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When to get involved?

(6 Posts)
SpanishLady Thu 03-Apr-14 16:56:27

Am having a bit of a nightmare recently with situations happening around me and getting involved.

Am going to be brief but believe me when I say I found both really upsetting and they left me shaken and I reacted instinctively.

The first involves DV. Woken in the night by shouting, furniture being thrown about the usual for this couple. They don't argue every week or every month even but when they do it's frightening (she has been hospitalised before and on another occasion when she called the police he was arrested). She started shouting about him trying to kill her and mocking him for battering her but blaming the kids then she started screaming and screaming - my dh banged on the wall and I just grabbed the phone and rang 999 - as it connecting I thought oh I shouldn't call it could make it worse for her but it connected as I went to put it down so explained what had happened and my concerns about calling - operator said best to let police deal with it. Police showed up it all calmed down ( not before heard father say to 3 year old "what the fuck are you doing out of bed"

Since then all quiet and dh has seen the wife ( he said hello and walked on) - I still don't know what I think about what I did and what to do next time as sadly I know there will be a next time.

The second situation was in a shop - typical story of mum having to take kids on boring errand with her ( I get and sympathise with that) she had 3 kids, girl aged about 12, boy aged 8 or 9 and girl aged 2 I'd say.

She earlier went past pulling along the little girl who was crying - was abit sorry to hear girl saying 'oww, your hurting' but could see mum was harrassed and turned away. Then later turning down the same aisle the boy had a trolley and the little girl ( still crying and whinging) then had the wheel roll on her foot. The boy was irritated by the girl but he hadn't done it on purpose. The mum who'd been kneeling down looking at something jumped up and shouted at him and then slapped on the side of the head pushing him into some tins of paint he held his ear and was on verge of tears saying ' but I didn't do it'

I didn't feel great about this but it was when she turned round and started mocking him ( ' go on cry like a one year old') that I lost it and starred at her - she looked at me and said ' you can go round me you know' and I said actually I don't need to get past you I'm just watching you hit your child. The exchange then went along the lines of her saying she didn't she just p ulled his earphone out his ear to talk to him, he was her kid and it was her choice to hit him, he had caused the girls toe nail to tear etc etc. I replied she had hit him as my eyesight is fine, she was unnecessarily aggressive in my opinion and being a public place I could give my opinion also might she consider handling it differently when you thought about how she was double his size and age and oh why mock him etc.

She asked the boy if she had hit him he said yes and she started arguing with him saying no you are wrong I didn't hit you, admit I didn't. His sister (older) then said you did my mu m and she then glared at me and walked off still saying to him that he should admit he had deliberately hurt his sister and was lying she had hit him.

I left at this point.

I'm not sure why having never done anything like this before I'd interfered twice in as many days. I don't think either mum is a bad mum and I certainly am not perfect myself ( I have 3 kids) and with the shop mum could put myself in her shoes but I thought there was an extra nastiness in it that I could stomached i guess.


SpanishLady Thu 03-Apr-14 17:05:36

Couldn't stomached I mean and sorry not very brief.

Booboostoo Thu 03-Apr-14 17:07:23

Of course YANBU. You were right to call the police I'm just sorry they couldn't do more. Could you invite your neighbour over and have a friendly chat over whether she needs any help?

The supermarket mother sounds awful. At least you helped her children tell her to her face what she had been doing but sadly it doesn't sound like she learnt anything from the experience. I hope it helped her children to see that other adults can and will stand up for them.

cakeymccakington Thu 03-Apr-14 17:10:42

i don't think you were being unreasonable.

i've called the police twice for DV that i've seen or heard occurring nearby. i would want someone to do the same for me if i was in that situation (i think!)
i kind of hope that at the very least it might make the victim realise that other people know that what is going on isn't ok. maybe?

the second thing... tbh good for you! i am always scared of confrontation in cases like that, but I do think it's good for children to see other adults standing up for them.
i remember a friend seeing something like that once and just going up to the child and saying to him "it's never ok for an adult to hurt you"

sisterofmercy Thu 03-Apr-14 17:15:15

I think YANBU personally. In fact I think you were extremely brave, considering how people react to criticism or people getting involved. Your protective instincts are aroused by seeing or hearing someone being abused. I expect you are worried about your own personal safety, and that of the vulnerable people for whom it might get worse. You do need to think about that a bit but on the whole I think you are being very compassionate. However, what would this world be like if no-one ever got involved or tried to help?

SpanishLady Thu 03-Apr-14 17:32:10

Thanks for your replies. I gave been worrying that either I really upset the mum or made it worse for the boy when they got home.

I honestly don't think she was a bad mum - it was the sort of scenario I had when I was a child though my parents probably would have waited till alone to have physically disciplined me - I could see she was reacting to being irritated at the crying child and not getting her errand done and there are bound to be factors I don't know about - still doesn't really excuse it I don't think but I'm wondering if she had had tattoos all up her arm etc ( stereotyping for brevity of meaning) would I have said anything in short I reckon there are a lot worse parents to admonish and also I am acutely aware I'm no perfect parent.

I'm quite sure she and the boy have moved on by now.

Just feel a bit glum and worrying about children I can't help.

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