it is never acceptable for a stranger to try and control that child and even less acceptable for a stranger to lay hands on that child. The crying may annoy the surrounding public, but it is a fact of life so deal with it! We all do! That man must be criminally punished.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  25. Bernadette Loesch

    As Hillary Clinton once said, 'it takes a village to raise a child.' I'm relieved to see that people stepped in to help with the man acting totally against what is right and normal in a child's behavior. It also takes a village to get that person the mental health help he nows needs to deal with his improper action and inappropriate feelings. He should have not acted on his impulses in any way shape or form.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  26. Mom of 2 and Expecting

    I think it's great he's facing felony charges. I'm a mother of 2 and pregnant with my 3rd. My son is 4 and my daughter is 1, and I'm sure there has been plenty of times where they have cried in a store.. I don't know what I would do if somebody slapped my child.. But I know it wouldn't be pretty and I would probably face some charges myself. I don't believe in correcting someone else's children, this story is just ridiculous.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  27. Steve

    Pathetic. You should never strike another human. What kind of message are you displaying to the child...that it's ok to hit? Especially a stanger hitting a child. It's not his responsibility to discipline the child... it's the parent. What gave him the right to hit someone. Children cry when they are upset, in need of something, or just want attention, they sometime don't understand and need to be taken aside and spoke to, I would press charges to fullest extent of the law if someone struck my child. He desrves it. I'll bet he was beat as a child. Very disturbing story.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  28. Brian Strouse Port Richey

    Thats the problem with kids today lack of discipline. Every where we go there is screaming children and the parents do nothing. I do not agree with what the man did but kids today are out of control.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  29. Kyle

    I've seen children in grocery stores acting a fool, but I would NEVER . walk up to another parents child and put my hands on the child. The man was out of line and he deserves whatever punishment he gets.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  30. Joel

    PARENTS: PLEASE RESPECT OTHERS AND KEEP YOUR CHILDREN QUIET!
    I am a parent, my daughter is in mid 20s. My wife and I did not let her disrespect others being loud and disruptive let alone crying.
    Your the parent, you had the kid. You want respect, give it!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  31. Kyan (pronounced Keon)

    As a prosecutor and human being, I think his actions should be considered a random act of violence and he should be punished accordingly with a prison sentence of at least 3 years. As any reasonable person knows, toddlers cry for any number of reasons. While we may not understand why toddlers cry for little to no reason and why parents may not take proactive efforts to stop a toddlers incessant crying, the alleged use of violence against this defenseless child, if true, is no different than any other crime committed against a defenseless small child, the perpetrators remorse and regret notwithstanding.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  32. Jamar

    I think the man who slapped the child has some very serious problems. Who is he to put his hands another persons' child? I think the right thing to do would have been to try to make her laugh a little to help take the stress off her mother who had deal with crying child...or better yet just mind your own business and walk away if its annoying you that much. I could see if the girls Mom was abusing her then I would understand a stranger intervening, but this is obviously not the case here. I work in retail, and this (crying children) happens everyday with most "normal" people just ignoring it or letting the parents deal with it not trying to interfere by slapping a child several times.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  33. Mena

    I think, he absolutly deserves the punishment for hitting the child. This is totally unacceptable.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  34. Niko

    I do believe that it "takes a village to raise a child" especially during this time. I would quickly intervene verbally versus being physical with unrully children. This man overstepped and deserves to face the full extent of the law for his actions.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  35. Jackson

    What an idiot, this guy is the type of people that degrade society. If it had been my child, this headline would have read quite differently, " Man shot and killed at Walmart, for slapping another persons child." I consider that a threat against the safety and well being of a family. He is quite lucky on how easy he is getting off on this. That poor child had no way to defend itself, and it seems to me this dirt bag preyed upon this child. He had seen that this poor mother was alone, and he went in and assaulted this child, you could say he assaulted the child with intent to cause seriouse harm. Children can not take the same type of physical abuse an adult would.

    Sad story, wish I had been there and witnessed this...there would have been a beat down. I say put this guy away for a while so he can be abused in prison. Child abusers don't receive a warm welcome in prison.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  36. Alec

    But what happens Laura when the parents are doing nothing but ignoring the behavior of the child, as was reported in this incident? Do you patiently stand by while the child goes bonkers, disturbing the peace of everyone within earshot?

    September 3, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  37. janice

    When we all see the terrible crimes that children are subjected to ie murder, abuse, kidnapping...assulted by a stranger in Wal Mart ! We all wince.
    I wonder if it worked on his children and grandchildren?
    This man better not get a plea bargin....it has to stop!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  38. Jason

    I used to be an Assistant Manager for Wal-Mart and witnessed this on a daily basis. Parents would get furious when their child would cry and they would discipline their kids in an manner that wasn't appropriate. Sometimes, we had to step in and ask the parent to stop or they would ask them to leave the store. The child cannot control when they do not know the difference. They are too young to understand and I believe that anyone that punishes their child to that extent needs to be punished in the same manner or have legal action taken against them. Again, the child is too young to know the difference and the parent is too old and mature to act in that way.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  39. Bryan

    Was it appropriate for him to slap the child? Absolutely not. However it is EXTREMELY frustrating when parents just let their children yell and scream and carry on without regard for other shoppers. 99% of the time I hear screaming and crying children at the store their idiotic parents are doing nothing to stop them. Just like parents have the right to take screaming children to the movies and restaurants, I also have the right to shop in peace and quiet.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  40. Kathie

    When my son was 2, he was having a melt down in the middle of a clothing store. I was about to take his hand and remove him from the store when a man came up to him and started scolding him for being a "brat". My son rose from the floor and planted a kick right on the man's shin. I was mortified! Secretly, I couldn't help but think, "that's what you get for interfering!"

    September 3, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  41. Debbie

    When I come across a screaming child, the first thing that I think about is the parent. It can be really embarrasing to have your child act up in the store, so I try not making it any more awkard for the parent than it is already.

    It's best to just let the parent handle it and go about your business. When we start to stare and comment I think it unnerves the parent and makes the react more to the child.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  42. Cecy Blum

    Being a childless adult, I understand his frustration with a crying child, having said that it gave him no right to strike this child. I have been in a similar situation and I talk to the child and the parent, usually with a positive reaction. There have even been times when I pretend to cry along with the child and they usually stop and look at me funny then laugh. Stopping a child from crying is not a difficult thing to do but slapping a child is unaccepatble no matter how much it bothers you. He should think about that and how he would feel if it were his child.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  43. Angela Schuelke

    I am happy to say, I had an experience at a Wal-Mart that was at the opposite end of the spectrum. My screaming child was disturbing everyone in the checkout line. Another mother was shopping with a friend, and she came over and took my groceries to the car for me so I could attend to my son. If more people could take the time to help a situation, instead of make it worse, our world would be a better place. One good deed at a time.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  44. C. Margrave

    Anyone that presumptuous and that angry and or mean has done this before, if not to a stranger then to a family member. The police should make sure his family is safe.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  45. John

    I am a college student and am not a parent. Although this man was out of line for allegedly slapping a child, I have been in various situations where parents do not take steps to tend to their crying child/children (Church, movie theaters, restaurants, etc.). I understand it is difficult at times to be on top of crying children, but parents should also understand that there are other people around that have to suffer.

