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I witnessed a mom purposely slam into her child with a shopping cart.

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
Not that this is an excuse, but the child was being extremely annoying. Normally, that's when I would suggest leaving the store... not bashing her with a shopping cart.

Mom was kinda young-ish, and clearly seemed to be losing her grip this morning. Perhaps she just doesn't have the right tools to deal with her daughter. But, still.... with absolutely NO clue how to handle a child, I cannot believe she would even think of purposely doing that.

The girl was about six. Very cute. Dressed perfectly. But, she was whiny and mouthy to the mom. At one point, mom yanked her arm a little, and when the daughter yelled a dramatic "Ow you pulled my arm".. mom looked around, then loudly said "I'm trying to teach you a lesson, how do you think it feels?"

Then a moment later, she climbed into a dryer. (Lowes in the appliance area) and mom said *but, didn't sound serious to me either* "Come out... get out... do we need to go home? Do, I need to call grandma to come get you? Get out, come out...." She never came out. So, the sales lady opened the dryer and told her firmly to get out. She came out, but broke the door of the dryer on the way out. (yes, even I was mad at this child by this point) But, when the sales lady went back to the desk area, the mom took her cart and slammed it into her daughter. It hit the backs of her feet, knocking her forward and her head snapped backwards. The screaming was horrendous. I didn't notice any obvious injuries, but the mom tossed the child into the cart and got her cell phone out, made a call, and she pushed the cart outside.

I was still looking at washers when the woman came back a few minutes later without the child. (i'd have gone home and never returned.. there's no way anybody could need a washer and dryer that bad)

But, I had NO idea what to do. What should I have done? On one hand, I understood why mom was so angry, but to me, that was such an overreaction to a bad situation. The sales lady must have called security, because there was a security guy and a manager loitering around for a while after that, but they never approached the lady. I do wonder though, was security going to make the child leave the store? Or were they there to check out possible abuse?
post #2 of 65

Thats so sad. I feel for that little girl. My son is....like the little girl...its hard to get him to listen and follow directions and public places are no different for him. We really limit our outings with him to parks and tend to not do any sort of shopping with him unless its alone without our other kids. That said....I would never. ever. ever. purposely do that to my child. Or anyone. Even if I had to take a break outside and cry with the child, thats better than hurting them.
I would have gone to the customer service desk and asked for the police to be called. I may be over dramatic, but Id rather be over dramatic and an innocent child be spared the hurt.
post #3 of 65
How sad. OP,I'm not sure there was anything you could have done or if the police could have done anything. The mom likely would have said it was an accident.

I think it's important for parents to acknowledge when they need a break and also have consistent discipline with their children. I don't know the moms full story but it sounds like maybe her daughter gets away with a lot and when the mom decides she's serious about wanting her to listen, the little girl doesn't. I understand being annoyed but not pushing a cart into a kid on purpose

Sorry you had to witness that.
post #4 of 65
Oh wow. I would have alerted someone in the store- especially after the mom left and returned without the child. I'm not sure where you live, but we are in a heat wave right now and I would have been worried she left the girl in a hot car.
post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
Oh wow. I would have alerted someone in the store- especially after the mom left and returned without the child. I'm not sure where you live, but we are in a heat wave right now and I would have been worried she left the girl in a hot car.
As she called someone before she left, I'd be more likely to assume she got someone to come and take the little girl.
post #6 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
Oh wow. I would have alerted someone in the store- especially after the mom left and returned without the child. I'm not sure where you live, but we are in a heat wave right now and I would have been worried she left the girl in a hot car.
No, she wouldn't do that. It's 114 degrees here today. We live in the desert, you never purposely leave anything in your car. I'm thinking she finally did call Grandma.
post #7 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
Not that this is an excuse, but the child was being extremely annoying. Normally, that's when I would suggest leaving the store... not bashing her with a shopping cart.

Mom was kinda young-ish, and clearly seemed to be losing her grip this morning. Perhaps she just doesn't have the right tools to deal with her daughter. But, still.... with absolutely NO clue how to handle a child, I cannot believe she would even think of purposely doing that.

The girl was about six. Very cute. Dressed perfectly. But, she was whiny and mouthy to the mom. At one point, mom yanked her arm a little, and when the daughter yelled a dramatic "Ow you pulled my arm".. mom looked around, then loudly said "I'm trying to teach you a lesson, how do you think it feels?"

