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Just gone postal at this woman for making out I was an abusive parent.

(291 Posts)
thatgirlsevil Sat 15-Oct-11 20:33:42

As the title suggests...I've just gone postal at a woman who decided to follow me down the street and comment on my parenting techniques.

It started off when myself and 3YO DS left a shop after I refused to buy him a treat on the basis of his naughty behaviour (not listening, running off)...he was doing the whole I'm-not-walking collapsed jelly legs thing and I was pretty much hoisting him along and chastising him through gritted teeth (holding him by the wrist but not applying any pressure)...but yes at some points dragging him (no skin touching the floor, just heels) as he protested and tried to resist, although not hurting him to be absolutely clear.

When I let him go he was throwing himself on the concrete and I tried getting down to his level and talking to him but he was too 'in the zone' to see reason...as I shouted at him... exasperated by this point and getting quite upset, he ran off and almost ran into the side road so I grabbed him around the waist, scooped him up as he kicked out and protested and I shouted at him, quite loud...no swearing or horrible words, just general chastising.

The final straw came when I let him down and he bit my middle finger...HARD and broke the skin and it started bleeding quite heavily. I grabbed his hand and at this point started walking very fast across the road to the other side and shouting at him. He was half running beside me and now sobbing...finally moving his legs though because he knew he had totally crossed a line and done something completely unnacceptable.

At this point a woman (mid twenties) sprinted after me and tells me she has been watching out the shop window and it was really terrible to watch...she tells me I should be calm and get down to his level and keeps repeatedly saying how she had been watching and she was sure others were watching and feeling very concerned for the little boys welfare. She said I was making a scene and again, people were watching....and then she actually asked me something along the likes of WHY WAS I TRYING TO GET HIM HOME SO FAST...WHAT WOULD HAPPEN THEN?

It was at this point that I ABSOLUTELY FLIPPED at the suggestion DS might be in danger...and started shouting who the hell was she judging me on the basis of seeing 5 minutes of my parenting at it's worst...I asked her what she was suggesting I might do to DS and how she thinks I could be handling the situation better without spouting Supernanny #101 rhetoric.

I said that I doubted she would have the brass neck to approach a parent who actually was doing something like hitting or swearing at their child in the street.

I basically told her she was an idiot who didn't have a clue what was actually occurring and I clearly needed support rather than condemnation right now. I also said how her tackling me and undermining me in front of DS was idiotic in the extreme when he was clearly having a tantrum, a natural common thing.

I showed her my hand and was shouting about how he'd bit me extremely hard...hence my whipping him across the road and him being in tears. I was ranting now...out of anger, embarrassment and just general exasperation...and I was getting noticeably teary.

I asked her if she had children herself and she hesitated before saying "umm...yes"...it seemed like a lie but maybe she was just floored by my outburst.

She wasn't trying to help me at all...it was as though she wanted me to feel ashamed of how I'd handled the situation and of course I could have handled it better, but at no point did I apply force or hit or swear at DS. I never do.

I burst into tears when I got back home, I was sobbing for myself, DS and I started thinking that the people who witnessed the events must think I'm a fucking monster. I would probably be ashamed to walk down that street again because the fact that this woman thinks I would hurt DS makes me so bloody furious.

I actually asked DS if Mummy had hurt him and he said "No...I was being naughty and I'm sorry for biting you"...I said, please tell me if I hurt you, I'm sorry if I made you feel frightened...he said "I wasn't, I just wanted a treat...but I know I'd been naughty."

I am still so fucking upset. I feel like a shitty shitty Mum.
(sorry it's long)

iMemoo Sat 15-Oct-11 20:37:41

What a shit day you've had. The woman sounds like a clueless idiot who probably doesn't have children at all.

I once had to literally sit on top of ds in tbe middle of sainsburys to stop him running off.

Sending you a hug x

AgentProvocateur Sat 15-Oct-11 20:39:32

Only have one side of the story here, but I think it must have looked pretty bad for someone to intervene. I know that sometimes I have seen things, then kicked myself later for not being too cowardly to get involved. I do think she was right to say something if she was genuinely concerned about your child's welfare, and I admire her for that. Although I also sympathise with you having a shitty day too.

