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Should I have minded my own business?

(19 Posts)
hipsdontlie Sat 22-Oct-11 15:04:00

Just got back from our local leisure centre. On the way out, the entire foyer heard a man shouting abuse at a child and the child screaming at the top of his voice. It was coming from upstairs where the kids party rooms were. Everyone froze and judging by the looks on their faces, were quite shocked.

I had my 2 kids with me ( 1 and 3) but something compelled me to go upstairs and I didn't really give it a second thought. When I got up, the Dad was shouting to a boy who looked around 4-5 yrs old who was stood in a corner. The man was literally trembling with anger. I asked if everything was ok and if there was anything I could do to help and he said he has been really playing up at the party and was blaming his son for his behaviour.

I explained how the entire foyer could hear what was going on and the effect his behaviour was having on everyone but then I lost it and started to cry when I was explaining how much it upset me.

I felt really stupid afterwards for losing it and had to walk away and didn't really achieve what I wanted to which was to make sure the child ( and his Dad) were ok.

It upset me all the way home and I'm wondering whether I should have just stayed out of other people's parenting styles but I guess the reason I went up in the 1st place is because it was like verbal child abuse.


LynetteScavo Sat 22-Oct-11 15:09:59

You were in no way unreasonable.

Kids play up at parties. It's what they do. Most parents give their DC a talking to in the car on the way home, then have a cup of tea (or G&T in my case)

OchAyeTheNooPal Sat 22-Oct-11 15:21:29

Well you went up the stairs in the first place because you were upset at hearing all this shouting. What if you had just walked away? You would have been wondering what was going on and wishing you had intervened.

Maybe the man will think twice before roaring at a little child when he saw how upset you were. At least you cared.

PartyPooperz Sat 22-Oct-11 15:23:10

I think you were very brave and that actually crying at how upsetting his tirade was was a very smart thing to do (smarter than getting angry with someone angry at a child) - not that you did it intentionally. If he is not an abuser then hopefully this dad is shocked at the strength of your reaction and having a think about how it affects a 4 - 5 year old child. At the very least the child knows that his dad's behaviour is not normal or acceptable which is a good thing.

JugsMcGee Sat 22-Oct-11 15:24:12

Sounds like you addressed it in the right way, i.e. "can I do anything to help" rather than "you're a crap parent". Seeing you upset might've made him realise what he was doing.

BOOareHaunting Sat 22-Oct-11 15:24:13

That's what toilets are for in places like this! Suggest the child needs the loo, give them a warning with the look and return. My DS got bored of spending half a party in the toilet so would behave.

YANBU. But then again without seeing exactly what the child was doing it's hard to know why the man was 'that' angry iyswim? I'm not condoning the shouting but if (for example) he had just witnessed his child punching another full on in the chops because they wouldn't give up a toy he may have been in shock. If the child was just generally being over rauxious, which is normal then the reaction seems way OTT.

I'm sure someone with/ in the party helped out if needed so don't feel too bad.

EllaDee Sat 22-Oct-11 15:25:51

No, you were good and I think you should be proud.

It is possible of course that this man is a perfectly lovely parent on a bad day (possible, I'm saying ...), but where's the harm in giving him a reality check? OTOH, if he really thinks this is ok as a standard part of raising his child, that child may well remember you and be glad you said something when he is older. It really matters I think - otherwise as a child you conclude it is right for your dad to yell at you like that in public, and that the other grown-ups who see it all agree you are very bad.

I think you did a really good thing.

poppycat04 Sat 22-Oct-11 15:28:01

I think you were incredibly brave and should be proud of yourself. You handled it well. You cared enough to not just walk past.

banana87 Sat 22-Oct-11 15:31:09

YWNBU. Although it was managements job to do what you did. Well done.

You didn't do anything wrong.
You did a good thing.

I agree that it is possible this man is usually lovely and having a bad day though.

To my shame, at a wedding a couple of months ago (after 6 hours of moaning, and shouting out ridiculous things) I took DS outside, and when asked by someone where I was going snarled that I was "Taking this boy outside before I smack his bum"

I really wasn't, but had just totally run my supply of energy and patience, couldn't get home (200 miles away!) and was at the end of my tether.
Mortified still now.

Please don't feel bad.

hipsdontlie Sat 22-Oct-11 16:30:05

Thank you for the support.

I guess it's always difficult to know whether to intervene for fear of interfering.

Your response has made me feel better, even though I still feel bad for the littel boy sad

haylojaylo Sat 22-Oct-11 16:34:50

I would have done the same. My DP cringes when I get involved in anything like that, his advice would always be to stay out of it, but sometimes people need to be made aware that their behaviour is not acceptable.

Kayano Sat 22-Oct-11 16:34:53

Remember the thread about a week ago when a poster was foaming that someone had intervened when they were telling their child off and screaming in the street?

I also think yanbu to intervene should you have concerns. It's a good thing imo

Cheeseandseveredfingersarnie Sat 22-Oct-11 16:38:01

you did should be others have said you didnt say anything bad about his parenting,you asked if everything was ok.

kayano-i missed that thread,do you have a link?

Kayano Sat 22-Oct-11 16:41:27

I'm on my phone so can't link at the minute but the op was not happy someone had stepped in as it 'didn't reflect her
Parenting' under normal circumstances, it was a tantrum etc etc...

Xenia Sat 22-Oct-11 16:46:46

You have to intervene. The Chinese are coping with non intervention following the 18 people who walked on by in anti good Samariton fashion when the 2 year old was run over. We cannot be like that.

I saw a little girl slapped in her face yesterday by her mother or child carer yesterday in London as they opened the door to their home, but I was a bit too far away to say anything. I did look over though. I think even if you just give a nasty look it shows that the conduct you complain of is not acceptable.

I don't care if someone normally isn't that bad and all of us will have shouted at our children over the years sometimes in ways we shouldn't but that doesn't mean others can't intervene or object.

I think know the thread you mean, Kayano - this one , and if it is, I commented on that thread, supporting the OP. For me, the big difference between that scenario and this one is the way that the OP here tackled it - she asked if she could help, rather than having a go at the parent concerned.

NorfolkBroad Sat 22-Oct-11 16:56:45

Well done OP for intervening. I really admire you. I would also have been very upset by this episode. Poor little boy. My DP and I intervened in a situation a bit like this a couple of years ago. We saw 2 adults (turned out to be the childs grandparents unbelievably) yank a young boy out of a car, throw water all over him (it was a freezing cold day) and hit him across the head. Like you I literally could not have stopped myself from intervening. I went over to them and my DP called the police. I was shaking for ages afterwards but I a so glad we did it.

My DP was horribly abused as a child and noone did anything to help her. Well done for saying your piece.

Xenia Sat 22-Oct-11 18:32:59

You have to take risks sometimes. I found a toddler by a busy road. No one was doing anything. He was about 18 months old. I took him to the police station across the road. I waited a bit to see if his parents turned up.

Later the police called to say he had managed to get out of the front door and the parents had collected him. I might have been charged with kidnap I suppose but I would rather that then see him walk on to the road itself and I would want another person to do the same for my children. Strangers have certainly helped mine occasionally in the past and I'm grateful.

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