Then a moment later, she climbed into a dryer. (Lowes in the appliance area) and mom said *but, didn't sound serious to me either* "Come out... get out... do we need to go home? Do, I need to call grandma to come get you? Get out, come out...." She never came out. So, the sales lady opened the dryer and told her firmly to get out. She came out, but broke the door of the dryer on the way out. (yes, even I was mad at this child by this point) But, when the sales lady went back to the desk area, the mom took her cart and slammed it into her daughter. It hit the backs of her feet, knocking her forward and her head snapped backwards. The screaming was horrendous. I didn't notice any obvious injuries, but the mom tossed the child into the cart and got her cell phone out, made a call, and she pushed the cart outside.

I was still looking at washers when the woman came back a few minutes later without the child. (i'd have gone home and never returned.. there's no way anybody could need a washer and dryer that bad)

But, I had NO idea what to do. What should I have done? On one hand, I understood why mom was so angry, but to me, that was such an overreaction to a bad situation. The sales lady must have called security, because there was a security guy and a manager loitering around for a while after that, but they never approached the lady. I do wonder though, was security going to make the child leave the store? Or were they there to check out possible abuse?
I am sorry. I do not understand why even you were mad at the child. I do not understand why the mom was so mad at the child. I would have intervened wisely, without shaming the mom persay, and in a helpful manner.
post #8 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmamacita View Post
I am sorry. I do not understand why even you were mad at the child. I do not understand why the mom was so mad at the child. I would have intervened wisely, without shaming the mom persay, and in a helpful manner.
I didn't get the impression that the OP is mad at the child. I got that she's saying the child was being extremely disruptive and defiant. I can guess the mother was upset for the same reason, and for breaking the dryer door.

But, that is horrendous that she would knock the child over with a cart. OMG. When you get to that point as a parent, it's clearly time to take a step back and regroup.
post #9 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaki View Post
I didn't get the impression that the OP is mad at the child. I got that she's saying the child was being extremely disruptive and defiant. I can guess the mother was upset for the same reason, and for breaking the dryer door.

But, that is horrendous that she would knock the child over with a cart. OMG. When you get to that point as a parent, it's clearly time to take a step back and regroup.
I think the mom did take a step back, but a moment too late. She should have made the call before she hit her daughter with the cart.

I have been on the brink a few times like that myself, and I always decide there's nothing I need in the world badly enough to endure a shopping trip like the one that mom was having with her daughter. I feel as sorry for the mom as I do for her daughter.
post #10 of 65
I'll tell you what I would have done - and it would have taken a LOT for me to stay calm and talk to mom in a respective tone, but I know how key that is to being heard so I woulda summoned it up:

I woulda first helped the child up (if I was close enough to get to her before she got up on her own) and woulda said "Oh honey, are you ok? That looked like it hurt!"

Then I woulda gone to mom and said as nicely as I could (but I believe this so the message woulda been sincere no matter how horrified I was): "Trust me, I know how it feels to have a child who won't listen. But I know a bit about child development and I really want to tell you that what you just did, even though I understand why you thought it was necessary... it's going to have the opposite effect. If you're trying to make her listen more, it's going to make her listen less. And it's going to make her behave worse overall in the future."

I have gone up to MANY young moms and basically said this (although I also lied and said I was a Pediatrician a couple times when I was intervening between a mom and a baby/toddler) but the message was the same, and I swear even though a few of them first looked at me like they were ready to punch me, they ALL listened and a few even asked me more questions. Sometimes it turned into a conversation about the challenges of parenting... other times it ended with me just saying again "I really do understand how frustrating it is... but I see the other end of this and parents don't realize that when they hit their kids in a situation like this, it does more to make life rotten for the parent than it does teach the kid any lesson."

I know this is much more about the child than the parent, but of course this child is with this parent so if you want to help the child, you've gotta somehow reach the parent. Even in a small way.

The other side of this though is that it's also important for children to hear someone from "outside" talk to their parent about something that was inappropriate. Even though I don't name it as such, I know that it can be lifechanging for a child (especially when that child suffers much worse abuse at home in private) to have someone address the parent and NOT the child abotu what is going on. Iv'e had a few adults tell me how lifechanging it was to finally realize that maybe... just maybe... all the chaos and pain was NOT their fault.

