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To not want to see any parents with babies or toddlers?

73 replies

Tumtimes1 · 23/10/2018 22:37

I’m a mum of 2 (2 year old and 4 year old) and I really struggle when I see parents with babies or toddlers in public incase their behaviour with their kids makes me uncomfortable.
Here are a couple of examples of things I’ve seen.
Case 1
Mum and dad come into bar and have three children. Two older boys (maybe 6 and 8) and a 1 year old. Mum and dad go up to bar and leave kids in seats. The older boys proceed to ‘hold’ and lift the 1 year old in a way that makes me worried the child could be dropped. They pull and push him about (not being mean or anything but they are children and just can’t handle this) The mum and dad continue to have their backs turned and don’t seem bothered that a 1 year old is managed by essentially children.
Case 2: parent actively screaming at child and scaring him and also is violent to child - I step in. It turns nasty toward me. But ultimately I stand my ground but when they leave venue I feel extremely shaky and teary for many days.

I am writing this post and thinking - how do I explain this? But for example if I’m getting on the tube or something and I see a mum with a child in push chair I will purposely get into a separate carriage in case the mum isn’t cool with her kid and it upsets me. Do you think this is my anxiety or is this a ‘thing’ that parent’s feel?
My husband is used to this with me - for context, case 1 had me in tears as well. Is this my anxiety or is this normal?

Thanks for any comments x

OP posts:

Tumtimes1 · 23/10/2018 23:11

I should add I also massively struggle with watching the news and reading horrendous stories online. Like they actually stick and resonate and I can’t get them out of my head. Tears and everything. Again - is this normal? Now I’m seeing comments I think probably not.

OP posts:

Tumtimes1 · 23/10/2018 23:13

@anniehm that’s my point entirely. My heart does sink. But it does ruin my night I have to say.and that’s when I think - is that anxiety?
Another example - being on holiday and seeing dog tired kids being forced to stay up - they’re knackered and desperate for bed. (The kids don’t realise that) But their parents want ‘one more drink’. Hate seeing it.

OP posts:

meow1989 · 23/10/2018 23:14

I think it may be down to frequency really - sometimes news stories stick with us because they're horrific and we may not know why they particularly resonate. But being upset by all or most stories is a lot, you must be emotionally very tired. Do you find yourself looking for things that upset you "just in case" (as in, to see if there are any - when my anxiety was at peak I would do this, as though it was almost to reassure myself that I knew about the "bad" things, even though it just caused more upset).

It sounds like you've had these feelings a while and have maybe normalised them a bit, hence asking for opinions, which is actually a really big step in making things better.


eloliphant · 23/10/2018 23:15

should add I also massively struggle with watching the news and reading horrendous stories online. Like they actually stick and resonate and I can’t get them out of my head. Tears and everything. Again - is this normal? Now I’m seeing comments I think probably not.

I dont like watching the news because it's often upsetting but I don't think stories online and the news make many people cry. I'd definitely seek help OP it really sounds like you need it. I really feel for you and hope you can get it sortedThanks


Cringing123 · 23/10/2018 23:16

I think I’m similar to you OP but have never known how to express my feelings. If I see a child being mistreated, I start to almost hyperventilate and become very anxious. If I read something, I have similar palpitations and also anxiously cry (similar to wailing hysterically ).
I don’t know if it’s a trigger of subconscious emotions. I don’t think I want to explore it. I try to avoid reading news stories of abuse against children or try not to focus on strangers when out and about. You can’t avoid it completely and so it’s important to develop coping mechanisms


Iaimtomisbehave1 · 23/10/2018 23:17

Falling to pieces over strangers isn't a healthy way to leave. We all feel those feelings over horrible news or watching bad parents, but we manage them. We don't get overwhelmed. Occasionally everyone will see or hear something that pushes them over the edge, but it shouldn't happen everyday. You can't live or function in society like that. You should find some coping mechanisms which work for you.


