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AIBU to have commented (harshly) on a woman's parenting, at the train st.

(153 Posts)
yukoncher Sun 05-Jun-11 10:09:13

So, we're all waiting for the train home after a fair, I happened to be sitting on my own at this point.
A woman and her 3/4 yr old lil boy and his dad come sit next to me. The woman is obviouslly really annoyed and dominating the atmosphere, saying 'I've had a fucking nuff of you today' at her child.
So the mood around us (including other people already sitting there) is like; uhh god, everyone goes a bit quiet.
So she goes 'just go ahead one more time, I'll smack ya one', etc
I actually cannot see this lil' boy doing anything wrong at all, just looking bewildered.
So his dad goes to him 'please, I'm asking ya mate just stop it, (and what sounded like;) stop looking at her', please.
Asking the little boy to stop looking at his mum, what the hell?
So the mums swearing and stuff, the boy goes to take a swig of his juice, she wacked the little bottle of juice right out of his mouth and it flew across the train station platform spilling everywhere.
The little boy is just in shock.
I thought he had tears down his face, but in hindsight it could have been splashed juice, so I was fuming.
The boys dad quickly said 'come on mate' and took the boy away.

Well I stood up and bent down in her face and said 'that poor fucking child'. And she looked all shocked and goes 'I'm so sorry'.
I looked at her in disgust and stormed off.
Then other people that were sitting near us also left the area where she was sitting and walked past us commenting on how she knocked the drink out of the poor kids mouth.
My little sister suggested buying the kid another drink, but I thought that was imposing ourselves a bit too much, and the boy had a good dad with him anyway.
I so nearly went back over to have a good chat with her about how the hell she was acting, I was so upset.
But I wanted her to feel ashamed of herself and think about it, so I thought my comment alone would be more effective.

Was that unreasonable of me?

NorthernGobshite Sun 05-Jun-11 10:13:08

YANBU - she swore at him, was aggressive and unreasonable, but you could have got punched for your trouble.

swash Sun 05-Jun-11 10:14:01

It was unreasonable of you to swear.

Threelittleducks Sun 05-Jun-11 10:15:49

YANBU - I have often been very close to doing something like this myself when I see it.

I always say in my head, If she's willing to do that to him in public, what does she do to him in private?

Good on you.

yukoncher Sun 05-Jun-11 10:17:50

I was ready for her to lash out, and would have fought back. Thought she deserved it. I'd had a couple of beers at the fair/festival.
First time I spent the day away from my kids in ages, I missed them, so was so enraged about her treatment of this lil boy. (I have a son same age).

bbird1 Sun 05-Jun-11 10:17:54

YANBU - and good on you for standing up to this horrible cow. Sorry but swearing is the only language these fucking peasants understand.

loo Sun 05-Jun-11 10:19:03

Ditto threelittleducks
OP YANBU just brilliant to have managed to be so quick and precise.

NorthernGobshite Sun 05-Jun-11 10:19:40

tbh you sound as bad as her then; fighting with her would have been a wonderful thing for her child to see hmm

allhailtheaubergine Sun 05-Jun-11 10:19:42

YANBU to have intervened.
YABU in the way you did it. You swore and wanted her to feel ashamed. Not nice.

Better to have said something than nothing though, so overall YANBU.

LemoryMane Sun 05-Jun-11 10:21:27

I generally don't get involved in other people's parenting, but I did have harsh words with a woman not long ago who was acting abusively towards her little boy.

She was effing and blinding at this kid (he must have been about 6 or 7 yrs old), saying 'Don't fucking start with me or I will knock your fucking block off'. The boy was just standing there, snivelling, not saying a word, while she ranted on and on effing and blinding.

I caught her eye, gave her a filthy look and said 'Nice language, love. Hope it's not too much of a shock when he turns around in a few years time and starts talking to you like that'. She went bright red and muttered mind your own business', but she knew she was completely in the wrong and I could tell she felt ashamed. So she bloody should have. Nasty woman. To be honest, I think I could have done more. People get arrested for shouting and swearing at other adults, yet they seem to feel it is OK to behave that way towards small children.

yukoncher Sun 05-Jun-11 10:21:36

The child had been taken away by his dad into a waiting room off the platform.

I really hope I made her feel awful for what she did, and that she apologized to her son and partner, and acted better after that, maybe? :/

bbird1 Sun 05-Jun-11 10:22:12

"YABU in the way you did it. You swore and wanted her to feel ashamed. Not nice."
She should feel ashamed ffs

GwendolineMaryLacey Sun 05-Jun-11 10:25:27

Wanting her to feel ashamed sounds ideal to me. What do you think that little boy feels?

crazynanna Sun 05-Jun-11 10:28:12

I have done it loads of times...usually when someone is kicking ten barrels of shit out of a child.

