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To be sad at the amount of horrible parents out there (not a happy thread)

156 replies

Doubtfuldaphne · 08/06/2013 22:37

In town shopping today I was behind one lady who told her dd to 'stop waving your toy around or the ladies in the shop will smack you'
And I held a lift for a lady to come in with her toddler and baby. The toddler instantly sat on the lift floor and looked scared. She said 'sorry mummy'' and the mum shouted 'I don't care of you are' aggressively. The 2-3 yr old was covered in bruises mostly on her face and arm and Very very thin.
I can't stop thinking about it. There's nothing I could've done, don't know who she is, or what their story is - I just know that here's no way I would treat my children aggressively or with anything but love! Yes, I can lose my temper after a hard day but wouldnt be aggresive. something about this situation has really played on my mind and I feel sad.
There's nothing I could've done though is there?

OP posts:
maddening · 08/06/2013 23:39

But isn't that the point the op is making - she doesn't kbow enough about the situation to do anything - you can't call ss about witnessing one minute long situation where you get the impression that all is not well but no physical altercation took place.

And either by the way the situation is played out or the bystander's own circumstance intervening with no knowledge of the person in question is not possible/advisable - eg the bystander's own dc being present etc etc

MiniTheMinx · 08/06/2013 23:43

The combination of bouncy happy active child with bruising is normal.
The combination of aggressive, struggling parent and quiet, timid pensive looking child with bruises is cause for concern.

Too many people take the view that it's none of their business, that shouting or losing your temper is normal. Too many people seem to make excuses for poor parenting. Even if something falls short of neglect or actual abuse, poor parenting will have profound lasting effects on children.

People become ever more selfish, harsh and individualistic towards other adults, it's no surprise this has also started to translate to how we treat children, ours and others. There is no sense of individual or collective responsibility just a sense that we have "rights" no one stops to ask how the most vulnerable & weakest in society can fight for their own rights because we fail to protect or respect them.

MadameDefarge · 08/06/2013 23:43

Absolutely devora. I feel a tiny bit sick at the idea there are actually mums out there that aren't disgusted at aggression towards children.

Not to say I would show that. But I know it when I see it. And I live in a very poor area of the Uk where you let a lot of stuff go....

MadameDefarge · 08/06/2013 23:49

I remember putting myself between a young mum and her machete wielding, crack-high boyfriend because she was so beaten down she couldn't protect herself.

Can't say I got any thanks, in fact, quite the opposite. But at least she lived to fight another day, and her daughter got the help she needed.

You might think I should just have walked away. And indeed all I heard was yet more fighting coming from their home...but sometimes you have to step up. How you help is your call. It can be just helping carry the buggy up some stairs, it can be calling for help. Don't ever dismiss anyone who actually gives a fuck now.As minitheminx says.

Devora · 08/06/2013 23:52

Ok, I had a bad day today. I feel really ill and exhausted and I was in sole charge of both kids for the day, and the 3yo in particular was really playing up. We were having a walk outside and she kept up a combination of shouting, hitting and whinging that was really doing me in - and then she started walloping me.

I got shouty. I put her on the 'naughty bench' (hastily found) a little more roughly than I'm proud of. I am not the world's greatest mother and today I fell below standard.

But - and this is critical - I was very aware of people around me, and felt ashamed of how I was responding. I was also aware, for the zillionth time, how often I am tempted to really smack my kids, and I never do, because I feel it is a slippery slope that I will end up going down. I have a hot temper, and I don't trust myself to stop, once I've started. So I never start. This is made easier because the vast majority of parents in the community don't smack, and there would be open mouths in the playground if I started dishing it out in the way that was totally the norm when I was a child.

I get so sick on MN of the easy way in which people get condemned for being judgy. Of course excessive or thoughtless judgmentalism is bad. But social norms around parenting are hugely important - setting them, sustaining them, communicating them. Isn't that what MN does? As individuals we may sometimes think it gets them wrong, but to imply that norm-setting or judging is in itself wrong, smug, net-twitching voyeurism, is itself just as risky as any lynch mob mentality.