    Also, I understand crying on an airplane. There isn't anywhere for a parent to go to calm down the child. So deal with it!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  46. Sreeni Bhatti

    We were on a plane from Honolulu to San Francisco, our 18-month old was happy and excited that he was in a plane. We were sitting somewhere in the front and our son was greeting people boarding onto the flight saying "Hi". Everyone was in a happy mood and saying "Hi" back to my son except for one middle-aged lady. She said (yelled), "Why do people have babies, they are annoying. You guys should stay home and have no life."

    I guess we had a lot of support on the plane, people gave her "the looks" and of course she din't care. Our son was happy all the way back to SFO singing Jay Jay the jet plane song.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  47. justiice

    At a 6' 5" 300 lb guy the gentlemen would have felt the same slap himself if I had ben in line behind him! Also the police would not have been needed, because the gentlemen or should I say worthless assailant would have been more than happy to set a yearly trust fund for this child! Just in case of any long term damage... to the assailant that is!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  48. Don Fall

    Hello Fredricka,

    Crying babies are only annoying to the already annoyed. True some parents have no control over their children in public, which can be a dangerous situation. Nonetheless, if anyone slaps my child to shut him or her up, may God have mercy on them, that would be the day that I die, or I will be going to prison!

    Don, Indianapolis, IN

    September 3, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  49. William Simmons

    I Know it's not the right thing to say but they would have called the local national guard to get me off of this man. It is not his place to touch anyone child. All children have had some kind of out cry while with there parents while shopping. If it bothered him that much he should have left the store.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  50. JMM

    This is interesting... most men who are commenting think that it was ok, or that it shows a lack of parenting skills on the mother's part.

    Whereas the women would never allow anyone to hit their child.

    Makes me think that these men who have commented have never spent days, weeks, or months, let alone 8 solid hours, with a toddler.

    Good luck to you "gentlemen" in your own child raising experiences!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  51. Lee

    What is the real shame in this situation? If the parent had taken the same actions, likely nothing would have been done. Think about this. When was the last time your boss struck you because you where not performing or talking at an acceptable level? Thinking that it is acceptable because they are children and cannot be reasoned with easily demonstrates the argument that a great number in society have no business rearing a child. Most children are easier to cajole than most of my employees. What are we teaching our children?

    September 3, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  52. Nicole

    I am surprised that this man is still walking around – if I had seen that happen or god forbid if it had happened to my child I would not have been able to keep my control, this monster would be in need of an emergency room! I can feel my blood boiling just thinking about it. No one is allowed to hit a child, not even the parents!!!! I have a child with Autism and we have had our share of public meltdowns. We all need compassion and understanding for the struggles of parents- not violence towards the child. If you see a child screaming don't ignore it, try to offer help to the parent, monitor the situation and be sure the child is not in danger or hurt. What has this world come to when a man thinks that it is his place to hit a strangers child?

    September 3, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  53. Tim S

    The gentleman should of looked at the reason why the child was crying. Was the child tired? hungry? If so there's not too much you can do to a two year old child that is tired or hungry besides cuddle them and try to comfort them until you can leave the store. Heck open up a pack of cookies and give them a cookie (just make sure you buy the pack of cookies) 🙂
    My question to the gentleman would be how hard did he slap the girl? My father would whip the crap out of me when growing up and trust me, it straighten me up right away. Now I'm not saying that he had every right to slap the child several times across the face, however, people now a days flip out when they see a parent spank a child because they only believe in "Time out". Time out only works a few times and a good spanking has more of an affect on a child, I know, I'm a parent also.
    If he slapped her several times as mentioned and he slapped her with severe force then he needs help not jail time. This tells me that he has an anger management issues and I hope he gets help before he hurts the child or even his wife.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  54. Carl Brown

    If I had been there at WalMart, the sorry S.O. B. would need security for himself. If any man wants to hit children, especially ones that aren't theirs, then please let them hit me. I hit back and I hate men who have to beat up on women and young children to prove how manly they are. They are nothing but punks. If that had been my child I would be the one in jail for beating the hell out of that sorry excuse for a man.

    Thanks

    Carl

    September 3, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  55. Kris

    Had that been my daughter the man hit, the cops would be called but not before an AMBULANCE FOR THE MAN. The man should do time BIG TIME Kris

    September 3, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  56. mariesa robbins

    As the parent of a 4 year old, I have to say I am appalled. Every child, even the best behaved, has a breaking point. Children cry. Children talk loud. They communicate in ways they are heard. I have had people stare when my son has been loud at the grocery store. I have turned to many glaring adults and said, "well I guess you have never had a bad day?" There is NO way that man would have ever gotten that close to my child. I think parents need to be able to keep their children in line but everyone has a bad day. NO one should ever step in and discipline my child in my presence

    September 3, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  57. michael armstrong sr.

    Listen people this was a two year old child that didnt know any better the kid was either hungry sick or pooped it's diaper the mother should have tried to find the proublem but when some stranger hits your kid it's war time.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  58. John

    I don't think the gentleman should have touched the child. With that said, if a child or anyone is misbehaving in public, they need to be removed from the situation. The mother obviously needs parenting skills. Parents who cannot control their children in public or private should be spayed or neutered.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  59. irene

    It seems that children are running their parents lives and the parents are as immature as their children. they do not train them before going out and especially to restaurants. i've watched them scream, throw rolls and run around to other tables while the parents did nothing. Although one father did thing it was a good thing to distract his screaming 3 year old by singing a sea chanty with about 14 stanzas and she was trained to yell out the last word of each. restaurants should have a sign posted warning parents who have not trained their children to behave in public will be asked to leave.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  60. Joyce A

    It is frustrating enough to have an unruly child, but sometimes childen are just that. Supportive 'strangers' that continue on their way without comment,, or comment in a supportive manner assist the parent/caregiver and ease their frustrtion. THose that act like they are being disrupted to their life ought to shop at Wal Mart at midnigh when there aren't any childen around. Slapping a child is an assault. An assault to anyone is illegal, to a child is disgraceful

    September 3, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  61. Terri T. Jackson

