If you’ve ever witnessed another parent disciplining their child in a manner that made you feel uncomfortable, you’re not alone. There’s no clear cut path to proper parenting, and many people get offended when others tell them how to handle their children.

However, there are occasions when it is clear that the parent is going overboard. When that’s the case, things might get even more complicated.

One woman was shopping at a Walmart in Cleveland, Texas, when she noticed something out of the ordinary. A parent was disciplining his daughter in the middle of an aisle, and he was doing it in what appeared to be the least acceptable way…

Nobody likes to be told how to parent their children, and few people would want to put themselves in a situation in which they feel like they are doing that to somebody else. When physical punishment is involved, it becomes especially tricky.

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Corporal punishment has been a controversial subject around the world for many years. While many families in a number of cultures see it as a reasonable way to discipline children, others say it causes more harm than good, and it’s been largely opposed in recent years.

There are now a number of countries, particularly in Europe, that ban physical punishment in all forms. In the United States, many forms of corporal punishment are still legal in homes, and there are even several states (see those in red) where it is still technically legal in schools.

theshibboleth / Wikimedia Commons

The question of when corporal punishment becomes child abuse is murky territory, in terms of both ethical concerns and legality. So when Facebook user Erika Burch saw a man dragging his young daughter by the hair at a Walmart in Cleveland, Texas, she was faced with a difficult decision…

Erika Erika Erika / Facebook

Erika had been grocery shopping when her husband pointed out the upsetting scene to her. She took a series of photos of the incident, which she would later use for a Facebook post that quickly went viral.

Erika Erika Erika / Facebook

“Please stop, I promise I won’t do it again,” Erika overheard the young girl pleading with her father. “Please stop!” At that point, Erika decided that she had to speak up, and she demanded that the man let go of his daughter. The little girl was clearly in pain.

Erika Erika Erika / Facebook

The father responded by telling Erika to mind her own business, but she wasn’t ready to back down. “Right now, this little girl is my business and you need to let her hair go now!” she recalled telling the man.

Erika Erika Erika / Facebook

The father responded by explaining that he grew up “fine,” which seemed to indicate that his own parents had punished him in similar ways when he was a child. When Erika called the police, however, they agreed that the man was acting inappropriately.

Erika Erika Erika / Facebook

However, when the police arrived at the scene, the officer explained that there was nothing he could do. The girl displayed none of the physical signs of abuse necessary for it to be treated as such, like bruises or missing hair.

This incident has sparked yet another conversation about what should be considered acceptable parenting techniques and what should be considered child abuse. Whatever the case, it’s clear that Erika was trying to do the right thing.

It can be scary not knowing if you should intervene when you see bad parenting. What would you have done in this scenario?

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