Parents Yelling at their Kids in Public... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 01:04 PM
 
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I just wanted to say I agree and to add that if a parent feels so free to yell and scream at their kids in public, what are they doing behind closed doors?
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#3 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 01:53 PM
 
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Okay, another perspective.

You have no idea what happened that day with that family. For all you know, those parents may have been model GD parents for an entire month, and what you saw was them at the end of their rope.

I have yelled at my daughter in public. Yes, I believe in GD. Yes, I try to practice it and I always try to improve. However, my daughter is nonstop spirited and 24/7 energetic. Sometimes I snap.

If you had come up to me and said something to me in public, I would have told you to mind your own business...in a not-so-polite way.
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#4 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 02:16 PM
 
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Yeah, I would agree with that. I am usually very reasonable with my son most of the time. However, one time something happened and someone butted in and I was none too happy. This gets a little graphic, so here goes.

We were at the beach all day, and came back to shower and change clothes up at the somewhat busy bathrooms. I was on my period. I changed my son, and then proceeded to get dressed. I was naked, and putting a tampon in, with my leg hiked up on the back part of the toilet. The string came out of the tube and I was struggling. I was bleeding heavily. My son (2.5) was in the stall with me (handicapped stall mind you), and in the midst of my struggling decides to high tail it out of the stall and bathroom. My hands were full (and dirty), I am totally naked, and not about to run after him, and he thinks the whole thing is hiliarious. I had just earlier told him in a quiet voice to stop playing with the lock on the door. The only choice it seemed to me at the time was to yell for him to get back in the stall. Loudly and clearly, get back in here, so he listens the first time and I don't have to worry about where the hell he is if I have to say it a second time (I could not have put my clothes on quickly given the situation). I am loud, the bathroom echos, I was stressed, he ran back in thankfully. I slammed the door after him and told him he can't run out of the bathroom, that it's not safe, etc, etc. I wasn't screaming, but I wasn't quiet either. I was upset. So in the midst of this, some passerby hears all this, thinks I am hitting my kid and starts yelling at me, calling me a bitch for hitting my kid. I yell back, I don't touch my son, etc, etc. She accuses me again, calls me more names, and says something about how everyone heard that I was putting in a tampon (I had said something to my son about how he can't disappear when I am busy doing that), I said, like I care? Like it's some big secret women put in tampons in bathrooms? Anyway, she finally goes away, I am stressed but manage to calm down and then further explain to my son why what he did should not happen, etc, etc.

It was a very rare instance of me yelling, and quite frankly I still think I did the right thing in doing so, because he could have gotten very far from me before I could catch up to him, and we were not in a safe place. From strangers, parking lot or from the big cliffs that were right outside. But that woman yelling at me didn't help the situation one tiny bit.

I will say that I really hate it when I see people yelling at their kids too. Usually if you do say something, you should only do it by empathising with the parent, so they don't get defensive and calm down. And if you really want to do something, perhaps work to offer non violent parenting classes in your local area?
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#5 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 02:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Jwebbal View Post
I will say that I really hate it when I see people yelling at their kids too. Usually if you do say something, you should only do it by empathising with the parent, so they don't get defensive and calm down. And if you really want to do something, perhaps work to offer non violent parenting classes in your local area?

Yes, I should have added that I hate to see parents yell at their kids too -- and the few times I have lost it, I hated hearing MYSELF.

Emphathising with the parent really is the best way to go. Doesn't mean you agree with what they are doing right then and there. It means you are offering the parent help in a non-judgmental way. Someone did this for me when my oldest was tantruming in public once. It immediately diffused my anger and helped me focus on helping my daughter.
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#6 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 03:01 PM
 