AudrinaAdare · 08/06/2013 23:55

Erm, bruising on the upper arms, torso and face is perfectly normal for a child who happens to have a blood-clotting deficiency. I'm glad my increasingly self-conscious DD isn't reading this. Half-arsed safeguarding training can be very damaging.

maddening · 08/06/2013 23:59

Yy devora - absolutely agree - it is judgement that is part of human nature and keeps us in check as a society.

TerraNotSoFirma · 08/06/2013 23:59

Devora I could have just written your post, word for word.

MadameDefarge · 09/06/2013 00:00

Oh Audrina, for heaven's sake, if your dd has a particular medical condition that leads to unusual bruising, Ok, that's hard for her and you to live with.

It does not mean people who are concerned are evil hysterics intent on demonising your child or your parenting.

And its not half assed safeguarding training, its about being able to recognise a tricky situation when you see it.

If your child is covered in bruises and you are interacting normally and kindly with her, or even a bit shortly with her, well, heigh ho.

If you are shouting at her in an aggressive manner, and I am sure we all know what that means, it happens often enough, sadly, then yes, you would be judged. and in my opinion, quite rightly. What is society if we do not have benchmarks for what we consider acceptable?

havingamadmoment · 09/06/2013 00:04

YANBU when I first had my dd I was young (20) and met a woman at a playgroup who had an older child who was 4. We met a few times at the playgroup and I invited her over to my flat, when we got there the older child said something to the mother (i didnt hear what) and the mother turned around and hit her over the head with a bottle of water and said "dont be such a fucking stupid cow". I didnt say anything, I was dumbfounded I didnt go back to that playgroup and never saw her again but I still think about it now coming up to ten years later. I wish I had said something I would now - I am older and wiser.

MadameDefarge · 09/06/2013 00:06

As Devora says, we do individually have to step up to maintain our societal norms of what is acceptable.

Sometimes we can do nothing about it. DSs best mate at school is the child of first generation immigrants. He has confided in me that they use corporal punishment. And that he feels really bad for him. That is hard to explain to a kid.

What can I do? pretty much nothing, as this is allowed by law in this country. and that is their cultural norm. I don't like it. I hate it. But until the law is changed what can be do? I know they love him. I know they want the best for him. But I hate the way they deal with their kids. And I hate having to explain to my child why some people think its ok to beat children. And those are loving, caring parents. In their eyes at least.

Slapping small children and swearing at them in public is all to frequent where I live. Making that judgement about when to intervene is so hard.

I just wish it was illegal totally. Then we would not have these issues.

MoelFammau · 09/06/2013 00:12

I think there is a HUGE difference between a kid who gets the odd shout from an over-tired parent and one who is battered and in tears everyday. I was the latter. I was thin, cowed and highly nervous. I wanted someone to see it and take me away but no-one ever said anything.

Today I saw a 4-5 year old boy screamed at by his dad as his mother stood by, because the boy was tired and wanted a carry. The boy was in tears and begging his mother to help... it was awful. I felt sick. BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO? I've been on both sides. I know if anyone had tried to interfere on my behalf, my mother would've made me pay for it a thousand times over once we got home. So I did nothing. But doing nothing condones that sort of behaviour. I shot them a Look but that was all.... desperately sad.

AudrinaAdare · 09/06/2013 00:16

That's fair enough Madame. I was only objecting to the blanket sweeping statement that normal bruising is on the lower limbs. It just isn't true. I can and have dealt with concerns and I'm bloody glad that people raise them. I just get sad for DD because the opinions of her peers don't go through proper channels so all sorts of things misunderstandings occur. That and the Leopard Girl nickname. Sorry. As you all were.

SirBoobAlot · 09/06/2013 00:20

Some people are vile human beings, and sadly some of them are parents.

It makes me rage.

SgtTJCalhoun · 09/06/2013 00:36

I think I am a good Mum. Today though I took my dc to fly their new kite. Believe it not it was stressful, they were both very excited and I really wanted it to work out for them. My dd started crying when it wouldn't. Not sad crying, whiny, endless sulky crying. I was sharp with her, not smacking because i don't though sometimes feel its the only thing that would work but I told her what a PITA she was being and that she was making it a miserable experience for all of us. I bet anyone listening would have thought me a right twat, sweet little girl crying with big nasty Mum showing no sympathy whatsoever. What they hadn't seen was her tormenting her brother who has ASD all the way there in the car. My nerves were in tatters.

