How to stop child abuse in a public setting
(provided by the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse)

 

It can be uncomfortable to watch a child mistreated by an adult who’s out of control.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help.

Start

Start a conversation with the adult to direct attention away from the child. Say something such as:

  • “Children can wear you out, can’t they? Is there anything I can do to help?”
  • “She seems to be trying your patience.”
  • “My child has gotten upset like that too.”
  • “He has beautiful (eyes).” – this can encourage a more positive mood for the parent

Divert

Talk to the child to divert the child’s attention if misbehaving.

Look

Look for the first opportunity to praise the parent and child.

Offer

Offer assistance if the child is in danger. For example, if the child is left unattended in a grocery cart, stand by the child until the parent returns.

Avoid

Avoid negative remarks or looks. These reactions are likely to increase the parent’s anger and make matters worse.