Maybe you were being rougher than you intended.

NatashaBee Sat 15-Oct-11 20:40:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RuthChan Sat 15-Oct-11 20:42:23

I am so sorry you were in that situation.
I can well imagine myself being in the same one.
How many times have I dragged my children by the wrist against their will trying to get them home as fast as possible in the middle of a tantrum?
I am only lucky that nobody has stopped me to question my awful parenting technique...yet.

I think you're most likely right and that she was lying when she said she had children.
Someone who really does have children would be unlikely to say those things. They would be far more likely to give you a pitying and understanding look!

Don't lose any sleep over it. Just set out to be a calmer and more controlled parent tomorrow. (Like I do every night!!)

nailak Sat 15-Oct-11 20:43:59

yanbu, we all have those times, parents should be sympathetic and understand this,

RitaMorgan Sat 15-Oct-11 20:44:23

I was told off by a stranger once for dragging a child across the road and letting her lie on the cold pavement. Yep, I was just letting her lie there, maybe I should have let her lie down in the road too when she tried to hmm

eaglewings Sat 15-Oct-11 20:46:10

How horrid it is when our kids have melt down in public, you say you feel like a shitty mum, join the club!

You know it must have looked strange to a woman who probably doesn't have kids. It would have been nice if she had offered help, not condemnation.

Sadly few of us have the abilities of super nanny

Hope you feel better soon

LaurieFairyCake Sat 15-Oct-11 20:46:21

Nope, I think you did the wrong thing.

Not necessarily what you were doing with your son but your description of how you behaved in public in front of your boy. All the ranting and shouting.

People very rarely properly intervene beyond tutting so it can't have looked good.

I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

Sirzy Sat 15-Oct-11 20:46:55

I wouldn't have said something but I do hate seeing children being dragged along by the wrist so I would have quietly 'judged' (although that seems to strong a word) but at the same time I would have felt for the parent being in that situation.

Rollon2012 Sat 15-Oct-11 20:47:01

We saw someone basically dangling ther dd by one arm in a supermarket whilst she was tantruming/screaming that shocked me.

Its very easy for people to judge, the jelly legs thing is the worst esecially if you basically have one arm free you do have to either from march them or pull them up very sternly.

If she had been watching properly she would have seen him bite you and perhaps gained some perspective.

Jawbreaker Sat 15-Oct-11 20:47:18

Oh gosh, you poor things, both of you (you and DS).

I have had more than my fair share of hideous days like this (DS has Asperger's and so his tantrums can be scarily extreme). God knows what it must look like to the outside world.

I don't believe this woman was a parent. If she was, she would never have approached you in this way.

happyinherts Sat 15-Oct-11 20:47:32

Unacceptable behaviour I think. 3 year olds can be damned hard work, determined, self willed strong etc, and keeping them from danger when out in public can be extremely difficult and emotionally waring.

Before anyone can comment on anyone's parenting skills, they need to step back and think how they would deal with the situation. She was out of order in commenting without stepping in to help you. What good did she think she was doing?

I really wouldn't worry about anyone else while out in public. We've all been there in dealing with tantrums, tempers and self-willed children. Unfortunately this world has picked up on PC issues and if it looks like you're disciplining your children, people will comment. Let them if it makes them feel better, but don't lose your confidence and self-esteem over parenting. This lady was a stranger to you. She doesn't know you. Please don't lose any sleep over it. You did your best.

Jawbreaker Sat 15-Oct-11 20:48:19

Oh, and although shouting at her may not have been the best move, I can totally see how it happened. Sounds like the straw that broke the camel's back. Have a glass of wine and a long hot bath and forget about it if you can.

MillyR Sat 15-Oct-11 20:49:12

The woman who ran after you is probably just an attention seeker. Try not to engage with people like that. Her concern probably wasn't that you were 'making a scene' but that she wanted to make it into a much bigger drama than it actually was.

thatgirlsevil Sat 15-Oct-11 20:50:16

Thanks for the supportive words everybody. I'm currently having a beer and trying to unwind in front of X Factor...feeling a bit better after typing it all out really.

