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So I wigged out at the Walmart greeter today... - Page 6

post #101 of 181
I think you did the right thing. NOONE hugs my kid, without asking me 1st. I have never had anyone try as of yet, but you can bet I will be yelling if they
try to pry my kid off my leg!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
He wasn't just trying to touch her. He was trying to pull her away from her mother when she (the child) was screaming in protest. That's very different from the person behind me in line giving DS a high-five as he giggles and smiles.

I don't think there is anything cold or sterile about refraining from touching a child who does not want to be touched.
Yes to all of this! My son will talk and smile with people in line, and that is fine, as long as HE is ok with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Village Mama View Post
When my littlest guy was two he was crying in the corner of the post office. A woman got right up in his face and started saying "ooohhh whats the matter are you grumpy?" in a condecending sing songy mocking manner. He growled at her and she just laughed and got closer... so he kicked her in the shin! I was mortified , but in the same sense she was way out of line. I am sure she was a nice woman and ment best.
LOL! Nice to know he can stick up for himself.
post #102 of 181
Thread Starter 
I just want to add when we entered the store and approached the first time I was being nice, I even smiled and politely said "No thank you." I reacted by being loud first because my daughter has the lungs of a tornado siren so I had to get above HER voice to let my voice be heard. And I will admit I do get the "mother bear" instinct when I feel my children are being hurt either emotionally or physically and I so I took action. Honestly I DO feel badly that I had to yell at him but his presence gave me the creeps and an internal red flag came up and I do not ignore those gut instincts. My daughter's safety comes first, and the feelings of strangers comes in second. I do teach my children manners, they say please and thank you, I do AP and gentle discipline but where do you draw the line? If your child is being kidnapped do you politely say "Um excuse me if it is ok with you, do you mind giving my child back? I need to nurse her and she has to have a nap at 2?" Where does it end? Sometimes we NEED to be "curt" with people unfortunately and it is not OUR fault, if those people didn't put themselves in that situation (sometimes they don't realize it I know) then we would not have to show our teeth and claws to protect our young.
post #103 of 181
I think you were right. You shouldn't worry about being polite when someone has ignored your "No" and you are concerned. Whether or not he has a disability isn't something that I'm going to concern myself with when my child's space is being invaded to the extent that they are upset. I think that is something for the employer to take in consideration. So what, now if someone behaves in an invasive way, repeatedly, we have to continue to be polite mommys in case he has a disabilty? In the greater scheme of things, I care about that. I would consider it. In the moment, without knowing, I'm not going to worry about that or someone's feelings. I don't think raising your voice is the same as being disrespectful or abusive toward an employee. I think most of us have had "mama bear" moments. It's not a bad thing.
post #104 of 181
I probably would have yelled, too, or at least raised my voice-- maybe I would not have if I had only ONE child at the time, but having more than one (esp. 2 younger children) makes me feel physically more vulnerable for their safety. Logistically, it's just harder.
post #105 of 181
I feel for your DD. I was just telling DH that some people just don't get it(ie, some of his family members). I hate when people impose themselves on children. Why do they think it's alright when the child obviously doesn't want the attention that their giving them:
post #106 of 181
OP, I absolutely believe that you did the right thing; a red flag went up for you, and I think other posters need to respect your instincts. Even if he was a "harmless" old man with dementia-- and again, I think his "I'm just doing my job, lady" comment belies that interpretation-- you taught your daughters that their feelings/boundaries come first in interactions with strangers. I think that was the important lesson in this scenario.

It is one thing for strangers to be friendly with our children. Even when it makes me a little uncomfortable (when they say things I don't agree with, or chastise my toddler for imaginary offenses), I generally just try to be polite and move away, just as I try to be polite when people do the same to me. If anyone does anything to my daughter that I would not be okay with them doing to me (i.e., grabbing of any sort!), "being polite" will not be a high priority in my reaction.
post #107 of 181
I think the posters who are putting more emphasis on being civilized to a man disturbing a child are picturing the scene a little differently than the OP described it.

Sure, if the man approached the OP and her DD and offered a hug, then yelling at him would have been unnecessary and inappropriate.

I think these people are picturing such a scene. A shy child clings to the leg of her mother. A nice old man offers a hug. "No, thank you" is enough.

But would you seriously just stand there and say "No, thank you" without any urgency when this man is PRYING your screaming child away from you? I would hope not.

Just pick her up and walk away? Well, from the way the OP described it, she was TRYING to, but it was a struggle. When you are STRUGGLING with a strange man to get your child back, do you smile and calmly say "Thank you very much, I've got this handled?" I hope not. I hope you react to the urgency of the situation, that you tell the man in more ways than one (both physically and verbally) to back off.

