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Mother Yanked Her Toddler By His Hair - AIBU?

(101 Posts)
JudgyBigGrannyPants Fri 22-Apr-16 17:44:53

I was approaching the bottom of my street in the car and saw a mother, who I often stand near at the school gates (never spoken to her) and who's middle DC is in my DC's class, walking along the path at the bottom. I could see that she would be crossing the road in front of me so slowed down and motioned for her to cross as she had 3 DC with her, one about 2 years old on a toddler trike type thing.

As she the car, she grabbed her toddler by the hair at the back and yanked him back from the road (he was still on the path about a foot in front of her) as I think she thought he was going to cross without her. I did not register it straight away and was utterly shocked. I had stopped, there was no panic that I was going to hit him. She could have easily grabbed the back of his coat.

The poor kid screamed in pain while they passed in front of me. Her eldest child (about 8) sort of lagged behind whilst staring at me, obviously aware that I had seen her mother do that. The toddler then tried to punch his Mum. I had a good mind to jump out of the car and shout at the woman but thought better of it. By the time I'd driven slowly away the toddler had stopped crying and his older brother was pushing his trike and making him laugh.

WIBU to bring this incident to the school's attention on Monday as they will know the family and possibly they may have other concerns.

DH says to leave it as they are from a different culture and parent differently and how they do is their business.

Just seeing that tiny boy in pain like that really upset me.


TheTroubleWithAngels Fri 22-Apr-16 17:48:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WorraLiberty Fri 22-Apr-16 17:49:33

It sounds like a knee jerk panic reaction to me.

I pulled a little girl by her hair years ago, when I thought a car was going to reverse into her on the pavement.

It wasn't something I'd actually had time to think about and plan.

I'm curious to know though, what sort of culture parents by pulling their toddler's hair?

Aeroflotgirl Fri 22-Apr-16 17:51:43

Yes it sound like that, she thought he was going to run in front of your car, and he might have not had anything else to grab hold of, and accidently grabbed his hair. Better that, then being run over! I have grabbed ds 4 by the hood before, as he was going to run into the road.

Whatamuckingfuddle Fri 22-Apr-16 17:53:56

I've grabbed my dd by the hair before when I thought she was going to run in front of a car. It was the bit that I grabbed when I was trying to grab anything.

Whatamuckingfuddle Fri 22-Apr-16 17:55:08

I wouldn't think it was cultural though hmm

SouthernShepherdess Fri 22-Apr-16 17:55:53

Like others have said, she probably panicked he was going off into the road in front of you. May well be an isolated incident and not enough grounds to alert the school to be honest. You don't really want to cause problems for this mother unless you see her do it again.

BlueJug Fri 22-Apr-16 17:55:58

AS others said, she probably wasn't sure that you had properly stopped and was scared he was going to run out. Missed his collar and got his coat.

hedgehogsdontbite Fri 22-Apr-16 17:56:31


Better a toddler with pulled hair than a squished one.

Birdsgottafly Fri 22-Apr-16 17:57:29

"" I had stopped, there was no panic that I was going to hit him. ""

You don't register that as you're crossing though.

I once grabbed for my eldest DD and hit her square in the nose, causing a nose bleed.

Your DH is wrong that you ignore cruelty to a child, because of cultural differences.

However, I would give her the benefit of the doubt and see it as a genuine mistake.

MajesticSeaFlapFlap Fri 22-Apr-16 17:57:39

I once pulled my nephew back from falling into the path of a bus. I left a bruise all the way roung his little arm. It was knee jerk.

NickyEds Fri 22-Apr-16 17:58:05

My MIL lunged at my toddler when she thought he was about to run into the road and accidentally scratched his neck. It was a totally instinctive reaction to him running towards the road. She is from the same culture as me by the way hmm. The woman thought her kid was going to run into the road and grabbed the nearest bit if him. It'seems also worth bearing in mind that it's harder walking with kids when you're heavily out numbered by them.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 22-Apr-16 18:01:51

If I grabbed my DS coat when he was a toddler he'd have slid out of it and been across the road (which is why my DC were on reins. Shoot Me )

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 22-Apr-16 18:05:10

Toddler was on a trike?
She probably grabbed what she could TBH , split second decision, not wanting to tip him off his bike or have him cycle into traffic.

ghostyslovesheep Fri 22-Apr-16 18:05:23

Nothing really cultural about hair pulling

CigarsofthePharoahs Fri 22-Apr-16 18:05:51

I had to lunge after my ds - who was 3 at the time - in a car park as he let go of my hand and started running. I thought I'd got a proper grip of his hand, I hadn't. There were lots of cars moving about and instinct took over, I ran and grabbed him by the nearest thing which happened to be his hood. Better that than be run over. The driver of the nearby car HAD seen him and gave me a disgusted look.
The worst thing was that over the next few months, he did not want to hold my hand at all and insisted I hold his collar! I'm sure a lot of people thought I was a horrible mother, walking along holding his collar but he was bloody insistent about it.
YANBU to be a bit taken aback, but it sounds like a panic response on her part so I think YWBU to take it any further unless you've seen other examples of potentially abusive behaviour.

LifesBeenaJourney Fri 22-Apr-16 18:16:17

What are you expecting the school to do?

Technoremix Fri 22-Apr-16 18:24:14

I am a bit surprised by the responses - this was a child who was on a toddler bike,if the mother was was worried about him scooting out she could have put a hand on the bike?

Pulling a child's hair is to stop them doing something is abusive. Full stop, no excuses. If you think that is an acceptable way to discipline a child I think you need parenting classes.

TheTroubleWithAngels Fri 22-Apr-16 18:26:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 22-Apr-16 18:27:02

When my DS was that little I grabbed the back of his coat in a similar situation and was left holding his hood as he continued to run. so I can see how someone would grab the nearest thing that wasn't going to detach itself.

How was she once they'd crossed, did she comfort him?

That cultural comment, by the way hmm

Furiosa Fri 22-Apr-16 18:30:28

My Dad lifted me out of a pond by my pig tails when I was really little.

I was under the water and it was the only thing he could reach.

DS once tried to walk out onto a road when I dropped his hand to press the button. It was raining so he had his brolly up. I grabbed the top of it. If he hadn't had it I probably would have grabbed the top of his head.

Did it look like a gut instinct or do you think you saw malice in her actions?

FaFoutis Fri 22-Apr-16 18:30:33

I have grabbbed my ds by the hair. I thought he was falling in a river and it was just instinct, the hair was the nearest bit of him. A horrible judgemental woman saw me do it and she still gives me dirty looks.
It is bloody scary keeping 3 small children safe, particularly near roads. I would understand what she did.

summerdreams Fri 22-Apr-16 18:31:06

Sounds like panick reaction to me if it was a different situation then I'd be with you on this cultural differences or not.

NellysKnickers Fri 22-Apr-16 18:31:43

She was stopping him from going in the road, I've done it in a moment of panic, you just grab what you can.

BrandNewAndImproved Fri 22-Apr-16 18:31:43

I grabbed my 8 year old in a busy car park last Thursday! I pinched him in my attempt to grab him back as he was about to walk into an oncoming car. He moaned the rest of the evening at the pinch he received but better that then flattened under a car!

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