AgentProvocateur - I understand what you're saying...and I've been questioning my own behaviour ever since to be honest...hence me asking DS if I actually hurt him. I know I could have handled it better...but I wonder if watching this from the other side of the road and inside a shop, no sound and just seeing me seemingly dragging a 3YO and the silent ranting, magnifies things. I just found her approach really antagonistic and accusatory...and god, was I ever needing a sympathetic smile at that point.

scuzy Sat 15-Oct-11 20:50:35

while i sympathise with your situation (have thankfully not had that bada public meltdown with ds buthave dragged him when his legs suddenly turn to jelly when he doesnt get his way) i am kinda glad in a way that someone did say something. she got it wrong in your eyes but perhaps another mum who did deserve the bollocking you got would make them cop on. she only acted on what she saw. have often wanted to say something to complete strangers myself but i fear the backlash you gave.

am on the fence .... i sympathise with you but am glad this woman said something.

aquashiv Sat 15-Oct-11 20:51:08

Sounds awful for you dont know what to say ohter than I can understand you losing your cool.
The woman clearly does NOT have children.

worraliberty Sat 15-Oct-11 20:51:35

You sound like you're going through a very very stressful time OP

However, I'm trying to see it from the POV of the person/people watching you.

You were (in your own words) dragging him down the street by the wrist, shouting at him when you go down to his level and then walking him across the road so fast, he had to run to keep up.

How many times to we read threads on here saying they saw someone behave like that to their child and they wished they'd had the nerve to intervene?

Hopefully this intervention (as difficult as it was for you) might make you think about possibly getting some help?

Sometimes children throw temper fits because they pick up on their parent's stress. The parents are stressed because of the child and so it's a vicious circle sad

bibbitybobbityhat Sat 15-Oct-11 20:51:38

I think you need to be more accepting of the fact that 3 year olds have terrible tantrums and try not to be so angry about it all. You shouldn't have dragged him across the road just after he had bitten you. That is pretty irrational.

scuzy Sat 15-Oct-11 20:51:42

i hate those jelly legs impossible to deal with!

BabbyEdensMummy Sat 15-Oct-11 20:51:50

my dd is only 15mths but still already showing signs of tantrums in the middle of shops, dramatic head to the floor in the middle of tescos express beacuse she couldnt eat a lolly with the foil still on before we paid for it que lots of looks from passers by, as i let her have her tantrum on the floor and told her we had to pay for it, the lady had to scan it nibbled round the edges,lol. could you maybe just tell him once no and if he ignores you just pick him up rather than try drag him wile hes been stubborn, and then tell him off what hes done wrong when you get back home, its horrible when you have had a stressed day anyway with out people invovling themsleves where they shouldnt, especially if its not helpful in anyway, but i find if you shout you just end up making yourself angryier. you were right not to give in and get him sweet when he was been naughty

thatgirlsevil Sat 15-Oct-11 20:53:47

Yeah I know I shouldn't have ranted like that in front of DS and the sobbing was also not good for him to see. The red mist descended, I was at the end of my tether and my hand was throbbing and bleeding...I really don't have any defence other than that.

fedupofnamechanging Sat 15-Oct-11 20:53:58

I was in Hereford today, and saw a woman whose little boy point blank refused to get up off the floor and was lying on the pavement. She said to him that if he didn't get up, she would drag him up the street. He refused and so she did! (He did not seem at all put out by this arrangement, and she was very gentle).

If this wasn't you, then take comfort from the fact that other women, everywhere are also dealing with tantruming children. I have 4 dc and still don't know 100% the best way to deal with a strop in a public place. It's hard feeling that whatever you do, you get judged badly for it - if you leave them to get on with it, you feel bad for disturbing other people and as if they think you are tolerating bad behaviour. If you tell them off or physically remove them from the pavement, you worry that people will think you are going ott.

I have picked mine up and had them screaming and kicking up the street, before now. If you know you didn't do anything to harm your child, then everyone else should butt out and remember that it's hard trying to teach children, who are little forces of nature, how to behave in a socially acceptable manner.

worraliberty Sat 15-Oct-11 20:55:49

And honestly I'm not trying to make you feel worse by saying this... but it would take a very mature 3 year old to admit to his crying Mother that he actually was scared/hurt at the time.

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