Did this mother go too far?

The mother is this story slaps her fourteen-year-old son across his face. Yet the comments are mostly acting like it was a completely reasonable thing to do.

There was one commenter pointing out that even though the kid was a butthole and deserved some kind of punishment, a parent still shouldn’t slap their kid. This commenter was downvoted to hell and back for that opinion and I can’t tell why?

Was it really okay for the mother to slap her kid because his behaviour was bad enough it was justified?

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He’s sexually and verbally harassing a retail worker, he’s old enough to know better, he clearly does know better since he shut up when his mom showed up. I’m certainly not going to commend anyone who hits their kid but what he was doing was more serious than typical misbehaviour and I wouldn’t fault anyone he targeted for slapping him for it.


So it’s “okay” for a parent to hit their kid as long as the kid has done something bad enough that a stranger would be justified in hitting them? I think it makes more sense put like that, thanks.

It’s assault. If you need to raise your hand then you have lost the battle even if you win the fight.


By default, I’m quite against corporal punishment.
That said, there are some very specific situations where the question arises, if not by that way, how else is a parent/guardian/etc. bring their charge under control? So I can imagine in some situations it’s at least somewhat understandable. (Very rarely, though.)
But that said, in this particular situation, we don’t know for sure if this is one of those situations, but it doesn’t look like it; it looks like this is the first time Mom has seen her son act this obnoxiously and this way her first course of action, so it is worrying.


I’m just trying to figure out how this works since it’s confusing. Because hitting your kids is bad, but someone hit their kid and the was a lot of “yeah, he deserved it!”

So I was thinking maybe I’d missed context that made this “okay” in the sense that it shouldn’t be okay but when that context happens it would be less unacceptable.

I had previously drawn that line at the point where the kid is assaulting their parent so the parent would be acting in self-defence. But while some nasty things were said, no one was assaulted in this story and it was still being treated like a good thing so I thought maybe I’d drawn the line in the wrong place?

Usually when the entirety of a comment section says stuff I disagree with it means there’s something wrong that’s making me disagree. I’ve been called out before for making bad comments and told it was because my normal isn’t normal.

So if almost everyone has taken the stance I disagree with I read through and try to find someone who’s explaining. Which usually means they’re arguing with someone else. But the more arguments I read in favour of the mother’s actions, the more I thought “that sounds like something my dad has said to me on this topic.”

Hence my complete overthinking and posting the question here.

People are not always consistent (theres an idea for a category).

I think most of the comments were considering the story in the context of “Woman defends cashier from a sustained and sexually aggressive verbal assault” and it just so happened that they were related. Whereas you are looking at it as “Mother strikes son as a form of discipline”. I’m not saying you are wrong or that they are right, just trying to explain the apparent inconsistency you’ve described.


Also, everyone knows that person who they believe will benefit from a good slap. A little bloodlust if you will. Teenagers like this are a popular target because, although children in the eyes of the law, they’re adults in every other sense. Once they turn 18 and you hand their backside to them then it’s common assault or just a fight. 17 and below and you’re assaulting a child and the teenagers know this, so get away with all sorts. I do believe that some of the Commentariat are vicariously “living the dream” of putting a crapbag back in their place.

That being said, it’s still wrong and not the way I ever want to parent.


Usually when the entirety of a comment section says stuff I disagree with it means there’s something wrong that’s making me disagree.

(I know I’m straying off-topic a little) This can be misleading; once a certain direction is set for a discourse (such as comments on a story), further comments will mostly aggravate to it, with those who don’t agree with that direction remaining silent, and those who are ambiguous but feel the need to comment being influenced by herd mentality to agree.


On the one hand, I applaud the mother for making it absolutely clear that the kid’s behaviour is unacceptable. On the other hand, the way she went about it wasn’t the best.


Yeah, it’s totally not okay, but some people just deserve to be hit. I still don’t think they should be hit, but when they’ve already been hit there’s gonna be a “well, that’s what he gets” tagged on.

Principles are easy as long as everything stays in the boxes they are supposed to stay in.

“Hitting children is bad” is a principle many people hold. But in their head when they think of that they picture something like a drunk father beating their kid for spilling his juice, or an overly controlling parent spanking a kid over bad grades. Simple clear cut scenarios where the no hitting rule doeant confilict with any of their other beliefs.

Things get sticky when two or more principles clash. Such as “hitting people/children is bad” “harrassing female employees is bad” and " 14 year olds are children and not fully formed adults so they cant be held to the same level of accountability". When something like this story happens it is clear the scenario is bad in general but because various beliefs are running counter too each other things are more grey.

In those scenarios its very much like @Istvan_Kiss said whoever speaks first can take over the discussion. People are less likely to go against the herd when the situation involves multiple principles in conflict. So an echo chamber forms pretty quick around the first opinion set and those that disagree tend to keep it to themselves and just move on to the next story. Because sticky conflicting stories make some people uncomfortable since it means one sentence principles arent as universal as they wanted them to be.


It’s also worth noting that not only do people rank their principles in different ways (e.g. one person might hold “hitting people is bad” over “harassing employees is bad”, while another might not), but that the same person may rank them differently - or behave as if they do - in different contexts. Not even in a “well, this case is an exception” way but actual flipping of priorities.

For instance, suppose someone generally ranks environment protection over protecting animals. If they’re faced with a conflict, like an environmentally wasteful meat production industry that produces the majority of food for animals, they would prefer to focus on dismantling the industry and figure the animals out from there. However, if they’re currently in an animal rights group, meeting with other animal rights activists, they may focus more on animal rights while in that context. Then they switch back to environmental rights a short time after leaving that context.

For why this happens, probably a combination of peer pressure (altering yourself to fit the general mood) and empathizing with the people who hold those positions, which leads to empathizing with the position.

The context of NARight, specifically, is stories about customers being unreasonable and on how that affects employees. So while people generally have “hitting people/children is bad” over “harassing employees is bad”, they’re in a context that is primarily about the latter. Unless the OP of the story does something heinous, they empathize with the person who is experiencing the negative effects of the harassment, so some (but not all) people temporarily have their principles switch to fit their empathy with the OP and the tone of the people around them. Like people generally being not okay with threats of death/injury, but being fine with Denton Young comments.

See also: fiction where the protagonists and the antagonists act in exactly the same way (or the “good guys” are even worse than the antagonists), but we like it when the protagonists do it and hate it when the antagonists do it because we empathize with the protagonists.


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