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What would you have done in this situation? (Parent and child in shop)

(129 Posts)
lomega Fri 02-Jan-15 18:01:43

So I've been thinking on this probably far too heavily today but it's on my mind and I want to know if IABU and need to mind my own beeswax, OR whether (if this happens in future) I should have acted more.

I was out today up our local shops with my husband and DS in his pushchair. We were in a high-street shop just picking up a couple of bits and bobs and got into the queue to pay.

The woman in front of us screamed, not just raised her voice, screamed in her daughter's face (DD looked about 6ish), from what I could tell from the onslaught she was begging/whining a bit for something in the shop and then arguing when mum said no.
Little girl turned round at one point, her face was distraught. Mother was yelling at her for a good 5 mins (queue was fairly long/looked like new cashiers were being trained.) The child was standing crying at this point and wasn't doing anything else/wasn't saying anything but the mum kept harping on, 'when you get home' threats etc. Very aggressive and mean. When they got served and left the woman was still shouting and dragged the little girl out of the shop roughly by her arm.

I wanted, desperately, to say something and muttered so to my DH. He told me no, to mind my own business, and that saying/doing anything would be wrong as the child has clearly pushed her mum to the point of losing her temper.
I am a bit of a wuss and would probably shrivel if the woman had turned her yelling onto me but at least it would have taken the heat off of the girl.
I am kicking myself for not saying anything and wish like mad I'd said 'hey take it easy' but, on the other hand, I'm sort of glad I kept my mouth shut as if my DS was being a pain I'd take umbridge at a stranger criticising me. (Though I would NEVER shout in his face, swearing, in the middle of a shop, to humiliate/upset him...)

What would you have done? Sorry this is on my mind so much sad

cheifbrody Fri 02-Jan-15 18:03:37

Minded my own business.

Tinkerball Fri 02-Jan-15 18:05:30

Nothing.

Muppetsbitch Fri 02-Jan-15 18:05:52

I'm with your husband.

It wasn't that mums finest hour for sure but you don't know what behaviour the mum has been Ealing with and what has led to it. It sounds like there was nothing physical and no name calling or swearing so none of your business in my opinion.

jackydanny Fri 02-Jan-15 18:06:52

Nothing you can do now.
If I felt it was that bad I would talk to the mum, ask if she's ok? Can I help with anything?

The powers that be won't 'act' on shouting and swearing at a child.

jimmycrackcornbutidontcare Fri 02-Jan-15 18:06:55

I don't think you saying anything would have made any difference other than possibly to make it worse for the girl if you made her mother more angry. It sounds very upsetting and a terrible one for the child.

hoobypickypicky Fri 02-Jan-15 18:07:29

Nothing. It's none of my business how someone parents their own child.

The woman "screamed" (by which I suppose you mean shouted because I think of screaming as a noise, not words?). She was probably at the end of her tether - kids off school, no break, who knows. You say the child had been whining and pestering and hadn't given up when told no and the mother let rip verbally. It's not the best parenting in the world but it wouldn't provoke a reaction in me.

MrsItsNoworNotatAll Fri 02-Jan-15 18:08:13

I'd have kept out of it.

Shockers Fri 02-Jan-15 18:08:58

Hypothetically, if there had been a break in her ranting, I might have tried to engage her in conversation to distract her.

I wouldn't have criticised her though, as that would probably make her angrier.

But who knows without actually being there. Just hope the walk home calmed her down a bit.

readyforno2 Fri 02-Jan-15 18:09:06

I'm also with your dh. 6yo's can be an absolute nightmare without the added sweeties/presents/holidays etc. that happens this time of year. Maybe she had just had enough and probably feels like shit now

morethanpotatoprints Fri 02-Jan-15 18:09:34

Its not nice to see this OP, I know and see it regularly.
The thing is getting the woman more wound up by interfering could get the child in more trouble, she might be the person the woman takes it out on.
It is horrible to think like this but unfortunately there are some parents like this.
You did the right thing however hard that is to do, I too would have found it difficult not to say something.

Maybe she was just at the end of her tether and didn't have a dh like you to offer her support with parenting.

wanderingcloud Fri 02-Jan-15 18:09:38

I would never, ever say anything. You have NO idea what the full picture is and, although it is never a good idea to take this out on a child, no one is perfect. Everyone has a breaking point.