How do you communicate verbally in an urgent situation? Well, your voice raises. Your kid runs out into the street and a car is coming - do you say, well, I'm GD, so I will calmly say "Sammy, streets are not for playing"? No, you yell for Sammy to come back while you're running for him. That gets Sammy's attention and helps him to understand the urgency of the situation. If the old guy is not already understanding that prying a screaming child away from her mother is a problem, then it's entirely appropriate to direct his attention to that fact with the urgency of your tone.

I didn't see anything where the OP called him names or swore at him - I would agree that would have been inappropriate and unnecessary. But seriously, those who feel that a strange man dragging your child away from you does not warrant yelling - what would?
post #108 of 181
Also, please raise your hand if being taught as a child to be "civilized" when people are touching you inappropriately (or have been manipulated to tolerate this to avoid "hurting the person's feelings") has hurt you or someone you know?

In my case, it's someone I know. <Raises hand>
post #109 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

How do you communicate verbally in an urgent situation? Well, your voice raises. Your kid runs out into the street and a car is coming - do you say, well, I'm GD, so I will calmly say "Sammy, streets are not for playing"? No, you yell for Sammy to come back while you're running for him. That gets Sammy's attention and helps him to understand the urgency of the situation. If the old guy is not already understanding that prying a screaming child away from her mother is a problem, then it's entirely appropriate to direct his attention to that fact with the urgency of your tone.

I didn't see anything where the OP called him names or swore at him - I would agree that would have been inappropriate and unnecessary. But seriously, those who feel that a strange man dragging your child away from you does not warrant yelling - what would?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post
Bolding by me.


What is the difference? It is my job to protect my child and teach him how to protect himself EVERYWHERE. The OP had already tried being firm and polite and it wasn't working. It is sometimes ok to be seen as "rude" to protect yourself and our children need to know that.
Of course the world isn't so black & white
post #110 of 181
Ok, trying not to get heated here. But to me I see a very big difference between teaching your kids not to let people touch them inappropriately and helping them learn to set boundaries with other people when the touching is not desired, but not sexual in nature.

In the first case, by any means necessary, kids should yell, scream, etc. Be taught that there is nothing they can't say to their parents, that no one should touch them in private areas without their consent.

In the other, they can learn to say, "No thank you, I don't want a hug" without yelling and humiliating the well-meaning individual.

You can't go through life "wigging out" on those clueless people who think all kids or young people like hugs, and surely even as adults we've all had those moments where we have to handle people who want to hug when we don't.

My loving, clueless, well-meaning father still tries to hug DS when he is in meltdown mode, despite knowing and being told that it doesn't help. He is absolutely clueless when it comes to interacting with people (sneaking suspicion he's on the spectrum, but certainly never diagnosed). Yelling at him would be so humiliating for him. I just tell him firmly that DS doesn't feel like hugging, or whatever.

Honestly, some people truly are clueless. I think this guy really did believe his job was to make everyone smile, even if the kid was melting down. I agree with the PP who said that she hoped his manager was gentle with him. I also hope he did not lose his job in these tough economic times.
post #111 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
Ok, trying not to get heated here. But to me I see a very big difference between teaching your kids not to let people touch them inappropriately and helping them learn to set boundaries with other people when the touching is not desired, but not sexual in nature.
It's well-known that predators get children used to being touched non-sexually at first. Hugs, holding hands. Backrubs as a transition point. (Before anyone jumps on me about suggesting this Walmart greeter was a predator, I'm not - but I AM saying that drawing a distinction between unwanted touching that an adult would judge as sexual in nature vs unwanted touching that an adult would not judge as sexual in nature is not helpful to the safety of children).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
In the first case, by any means necessary, kids should yell, scream, etc. Be taught that there is nothing they can't say to their parents, that no one should touch them in private areas without their consent.
But it's ok to touch other places without their consent - indeed, with their explicit nonconsent? And here, it's too easy for a child to internalize this lesson and not be able to discern the exact moment when touch is sexual in nature - and if they are, they are already too brainwashed and shamed by the predator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
In the other, they can learn to say, "No thank you, I don't want a hug" without yelling and humiliating the well-meaning individual.
Ignoring the concept of a small child melting down being expected here to say "No thank you," how will this same small child judge a well-meaning individual from one who is not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
You can't go through life "wigging out" on those clueless people who think all kids or young people like hugs, and surely even as adults we've all had those moments where we have to handle people who want to hug when we don't.
Why can't you go through life wigging out on people crossing major boundaries? It would hurt their feelings?

