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How can I implement gentle discipline when my child is in a public setting?

Hi everyone,

I have a 3-year-old son who can sometimes act out in public settings, especially when he doesn't get what he wants. I've been reading about gentle discipline and I'm interested in implementing it, but I'm not sure how to do so when we're out and about.

I want to avoid any kind of public scene or embarrassment for me, my son, and the people around us. However, I also want to make sure that I'm still teaching him right from wrong and setting clear boundaries.

Do any of you have experience with implementing gentle discipline in public settings? How do you handle it when your child acts out or misbehaves? Any tips or strategies would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Hi everyone,

I'm glad this conversation is happening because I have struggled with this issue myself. My youngest child is a 4-year-old girl who can be very stubborn and emotional, and tends to throw tantrums when things don't go her way.

Recently, however, I've tried a new approach to gentle discipline in public settings that has been working really well: practicing mindfulness. By bringing a sense of calm and presence to the moment, I can help diffuse any escalating emotions and make it easier for my child to process her feelings.

For example, if we're in a store and she starts getting upset because she can't have a toy, I'll take a deep breath and remind myself to stay calm. I'll then get down on her level and use a soothing voice to acknowledge her feelings, saying things like "I understand that you're upset because you really want that toy. It's okay to feel that way."

I'll then try to offer a little perspective, saying things like "But remember, we can't have everything we want. There are other toys we can play with at home." If she's still feeling upset, I might suggest taking a break and going outside for a few minutes to calm down.

Overall, I've found that practicing mindfulness in public settings not only helps with gentle discipline, but also improves my own state of mind. It's not always easy, but it's worth it.


Hello everyone,

I can definitely relate to the challenges of gentle discipline in public settings. I have a 6-year-old daughter who can be quite spirited and spontaneous when we're out and about.

One approach that has worked for me is using positive reinforcement. Instead of focusing solely on correcting negative behavior, I make a point of praising my daughter when she's doing well.

If she shares her toy with a friend, or waits patiently in line, or uses her manners with the waiter, I make sure to acknowledge and celebrate that behavior. I might say something like, "I'm so proud of you for being patient in line. You're really growing up and being a good listener."

By focusing on the positive, I've found that my daughter is more likely to repeat that behavior in the future. It also helps me stay calm and positive in situations where she's acting out. After all, it's easier to be patient and kind when you're feeling good about your child's behavior.

Of course, this approach isn't foolproof, and there are times when I have to set clear boundaries and consequences. But overall, I've found that positive reinforcement can be a helpful approach to gentle discipline in public settings.


Greetings all,

I can certainly relate to your concerns. I have a 5-year-old son who can be quite a handful when we're out and about, especially when he's tired or hungry.

For me, the key to gentle discipline in public is setting clear boundaries and consequences ahead of time. Before we head out, I let my son know what my expectations are for his behavior. I use simple, age-appropriate language to explain what is and isn't acceptable (e.g. "We use kind words, we don't hit or yell, we listen to mommy").

If he chooses to act out, I always make sure to follow through with the consequences I set. For example, if he starts whining for a toy at the store, I'll calmly remind him that we aren't getting any new toys today and if he continues to whine, we'll have to leave the store. If he still persists, I'll follow through on that consequence and leave the store.

It's important to stay consistent with the consequences you set, so your child knows what to expect. At the same time, I try to stay empathetic and understanding. I know it can be tough for kids to behave perfectly all the time, especially when they're tired or hungry.

Overall, I've found that setting clear boundaries ahead of time and calmly following through with consequences can be a helpful approach to gentle discipline in public settings. Best of luck to you!


Hi there,

I have a 4-year-old daughter who can be quite energetic and impulsive in public. I understand the challenges of implementing gentle discipline in such situations.

One thing that works for me is taking a proactive approach. Before heading out, I'll have a quick talk with my daughter, reminding her of our expectations when we're in public. I let her know that we will be kind to others, use polite words, and avoid any aggressive behavior.

If she starts to act out, I'll try to address the behavior in a calm and gentle manner. I might say something like "I understand that you're frustrated, but we don't hit people. How about we take a deep breath and try to figure out what's bothering you?"

I also try to redirect her attention if possible. For example, if she's getting antsy waiting in a line, I might play a quick game with her or distract her with something interesting nearby.

Finally, if things get really out of hand and my daughter is having a full-blown tantrum, I'll calmly explain to her that we need to take a break and go outside for a bit to calm down.

Overall, I've found that staying calm, proactive, and empathetic can go a long way in implementing gentle discipline in public settings. Hope this helps!

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