    I was in the car when I heard this story and looked in the rear view mirror at my 3 yr old who was whining after I told him he couldn't eat any Skittles candy. This incident caused me so much distress that I experienced chest discomfort. I am a mother and I put myself in the place of the mother. This is a 2 yr. old child and children cry. I can't imagine a stranger assaulting my child without me "losing my mind" and immediately protecting my child. As a mother, you protect your children AT ALL COSTS. We both would have been hand cuffed on that day.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  62. Joel

    PARENTS: PLEASE RESPECT OTHERS AND KEEP YOUR CHILDREN QUIET!
    Your the parent, you had the kid. You want respect, give it!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  63. Tony

    This guy should be slapped and put into a mental institution for the rest of his life. If someone would ever lay a finger on my child, I would make sure that he would not be able to use his fingers EVER again!!
    What has happened to our tolerance level. This is a 2 YEAR OLD child. Discipline is one thing, but physical abuse, especially against a child, is NOT acceptable!.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  64. Suzann Brooke

    Hitting a child is just wrong. I am a retired special education teacher. I have seen the results. We are an increasingly violent society. Don't you have to wonder where it all starts? It's easy to blame TV programming. Everything starts at home. What's next? Hitting crying infants? I hope there are dire consequences for this guy. I think he could be dangerous.
    Sue

    September 3, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  65. steena

    Honey, I don’t have children, but all I can say is, if Good Ole' Mr. Grinch would have done that to my child or any child in my possession, honey, that sucker would have gotten a taste of whatever was in my basket. He'd better hope I don't come out of my purse and bless him with a piece of steel, cause I would have said, oh, you want to slap my kid...... "trick or treat suka, this is your lucky day" and bust a cap in his “you know what”!

    He just looks evil!! The next time that joka lifted his hands at someone, it would to ask the nurse to escort him to the bathroom, cause I would have socked it to him honey! By the time I finished with that rag a muffin, he'd be the one screaming! Shoot, he didn’t slap the right mom’s kid, cause he got off way to easy! OMG, I just can’t image that being my child, but if it was, I’d be under the jail and he might be six feet under, believe that!

    Now, when I do see kids screaming and running through the store, I ask the child, little one, where are you parents……….they usually calm down. Sometimes I give them my mean “grandma stare” and they get it. I don’t like no bad kids honey, but I would not think of putting my hands on someone else’s child. I’d be too afraid of the repercussions.

    Parents don't play when it comes to their children.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  66. Chris

    If you are hailing and praising the actions of this man, you are plain wrong! When I was a child growing up in my neighborhood it was acceptable to be punished by the elders in the neighborhood if they saw you "cutting up". This is by no means the same thing. This is not punishment, this is an assault on a child! You, as a stranger have NO right to slap anyone's child to control crying or even misbehaving. You had better get your anger under control and figure out a more clever way to handle it. No one wants to endure the likes of a crying or screaming child. Like it or not you got to find another way to cope or approach the parent with proper Tactics. Get your on child, slap them, and find yourself in court. Do it to someone else's child and you might find yourself in a hospital!

    September 3, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  67. Pat

    I am wondering if this man has Tourette's syndrome which is characterized by uncontrollable outbursts of aggressive behavior? HIs obvious facial tics are one sign of this condition. No excuse for unacceptable behavior but a possible explanation. There should be a medical exam in his near future.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  68. Wendy H.

    I do not have kids and although I would never imagine hitting someone else's kid it is very annoying to be in public places and have to hear someone else's child act up. I think parents think that everyone is a parent and can relate and that is not the case. Here's the thing, if you can't handle them you shoudn't be having them.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  69. Real Father

    The child should be slapped by the PARENT, and if the man really wanted the kid to shut up, tonguelash the MOTHER for not slapping the child. Spare the slap, spoil the sap. That being said, that guy would've been in some serious trouble had he touched my child. I swear to God.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  70. sheila pate

    While I don't agree with slapping a child, as someone who works in a grocery store in the pharmacy for 12 hours straight and hears a child cry for 20 minutes to an hour while the mother shops, is annoying and irritating. The mother should recognize the behavior of the child and leave him or her at home, with a sitter (If they have money to shop they have money for a sitter for a couple of hours), a grandparent, aunt, or willing neighbor, get your shopping done and go home and look after your kid, a trip to a grocery store or walmart doesn't need to be an adventure for the entire family.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:22 am |
  71. Blake

    There's no excuse for this man slapping a child, much less someone else's child. BUT, this country continues to absolve parents from responsibility for actually parenting. If mommy wants empahty from strangers while she's shopping in Wal-Mart, then she should be doing her part and keeping that kid out of restaurants and movie theaters. You chose to reproduce, parents – learn how to parent more efficiently and spare the public from having to tolerate your obnoxious children.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  72. Jennifer

    When my 16 month old daughter has a public meltdown, I speak to her really calmly and tell her I understand that she is unhappy and we will be leaving soon. I find that it doesn't really matter what I say, but my calm voice soothes her. If I get angry with her or scold her, she just gets more upset. It's all about knowing your own kid and what works for them.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  73. Fr. Rick Malloy, S.J.

    Help a Mom or Dad with a kid who is having a meltdown. Say something to help defuse the situation ("I understand," "We've all been there," "Relax, having patience with crying kids earns us points for heaven," "My Mom says grandchildren are what we get for not killing our kids"). Sometimes, just drawing the parent's attention from the crying, screaming, yelling kid forces the child to realize he or she is no longer the center of attention. The kid gets distracted by the new person on the scene and stops crying and fussing (at least for 10 seconds...). As a priest, I always try and make a parent of an unruly child know that everyone is welcome in church. If we can't pray to God with the kids God gave the world in our pews, we can't pray to the true and living God.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  74. Alan S

    I have come across this kind of situation several times. I have on occasion started talking to the child. Almost always they quit crying and start wondering who is the old guy that is talking to them. Most of them will go to their mom and we both go our way. Usually the mom and I chuckle about this situation.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  75. Real Father

    The problem is the fact that the man who did the slapping wasn't the child's father....btw, where was the child's father? In the absence of a male authority, the female authority has to take up the mantle of both, that means dropping the "stop it billy, stop it" crap that spoiled and unruly kids rarely respond to, and dropping those underpants in a public place and spanking that kid's butt. Right in front of everybody too. I think it's still legal to spank your kids' bare butt with an open hand without children and family services knocking on your door. My kids fear disrespecting their mom and acting unruly because they fear the wrath of the open hand on bare bottom.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  76. kim in TX

    As a mom of 2 teens, I can well understand the embarrassment and helplessness of a mom when a toddler freaks in the store. The child is only doing this as a power game, to control mom through her embarrassment. SO, I try to say something funny and supportive like, "Ahh, those were the days, just wait until she wants to drive your car!" Or, of a boy that was freaking at Walmart for a bike; I said, "It's ok, that's how Freddie Mercury got his start". If mom laughs, then the child knows that the power to embarrass has been taken away, AND they are distracted from the power struggle by the unusual event of mom talking to a stranger.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  77. Alan

