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to have felt that calling the police would have been appropriate in this instance?

(60 Posts)
Sunfleurs Tue 13-Oct-09 12:22:37

I have thought a couple of days before posting this as I know it is going to be a sticky one.

I took dc to soft play and then for Sunday Dinner this weekend at a local Wacky Warehouse. This place often has Irish Travelling Families there, think there is a site fairly local.

During the meal there was a couple at the next table with two children a baby and one who looked about 3. The 3 yo was refusing to eat her meal and the mother was really angry, hissing and swearing at the child. In the end she pointed her knife at her daughter and told her she was going to "f*cking stab her!". The Dad looked a bit annoyed and said something to the Mum and then just wandered off to the bar to get another pint.

I was absolutely horrified and said so to the people I was with. One of them works with some men who are travellers and he just said "there is no point saying anything, thats just how they are, it's just how they bring their kids up, if you say anything, she will most likely go for you and you have your own kids to think of". shock. He was not at all surprised by it.

I haven't been sure about posting this but it has been on my mind and I wish I had done something, probably called the police <cowardly emoticon> rather than said anything. What do you all think of this? and what, if anything would you have done?

mumof2222222222222222boys Tue 13-Oct-09 12:24:02

I would have been shocked too.

Social services??

LadyOfTheFlowers Tue 13-Oct-09 12:24:59

A tough one.

Would probably have moved away tbh. blush

GypsyMoth Tue 13-Oct-09 12:25:04

well done them for taking the kids out!! i didn't even manage that this weekend.

yabu ....police arriving? really. to do what?

Sunfleurs Tue 13-Oct-09 12:27:23

ILoveTIFFANY, I manage to take my kids out most days without threatening to stab them, even when really small!

As for police, who else would I tell about someone threatening to stab her three year old?

belgo Tue 13-Oct-09 12:31:35


There are bad parents around, and mostly they get away with it.

It is very hard to know what to do in that situation. A mother threatening to stab her three year old with a knife - it's not something we expect to see so it's very hard to know how to react. I don't blame you for doing nothing.

overmydeadbody Tue 13-Oct-09 12:32:16

It is shockingly sad that some children are talked to like this sad

I'm not sure the police would have done anything if you'd called though.

How did the child react? Some parents threaten all sorts of nasty horrible things but never actually carry them out iuswim. Not right, not nice, but not much can be done about that sort of thing.

TrickOrNinks Tue 13-Oct-09 12:33:12

shock It's awful but - how are the police supposed to respond?

My life was threatened once, I had evidence of it and they said that until he did hurt me, there wasn't anything they could do.

Poor child sad

overmydeadbody Tue 13-Oct-09 12:33:58

Sunfleurs I heard my neighbor telling her two year old she would "kick you down the stairs if you don;t get a move on" sad

I didn't do anything, but I do keep an eye and ear out and would report anything I actully saw happening.

thighsmadeofcheddar Tue 13-Oct-09 12:34:59

I would be horrified but wouldn't say anything and probably move away. Especially if I had my child with me.

Sunfleurs Tue 13-Oct-09 12:36:11

I know the police probably couldn't have done anything but at least it would be on record and might make the mother think twice. I don't know, I just couldn't think what else to do.

The little girl just looked blankly at her mother. A bit later we saw her wandering around the place and I didn't see the parents anywhere near.

GypsyMoth Tue 13-Oct-09 12:36:29

you need to calm down.

families are all different.

i doubt anything would be done,except maybe arresting the mother for breach of the peace,or possibly worse,once she cottoned on that it was you who had called police on her!

Sunfleurs Tue 13-Oct-09 12:38:21

I couldn't be any calmer.

I am asking for opinions is all.

Nancy66 Tue 13-Oct-09 12:38:46

Horrible but not a lot you could have done.

I intervened once, a long time before I had a kid of my own, when I saw a woman dragging her kid along the floor in Boots and calling him a 'fucking little cunt.'

The mother really turned on me, then her partner appeared from nowhere and started having a go as well. Thought one of them was going to hit me, managed to escape with just some spit in my face.

Thinking about it afterward, i probably made things worse. I can imgaine the kid got another battering when he got home 'look what you did' type thing.

Sad, but sometimes walking away is prob the best option.

belgo Tue 13-Oct-09 12:40:55

Nancy - very brave of you for standing up for that little boy. And hopefully the little boy realised that someone was speaking up for him.

Sunfleurs Tue 13-Oct-09 12:43:37

Nancy at a park once when someone was arguing with another parent and screaming and swearing at her I asked him to please calm down in front of all the kids and he told me he was going to ring his wife to come and beat me up as he couldn't do it being the gent that he was. Lovely.

Jujubean77 Tue 13-Oct-09 12:45:57

Good God. This is not the norm at all, God knows what you could have done though. These are things the children we hear sad stories about in the news are living with; that is their reality of life and it is NOT right.

Don't understand how anyone in their right mind could downplay a Mother threatening to stab a child hmm

JustAnotherManicMummy Tue 13-Oct-09 12:47:12

Not sure your assumption they were an "Irish travelling family" is really relevant and expect you'll get jumped on for that.

You will probably find the debate ends up being about your use of those word rather than the obvious (to me at least) issue of when parenting crosses the line of what's acceptable and what our social responsibility is.

<Dons hard hat and grabs popcorn>

Nancy66 Tue 13-Oct-09 12:48:44

there's just a lot of 'orrible people about and we have to hope that they are all meaningless threats.

My mum used to say she was going to knock me from 'here into next week' and, thankfully, never did!

belgo Tue 13-Oct-09 12:52:16

I don't see how threatening to stab a child can be a meaningless threat. It has to have some sort of psychological impact on the child. If the police had been phoned, I would hope they would take this sort of incident seriously.

clam Tue 13-Oct-09 12:53:41

This is what we're all up against nowadays though. Once upon a time, family/friends/ neighbours/ passersby would have stepped in and intervened. These days there have been so many instances of scenes kicking off that we're afraid to risk it.
But what could you have done? There's no way the police would have turned up, nor done anything if they had. And nor would Social Services, even if the family was known to them - regardless of whether or not they were travellers - the issue (or non-issue?)which I notice everyone is skirting.
Although it makes no difference to what you saw. It was upsetting, but I guess we have to hope that it was an empty threat. Although it's horrid to imagine what that poor kid lives with every day in private if her mother speaks to her like that in public.

onagar Tue 13-Oct-09 12:56:43

I wince at things like that, but I know people who talk to their kids that way and yet give them the best of care. I know others who are polite and neglectful. You really can't tell by looking.

And yeah I'm afraid that telling us they were 'travelers' doesn't sound too good. How could you tell that those particular people were and if they were then in what way should that affect our opinion?

Sunfleurs Tue 13-Oct-09 12:58:33

I felt that is was relevant, in order to tell the full story I had to say it. Why should I be jumped on for that?

I didn't assume by the way, a member of my party knows them vaguely.

Is there another more pc way to refer to travelling families then because that is how british law refers to this particular minority ethnic group.

MorrisZapp Tue 13-Oct-09 13:00:53

Horrid to witness, but I don't see what anybody can do in a situation like that.

It was only words, not a violent action. I shouldn't think the police could do anything anyway.

I'd have kept my head down tbh.

JustAnotherManicMummy Tue 13-Oct-09 13:05:37

You ask why you should be jumped on for saying they were travellers?

Try reading your original post but subsituting any other ethnic group. eg blacks, asians.

Not judging, just explaining how your post will be perceived.

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