I make it a point to never judge someone for their parenting. I feel like, you never have the whole story so how could I possibly begin to understand what is actually going on.
With that said, I became a judge wudgy angry person today. I was at the local WalMart to pick up a few things before getting the kids from school.
As I was leaving the store I heard screaming and I mean screaming. I look over and off to the side there is this woman screaming, at her daughter. This little girl is maybe alittle older than Emmett and Emmett is only 3 years old.
She had 2 other young children with her along with her boyfriend or husband.
This woman is screaming at the top of her lungs, which by the way were filled with smoke because she was smoking right in front of her kids. She was screaming, “you will not hurt yourself” over and over again to this little girl. The more this woman screamed the more this little girl got upset. She had tears streaming down her face as this woman was blowing smoke into her face.
She even got physical with the little girl as well. She picked her up of the ground by her arms and tried getting her to stand.
The whole time I’m standing in the middle of the parking lot desperately trying to keep myself from going over there and giving this woman a piece of my mind. I couldn’t believe it, everyone just walked by like nothing was happening.
I mean, if this woman would be this abusive in public, what do you think happens behind closed doors.
I tired to rationalize what I was seeing by saying to myself, “Rob, you don’t know the whole story”.
I’ll be real honest, I don’t care what the whole story is, nothing that child could ever do would justify what I was seeing. I am very guilty of judging the crap out of this woman this afternoon and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
What I am ashamed to admit is that I did nothing. I figured that by the time the Police would have gotten there, due to their amazing slow response time, they would be long gone.
Perhaps I should have walked over and said something, but that would not have ended well and I was afraid the kid would pay for my actions later and I didn’t want that.
So I did nothing but be very obviously disgusted by what I was seeing and I stood there in the middle of the parking lot until this woman was done.
I know that being a parent isn’t easy… Trust me, I know that. However, at no point have I or my wife ever lost it like that. We all say things we regret but this was abuse, pure and simple.
It honestly took everything I had not to try and intervene.
At what point do you involve yourself in something like this?
Have any of you witnessed anything before that you wanted to go over and knock some heads?
I would love your feedback on this.
– Lost and Tired
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I'm still haunted by a similar incident I saw on the subway a few years ago–a father yelling at the top of his lungs right in his little boy's face, who was quiet and shrinking and I couldn't imagine what he'd possibly done. I was one of very few other people on the train car, or I might have gone over and said something…but a woman as small as me, alone, in a subway, against a guy that big and irrationally angry? When the guy realized I was even looking, he started yelling at the kid for that. Seriously. It was the most agonizing thing to witness, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what to do that wouldn't get either myself or the kid hurt worse.
I agree with Amanda that you shouldn't beat yourself up over not knowing what to do. It is difficult to really know what the consequences are for the child when someone intervenes. I have done the walking away when I wished I could have done something because it seemed to be the best thing I could do for the child. I have also gone another route and tried to be empathetic with the parent, (really difficult when you really want to say something nasty), and have gone over and asked the parent if I could help. Then gone on to say how difficult parenting is and basically said whatever I could to calm the parent and take the brunt of it off the child. That doesn't work in every case as some parents are gone too far to be reached. It is really hard to tell what to do. It's so sad when this happens.
I have witnessed a lesser episode and almost called the police but what I really wanted to do is put the hurt on that mama. I made up my mind then and there, I will never again let it go, I dont care who you are, you dont treat kids like that. WWJD?? help the child i think. I was mad and sick about it for days. I pray i never witness it again cuz i will not walk away. Your not being judgy, your being a protective parent, your natural parental instincts want to protect that child whoever it is.
Don’t feel bad for not intervening, unfortunately when confronted with something out of the norm we lock up and just DON’T know what to do. I dont like to judge (or to be judged), but sometimes (like this) how can you do anything but?