It can be very uncomfortable to watch the mistreatment of a child by an adult out of control. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help...

Start a conversation with the adult to direct attention away from the child. For example:

  • "She seems to be trying your patience."
  • "My child has gotten upset like that too."
  • "He has beautiful (eyes)" - to get the parent in a positive mood.
  • "Children can wear you out, can't they? Is there anything I can do to help?"

Divert the child's attention (if misbehaving) by talking to the child.

Look for an opportunity to praise the parent or child. If the child is in danger, offer assistance. For example, if the child is left unattended in a grocery cart, stand by the child until the parent returns.

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