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what you do when someone slaps a child in front of you

(20 Posts)
badmamma Fri 12-Jul-02 19:15:21

i was in woolworths today and ahead of me in the queue was an elderly woman of about 75 who had two children in her care. a little girl was touching a pedal bin and the woman said 'you know what happens when you touch things,' repeatedly and then slapped the child. not hard, but she was only three at most and the implication was she got slapped plenty. then the boy strapped in the pushchair reached out and touched a display, innocently not in a wrecking way and the woman grabbed his head and wrenched it round. i watched this for a while and another woman beside me was tutting too. but just as i was paying the woman slapped the girl again and i lost it and shouted 'stop hitting those children!' the woman turned round amazed. we had a massive row in which she said 'children need chastising, they shdn t be allowed to touch things which are going to be sold.' she was far too old to be fit to look after two such young children and i wondered if their parents knew how she behaved or whether she was the only childcare they could find/afford. in the end i threatened to go find a policeman. it all sounds foolish. but i just hoped it might make that evil old bitch think twice about slapping little girls. has anyone else intervened like this? or any suggestions about what i should have done?

Rhiannon Fri 12-Jul-02 20:14:57

I think you were very brave and hopefully it might have mad her think about her actions in the past and the future. R.

Mopsy Fri 12-Jul-02 20:22:11

I think you did the right thing badmamma, and as Rhiannon says you were brave to do so. It is incidents such as these which make me yearn for a complete ban on the smacking of children of any age - it isn't everyone who's capable of discerning when and when it's the appropriate punishment.

ionesmum Fri 12-Jul-02 21:15:11

Well done, badmamma. And I soooooooo agree with you, Mopsy.

jenny2998 Fri 12-Jul-02 21:20:46

I agree, I only wish I had enough guts to do the same

jenny2998 Fri 12-Jul-02 21:20:47

I agree, I only wish I had enough guts to do the same

Melly Fri 12-Jul-02 21:46:44

Badmamma, I agree with what you are saying, but....I'm sorry but I don't think you should make sweeping statements such as she was far too old to be in charge of two young children. Maybe some 75 year olds are unable to cope but there are many very sprightly 70+ grandparents maybe more so than a 50 year olds - it is very individual. My dad and stepmum are both 71 and fit as fleas and I have every confidence in them looking after my dd for the day now and then and it peed me off a bit to read your post suggesting that people of a certain age shouldn't be left in charge of young children.

ks Fri 12-Jul-02 21:55:34

Message withdrawn

jasper Fri 12-Jul-02 22:51:00

Well done badmama. I think you were very brave, particularly as the old bat might have thrown YOU a punch!
I don't happen to think there should be a total ban as I don't think the law should be constructed aroung idiots like this woman ( see other smacking thread)
I have seen parents shout and swear at their kids in a humiliating way that we would all find unacceptable, but don't see anyone calling on a total ban on that sort of behaviour.
I think it is pretty insulting to reasonable parents ( like me!) who deliver the odd smack to tar us with the same brush as that loony old lady.
To give an illustration, you might be anti smacking but think "time out" is appropriate. But you would not agree with extreme forms of time out, like locking a three year old in a cold dark cellar for an hour. Its the same with smacking. There is smacking and there is smacking.
Don't put me in the same category as that old lady, thank you very much

Batters Fri 12-Jul-02 22:59:56

badmamma, I agree with the other posts about you being extremely brave. Unfortunately I am not sure how much good it will have done (not that I am criticising what you did). A 75 year old woman who obviously has a very definite mind set about how to "chastise" children isn't that likely to change her ways....but hopefully it will make her think twice about doing it in public again at least.

Mopsy - your posting has summed up completely what I feel about a ban on smacking.

Mopsy Fri 12-Jul-02 23:09:30

Jasper I don't for one minute put you in the same category as the woman badmamma saw.

My belief is that most people are capable of using smacking in a judicious, appropriate, intelligent way as part of a generally healthy disciplined structure for their child. However, many people, for a multitude of reasons, cannot do this.