    There's NO excuse for the man slapping the child.
    BUT...the incident should have never happened. Put "the fear of God" into the child at home, and they will act with the manners that you've taught them when in public.
    I'm sure it goes against current parenting opinion, but FEAR is the only sure way to teach. It certainly worked for me and my siblings.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  78. Mr. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez

    It is sad that our society is so sick and my experience was my child when she was not even two years old she was over a month and we were traveling to Puerto Rico and was still breast feeding my child and I believe that she was in discomfort we were about to take off the airplane in Miami, FL and this lady said out loud “people do not teach respect to children and she was just a baby. My husband was with me and I told him she is nuts. Children at that age get active and they try to talk. This lady was completely bizarre and once we got to Puerto Rico she was the first to burst thru the door. No one else said anything just her. She even left her companion behind. What posses’ people to say things as “If you don’t shut the baby up, I will shut her up for you.” I wonder how this man feels now being arrested and charged with first-degree cruelty to children. I wonder what the description of an unruly child is. Children are children and temper tantrums happens but we must not lose our temper. This person lost more than that and this should become an example to all. I had my child screaming in a public places and it is not an easy thing. People should keep to their business because childhood is not an easy science. My child was diagnosed with ADHD when she was 13 years old. I had to be patient and wait. Finding a doctor who might listen is the key. I just felt like dying in that moment of embarrassment but I did not had a health network around.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  79. Real Father

    This problem of discipline extends into other arenas as well, consider the issue of single parent families, predominantly single mothers raising children male and female. The Father isn't in the home. The mother has to work. The kids are left alone or with parentified adolescents who are uncapable of proper supervision. The children end up in the streets, doing ridiculous things in the community with relative impunity, abusing/selling drugs, carrying pistols, ganging up on random people walking down the street, throwing rocks at buses, over freeway overpasses, and generally terrorizing the community to the extent that people are afraid to walk down the street for fear of a mob of juveniles , who could possibly be carrying pistols and weapons at age 12, doing anything indiscretionary. Then as soon as something happens, kid gets shot, arrested, anything, the first thing these irresponsible parents want to do is start crying about "their baby, their baby". Well, madam, your "baby" is out the street carrying pistols and playing grown man games. Stop parentifying children and don't make kids if you can't raise them. Period.You do the entire community and the child an injustice by not properly raising your children.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  80. Jamie Barnes

    Are you kidding me? I think I would be in court too, because I would have picked up the nearest frozen ham and nailed that guy with it. Then again, all-american Wal-Mart... just walk to sporting goods and purchase a weapon on the spot.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  81. Real Father

    This isn't an issue of embarassment. The only embarassing thing about this issue is the fact that mom has no control over the child, whatsoever. The mom regains her dignity, if that's what you wanna call it, by spanking that kid's ass, right then and there. I'm of the mind that my kids aren't gonna embarass me by acting out in public, because if they do, I'm going to embarass them by spanking their behind in public. My kids try to start acting up in public, even a little, all I have to do is look at them with that look, and maybe say some muffled threat through clenched teeth, and they stop. They don't want to endure the wrath of open hand on bare bottom.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  82. Dave

    He should not have hit the child, but it is about time that parents take responsibility for their children. The parents need to grow up.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  83. Tom

    It's a shame that the little girl was slapped by a stranger. The mother of this child should have taken control of the situation before it was escalated to this point. There is no such thing as a bad child....Just bad parenting. If parents dont know how to control thier children in public or havent taken the time to teach them the proper way of acting in public. Then they shouldnt take them in public.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  84. Gary Bowden

    If the crying was bothering the man,then he should have said something to the mother about it,but instead he chose to hit the child.That crosses the line! How would he feel if someone hit his crying child?? He would feel differently,I assure you.The mother should have gone off on him verbally or physically,just to let him know he did wrong!! Kids are going to act up or get cranky,but that doesn't give anyone the right to lay their hands on them,does it??? I was wondering,were they in line together for the child to be getting on the man's nerves?? If so,couldn't he have gone to another line,if that was the case??

    September 3, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  85. Alison

    I am a mother of a 3 yr old girl and 1 month old boy and if any stranger would slap my child, I would have went to the hardware section or sports section, whatever is closer and got a hammer or bat and slapped him in the back of his head all across wal-mart. How could a mother allow a stranger to put they hands on her child without doing anything.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  86. Gena Singh

    I think the issue is being muddled with the details. Whether it's a crying 2-year-old, a teenager with a loud stereo, or an obnoxious adult on a cell phone, we don't get to hit people just because they irritate us. This man committed assault, and he should face the consequences. Period.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  87. Kathy Cawthon

    Creepiest thing ever said to me: "Let me take him home and I'll shut him up." Said to me in a K-Mart by a strange man when my 2-year old was having a temper tantrum. Why are we acting like the man who slapped the toddler merely acted inappropriately? What he did was physically assault a child. This is a criminal offense – this man is dangerous and should be punished to the fullest extent. By the way, the K-Mart incident was 30 years ago. I did what mothers did then and should do now – I picked up my son and left the store.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:51 am |
  88. Manuel Mota, M.D.

    Dear journalist: Thank you for airing real journalism (an endagered specie) and for bringing this topic. In 1996 I was offered a spanking by a Phoenix radio personality for opposing spanking. People need to understand that when you hit a child you are showing he or she is in control.
    We you are the boss talking is sufficient. Besides, some children have mental illness as young as two-year old because they inhereted from parents. Controversial issue but there is no problem accepting the same child can have Leukemia or Diabetes.
    Finally, a child could be cry because of pain, sickness or hunger. That man, is clearly mentally ill and should be evaluated in jail and ordered involuntary out-patient treatment. He has rage attacks, not impulse control nor sense of boundaries and these are signs of mental problems.
    thanks,
    Manuel Mota-Castillo
    Child psychiatrist
    Lake Mary, Fl

    September 3, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  89. Marie Langdon

    I do not think it was proper for this man to slap the child but I must say that children today rule the parents not the parents ruling the children.I bet this child performs the same at home and the parent bends like a wet noodle.

