Jamie Matson, from the US, shared a post on Facebook from a friend who suggested a “secret signal” that parents could use when their child is having a strop.
The friend, whose name is unknown, came up with the idea after watching a mum desperately try to stop her child screaming in a supermarket.
“There should be a secret signal parents give when they can’t take anymore so a random stranger can mean mug the kid and tell it to shut up,” she wrote.
The post continued: “There are three good reasons for this.
“1) The kids will be so shocked they will shut up. 2) It will reinforce stranger danger.
“3) It will show them, from an early age, that while your parents love you and put up with your shit, the rest of the world doesn’t care about you (or your feelings) no matter how cute you are.”
Matson shared the post with the comment: “This sounds like a pretty good idea.” Which led to a debate about whether it is a good way to stop toddler tantrums.
“Then the kid will grow up fearing people and become anti-social,” one person commented on the status.
“They will not trust their parent to protect them from danger.”
Another person agreed it wasn’t a good idea.
“That’s just mean,” the mother wrote. “Who the hell teaches their kids that nobody cares from an early age? That’s just evil.”
Other parents thought the signal was a great idea.
“Yes, I need someone to help me with this,” one person wrote. “I am forever struggling in supermarkets when my son just won’t cooperate. Having someone else snap him out of it would probably help.
“Anyone want to agree on some sort of signal so we can get this thing started?”
Another mum commented: “I’m in. Sometimes my kids just need the shock of someone else telling them to ‘shut the hell up’ to actually listen.”
Some commenters had previous experience that the method works.
“Haha I have been doing this to strangers’ kids for years,” one woman wrote.
“I even took a toddler from a mum in the makeup store once when I worked there while she shopped.”