April2020mom · 23/10/2018 23:21

Please see a therapist who can help you cope with anxiety. Stop suffering in silence. When my son was in the hospital what really helped me was talking with a friend and visiting a therapist recommended by my mom. Also writing about my experience in a personal diary allowed me to relax and de stress. I was on medication for anxiety when I was younger.


Aridane · 23/10/2018 23:27

Not normal - visit GP for help


LisaSimpsonsbff · 23/10/2018 23:31

This will maybe sound like I'm being horrible, but I promised it helped with my own anxiety: you're not that important. This is not all about you.

With me my anxiety centred on other people discovering I'd made mistakes and was stupid, and it was helpful when I truly realised: everyone else isn't that focused on you. They're not just waiting for you to mess up. With you I think it would be helpful to realise that you're not in charge of everyone else. It's not your job or your unique responsibility to police everyone else's parenting. Of course you should act if you see abuse, as we all should, but bog standard not great parenting isn't your problem to solve.


POPholditdown · 23/10/2018 23:33

I’m glad you’ve posted this, as I share your feelings. I don’t necessarily avoid people or situations, but I do avoid the news a lot and what I do see sticks with me for too long.

In the recent months, it’s just abuse after abuse in the papers, local and national. Abuse of women, children, animals, elderly, disabled. Abusers are becoming more and more depraved. And I wish there was something that could be instantly done to stop it.

I know some might not get it, but it really me down. As I say I don’t avoid ‘real life’ but I seem to be extra vigilant (without actively trying to be), in certain scenarios.

However, to some extent I’ve been around violence and a lack of respect for the world all my life (through my own abuse, relatives suffering DV infront me, my family narrowly escaped war, to name a few). I think that’s just set me up to view the world in a certain way.


WhatToDoAboutWailmerGoneRogue · 23/10/2018 23:40

No, crying at the news and the situations you describe is not normal, OP. You definitely need to see your GP as soon as possible before it spirals even more out of control.


tiredgirly · 23/10/2018 23:45

how would you know the girl in the car was about 4?


Vampiratequeen · 23/10/2018 23:51

It sounds like it is anxiety and you should speak to your GP, it isn't normal.


Katedotness1963 · 24/10/2018 00:04

I hate seeing older siblings left in charge of wee ones and hauling them about, or “hoopsing” them up in their arms as it’s so easy for them to lose their grip and drop them.

Years ago we were at a family day out for my husbands work and next to us was a family, mum, dad, three kids. The kids were really well behaved, but for some reason the father went on and on berating them for non existent bad behaviour. I looked round, intending to tell him to be quiet because he was ruining my day too, but the looks of the faces of the woman and children were heartbreakingly sad. That was about 20 years ago and I still remember how awful I felt for those kids.


Sashkin · 24/10/2018 00:12

The older sister could have been 15 for all you know! Step-sister? Second marriage? Happy accident?


SpoonBlender · 24/10/2018 00:31

Your anxiety is well outside normal, please do see your GP about it. You'll feel so much better if this can be solved for you.


Mamabear4180 · 24/10/2018 00:39

Your anxiety is way too high, could you be suffering from delayed PND?

I know you probably don't mean to but you sound judgmental and overly critical. I have 2 toddlers with hidden disabilities and I doubt you'd approve of everything we do. People won't always parent like you do. You need to take a step back and try not to get emotionally charged by things outside your control or even your experience.


OwlBeThere · 24/10/2018 01:04

I wonder if you are anxious about your own parenting and projecting on to others?
either way, its not normal and you need to seek help.


StillMedusa · 24/10/2018 01:14

See your GP.
It's normal to be distressed by upsetting news items once you are a parent 'what if that was my child' is a normal reaction, but to stress about every everyday parenting you see around you..that's not normal.

Most parents are people just trying to do their imperfect best! No doubt if you'd seen mine, aged 3,2 and 1, you'd have had the horrors... no 1 cut off all no 3's hair while I was trimming no 2's.... no 2 climbed (aged 3) on the toilet seat to reach the bathroom cabinet and promptly cut his hand on a razor he found... he also had many tantrums in public which necessitated me carrying him out like a screaming log, from play places!

