Is It Ever Okay to Step in on Another's Mom's Parenting?

Sheri Reed
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Liv Tyler, parenting, discipline, boxing glovesLooks like actress Liv Tyler recently had a little run-in with a woman scolding a toddler and allegedly hitting the child as well.

Tyler says she "couldn't take it" and "had to do something," so she got in a minor shouting match with the woman.

Do you think Liv did the right thing?

In her book Bad Mother, Ayelet Waldman calls this "busting a Bad Mother." And, for me, these are pretty murky waters — when to step in and when to stand back and assume the mother or caretaker has the situation and/or (gulp!) herself under control.

I mean, it's pretty rare to see out and out child abuse along the street. However, it's not that rare to see a parent who has, well, snapped in a frustrating moment (whether it's one in an awful cycle of frustrating moments, we do not always know...).

In a recent article In Defense Of Kate Gosselin (Well, Sort Of) that takes a look at the Kate Gosselin "spanking incident" and all the follow-up judgmentalism, Sweetney writes, "we're lying to ourselves and each other if we deny we haven't at one time or other been, or at least come dangerously close to being, the parent scrutinized and judged..."

So when, if ever, do we, as mere voyeurs to possibly a single "Bad Mother" (or Bad Father) situation, deem it our place to step in? When do you simply have to do something?

And possibly more importantly, how? What is the right way to step into an obvious parenting moment gone badly in a supportive and helpful way (without risking getting poked in the nose).

What would you do or have you done in a situation where a parent seems out of control? Is it ever right to step in on someone else's parenting?

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