    Marie

    September 3, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  90. Real Father

    Children are indeed going to be children, and you should never spank a child while still angry, but that's the point. Don't get angry, don't allow the stress to affect you whatsoever. Project that stress onto the child by spanking that behind, and then just continue on as if nothing ever happened. For those parents of either sex, in the event that spanking your child isn't an option, go ahead and appease them until you finish the task at hand. Then as soon as you get a chance, make sure you spank'em real good, so they know next time, they may get away with it right then, but oh boy wait until we get home..... The behavior will stop. If the kids are already too big to spank, then you missed that opportunity. Now is the time for real intervention such as family counseling.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:54 am |
  91. Real Father

    Fear certainly works. God is great, and I fear his wrath. Under certain circumstances, respect through fear is wholly feasible and quite effective.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  92. kim in TX

    A two year old child is still hard to control. I personally took my kids each on one-to-one 'public' trips as toddlers to places like a cafe or library starting around 18 months simply as training for their 'public manners'. Not everyone has that luxury; and, as all of you attackers are proving, some personalities are just more aggressive than others.

    Kids know that if they embarrass the parent, they are likely to get what they want to stop the display. If bystanders show that they are on mom's side, the kids usually give up.

    In TX it is against the law to spank a child in public or with anything other than a paddle and in any place other than the bottom(it is considered assault). Are you honestly willing to go to jail over such a normal, trivial thing as a toddler's temper tantrum?

    September 3, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  93. Mike

    As the leader of the Alabama Autism & Asperger's Statewide Info and Support Network, I am apalled by this "man's" assault on this child. This is a struggle that many of our parent's of children with autism are faced with on a regular basis. The stares, the snide comments, the suggestions that they could cure our children with a belt. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects social skills, and many times the parent's of these children are subjected to the ignorance of what Autism is. We have a forum on our site AlabamaAutism.org that is full of these stories. Most of the times when you have a child with autism in the early years the parents do not have anyone that can babysit their child on the spectrum and have no choice but to carry their child to a grocery store. Next time you see a child having a meltdown please realize that this child may be manifesting their disability. Autism affect 1 out of 150 and 1 out of 88 males including the adults on the spectrum. Autism now affects 1 out of 100 of our children preschool to high school. Please the next time before you make your quick judgement that it's the parents fault think to yourself that this child could possibly be having a meltdown due to Autism.
    Mike
    P.S. Don't touch anyone else's child in my presence!

    September 3, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  94. Gary Bowden

    The guy is NOT a hero! You'd have to be an idiot to think so because he crossed the line.Would you feel the same way if it was your child that was crying and some stranger came up and slap him or her? He wouldn't be a hero then,would he?? How are we to know that the mother didn't try to calm her child down before the idiot slapped him or her?? Even if the child was being a spoiled brat,you don't lay your hands on them.You tell the parent about it and let them deal with it.If the parent doesn't do it and lets the child continue to be that way,then you can walk away or tell the parent that they need to take parenting lessons..Parents are only to blame if they allow their kids to be disruptive and not mind,but you don't hit the child or the parent.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:57 am |
  95. Jorge

    Oh my god. What is the big deal! The guy in this story told the mother several times in the report to keep that crying/ annoying baby to be quiet. SEVERAL TIMES! I don't think i would've done the same thing that this guy did but i completely agree with this guys actions. My wife don't. She is very angry with the actions of this guy. I'm just telling her that the baby got what was coming to her. Straight up the mother should have done something about her child. She agrees with the other comment about how she'll make sure he'll never be able to use his fingers again.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  96. Leary B. Riv as, Jr.

    If I would have seen that happen, even if it weren't my child, I would have made that guy go horizontal. How can a grown man go hitting on someone ELSE's defenseless child??? No way, Fredricka. Not in front of me. Not in this life!

    September 3, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  97. Maureen

    Children should never be slapped. Children live what they learn. Time out is the best way to correct them. When my child was small, I would leave the place whether it was a store, church or someone's home. Most of the time , childrem cry because they are tired or hungry. The other times , it is because they are being naughty. We should all remember that we were once children.
    I shall make no comment about the gentleman.I leave it to the authorites.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  98. Lori C.

    When I'm out in public and encounter a child who is screaming or running wild I just remember being in that parent's shoes not so long ago. Even the most well behaved small child has a meltdown once in a while. I think people who would have the nerve to approach a parent and put in their two cents are jerks!! As a parent you usually feel badly enough when your child is making a scene in a store and you want to get the behavior stopped worse then any of the onlookers can imagine. But the thought of someone attacking my child for bad behavior brings on the worst rage, the monster who slapped the little 2yr old needs jail time for sure then medication and anger management. I must confess I would never have believed I would hear of such a thing happening.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  99. Kayla

    i think this is outrageous. who the hell gave that guy the right to hit a child especially one that isn't his. let someone put their hands on my kids and wouldn't be around anymore. kids cry thats what they do hello terrible 2's didn't he hear that statement before. anyway i hope he rots in jail for touching that kid.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  100. Millicent J. Aynes

    It is annoying to hear a child cry while you are shopping because the child's parents), for whatever reason, could not leave the child with a sitter. I'm assuming that parent(s) must shop with their children at times. I often sympathize with sick or irritable children who are genuinely out of sorts for feeling so bad. All that a kid can do is cry to express his or her feelings. Surely, adults should be able to understand the vast differences in maturity between themselves and upset children. Adults need to understand enough to not harm anyone's child. If I were close by the child I might offer food to the child in case the child was hungry. Otherwise, I might try to console the child by talking to him or her in a soothing manner. The thing I would never do is harm the child. I would definitely report any harm done to a child. In this case, I would be a voluntary witness to incarcerate the fool that slapped the child four times across the face.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:04 am |
  101. Bonnie

    This man was wrong to asault a child. The mother was also wrong in not correctling her child. Parents should not take children into stores when they are tired, hungry or in need of a nap or a diaper change.
    I am tired of being held hostage by screaming children and indifferent parents, whether it is a retail store or a restaurant.

    In a restaurant I do not like to be held hostage by a screaming child throwing a tantrum and the parents ignoring it. I tell the server to change my table if a family with a child is seated at a nearby table. If when I am seated I check the surrounding tables for children.

    I have been injured by a six year old who was running and ran into me. I am a senior citizen and I use a cane. The child takled me from behind. I sustain injuries which required a trip to the hospital in an ambulance. The parents thought it was funny until I sued them. The resttaurant was also sued. I won both my cases.

    My children learned at a very young age that there are restaurant and grocery store voices and manners. If they disregarded them we left.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  102. milissa

    My husband would of slapped lightly on our 4 year olds mouth. I disagree with him, but if someone else touched my child you would of had to pull me off of that person and I'm appose to violence but when it comes to my child I'm like a mother bear.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  103. meanmompres

    First, anyone who slapped MY child would've been on the floor. Second, as author of Mean Moms Club: The Moms Rule Book, I would have handled my crying child differently than letting her continue to cry in the store. They cry for a reason and that's where we need to focus. I too get frustrated when I see tired, hungry kids being dragged (sometimes literally) through stores. As a parent, it's our job to see to their needs. If they're tired, do that shopping another time. If they're hungry, feed them. I always kept food in my purse. If they're emotionally out of control (and what 2 yr old isn't) know how you want to deal with tantrums.