ETA: If mom seemed like she was willing to listen to more after I said the 1st part, I woulda also suggested if she can that next time she starts to feel that way, she call Grandma to come get her daughter BEFORE things get to the point where she wants to hit her with the shopping cart. She doesn't have to explain it again to DD, just get on the phone and say "Please come get her, she's acting up." That will teach DD much more of a productive lesson than hitting her.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post
I'll tell you what I would have done - and it would have taken a LOT for me to stay calm and talk to mom in a respective tone, but I know how key that is to being heard so I woulda summoned it up:

I woulda first helped the child up (if I was close enough to get to her before she got up on her own) and woulda said "Oh honey, are you ok? That looked like it hurt!"

Then I woulda gone to mom and said as nicely as I could (but I believe this so the message woulda been sincere no matter how horrified I was): "Trust me, I know how it feels to have a child who won't listen. But I know a bit about child development and I really want to tell you that what you just did, even though I understand why you thought it was necessary... it's going to have the opposite effect. If you're trying to make her listen more, it's going to make her listen less. And it's going to make her behave worse overall in the future."

I have gone up to MANY young moms and basically said this (although I also lied and said I was a Pediatrician a couple times when I was intervening between a mom and a baby/toddler) but the message was the same, and I swear even though a few of them first looked at me like they were ready to punch me, they ALL listened and a few even asked me more questions. Sometimes it turned into a conversation about the challenges of parenting... other times it ended with me just saying again "I really do understand how frustrating it is... but I see the other end of this and parents don't realize that when they hit their kids in a situation like this, it does more to make life rotten for the parent than it does teach the kid any lesson."

I know this is much more about the child than the parent, but of course this child is with this parent so if you want to help the child, you've gotta somehow reach the parent. Even in a small way.

The other side of this though is that it's also important for children to hear someone from "outside" talk to their parent about something that was inappropriate. Even though I don't name it as such, I know that it can be lifechanging for a child (especially when that child suffers much worse abuse at home in private) to have someone address the parent and NOT the child abotu what is going on. Iv'e had a few adults tell me how lifechanging it was to finally realize that maybe... just maybe... all the chaos and pain was NOT their fault.

ETA: If mom seemed like she was willing to listen to more after I said the 1st part, I woulda also suggested if she can that next time she starts to feel that way, she call Grandma to come get her daughter BEFORE things get to the point where she wants to hit her with the shopping cart. She doesn't have to explain it again to DD, just get on the phone and say "Please come get her, she's acting up." That will teach DD much more of a productive lesson than hitting her.
I would have approached the mom in as nonthreatening manner as possible and empathized with her but also remind her that when she gets to the point of wanting to hurt her child then she needs a break. I would tell her that when my son has days like that we leave the store and come back another day.

LROM - Lying to someone and telling them you are a doctor is not only irresponsible and dangerous, I find it incredibly pretentious that you pretend to be as qualified as a medical doctor who has spent many many years studying and training to become qualified and licensed as a doctor.
post #12 of 65
I feel bad for the mom. I can remember shopping trips when I was pretty close that point. It's hard to be on edge, and it's doubly hard in public.

It sounds to me like the shopping cart thing made her realize that she was snapping, so she called her child's grandma to come help out. It's too bad she didn't realize it a little sooner.
post #13 of 65
What makes you think that the mom needs someone to tell her she did something wrong? i would have left the situation alone.
post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaoirseC View Post
What makes you think that the mom needs someone to tell her she did something wrong? i would have left the situation alone.
I agree. It sounds like she screwed up (and I'm sure we all do, though probably not so publicly, and hopefully less violently!) but it also sounds like she recognized it & immediately did what she needed to do to get herself back on track.

If someone, God forbid, witnessed me do something that bad to my child, I'd already feel terrible, and I'd already be humiliated, and especially angry with myself. At least that's how I imagine I'd feel! I would be so upset if someone came up to me to 'lecture' me on how badly I reacted.

Perhaps if the situation escalated, as a witness I would have done something (call the cops or whatever) but if it immediately diffused and no one was seriously injured -- it's not really my place, no more than it's my place to berate a parent for spanking their child. In fact, I'd venture to guess that mom felt horrible about her actions (whereas many parents spank and don't have a single qualm about it).

But that poor kid
post #15 of 65
Am I the only one who feels bad for the mom? The childs behavior was horrendous--if there was a time to step in it would have been while the kid was still in the dryer just to offer some moral support. That, yes, you are standing right there but you are not judging her (or the child) and that parenting is tough some times and maybe xyz would work...