Saying that though I think you can see a difference between that and an abused child. My dc will gob off back at me until they get The Look, then they usually know to pipe down. My default emotion as a child was terror of my Mum and I know my kids don't feel like that about me, they like being with me and doing stuff with me whereas I stayed out of my Mums way. I sometimes think that as parents we feel guilty because we feel angry a lot but our kids don't know because we quite rightly hide it.

I don't know really, I would like to be less stressed and angry but it's hard Sad, I am a lone parent too so no one to share the load with. It's not daily though, probably fortnightly if that, that I get cross but it never lasts and we are past it in minutes whereas my Mum would go on for hours.

Startail · 09/06/2013 01:27

Rereading the OP without a nosey DD1 looking over my shoulder, (DD1 is 15 and knows exactly why DD2's ability not to help the smooth running of everyones day is very exasperating.)

I to would have judged and wondered if there was more to it than just having a bad day.

I have a short temper, but my DDs wouldn't never have sat on the floor and look scared. Sorry mum's aren't common either.

DD2 might be covered in bruises, but that's because she manages to fall off the beam on to the spring board instead of the saftey mats (and other similar weekly variations).

IneedAsockamnesty · 09/06/2013 02:44

Somethings never cease to amaze me.

I've lost count of the amount of threads on here banging on about neglect and how certain things are (most of them not being anything of the sort not even close) how dreadful it is to do minor very subjective things that some people disapprove of.

But fuck me sideways with a rusty pitchfork, you get a issue that is genuinely more likely than not to be an actual real abusive situation an actual legit reason to yelp shit child protection concerns, and you have people falling over themselves to excuse it and the concerns.

IsThisAGoodIdea · 09/06/2013 03:03

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littlewhitebag · 09/06/2013 06:02

I work as a sw in child protection. We get lots of referrals just like you described. Grubby sad children covered in bruises. Some have reasonable explanations, some are because of lack of supervision of the child and a bit of neglect rather than any intent to harm the child. Some are children who are being abused by the parent or carer. It is impossible to tell just from looking at it briefly. However I would urge anyone to report to SW if in doubt. In this case OP knew nothing about the family so had nothing to report.

LuisSuarezTeeth · 09/06/2013 06:30

IsThis - don't be so bloody nasty and personal. Hmm

Trigglesx · 09/06/2013 07:11

My DCs have bruises on the arms and faces - mainly because DS2 is 6yo with SNs and has literally no boundaries, and DS3 is 3yo and, well, has no boundaries. So when they argue, they sometimes launch at each other and are rolling around on the floor and I have to carefully wade in and separate them and put them in separate time outs. Hmm

They both have coordination difficulties, so are constantly tripping over things, walking into things, and 6yo has a tendency to bang his head on things.

DS2 currently has a nasty bruise on his upper arm - although anyone that cares to take a closer look will notice that it perfectly matches DS3's teeth. Hmm Doesn't mean I'm abusive or neglectful - simply means that DS3 is really fast and at some point I had to step out of the room for about 15 seconds to use the toilet. Grin

That being said, I do think there are situations that bear reporting if there are concerns. Better to be safe than sorry IMO.

maddening · 09/06/2013 07:16

I think that's the problem isn't it - when do you call - it is a massive grey area and so subjective - impacted by perception, experience and understanding of a very complex issue - which is why it is good to discuss it in forums such as these.

Doubtfuldaphne · 09/06/2013 07:55

If anyone is concerned, even if its just a feeling something isn't right - just phone ss
Why risk it?

OP posts:
ILovePonyo · 09/06/2013 08:34

I know what you mean op, there is a dad who drops his daughter at nursery and I've seen him speaking g to her like shit, saying things like "you can't tell me anything. You do what I say, don't tell me no. I pay for everything you're wearing so you best shut up" etc etc. she just walks behind him with her head down.
It's depressing and I know ss wouldn't touch it, but I doubt he's just having a 'bad day' he's just horrible to his child.

Sleepingbunnies · 09/06/2013 08:47

YANBU. I saw a woman squeeze her 6/7 year old sons face today and tell him to shut his fucking mouth. I wanted to cry :(

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