    If we have a plan, we don't have to be caught embarrassed or get angry. When my 2 yr old had a tantrum in a K-mart because he couldn't have a certain toy, throwing himself on the floor & crying, I calmly told him I'd be right nearby (in the next aisle where I could see him) and to let me know when he's done. A couple asked me if he was mine & I said nope. This sounds terrible, but I am the mean moms president afterall. The tantrum was extremely short lived because he had no fuel for it & we went on with our shopping. We have to be aware of developmental milestones in deciding how to respond to situations. Rule 2 in the book teaches those. Then you need to decide what boundaries to set based on safety and security and how you'll enforce them. Other rules in the book help with that.

    If you have that plan you don't worry about how other people tell you to raise your kids. When I was expecting my second, I a neighbor advised me to potty train by leaving him in a diaper for 1 yr, then switching to training pants & swatting him on the butt with a rolled up newspaper when he'd have an accident. For real! Needless to say, I didn't follow that sage advice. Can you just see me in K-Mart swatting my baby on the butt with a rolled up newspaper?? Now, that would make the news!

    President of the Mean Moms Club
    meanmom@meanmomsclub.com
    http://www.meanmomsclub.com

    September 3, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  104. Ex-Walmart shopper in California

    Personally, I chose not to shop in places where unruly children are tolerated. When my children were small I knew when and where I could take them in public – my oldest had ADHD. If they were having a bad day I didn't take them out, we stayed home. Children, especially small children do not enjoy shopping and are not old enough to benefit from a learning shopping experience. Once a child is old enough to reason and understand expectations a parent should feel obligated to explain their expectations to their child/children and if the child is unable to meet those expectations the parent should leave immediately. It is possible to make arrangements to shop, eat out, or travel without subjecting the parent, the child and the rest of the public to stressful melt downs.

    A stranger should NEVER touch a child and a parent should NEVER permit a melt down to continue long enough to annoy others. The parent should leave and if the parent disrespectfully refuses to leave the stranger should walk out of the store.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  105. Jamie Barnes

    How is this an argument about discipline and the mother's handling of the situation? Is there anything your child could do "real father" that would make it ok with you for another adult male to slap the 2 YEAR OLD across the face 5 or 6 times? No way, no how, not on my watch. Spanking your own child is not even related to slapping a stranger. Dignity? Embarrasment? I'm an adult parent, I'm not shopping in public to impress others or gain their respect. Our actions as parents should be taken for the good of our children.... not to save face. Discipline for your own dignity? Unethical. Discipline to teach the child something... a different story. Now how far to take the discipline.. another topic altogether, but certainly not within the rights of a stranger to step in.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  106. Dale Castle

    As a mother of grown children, I often reasssure moms whose children have "meltdowns" in line at Walmart and other such places. Children do that, and that mom needed some help. Striking a child like that is assault, plain and simple, and I hope he learns something about self control in jail. We need to step up and help other parents in situations like this one before another child is hurt. Enough about blaming the parent!

    September 3, 2009 at 11:24 am |
  107. Dale Wood

    A lot of parents have no clue on how to raise their children or how to teach them to behave in public. Some of this is related to fear that, at least in this country, disciplining your child is considered child abuse. Discipline is an integral, demanded, and required part of rearing a child. The U.S. is a laughing stock to the rest of the world in this matter. Children are allowed to raise themselves, and the needless fear of proper discipline keeps building. The consequences of improper behavior in a child, should at times be swift, sure, and painful.

    Thank heavens that another person was there to show this clueless parent what was needed to make the child stopping throwing a fit. I applaud the man for being a part of the village that makes proper behavior, in a child, a part of the community.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  108. Scott

    Just because this geezer has his temper tantrum by using language rather than by crying doesn't give him the privilege to have spoken a word to the mother.

    Slapping the kid is criminal. But saying anything to the mother in the first place was completely inexcusable.

    Anyone who thinks either of these two acts is OK is just plainly an idiot. Kids cry, kids cry in public, kids cry at home; and trying to do something to get a kid to stop crying is not always the best way to get a kid to stop crying.

    When you are in a public place that you did not bring a child to you are simply not entitled to be undisturbed by other people's crying children. If you think you are then you should probably just stay home and let the rest of us live our lives in the not-always-peacefully-quiet real world.

    September 3, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  109. Jeff

    I see (and hear) the same thing all the time and the only explanation for out of control kids is lazy, pacifist parenting. If kids have nothing to fear from their parents, what motivation will they ever have to behave?

    September 3, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  110. Jana

    I have children and the key to stopping the behavior is discipline right then and there. But, as far as a stranger walking up and slapping my child... He should be thankful that I wasn't the mother, or anyone I know for that matter.

    September 3, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  111. Barbara Holgate

    It is so easy for others to judge a situation,
    When we traveled with our young grandchildren driving thru two states They did well, but at times got fussy.
    We noticed that when we stopped to eat at resturants, especially our grandson who was about two started to cry and didn't want to eat people kept looking at us and staring. I looked around and told them that we had been traveling for two days, the looks I got back was I Don't Care or so what . except for one other couple about our age they smiled and said we know.
    At a fast resturant our grandson spilled his milk and it ran over the table and on to my dress my husband went to get a cloth the people sitting around just stared no one offer to help. I told my husband there is no way I would have just sat there I would have got some napkins and went over to help.
    That Guy could have ask is your child ok? does she need something , If the crying botherd him he could have told the store manager or went to another place in the store instead of taking HIS anger out on a little two year old girl.

    September 3, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  112. Robert Lake,MI

    My two year old doesnt act like that in the first place and if by chance he did, I would drop everything and take him home period! I would not stand around in public while my spoiled child acts like a lunitic! People should be more considerate of others while in public! These same people who let their child run wild are the same ones when their child is not around complaining about the "other" kid acting up, double standard! Dont force your childs outrageous actions on others!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  113. Robert Lake,MI

    Chances are if you are afraid to slap your child when they are young and need it, then they will end up slapping you around because they have no fear or respect of you as their parent! The bible says, spare the rod spoil the child and this is absolutely true! Kids are terrific learners if you dont teach them they wont learn and will end up being a disrespectful, no responsibility, menace to society!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  114. Scott Stodden

    I think we've all seen a screaming child in a store, at the movies, etc... and wanted to say something I know I have. But here's the point of the story, its not your child or relation therefore its not your place to ever say anything to anyone about there children and its never ok to slap another person's child four or five times across the face. This man who did this to this child I can guarantee you won't just get 5yrs probation I guarantee it, How you dooooin Chris Brown. See what I mean anyone who puts there hands on anyone should do time in prison or jail and be on probation no excuses. This is why the justice system is flawed because people like this man will get the book thrown at him but Chris Brown can beat the hell out of a woman and only receive 5yrs probation, Give me a break! Throw Chris Brown in jail.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, IL)