If a strange man forcibly tried to hug me, you can bet I would react with more than a smile and a "No thank you." Why would I do less for my child? And of course my child requires more protection than I do myself (because she is small and not as strong).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
My loving, clueless, well-meaning father still tries to hug DS when he is in meltdown mode, despite knowing and being told that it doesn't help. He is absolutely clueless when it comes to interacting with people (sneaking suspicion he's on the spectrum, but certainly never diagnosed). Yelling at him would be so humiliating for him. I just tell him firmly that DS doesn't feel like hugging, or whatever.
Between humiliating my father and humiliating my daughter - sorry, Dad. You're a grownup. You have choices. I've heard and read way too many stories of people who as children were abused but whose parents didn't protect them because, after all, it was Grandpa (or whoever) and "we don't want to embarass him."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post
Honestly, some people truly are clueless. I think this guy really did believe his job was to make everyone smile, even if the kid was melting down. I agree with the PP who said that she hoped his manager was gentle with him. I also hope he did not lose his job in these tough economic times.
Yes, some people are clueless. I protect my child against everyone, not just the ones who know better. Clueless people are a threat too. I will not teach my daughter "you have a right to your bodily integrity UNLESS the person is well-meaning, clueless, or your Grandpa."
post #112 of 181
I would have reacted the same way. My DS worked at Walmart and I know that they do hire greeters whose "knives are not all sharp" .... which is fine - however some should not be in the position and dealing with the publicv if they can't understand the basics of what is acceptable.

You did the right thing
post #113 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post
Bolding by me.


What is the difference? It is my job to protect my child and teach him how to protect himself EVERYWHERE. The OP had already tried being firm and polite and it wasn't working. It is sometimes ok to be seen as "rude" to protect yourself and our children need to know that.
I think there is a huge difference. Someone down the street is trying to abduct my child. I yell.

I"m not in that situation 'teaching' my child, I"m protecting her in an emergency.

Elderly, possible disabled gentleman doing job in store, makes mistake in how to handle my child, I tell him firmly but politely 'no'. I remove my child.

My child learns that we say no, firmly and decisively if someone does something to our bodies that we don't like.

All the difference in the world, imo.
post #114 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Also, please raise your hand if being taught as a child to be "civilized" when people are touching you inappropriately (or have been manipulated to tolerate this to avoid "hurting the person's feelings") has hurt you or someone you know?

In my case, it's someone I know. <Raises hand>
<Raises hand>, too.

I see the point about not jumping straight into yelling and reacting harshly for every. little. thing.

But, as the OP has said, the guy was forcibly trying to pry her daughter away from her.

I think part of the reason some older people are "clueless," are because they grew up being expected to "respect their elders" and to submit to whatever their elders wanted to do to them.

It's kind of like grandparents who took a lot of interfering crap and criticism from their own parents -- so now that they're the grandparents they think it's "their turn" to disrespect everyone else and still get respect. In my own experience, it usually takes more than gentle politeness to deal with this sort of grandparent.

I can fully understand that they're confused ... the rules have changed and they didn't keep up. I'm all for having compassion -- as long as my having compassion doesn't interfere with my children's safety, space, or emotional integrity.
post #115 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marylizah View Post


My loving, clueless, well-meaning father still tries to hug DS when he is in meltdown mode, despite knowing and being told that it doesn't help. He is absolutely clueless when it comes to interacting with people (sneaking suspicion he's on the spectrum, but certainly never diagnosed). Yelling at him would be so humiliating for him. I just tell him firmly that DS doesn't feel like hugging, or whatever.
But you KNOW your father is well-meaning. The OP doesn't know this greeter, he was a stranger, and doesn't know whether he is well-meaning or not. We don't know if he has a disability, we don't know if he is a predator, or possibly both (they aren't totally mutually exclusive). We know he was trying to take her child from her by physical force. That's all we know.
post #116 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Why can't you go through life wigging out on people crossing major boundaries?
My thoughts exactly. (And everything else laohaire said)

I have set clear boundaries with people when needed and have not always been able to be nice about it. Some people don't take hints or even nicely stated, but direct and clear, requests seriously. I just can't get my arms around why some posters think that raising the volume of one's voice is such an objectionable reaction.
post #117 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
Also, please raise your hand if being taught as a child to be "civilized" when people are touching you inappropriately (or have been manipulated to tolerate this to avoid "hurting the person's feelings") has hurt you or someone you know?

In my case, it's someone I know. <Raises hand>

I don't think that teaching children to say no, firmly decisively, and removing themselves from the situation is teaching them to be manipulated. Alongside this, they can learn to yell if in trouble.

We're not talking of someone grooming her child. We're not talking about a possible abduction. We're talking of an elderly man in a store, who is supposed to be doing a job, but does it badly.

I guess that 'wigging out' is not a lesson I teach my children. I don't see that as child protection. My kids are absolutely not being taught to be polite at all costs, but they also are not being taught that yelling at people unnecessarily is OK. But our definitions of necessary and unnecessary are going to differ.

