We went out today and had a lovely time. I try not to be critical of other parents as I know it's really hard and I'm not even a mum (hopefully I can add 'yet' onto that!). However, today I saw something that really upset me. We were sat by the river on a bench having a drink. There was a fence next to the river to about waist height and there was a large grassy area on which the benches were placed. As it was such lovely weather, it was quite busy. I noticed a little boy standing against the fence looking at the river - I reckon he was about 18 months old, as he was a lot smaller than my niece. He was certainly no older than 2. (He was safe because the fence was taller than him.) Then I noticed his dad run over. The family weren't English and he started shouting at him then picked him up by one arm and took him to what I assume to be his mum. She was shouting even more and smacked him twice. The little boy was balling his eyes out. These were big whacks with a good noise - not just a little tap. The man went back to the riverside and climbed over the fence - I realised he was looking for something and the child must have dropped it in - a teddy? A dummy? Her bag maybe? The man was very keen to get whatever it was back. The lady carried on shouting at the boy and 10 minutes or so later hits him again on the arm. 5 or so minutes later the man reached into the river and got out what the child had thrown in... The woman's sunglasses. I know I was smacked as a child and it was completely acceptable back then, and I know that some parents still do it which I get. But I couldn't help thinking that poor little boy didn't understand the consequences of what he was doing - he was too young - and if they do that in public, what must go on at home? And it was over a pair of sunglasses that could be replaced no matter how much they cost, plus the man got them back (the man did comfort the boy but the woman made no attempt whatsoever). I told DH it upset me but he said they might not be like that all the time and I really hope he's right.