    September 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  115. Mike

    As the leader of the Alabama Autism & Asperger’s Statewide Info and Support Network, I am apalled by this “man’s” assault on this child. This is a struggle that many of our parent’s of children with autism are faced with on a regular basis. The stares, the snide comments, the suggestions that they could cure our children with a belt. Autism is a neurological disorder that affects social skills, and many times the parent’s of these children are subjected to the ignorance of what Autism is. We have a forum on our site called the "The Lady in the Next Aisle" at http://www.AlabamaAutism.org that is full of these stories. Most of the times when you have a child with autism in the early years the parents do not have anyone that can babysit their child on the spectrum and have no choice but to carry their child to a grocery store. Next time you see a child having a meltdown please realize that this child may be manifesting their disability. Autism affect 1 out of 150 and 1 out of 88 males including the adults on the spectrum. Autism now affects 1 out of 100 of our children preschool to high school. Please the next time before you make your quick judgement that it’s the parents fault think to yourself that this child could possibly be having a meltdown due to Autism.
    Mike
    P.S. Don’t touch anyone else’s child in my presence!

    September 3, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  116. David

    Toddlers sometimes cry continuously because something is wrong, a tooth coming in, an earache, something that requires seeing a doctor.

    September 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  117. Real Father

    You can't go into any public place and let your pet, for example, have free reign and knock crap over and jump on folks and bark loudly incessantly either. There's something called public etiquette, home training, proper rearing, manners, etc. People need to learn it, and not project the responsibility to others. Then we wouldn't be dealing with a stranger smacking someone else's kid, because the parent would have already done it. When you don't take responsibility for your actions or your childs actions or your pet's actions, you end up relegating that authority to someone else. It is called order. What the child was doing was disorderly conduct essentially. And it should be everyone's responsibility to at least say something when they see something like that going on. It takes a community to raise a child. Or would you rather the government come in and take your child and raise it for you? This is the reason we have juvenile detention and juvenile court and things of that nature, because people don't raise their kids right, their kids do stupid crap, and then the community (court) has to step in, the parents rarely held responsible, and it is to the child's detriment. As long as people keep thinking that others have to sit by idly and watch someone else's children wreak havok, and expect people to turn the other cheek, we're going to continue to see instances where an adult has to discipline, and maybe even hurt badly, someone else's child. Take responsibilty for your children people, or someone else will, whether that be a stranger, children and family services, or the dept of health and human services.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  118. Real Father

    Autism my left toe, this child wasn't autistic from the reports, this child was obnoxious and UNRULY in a public place. That being said,this man crossed the line of the law. He shouldn't have touched someone else's kid. Nevertheless, as a businessman, I would've had to ask the mother to step outside the store with her child. People running a business don't want their customers unhappy, and who likes to hear a child sit there and whine and bawl? He shouldn't have touched the child, and in real situations even making a comment could possibly spark a fight between the parent and the person offering his opinion. But that's the problem nowadays. People are too complacent and sit idly by and let people's kids do whatever they want, and even in the situation where you may have to call the cops, the cops aren't holding parents accountable for their children's actions.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  119. Real Father

    People think that because it's a free country (yeah right) that they can let their offspring wreak havok with impunity and nobody else can say anything about it. I for one am not going to stand by quietly when a child is screaming in my ear at 120db top of their lungs and I'm also not going to let my child do it either. It's called consideration for other people. Consideration for others is really lacking.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  120. Wendy

    If your child is sick or irritable they should be left at home. I get tired of parents thinking that they have special rights. To tell me that if a child is irritating that I should have to leave or deal with it, is ridiculous. When I got to a restaurant I would like to eat in peace, if I go to the market I should not have to hear irritating cries and whines or have to doge to get out of the way because you can't control your kids. Stop with the excuses and be a parent, if that's too hard you shouldn't have kids.The man should not have touched the child, but the mother should have. If your child can not respect you when they are young they certainly won't respect you or anyone else when they are older.

    September 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  121. Jacquelyn

    Wendy

    But as soon as the parent disciplines the child you all are quick to yell abuse.

    September 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  122. Real Dad

    "Real Father" You have been whining in hear worse than any two year old that I have ever seen. You also have the ear markings from your comments of someone who would also abuse a TWO YEAR OLD. HELLO let me say it again so a two year old could understand it. TWO YEARS OLD! I bet this two year old wasn't able to CRY like REAL FATHER" for over five hours straight. I thought that you had a business? Get off the internet and go mind your business! Do you have a life to go with this business or is your business running your head in chat rooms for 5 hours at a time. I'm sure that I will hear back from you cause your certainly a cry baby! Grow up and be a man and get out of this comment box and go CRY somewhere else you are making my head hurt. lol

    September 3, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  123. Nana K. Atlanta, GA

    I've been reading some of the comments, and I do believe that half of the people that submitted comments are out of their mind. It's not the fact that the child was crying or the emotional and social upbringing of the child, its the fact that the person slapped another person's child. Police have nothing to do with the emotional actions of a child, its the parents responsibility to control their children. My kids tried to act out in public...it only happended for 1 minute (my oldest is 42). HOWEVER, the action of the bystander was uncalled for, and had he slapped any one of my children or even my grandchildren, I would have been arrested for attempted murder and he would be in the hospital. I just hope none of the people that commented ever run into me and a crying kid; I would hate for them to be stupid enough to take such action.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:09 pm |
  124. Laura

    I want to praise Dr Mota's comment. I am so surprised that so many people here are so ignorant to say that this is a right thing to do and condem to the mother for not having control of her child. That shows the level of ignorance and brutality that we are facing in these days. As Dr Mota says there are so many factors that makes a child to cry and there is no reason why anybody, especially an stranger to lay his or her hand on any body else's kid. I can't not think about all things that I had done if that had been my child. I promise, I would kill the guy. Not kidding. That man should be in jail for a long time. First, he assulted the little girl and should be prosecuted as a criminal for that. It is really sad that so many people here approve that behavior. He is the one who should had been slapped. I wonder what the mother did because I don't thinkg there is a mother in the world who doesn't come irate and very agressive when some one touch her child, specially in the way that the guy did.