I feel bad for the little girl, too, and I don't think running into your kid with a shopping cart is ever The Right Thing To Do, but reading the rundown of events that led up to it, I actually feel more compassion for the mom.
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
If someone, God forbid, witnessed me do something that bad to my child, I'd already feel terrible, and I'd already be humiliated, and especially angry with myself. At least that's how I imagine I'd feel! I would be so upset if someone came up to me to 'lecture' me on how badly I reacted.
This has happened with me. It was when ds1 was about 5 or 6 (he's now 17). I still remember it, and it still makes me cringe inside when I think about it. I've worked through the guilt over some of my worst parenting moments with ds1, although it took a long time. The shame of that confrontation never went away.
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaoirseC View Post
What makes you think that the mom needs someone to tell her she did something wrong? i would have left the situation alone.

I agree.

And I also feel a bit bad for the mom. Not excusing her behavior, but who knows what all is going on in her life.
post #18 of 65
Quote:
even I was mad at this child by this point
I'd be livid at the mom. Get your kid OUT of the dryer!

I can imagine needing a washer that bad that you stay with your kid whose pushing buttons, but at some point you have to leave anyway. Ugh.

FWIW, my daughter loves to walk in front of the stroller. I don't know why. It literally makes my heart skip because I know how bad it hurts to skin the back of your heel. I repeat, repeat, hold her hand, but she inevitably runs right up there... to her place... right in front of the stroller / cart. And yes, one day, she did (as she usually does) stop suddenly, and my stroller slammed into her heels. She was freaking out, and everyone was glaring at me. Like I did it on purpose. I had been asking her to please, come to my side. (And yes, she still walks there... right where her heels will get skinned... I hold my breath, not good for stress management, but what can I do? Ask again? Go home... again? Ugh.)

Maybe it was a true accident?
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by cycle View Post

LROM - Lying to someone and telling them you are a doctor is not only irresponsible and dangerous, I find it incredibly pretentious that you pretend to be as qualified as a medical doctor who has spent many many years studying and training to become qualified and licensed as a doctor.
You know, I totally understand you feeling that way. And honestly, if I was giving medical advice I would feel the same way about what I did.

But the truth is the 2 times I said that I was faced with young parents who were literally physically hurting their young toddlers (like I think each time they were under 2) and I made a quick judgement call that the only way they'd see my intervening and saying *anything* as worth listening to and not something to get defensive about and curse me out was for me to say that. I certainly don't advocate lying, but I had one and only one goal in approaching these 2 moms: have them listen to me, if only for a moment.

If that hadn't worked I was a moment away from explaining that I was a mandated reporter (which I was) and physically intervening myself, but fortunately each time the mom stopped and listened to me, mainly I think because the doctor lie made them feel less threatened than if I told them I worked for a family violence organization (which was true).

And again, while I don't advocate lying, I do want to also be clear that every single bit of information I gave those moms about what they were doing and the likely effects on both their kids, their other kids, and them as parents, was absolutely accurate and within my professional range of knowledge. I threw the pediatrician part in as a way to hopefully have them calm down from a very angry moment long enough to listen to me, which seemed to work.

Totally understand why you feel the way you do about what I did, but to be totally honest if I didn't now actually work for child welfare I'd probably do it again in those situations. The only reason I won't do it now is if I did need to intervene and get the police involved, I obviously can't misrepresent who I am and who I work for. But if I didn't work for CPS, as a private citizen trying to stop a serious situation from getting even worse... yup, I'd say it again if I couldn't think of another way to get the parent to stop and listen. In my private life (i.e. not as part of my regular workday) I've probably intervened in 25+ sticky stranger situations over the years between adults and kids in public, and each time I only have two main goals: stop a kid from getting hurt, and help a parent/adult caretaker to maybe maybe see another way of handling the situation. Those were the only 2 times I lied, and given all said above, I'm glad I did it given the response from each of those parents.
post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
Am I the only one who feels bad for the mom? The childs behavior was horrendous--
This can be hard to accept when you've just seen it "explode". Usually in these situations I feel bad for the child because many times the kid isn't disciplined at home and then the parent gets embarrassed at the store when they don't behave and they the parent does something extreme to show he/she is in charge.

I am NOT saying that any child that mis-behaves in public isn't disciplined at home! My kids act like many others do!

But I have know soooo many people who didn't discipline and teach at home and then blamed the child and threw their hands up and said "See, what can I do?"

I can empathize with the mother about getting to the breaking point but as adults we need to be more mature and stop ourselves. But why didn't mom reach in that dryer and get that kid out, plop them in the cart and leave?

I don't think I would have said anything.
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