Tonight, I turned around and gave a little kid who was jumping up and down in the booth behind us the stink eye. My daughter almost fell out of her seat from laughing so hard, but it worked. The kid stopped bouncing.
I have a particularly strong stink eye: it's been known to make naughty children hide behind their parents in the grocery store. And well they should, the rotten little stinkers who run around the store or whine and cry when they don't get their own ways. Grrr.
My eye is strong because it's probably the most exercised part of my body. Well, that, and the fact that it takes a particularly potent eye to work on teenagers. That probably explains why just a 3-second glance is enough to settle down a bouncy 5-year old .
By the way, some parents don't appreciate it when strangers reprimand their children, so that short glance usually goes unnoticed by oblivious parents.
It's really too bad that more parents don't learn how to use the stink eye as a nonverbal discipline tool with children when they are very young. With my own children, it usually* just takes the eye, and maybe a finger point to change a child's behavior when we are in public. It's true that the older the children get, the less effective the eye can be, as I have discovered that my hairy eyeball is merely an amusement to particularly hardened teenagers; however, parents can get a lot of mileage out of it between the ages of toddler to teen.
Once they become teens who outgrow the eye, I think the foot is probably the best bet. Unfortunately, it's pretty much against the law, or at least social standards, to use it.
*My son is a particularly hard case, but he doesn't like what comes after the stink eye, so he's learned to obey the eye. Some of my middle school boys, who are not hardened teens yet, are about to learn what comes after the eye, but then they'll easily comply, too.