I then started to worry that the kiddie will really get it when I am out of view sad

BagofHolly Sun 05-Jun-11 10:30:25

Good for you. She sounds ghastly, and a lot of bullies don't have anyone to point out their vile behaviour. As for sweary parents, I like my mum's line : "you kiss your children with that mouth?"

WhatsWrongWithYou Sun 05-Jun-11 10:36:40

I agree some people seem to think it's okay to abuse and humiliate a child in public in a way they wouldn't dream of trying with an adult - and most of us silently condone it through our own inaction, no matter how outraged or upset we feel about it.

I say well done you, I wouldn't have had the nerve, or would have said something that came out so wishy washy she'd have seen me as a middle class do-gooder and humiliated me in the same way.

The one time I did try and intervene was when passing a dad and his daughter who was complaining that she couldn't have an ice cream (he'd obviously said no). Fair enough, say no to an ice cream if you like, it's up to you, but she was being treated to a tirade of loud abuse about how how she always behaves like this - you don't get an ice cream just because you want one blah blah blah. I said, in a passive/aggressive pathetic way 'not in your house', and was roared at all the way down the street. 'Stupid cow, thinks she can tell me what to do etc.'

I realised then I'm rubbish at interventions like these - a short, sharp verbal equivalent of a punch in the face is sometimes appropriate.

troisgarcons Sun 05-Jun-11 10:37:17

You have no idea what had preceded her melt-down behaviour. Not your bloody business.

Icelollycraving Sun 05-Jun-11 10:39:45

Yanbu for saying something. Yabu for swearing,not exactly the high ground is it? I guess the drink fuelled you.
Poor child & partner. He sounds resigned to her behaviour.

LITTLEGEEK Sun 05-Jun-11 10:45:44

I feel for the little boy and dont think yabu. Slightly concerned that the dad didn't seem to bother about her attitude towards his son except but to take him away, unless he didn't want to fuel the issue in front of son. I hope he spoke to her about it when they got home.
I know its easy to get frustrated but I hate hearing parents f-ing and blinding at their kids.

sausagesandmarmelade Sun 05-Jun-11 10:49:08

You did the right thing....and it certainly made her think about her behaviour.

Poor child!

IWantToBeAFairyWhenIGrowUp Sun 05-Jun-11 10:49:25

YANBU - and I think I would have added - you shouldn't apologise to me, you should apologise to him.

Poor little lad.

Well done - most people wouldn't say anything.

Trois - what ever the reason for her meltdown behaviour doesn't excuse the language she was using to a young child.

WriterofDreams Sun 05-Jun-11 10:50:59

I feel very sorry for that poor dad who is obviously struggling to keep his son safe from a volatile and possibly abusive mother. It might have been more helpful to go and chat to him and make him feel a bit better - perhaps suggesting some help he might be able to look for? He might feel trapped and a bit helpless. In the long run he's the one who is most likely to turn things around for the better, either by leaving and taking the child with him or putting pressure on the mother to seek help.

But, I definitely think YANBU for intervening. I hate seeing that kind of treatment of kids and very few people will stand up for a child, whereas they would for an adult. Yesterday I saw a couple laughing as their child chased after some geese near a pond. So, they were encouraging animal cruelty while at the same time not protecting their child from large birds that can be very aggressive. I really wanted to say something but I didn't.

sausagesandmarmelade Sun 05-Jun-11 10:54:31

Sometimes I hesitate because I'm worried that if I intervene and say something to the mother...she will take it out on the child later on.

But in your case I think/hope it worked.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 05-Jun-11 10:54:59

I was all ready to say you were being unreasonable, but you weren't, swearing and all. This woman is either a bully or she's a mum at the end of her tether about something. Either way, her behaviour was outrageous and your intervention has made her stop and think. In future, she'll never be sure whether you or someone else might not say something either when she goes off on one. So... well done, OP. smile

Snuppeline Sun 05-Jun-11 10:56:00

I don't think your being unreasonable either.

I find a few things in the encounter a bit odd. Firstly that the dad was trying to difuse the situation (come on mate, lay off it etc) and then when the mother exploded he took the boy away rather than shout at the woman or shout at the boy (i.e. he seems to be on the boys side rather than on the womans side as such), and secondly, the woman said "I'm so sorry" when you confronted her. Could she perhaps be dealing with some mental health issue? I'm not condoning either of their behaviour - particularly not the moms. But at the end of the day we don't know what casued the mother to behave like that.

Sad for the boy whatever the reasons behind his mothers behaviour though. Very very sad.

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