    September 3, 2009 at 9:29 pm |
  125. Bill Michael

    Surprisingly, I'd have been tempted to slap the mother too. I can feel the man's pain. I have been trapped in a Wal-Mart, busily shoppng for groceries, when a two-year old, emitting what can only be described as an ear splitter, decided to have a non-stop tantrum right there in the shopping cart next to me. I would've rather had an ice-pick jabbed into my ears. Her caretaker, goes on as if it's no big deal, telling her to "Shush, now...!" Too bad the man was charged with a felony. Older people are short on nerves these days, you know? Some parents think it's OK to let their kids shine their asses in public and this is what happens.

    September 3, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  126. ronvan

    While I totally agree that this guy was a complete idiot and should serve some jail time, and some medical attention, I am also surprised by some of the comments. Yes, it is the parents responsibility to provide discipline, however, think about the times we are living in. First of all let me say that there is a BIG difference between discipline and beating! The sad fact, or reality, is that if a parent disciplines their kids in public that someone will turn them into the All Knowing, can't do anything wrong, Child Services! Beleive me, you do not want to get involved with these idiots! I have personally watched them LIE in court and pervert a simple incident into a National Security event. Even if you discipline your child at home and leave a hand print on a childs bottom, you can wind up being "visited" by police/child services. My point is that parents options of disciplining their children have been severely limited by EVERYONE getting into others business.

    September 4, 2009 at 7:37 am |
  127. Scott

    Ettiqutte, discipline, parental responsibility?!?!

    You guys have rocks in your head. We're talking about a TWO YEAR OLD.

    Children learn to live in society over time by being IN society.

    Some folks here throw around easy talk about how they discipline their children under similar circumstances; I doubt it. That's not how being a parent really works and you know it.

    Like I said, it takes time to learn how to live responsibly as a member of society. And sometime between 2 and 61 that's supposed to kick in.

    You're going to put the burden of responsibility on the two year old and her exhausted mother, not the adult who has undergone no real stress?

    Misogony, privilege, stupidity, entitlement, callousness.

    September 4, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  128. Trinae

    I am appalled at so many responses claiming the mother had no control. If dead beat parents were actually as responsible as the custodial parents issues like this would not occur. How dare people chastize the parent who is taking on the responsibiltiy of raising the child. I am a single mother of 2 boys. They are 10 years apart, and God have mercy on anyone who would dare try to harm them. I am far from perfect, but I have enough sense NOT to date anymore because any man can be abusive, and I will not risk my children suffering that. It is so easy for so many men to judge, but remember how many of these children from single parent households rise up to defend your freedom. We are not all uneducated crack-heads,negelecting our children. Also, look at how many violent teens come from stable upper-middle class environments with 2 parents. My point is that all of these children are individual thinkers even at infancy, and for some all the discipline or soothing in the world will not stop whatever they are doing. That man had better thank God that he didn't touch my kid. I'll leave it at that.

    September 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  129. leeann

    i think it was very wrong for him to do that. nowadays not all children are screaming because they are spoiled . im a mother of 2 autistic children and they cant help it that they have tantrums. im not about to keep my kids at home to please everybody. i think either way you look at this if she was spanking her child in the store she would be in the wrong because she let her child have an oubursts somebody wouldve said something so people would have been upset with her no matter what she did. but please remember that nowadays we dont know why the child was having an outburst. we should be considerate and maybe try to help or leave the situation alone.

    September 4, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  130. Kim

    Frankly, the old man acted more immature than the two year old. He probably has dementia or something to think that he could throw such a temper tantrum AND commit assault against a two year old child.

    And everyone can certainly tell who is really a parent and who is not in this room. Welcome to REAL LIFE. 😀

    Of course, some of the people in this discussion frankly seem to think that drowning bags of puppies and kittens (maybe throw in a few baby angels for good measure) is a good way to spend a Saturday night. lol

    September 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  131. Ruth

    Employment/Health Care. If we did not have to spend so much of our income on health care, look at all the money we could spend on other things which would stimulate the eonomy - get people shopping - and look at all the jobs that would create. My daughter and husband spend $640 per month on health care just for the two of them and have been told that will go up. Come on you adversaries - get real. Health care as it stands is what is killing us - literally and financially.

    September 5, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  132. Becca

    I am a sophomore in college. I was diagnosed with influenza at the school's medical center yesterday. My school moved me into separate off campus housing to live until I have recovered. I am being isolated from the student body. I am being delivered my meals and I am not allowed to leave the room. There are other students in my situation here, and this is how my school is dealing with the H1N1 virus and all other strains of influenza.

    September 5, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  133. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    I really do believe that this society is sick to claim that this man to be a HERO. I believe that Parents are doing the best they can when the services are short to come by to them. Must children abominable behavior come as a result from physicians who do not do their job and most parents do not have a resource to bring this situation under control. The quick loophole remedy to simply do not have an option or a resource for parents because of a state Health Insurance for children that by the way I pay for it should not be an excuse to find the proper medical care for a child. The idea intended is that if you have access to programs the parent should not make a demand for health attention to the child. This by all means is simply wrong but our government have fail to keep us inform. The HERO is in the jail. How does that sounds for anyone who wants to portray this person as a HERO. Parents should start to ask questions and find resources.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:35 am |
  134. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    Trinae, People do not have the time and the cut corners. The reality is that parents have a responsibility and they should seek help for their children. Sadly everybody can be abusive. Men do not have patience. I am a widow and I have not remarried. Society today is too difficult. I really do not understand the observation of being uneducated has to do with this conversation. That men have to thank God that he didn't touch my kid. I'll leave it at that. Our society is sick to be witness to this situation and for them not to do anything. Thank God there was an officer with common sense.

    September 7, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  135. Mrs. Eileen Curras widow to Hernandez (WWII)

    Leeann I think you are completely right. He needs an urgent update and community services. Nowadays not all children are screaming because they are spoiled but it shows you how out of tune society is. You have a full hand with two autistic children. Society is not dealing with reality and our challenge of children with health conditions is not easy. It shows you how backwards society is on Civil Rights. I am happy that you are not going to keep your kids at home to please everybody but I imagine that is not easy. We have to find our venue to speak. Media Communications companies do not have the time either. We have to educate society and the Non Profit Organizations should help on this task. We cannot leave these things alone because we will never find a solution which is the situation that happens in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. We have to find our place. Media Communications Companies do not welcome yet the Community of Persons with Disabilities. We have to find our place.

    September 7, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  136. CC

    Most of the folks leaving comments supporting the man who slapped the child have no children. Speaking from a parent's point of view, I can tell this. If anyone other than my husband or my self was to lay a finger on my child indicating hostility he/she will draw back a bloody nub and regret their actions. However, the responsibility to discipline children is an absolute must for many other reasons besides pleasing the public. It's for the safety of the child and overal positive life values and respect for others. This man who struck a stranger's child no less, obviousely was neglected by his mother. This does not give him the excuse to take out his lack of education and respect to society out on this child. – THE END –

    October 5, 2009 at 10:57 am |