It's not every day that a mother gets scolded for putting her own children in time out, but that's just what happened to Louise Palai from Derbyshire, England.
The mother of three chose to discipline two of her daughters during a recent shopping trip, and a photo of them sitting on the floor went viral.
Now, Palai is facing criticism from other parents, but says she stands by her parenting decisions.
Time out in the veggie aisle
Palai says she was shopping with her two youngest daughters, seven-year-old Ebony and six-year-old Alisa, when their behavior started getting out of hand.
"They were running around and in high spirits," she remembered. "I’d told them to calm down a couple of times but they didn’t listen."
When Ebony nearly ran into another customer's shopping cart, Palai decided enough was enough.
"I didn’t lose my temper," she said, "but I couldn’t have them behaving like that in public."
Palai took her daughters to a quiet area of the store - the produce section - and made them sit down in time out for a full 10 minutes.
"I got a few funny looks from people but an old man who’d seen everything gave me a nod as if to say ‘good for you,'" Palai said.
A viral photo and a divisive argument
So far so good, but next Palai took a picture of her daughters with their heads bowed, "because I wanted to remind them what happens if they mess about in public."
She sent the photo to a friend, and in the meantime explained to her daughters why they were being punished.
Palai said that once the 10 minutes were up, her daughters apologized and gave her a big hug.
But on social media, Palai's friend had shared the picture, kicking off a huge debate about Palai's choice to discipline her kids in public.
"The positive comments outweighed the negative," Palai said, but she still received hundreds of angry messages. Some commenters even accused her of "embarrassing her children."
“I was brought up in the 80s and parenting was a lot stricter back then”
Despite the backlash, Palai is sticking to her guns and has no regrets about the public time out.
“If they mess around at home I tell them to sit on one of the step on the stairs for 10 minutes or take away an electronic device," she explained.
Palai didn't want to wait to get home in case she or her daughters forgot about the incident.
"A little bit of tough love is good. I would never, ever, use physical punishment against my children but this kind of measure works," she said.
And most of all, Palai thinks her critics should chill out.
“I was brought up in the 80s and parenting was a lot stricter back then."
And despite the criticism, Palai does have plenty of supporters online.
"Her children her rules," one fan of her parenting wrote on Twitter. "Give that woman a medal," wrote another.
"I want my kids to behave in public and grow up to be respectful adults," Palai said. Even if that means making them sit on the floor in public.
Do you agree with Palai's choice? Have you ever had to discipline your children in public?
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[H/T: The Daily Mirror]