A calm approach to discipline in public

Misty Solt, director of SMU's Center for Family Counseling, talks about disciplining children in public.


One of my biggest parenting challenges when Cooper was a toddler was discipline in public.

All the books gave advice that worked at home – usually related to removing the child from the situation. That advice seldom worked in grocery stores or big public spaces or at birthday parties. There was no bedroom or quiet space to serve as the timeout center, plus there were lots of strangers to serve as an audience to my developing parenting skills.

Meltdowns in public weren't unusual. . .

We all make mistakes, no doubt, and I'm certain (or at least hoping) that those moms didn't mean to humiliate and belittle their daughters. So how do we parents better handle discipline when we're all out of our routine?

To get an idea, I spoke with Misty Solt, director of the Center for Family Counseling at Southern Methodist University, for advice on parenting in out-of-the-ordinary circumstances.

"If you're going out in public, take a few moments to think about what you're about to enter," Dr. Solt, mom of three, says. Will you be out long? Will it be hot outside? Will your kids miss naps?

Parents also need to check their own emotional state. "To have coping skills, you need to know where you're at, the place you're in and where you're about to go." 

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