I therefore support a total ban in order to protect these vulnerable children who aren't lucky enough to have stable, reasonable and above all humane parenting.

Speaking for myself only, I find any physical assault offensive and distasteful whether delivered in the heat of the moment or as a cool calculated disciplinary 'punishment'. We are all rightly protected in law from physical assault apart from in that most fundamentally important relationship - with our parents.

SueDonim Sat 13-Jul-02 06:42:04

Whilst I don't agree with smacking children I think some of the comments made here are incredibly judgemental about the woman. She seems to have committed two crimes in Badmammma's eyes, one, that she hit the chldren, two, that she was old. She could do something about the former but not much about the latter. Would the comments made on this thread such as 'Evil old b*tch' 'loony old lady' 'old bat' have been made with 'young' substituted for old? I don't think so.

We don't know what was happening with that woman. Maybe she was caring for her grandchildren while her drug-addict daughter and SIL were recovering from OD's. I knew someone who did just that, time and time again, a caring overburdened woman, with health problems of her own but who had no choice but to take on the duties of caring for the entire family, because there *was* no one else willing to do it.

ks Sat 13-Jul-02 09:10:42

Message withdrawn

badmamma Sat 13-Jul-02 09:27:12

i d just like to clear up the accusations of ageism. i wasn t being derogatory about older people caring for toddlers per se. but in the instance i witnessed this woman was clearly unable to control two small children, because of her age and frailty, by any other means but slapping . and to answer suedomin s point, it crossed my mind too that this was the best childcare available to their parents. that they probably had the choice of get this incapable and bad tempered person to care for their kids or not be able to work at all. but it was still obscene and disturbing to witness. i ve been wondering what would have happened if i d followed her home and told social services.

Monnie Sun 14-Jul-02 10:03:45

Maybe the old woman was the grandmother and had previously agreed with the parents that smacking was ok? Maybe it's what the parents do.

My mum is 69 and she used to look after DS who is 11 months (when I was at work) and nephew who is 2.5.

Nephew can be very trying, especially when DS is around, but my mum has never smacked him. Funnily enough though, we were smakced when we were little.

I suppose it depends on the individual circumstances, but if you felt that this was a deliberate act of violence than you were right to speak up.

Not so sure how people would police an all out ban, as most people smack their children (including child abuse) behind closed doors and if people don't report it now when they know it's going on, what makes people think they'll do it because of the law?

Also, will there be 'degrees' of smacking? A fine for a 'normal' smack, a prison sentence for systematic abuse?

Slighlty going of the subject there, but thought I'd ask if anyone knew.

Mopsy Sun 14-Jul-02 10:36:33

Hi Monnie

I would like in an all-out ban because I believe that the smacks delivered in the public eye are sometimes the thin end of the wedge, and perhaps in private the adult really loses it.

The structure already in place for classifying adult-to-adult assaults is appropriate - some parents have already been prosecuted when inflicting unreasonable chastisement - ie assault, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm.

ks Sun 14-Jul-02 11:35:16

Message withdrawn

lou33 Sun 14-Jul-02 14:33:08

Reading the behaviour of the lady in question,it makes me wonder if she can do that in public what is she would be like when she got them home after she had been confronted?

badmamma Sun 14-Jul-02 14:36:23

crikey, i saw the childbeating old lady in sainsburies yesterday!!! i don t know which of us was more alarmed. she was alone. and i just glared at her as she left pushing her trolley off as quickly as she could. now i feel i'm terrorising old ladies. god, i m turning into an old battle axe in my middle years.

ionesmum Sun 14-Jul-02 20:34:07

badmamma, if sticking up for toddlers makes you a battleaxe then good- we need more battleaxes! As Ks says, if you'd done the same thing to the woman you'd have been up on an assault charge!

Mopsy, I have a relative whose situation really illustrates what you mean. Her father used to give her the odd smack when I visited but I later found out that when I left he'd hit her with rulers, belts etc.

If smacking works it's because it hurts, and the child is frightened that its mother or father will cause it pain again. It's about time that we decided whether this is acceptable.

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