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To have walked past this woman without doing anything?

(57 Posts)
LiegeAndLief Sat 02-Nov-13 22:39:49

I really think I might have been, but I don't know what I should have done.

Was walking down a pedestrianised shopping street today and there was a lady at the far end with a toddler in pushchair and a child about 5 or 6 ish having an absolute meltdown, shouting at her and repeatedly thwacking her really hard. There were a good 10 people on the street and every one of them hd stopped dead to stare at the poor woman. I was the only person moving on the street! Lots of tutting and whispering going on.

I really wanted to tell all the staring people they were bastards, but I'm a bit timid and I didn't know what to say. I really wanted to offer some support to the mum and tell her all the staring people were bastards, but I didn't know how. I thought about asking her if I could do anything to help, but I was worried that would sound like I thought she wasn't coping and she would be offended. So I just walked past. And have felt awful about it ever since.

What is the right thing to do in this situation?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Sun 03-Nov-13 20:37:18

My Mother would have marched up and told the kid to stop hitting the mother!

NK5BM3 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:01:07

Well.. In my case,,the policemen did come...! confused We were in a big major train station and DS who was 3 or 4 decided that he'd run off. I had dd in my arms and couldn't run fast enough. Dh had gone off to get food. 2 London police officers saw me shout after him and try to chase after him, he didn't stop. So they gave chase.

In hindsight it was funny. I was mortified. They gave him a 'telling off' (age appropriate). He has never run off ever again. And he still remembers a couple of years on.

I think you did ok. I wouldn't mind an intervention but it depends on how the intervention is done. In a sympathetic way is fine. In a 'well I would do xxx' would just get a 'fuck off' from me!

Blondeorbrunette Sun 03-Nov-13 21:28:21

I think it says a lot abt you as a person that your still thinking about this lady smile

SunshineMMum Sun 03-Nov-13 22:47:56

Hi I have a DS who has autism, I'd have totally appreciated your sympathetic silence TBH. Don't worry you did the right thing.

Mimishimi Sun 03-Nov-13 22:55:31

I would have told the child off with a short "Hey, you respect your mother " or some such. Someone did that for me once when DD was behaving similarly and it stopped immediately - I was really grateful to the guy. Telling the people off for staring would make her feel more embarrassed I think.

KathrynKampbell Sun 03-Nov-13 23:07:31

I would have walked by and ignored. I wouldn't intrude by trying to discipline the child (so rude) and I wouldn't ask if she was okay because it would affect my day if she was offended and told me to fuck off or something. I'd hope she would take my not staring as polite rather than rude.

MrsMook Sun 03-Nov-13 23:09:57

I've been helped with DS tantruming. I was 38wks pg and on crutches. Waiting for him to burn out (my only option) was taking a long time. An oldish couple came up asked if I wanted him picking up and they took him over to the car ride to distract him. It calmed him down so that he could walk back to the car on his own steam 5 mins later. I was very grateful!

I've had a lot of "been there" type smiles and I tend to do the same. Generally people know how best to deal with their child and not need external help.

This sounds like me 3 weeks ago!!
You were not unreasonable to walk past, it's a shame others don't do the same imo, instead of staring, tutting and sometimes even sarky comments.

I applaud you for doing the right thing, anything else would make you a nosey parkersmile

Fwiw people getting involved nicely or otherwise doesn't help the situation as the child feeds of the attention.

McAvity Sun 03-Nov-13 23:17:52

"Is there anything I can do to help?"

Correct me if I am wrong, a group of parents of children with SN from Mumsnet were trying to raise awareness of exactly this type of situation and put forward the above as a suggested positive reaction recently?

I always worry my sympathetic look comes across as me looking and smirking. It seems that people like others to react in different ways, hard to know what to do

MindyWiller Sun 03-Nov-13 23:25:12

i think you did the right thing OP. my son has had some major public meltdowns ( though has never hit me) and as much as i hated being stared at i wanted to punch people who tried to step in and "help". i sae it as interfering and it always seemed to make things worse.

TaraFey Sun 03-Nov-13 23:59:04

I think you probably did the right thing, from my experience as the mum in a similar position once.

When my daughter was around 4/5 we were travelling home by train (it had already been a stressful weekend as I'd been forced to take her over to my Grandmothers who was at the time in early/mid-stage alzeimers after an incident and we were both tired and frazzled by this point) Anyhow, the train was empty when we got on and I nabbed us a window seat with a table. Then half an hour into the 1hr45 min journey, the train filled to bursting. She didn't want to sit on my knee so I had to try and force her so someone could sit down. It was very squashed, and she lost it. She hit, bit, pulled my hair and screamed the entire way, while everyone crammed in the aisles and in the seats around us stared, tutted and huffed. I was so traumatised by the whole weekend I sat silently crying and let her continue to wack me. I didn't know what else I could do right at that moment, squished into a corner with her jammed between me and the table.

