An Orpington reader describes some upsetting examples of parents disciplining their children in public – and calls for parenting education to be made compulsory.

Agree, disagree with their views? Seen similar examples to these yourself? Add your comments below.

Letter to News Shopper from Tahrir Swift, Orpington

I am sick and angry every time I witness a parent publicly smacking or humiliating their child. I become quite upset.

In the past I ignored such incidents and became guilt-ridden for not standing up for the child. But when I saw it happen again at the Walnuts Leisure Centre I could not contain myself.

A woman with her mobile phone glued to her ear was wanting her two-year-old boy to behave like an obedient dog. She lifted him by the wrist of one arm, dragged him and sat him down while talking on her mobile, and every time he fidgeted she smacked him.

She is teaching him aggression works. This is bullying. Why has she not got a toy for him? Crayons and a piece of paper to keep him occupied?

The child’s behaviour was perfectly normal, he was curious and was not in any danger of harm at all. The only harm was unfortunately coming from his mother who seemed to be too busy on her mobile to engage with her own child.

I told the woman in question that if she does not stop smacking her child I will report her. It has now become illegal to smack or humiliate a child in public.

The incident above is by no means unique - I seem to witness at least four or five incidents a year in Orpington.

I have witnessed last Christmas at Orpington Tesco a dad lowering his face to that of his toddler child who was sitting in the shopping trolley, only to shout in his face to stop touching the shopping items in his trolley.

He did it three times, third time with a threat of physical violence.

I call on Mytime leisure centres, all supermarkets, all shops to put up a sign ‘Public humiliation/smacking of children is not tolerated here’. I seriously think parenting education should be made compulsory.