SpearmintLino Fri 02-Jan-15 18:09:44

I like to think I'd have stuck my oar in, but may not have if I'd been there. I've seen things like that before and regretted turning a blind eye; taking the time to make a person think about their actions can't be a bad thing, can it?

Feellikescrooge Fri 02-Jan-15 18:14:16

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke

There is another thread on here about Laura Bates, I think as a society we need to start making it clear that some behaviour is unacceptable.

professornangnang Fri 02-Jan-15 18:15:03

Nothing. It was none of your business. Different if she was hitting up child repeatedly but she wasn't.

madsadbad Fri 02-Jan-15 18:20:51

Yes I would have done something in the situation you explain, what I don't know, but to try and defuse rather than aggravate.
There is a difference between a parent briefly loosing their temper and 5mins of threats/aggression and screaming.
I really struggle to understand on threads with this happening between a child and adult the majority of posts are to mind your business/the parent is stressed/you don't know how they were pushed prior to this.
If this was between 2 adults the majority of posts are that its not right and should get involved.
If you are a person who would say to get involved between adults but not children- can I ask why this is? I am genuinely interested to understand the reasoning.

brokenhearted55a Fri 02-Jan-15 18:28:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Birdsgottafly Fri 02-Jan-15 18:34:28

""If you are a person who would say to get involved between adults but not children- can I ask why this is? ""

Because Parental Responsibility gives Parents rights and Parents aren't perfect, but speaking as an ex CP SW leaving a child in a less than perfect home, is better than removal.

We don't have the same Responsibility, or rights over other adults, they have full autonomy, that's why we don't intervene, unless a child is physically at risk.

Onlookers also don't have the right to prevent someone from leaving a place with their child etc. the child would be as upset from interference.

OP, you should of done nothing. If the screaming was as bad as you say, I'm surprised a Staff member didn't get involved.

I've said it before, some people have what seems like higher aggression levels. What one person perceives as aggressive, can be their personality, or way of communicating.

PortofinoVino Fri 02-Jan-15 18:34:33

If I felt it was that bad I would talk to the mum, ask if she's ok? said jackydanny

And got a mouthful of abuse yourself, I expect hmm

The last thing you can do is reason with someone either in a temper, or drunk !!

Birdsgottafly Fri 02-Jan-15 18:38:03

Another reason why fights between adults aren't tolerated is because as an adult you can walk away.

A mother of a demanding six year old, can't do that.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 02-Jan-15 18:46:55

Why should nothing be said

What you saw is abusive I am not saying the child is abused if might be a one off

I do not think as a parent I am above another person pulling me up yes it would piss me off extremely there are ways to do it but a child as much as an adult deserves to be treated with respect

We have all been pushed to a limit i never realised how a child could do this but losing control is wrong

Feellikescrooge Fri 02-Jan-15 18:51:11

With the greatest respect I am not sure CP SW get it right and I am not talking about cases such as Child P or Rochdale which have media attention but as a teacher in an area of extreme poverty the parents rights are prioritised every time. I recently was talking to a pupil who has literally been through hell before she was eventually placed in foster care. What really got me was when she said how amazing it was that when she needed clean clothes they were in her drawer. Then she added they had glue sticks!

Unless society starts to show this behaviour is wrong it will carry on and as more and more scandals are exposed I hope Social Workers will start looking after the children not the parents. Sadly I have sat through too many CPM where the Police and school have been over ruled by zealous SW who then fail to put any of the support/ monitoring in place. Who suffers, the child.

Somemothers Fri 02-Jan-15 18:54:49

Go a scrub your halo at home you have no idea what the full story is

PonyoLovesHam Fri 02-Jan-15 18:56:09

Feellikescrooge who is Laura bates?

I don't think I would have said anything op, but only because I would worry about the child getting even more abuse due to my interfering.

mcdog Fri 02-Jan-15 19:01:21

I agree feellikescroge, I have sat in so many CP conferences where the SW has been allowed all the power, no other professional opinions seem as important to the chair. I also agree that parents needs seem to trump children's needs, it's really frustrating and breaks my heart for some of the babies and toddlers on my caseload sad

Equally, I don't think the OP should have intervened. I am yet to meet a parent who hasn't lost it at their child, myself included. Although, I generally don't lose it in public!!

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