One lady tried talking to her, offered her sweets, made 'we've all been there' comments very publicly and I felt it drew more attention. I'd rather have been ignored. My daughter is usually really placid, well behaved and had very few tantrums apart from this one huge one, so I really struggled not to scream at the whole train for their judgy stares.

I like the discreet 'can I help' suggestion if possible. I do also agree it speaks volumes on you as a person for still thinking about the lady!

ThisIsMummyPig Mon 04-Nov-13 00:09:50

I have to say I have offered to help a good half dozen times. Often in supermarkets, and often actually when I've had my own DD with me (so I don't look like a child snatcher).

Nobody has ever accepted any help. They have never been rude, but a couple (of Dad's thinking about it) have clearly thought I had judged them and found them to be inadequate.

I would still offer again, but as others have said, the parents tend to want to ride it out themselves.

McAvity Mon 04-Nov-13 10:02:58
SunshineMMum Mon 04-Nov-13 11:51:39

MCavity I can only speak for my child, but he would become more distressed if a stranger were involved. I often thing he is in a kind of bubble when he blows and the strategies we have learned have taken years. I'd also worry that the other person may get hurt and he can kick and flail. I really appreciate what you are saying though.

SunshineMMum Mon 04-Nov-13 11:52:17

OOps meant last post for this is mummy pig

kinkyfuckery Mon 04-Nov-13 11:55:17

YWNBU to walk past.

Had it been me, I'd have tried to survey what the mother's plan of action was. In this situation, I often find it easier to make sure we are out of the way of anyone else getting hurt and just try to minimise damage and let DD get the frustration out. It's often the only to do when she's in 'the zone'.

I'd have appreciated being handed a takeaway coffee wink

Theas18 Mon 04-Nov-13 11:56:17

To all the parents of "melty" toddlers or older SN kids would it help if a middle aged old biddy like me smiled at you and said " how can I help" or would that be the end?

I try to smile encouragingly at mums but am reluctant to "step in" in case it's taken wrongly but would willingly entertain another child/pack shopping/hold the buggy so they can't kick it over etc

Greensleeves Mon 04-Nov-13 11:57:31

I usually smile and say something like "count to ten!" or "god it's hard work isn't it"

but I probably come across as a tosser

what I would really like to do is squeeze the poor woman's hand and say "it gets better, you're doing fine" but then I would sound like a fucking Cow&Gate commercial

I don't know what the right thing to do is

ZangelbertBingeldac Mon 04-Nov-13 12:52:37

Theas18 and Greensleeves, I'd find you approach a bit patronising, if I'm brutally honest.

I obviously can't speak for anyone else - but I wouldn't appreciate it. If I'm having a bit of a tricky day I don't necessarily need anyone to jump in and highlight it for me.

I especially wouldn't appreciate "you're doing fine" - like I've issued some kind of open invitation to rate my parenting.

But then I'm a grumpy fucker when it comes to busybodies, however well intentioned grin

Greensleeves Mon 04-Nov-13 12:54:58

well that's why I don't say it! I said I would WANT to say something like that. I know it sounds dreadful.

I would like to find a way of transmitting a bit of a boost to someone in a shitty situation without being patronising or irritating. But I haven't found it.

Idespair Mon 04-Nov-13 12:57:23

I think it was the right thing to do, just to walk past. The toddler was safe because he/she was restrained in the buggy. Provided the mum looked physically able to deal with the older child, there was nothing anyone could do.

Different matter if toddler wandering whilst older child tantrumed. In that case, could offer to hold toddler's hand so doesn't wander off.

PukingCat Mon 04-Nov-13 13:00:10

NK5BM3 ha ha at chased by a policeman! grin

ZangelbertBingeldac Mon 04-Nov-13 13:04:44

Sorry, greensleeves and Theas - the tone of my post was really narky and really wasn't directed at you, I think I was just projecting about past experiences! Apologies smile

Greensleeves Mon 04-Nov-13 13:10:40

not at all, you did say you were being brutally honest grin and I agree with you that it sounds horribly condescending. Just wish there was a way of giving somebody a metaphorical hand-squeeze without coming across as a nosey old trout!

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