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How do I handle this? Other parents screaming at me in the park

(103 Posts)
WideWebWitch Fri 11-Feb-05 10:33:55

Earlier this week on my way home from dropping at school I saw a child alone in the park. I asked him where his parents were and he shrugged. I asked him where he went to school and he shrugged, I asked him was he ok and did he want me to find his mum and he shrugged. I talked to him a bit more and checked he was ok. A woman passed and said 'don't worry about him, he always does this, his mum knows about it, he's here most nights too.' I said 'but he should be at school' she said 'no he shouldn't they know about him' and that was that. I talked to him for a few more minutes, there was NO adult around and then he walked off. A woman then came and shouted 'come here' to him a couple of minutes later and he went off with her. I recognised her from school and I didn't do anything else about it, as I decided after some thought that it was none of my business.

This morning his step father approached me in the park and told me I'd terrified him and it was none of my business, among other things. I said I was sorry but he was alone and I was worried about him. He is 7 apparently. I said I thought he was alone and was only concerned about him. He said I was lucky it was him, not the mother as she'd 'have killed me' Lucky old me hey? Then 2 women started shouting at me too and I had 3 people screaming at me in the park, near the school. I walked off in tears and a parent I know joined me shortly afterwards, having witnessed the end of this and walked home with me. I know they're worried I'm going to (or have) called social services from what he said 'this woman said you said you were going to call welfare' (I didn't, I said surely he should be at school) and I know they screamed because they felt threatened presumably but I feel really upset by this and tearful still. This happened at just gone 9am. What should I do? Options are:

Nothing, hope it blows over. Half term next week so I won't see any of them for a bit
Write a note saying I'm sorry they thoguht I was interferring but I was only trying to help but won't in future
Tell the school just in case anything else happens?

The other parent is a father and has offered to walk to school with me this afternoon so I'm not alone and I think I'll make sure I'm not for the next few weeks. Any advice welcome, I feel really upset about this. Inordinately, but it was SO aggressive and it scared me. I feel like a wimp.

Evesmama Fri 11-Feb-05 10:39:10

so sorry about their pathetic behaviour, if they were decent people/parents, they would understand what you where doing and should have been more concerned with 'what he was doing there' in stead of why you spoke to him...would mention it to the school so they can recognise whats going on, but unfortunatly in this day and age, it seems, we should walk around with our eyes and mouths shut, walk with your friend to school for kids, but if they approach you again, ask them why they feel threatend, and if its cos they think youve contacted welfare/social services, tell them you havent but will do so if this abuse bog off!!!!
hope your ok

Potty1 Fri 11-Feb-05 10:39:31

www - so sorry that you feel intimidated. Personally I think you did the right thing - they should be grateful that it was you that approached the child and not someone with other motives.

I would just let the school know the situation and wouldn't contact them at all.

tamum Fri 11-Feb-05 10:40:51

God, you poor thing- I would be more than inordinately upset if this had happened to me. It sounds so scary, and you had done the right thing. For what it's worth, I wouldn't write a note, but I would tell the school. That way they can be the ones who decide whether social services should be involved, and you have done the right thing without attracting further wrath. I feel ridiculously glad that the nice father was there.

You are so not a wimp.

boudicca Fri 11-Feb-05 10:42:07

I think I'd be tempted to do the first ie. hope it blows over,but I'm a bit of a coward .The second, is maybe, better as it gives you the chance to put things in perspective, and explain your reasons for talking to the child. I must say I'd have done exactly as you did

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 10:42:24

Lets say the local fauna at the park is remarkably strange. If I have witnessed this I would be thankful that somebody was concerned about a strangely alone child. If they act like that towards any person who are is concerned about the child, no wonder the rest have desired to leave him alone. Why were the other woman shouting at you??? Is there any possibility you've been a victim of "stranger-danger paranoia"?

Chandra Fri 11-Feb-05 10:44:14

I agree with the rest, don't send a note but tell the school.

HeyEnidYouveLostWeight Fri 11-Feb-05 10:44:14

What a horrible experience www. I feel really sorry for you. You did exactly what I would have done - this is why people don't 'interfere' in things, for fear exactly this might happen. Don't let it stop you! You did the right thing!