Now I have four happy competent, loving adult children, 3 of whom still live with me! As small ones they dragged each other around and yet they all survived! And are close and loving with me and DH and with each other.

See someone, as your anxiety needs help .


kateandme · 24/10/2018 01:14

the situations aren't pleasant but as in life people get effected by them in the moment but then ae able to let them go and move on with their lives.this is effecting yours,your mood and emotions to a further point and in the way you describe means its seriously gone passed the point of human reaction and ur need help.
anxiety mean itsa bit like being at a train station.people without anxiety in life will see lifes happening as trains coming and passing by them on the many thoughts in a day so many trains that come and then go.someone with anxiety see the train and lets each one stop at their station and linger and they go on and on and on and on each one and let them run away with them.and it must get really overwhelming.but you can get help with can get to the point where its ok and doesn't hut you so much.


selfidentifyinggiraffe · 24/10/2018 01:31

Overinflated sense of responsibility

I don't think you're describing OCD (which I have) but it's a symptom which I would imagine happens in other anxiety disorders too. And I did develop OCD during pregnancy so I think (in my case) it's very related to the overwhelming sudden realisation that you are responsible for another being


Sleephead1 · 24/10/2018 06:46

it's always awful to see a child being mistreated but in all honestly I have to say no it's not normal to avoid every parent in case they don't parent the same way as you. The first example in all honestly just sounds like more laid back parenting. I do think younger siblings in general get much more rough and tumble than the first / only children and whilst i dont think they shoukd be in charge of younger siblings as far as o can tell the parents s where in the same room as the childrem just ordering food so maybe away a minuite ? The second and third examples are awful I understand why you would be upset but I imagine these kind of things are happening very rarely and you are focusing on then too much. It seems like you gave very strict rules on parenting and you are projecting this on to other people. As long as the children are not badly treated it's not up to you to judge what time they go to bed , what they eat, screen time ECT I know sometimes this is hard I think we all sometimes secretly judge this against the way we do things as obviously we all think/ hope we are doing the right thing. Parenting will differ person to person everyone is different and will parent differently based on their own experiences, culture , social norms , values ECT. It's not up to you to police the world and judge if their parenting standard are up to yours. The example you gave about staying up late how do you know this isn't the one and only time it's ever happened because its a family members special birthday or their best friends are emigrating tomorrow ECT. You are seeing a tiny snap shot of someone's life and that's it so the mum with the toddler on a screen while she's staring out of the window well maybe she's just been bereaved , her husband's left her ECT and she's desperately trying to keep it together , maybe the parent is ill , the child doesn't sleep and they have been up all night and they snap at them from exhaustion and you just see that second not all the games they have played , songs they have sung and all the lovley chats they have had. I'm sure you havnt been a 100% perfect parent every second of every day I don't believe anyone is perfect. I'm sure you see 100s of examples of nice parenting but it doesn't register I see parents and children everyday and whilst yes occasionally I see what I would call bad parenting I see plenty of nice parenting every day. I do think in your case it's anxiety and i would seek help


WitchyMcWitchface · 24/10/2018 06:51

As your children grow I think you will stop noticing.
If you have a baby you notice others with babies, when I was pushing elderly DM in her wheelchair I noticed lots of other with their elderly DPs.
You can't be concerned about everyone else. Do you have time for an interest or hobby, I think of that if I don't want to be wound up by other people, Brexit etc


Amanduh · 24/10/2018 06:52

No, this is absolutely not normal.


Sockwomble · 24/10/2018 07:06

As others have said, you need to see your GP about this. It is normal to feel upset about mistreatment of children but your feelings appear to be extreme.
With reference to the docile unresponsive child, some children are like this. My son was/is like this because he has a disability. I know that withdrawal can be a sign of neglect but I would not go down the road of thinking this for every child you meet that behaves like this.

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