My job is to protect my young child. So, in difficult situations I have picked them up,firmly, clearly, decisively, and removed them from situations like the one the OP describes. They have learned that mama protects them, and that it is not OK for someone to cross that comfort boundary. But they don't need me to yell at someone in order to learn that. Although, of course, in an emergency, a potential abduction, sure as heck I'd yell, and they'd witness that. But a situation that is not an abduction, nope. Not OK in my book.

My other concern would be that my kids would then internalize another message, that everyday people are out to 'get' them, and become more fearful. A fearful child is more of a target than a confident one, and teaching them to be more fearful as preschoolers is not something that I would want to do.
post #118 of 181
Oh Mama I totally feel for you! I would have done the same thing. My youngest is very shy and there is no way I would let some old man force a hug on her if she was crying and scared. Some people can be so dense, I am sorry you went through that. Going shopping at Walmart with two small kids is hard enough let alone weird old men trying to give them hugs!
post #119 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
I don't think that teaching children to say no, firmly decisively, and removing themselves from the situation is teaching them to be manipulated. Alongside this, they can learn to yell if in trouble.

We're not talking of someone grooming her child. We're not talking about a possible abduction. We're talking of an elderly man in a store, who is supposed to be doing a job, but does it badly.

I guess that 'wigging out' is not a lesson I teach my children. I don't see that as child protection. My kids are absolutely not being taught to be polite at all costs, but they also are not being taught that yelling at people unnecessarily is OK. But our definitions of necessary and unnecessary are going to differ.

My job is to protect my young child. So, in difficult situations I have picked them up,firmly, clearly, decisively, and removed them from situations like the one the OP describes. They have learned that mama protects them, and that it is not OK for someone to cross that comfort boundary. But they don't need me to yell at someone in order to learn that. Although, of course, in an emergency, a potential abduction, sure as heck I'd yell, and they'd witness that. But a situation that is not an abduction, nope. Not OK in my book.

My other concern would be that my kids would then internalize another message, that everyday people are out to 'get' them, and become more fearful. A fearful child is more of a target than a confident one, and teaching them to be more fearful as preschoolers is not something that I would want to do.
Britishmum, you are perfectly expressing what I've been trying to say.
post #120 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
I don't think that teaching children to say no, firmly decisively, and removing themselves from the situation is teaching them to be manipulated. Alongside this, they can learn to yell if in trouble.
The child WAS saying no (by screaming) and TRYING to remove herself (but too small to be effective).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
We're not talking of someone grooming her child. We're not talking about a possible abduction. We're talking of an elderly man in a store, who is supposed to be doing a job, but does it badly.
"Grooming" is effective when the child has already been taught that other people's feelings matter more than their bodily integrity. No, the Walmart greeter wasn't "grooming," but this experience and other experiences are all part of teaching the child what is acceptable and what isn't. When the parent teaches the child that Walmart greeters can forcibly hug them, and that their mothers will just stand there and say "No thank you" without actually protecting them, it's that much easier if another person DOES come along and try to "groom" them.

Also, not all sexual predators are the old-man sort. I personally have had the experience of "going further" than I was comfortable with, with a teenage boy, because I didn't want to hurt his feelings. That wasn't disasterous for me (since we didn't "go all the way" and also the boy was in fact a caring person, but definitely pressured me further than I wanted to go). Why did I worry more about his feelings than my bodily integrity? Well, I'm sure the answer is complex, but I apparently was taught that way, possibly by my own mother who was herself a victim of sexual abuse at a tragically young age.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
I guess that 'wigging out' is not a lesson I teach my children. I don't see that as child protection. My kids are absolutely not being taught to be polite at all costs, but they also are not being taught that yelling at people unnecessarily is OK. But our definitions of necessary and unnecessary are going to differ.
Yeah, that's true, we differ on that point. I see bodily integrity as a huge, big deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
My job is to protect my young child. So, in difficult situations I have picked them up,firmly, clearly, decisively, and removed them from situations like the one the OP describes. They have learned that mama protects them, and that it is not OK for someone to cross that comfort boundary. But they don't need me to yell at someone in order to learn that. Although, of course, in an emergency, a potential abduction, sure as heck I'd yell, and they'd witness that. But a situation that is not an abduction, nope. Not OK in my book.
I guess here is again where we disagree. I consider a violation of bodliy integrity as an emergency, not just abductions. I don't see why yelling is such a terrible thing, or how prying children away is not a big deal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post
My other concern would be that my kids would then internalize another message, that everyday people are out to 'get' them, and become more fearful. A fearful child is more of a target than a confident one, and teaching them to be more fearful as preschoolers is not something that I would want to do.
If I were a child, I would feel more confident knowing my mother validated my feelings (extreme discomfort from a stranger forcibly taking me from my mother and physically touching me) and protected me accordingly, than in being taught that I was wrong to feel as I did.

I don't see the point in trying to pretend to my child that the world is a rosy place, and strangers trying to take them are just harmless nice old men.
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