Obviously it is complete lies that you terrified him - you may have scared him as he knew he should be at school and didn't want to get into trouble, but clearly the problem lies with the parents here. I think you are right to walk to school with company for a bit. Their behaviour was extremely threatening and you are most certainly not a wimp, you have had a horrible, horrible experience.

macwoozy Fri 11-Feb-05 10:44:41

I would most probably feel intimitated by their aggresive manner, but you were doing the right thing. I'd most probably inform the school and let them decide what to do.

lunavix Fri 11-Feb-05 10:45:28

I personally would call social services but as the family seem really aggressive you should probably try the school first.

nasa Fri 11-Feb-05 10:48:03

that's grim www, and very odd too. who were the other people shouting at you and what did they have to do with it?
you're most definitely not a wimp, sounds really intimdating and horrible. I think I'd tell the school and leave it at that.

Caligula Fri 11-Feb-05 10:51:39

I would definitely tell the school unless they approach you in the meantime with an apology.

Having had time to calm down and think about it, they may well realise that they overreacted and apologise.

If they don't, I think it's fair to assume that they are extremely aggressive, threatening people who need to be kept an eye on. It could be that they're home educating - but people who consciously choose HE don't tend to react to expressions of concern by screaming threats at other concerned adults.

And if they threaten you again, call the police. (I presume you have a mobile phone?)

tarantula Fri 11-Feb-05 10:53:34

OMG WWW what an awful thing to happen Im not surprised you feel upset. I hate situations like that too esp when you get more than one person at you. you are def not a wimp. If you were youd have ignored the child in the first place. Its so difficult to know what to do in situations like this. Is the child at the same school as your kids do you know? Maybe you should have a word with them? they might know what to do for the best esp as it could easily happen to another mum. Def dont go to the school on your own.

WideWebWitch Fri 11-Feb-05 10:55:23

I'm still crying. Thanks for all your kind words. Just spoke to dp who says the main thing they want is NO contact from anyone official and that if I involve the school that's exactly what will happen and further wrath from these parents will be visited on me. The other women were screaming because 1 was the woman I'd said 'shouldn't he be at school?' to and I don't know who the other was but she was maintaining he had an adult with him. He DIDN'T!

This is why people turn a blind eye, I certainly will in future.

horseshoe Fri 11-Feb-05 10:55:52

Have you considered calling the police?? I'm not sure how threatened you felt by their behaviour but by saying about "killing you" sounds like a threat to me. If you contact the police anyomously (sp?) and explain what happened maybe they could keep a close eye on said child and contact social services and the school if need be. You will also have their protection if the family do get picked up by social services as it sounds like only a matter of time before someone does call them.

WideWebWitch Fri 11-Feb-05 10:56:23

This boy is at the same school as my son. He's the same age but def not in the same class.

Cod Fri 11-Feb-05 10:57:30

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Fri 11-Feb-05 10:58:43

I was calm to start with but I did say to them 'but I would want someone to check my son was ok if he was on his own in the park. Except he wouldn't be on his own in the park'

nasa Fri 11-Feb-05 10:58:59

I just don't understand why the other people were shouting (actually I don't understand why the parents were but they're obviously to be avoided). I mean why was it an issue to them? IFYKWIM - they all sound horrible. poor you.

Cod Fri 11-Feb-05 10:59:13

Message withdrawn

horseshoe Fri 11-Feb-05 11:00:11

WWW take comfort in knowing that you only did what was best.. Too many people shut their eyes to things like this and dont get involved. For a kid of 7 to see his parents bully another human is disgusting.

WideWebWitch Fri 11-Feb-05 11:01:04

I know, I've got a get a grip. Thank goodness it's half term and I've only got one school run to do before then, and this father is going to come with me. Maybe they will leave me alone now they've said their bit, they know I walked off crying. Unless they decide that's a sign of weakness and it encourages them. Let's hope not hey.

nasa Fri 11-Feb-05 11:02:09

they'll have us to content with if they do www The MIGHT of MN!

HeyEnidYouveLostWeight Fri 11-Feb-05 11:04:39

There's a kind of pack mentality with people like this, they wind each other up and that's why you end up with loads of people yelling at you.

I have to say, if it were me, that I would not get involved any further. The school presumably know about this boy's truancy and have their way of dealing with it.

You were worried, you checked on him, you got a mouthful - his parents are around (albeit mad) so I think you have done all you can do.

Go and buy a nice cake, have a cry, eat your cake and talk and talk about it until it is out of your system. Any chance of a glass of wine tonight, god knows you deserve it x E

Caligula Fri 11-Feb-05 11:05:32

If they do decide that www, then I think you do need to get in touch with the police. As Horseshoe says, somebody may call SS about him anyway, and the family may well decide it was you.

Apart from anything else, threatening to kill someone in public is plain downright illegal. I really think you need to get on your high horse and expect an apology from these people - start getting angry about it! (Difficult, I know, when you're feeling shaky.)

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