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i appreciate this thread a lot! i think it points our our all too human frustrations that come up, and the need to keep our kids safe; sometimes they think 'oh ha ha this is a fun game' and you do have to raise your voice! if you are constantly griping and screaming and nasty to your kids, how willthey know when you raise your voice to stop them from running in front of a car, right? obviously the person who got on jwebbal's case was a misinformed idiot! and then the mom at the restaurant with MissSavannahsMommy was also problematic, to put it lightly...jerks abound!! i really relate to the original posting, because i know people aren't going ot be perfect, and stress happens, but i feel like i've experienced too many parents in public being MEAN. we're talking beyond the normal stuff...tho sadly i think some people think it is normal to curse at their child or be really harsh, demeaning and/or abusive...i had a crazy experience at a sidewalk in front of a supermarket (whole foods!) where i saw a woman in plain view slap her child in the face (loud enough to hear the smack from where i was, quite a distance away) and yell at him (again loudly) He was in her arms, and must not have been much more than 1. it was shocking. everyone around saw and turned their heads, it was a very public act. i was shaking, i was so upset. i went into the store because i had to pee like mad, but i was also so freaked out by it, i thought i was going to start crying. i was surprised actually by how strong a reaction i was having. i just felt like, man, that poor child...totally defenseless. i couldn't conceive of what the true depths of that mother's stress was...but even so, there's no excuse...and yes, if she does that in public what is happening in private.
so after i got out of the bathroom, i see the woman walking about totally casually- i had an immediate reaction on my face, one of kind of horror i have to admit. my stomach just did summersaults...then i got it together and decided i should approach her. i went up and said hi, and said i noticed her before and was thinking she seemed really stressed. she seemed relieved that i wasn't approaching her to yell at her, and even said so as we talked a bit. that was good, i felt like i was trying to reach out to her and she was open, but then the weird thing was that she started to tell me all about what she was going through, and how tough her son was, and etc etc, and it started to sound like, 'well, i just have to slap him sometimes!' (b/c he grabs her earrings) and so i gently mentioned that even though she was really stressed 'it's never ok to hit a child' and went on to mention that there were some good stress hotlines and things like that, i really urged her to reach out...and she kind of dismissed me and walked away...oh well. i mean, ultimately all i can do is be empathetic but also gently remind a person like that that they really shouldnt think it's ok to hurt their child...any child. i wish child abuse and neglect could be addressed in a real way in our screwed up culture...it makesme so sad...
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#7 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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Hmmm... Do you only have one child??

I'm not saying that everybody with more than one child yells at their kids but I think it's much more likely. I was not a yeller when DS1 was an only child. I don't think I ever yelled at him actually. Now that I have two DC's and my baby is more high needs the urge to yell is much stronger.

When they are both whining and clinging to my legs and I'm trying to make their dinners as quick as I can I feel like I'm going to explode.

I don't feel I am a yeller even now but I do lose it more than I ever did with only one child. Things like "Why can't you two just STOP WHINING?!!"

I'm not saying what the mom did was right but you're only seeing a teeny tiny portion of their day, maybe give her the benefit of the doubt. Not everybody is perfect.

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#8 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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OH and I'm way more likely to snap at my kids in public than at home. I feel like when everybody's starring they expect me to say something to the kids if they're acting up. Not that I should let that effect me but maybe that's how the mom was feeling.

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#9 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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I'm also much more likely to snap at my kids in public.
My answer would be, EVERY parent loses it sometimes. The degrees vary but every mama and papa loses it sometimes. For mama's like me, it's a 24/7 job and I almost NEVER get a break but whatever your situation is, whether you get to go out of the house alone sometimes or you work outside the home or whatever, being a mama is intense. Would you really want someone to lecture you? Would it help?
That being said, last year, my dd was tantruming in the store. I was buying her a new toy and I snapped and said, "Do you want me to put this back!"
Yes, I became my mother. It was mortifying. Of course, my dd started crying harder and I said, well, snapped, "Stop crying! Just stop crying!" It was completely unlike me. It was a bad, ugly moment.
And employee said, very, very gently to me, "I really don't think she CAN stop."
At first I was pissed off. Just so annoyed. I punched the elevator button and didn't say a word. But then, I calmed down. My dd calmed down and it became so clear that the woman was right. I went back and thanked her and told her how much she had helped.

On the other hand, my dd melted down in Trader Joe's last week. My dh took her to the car to calm down. (Not as any kind of punishment. Just to calm down.) She was screaming and hitting at him and he was gently holding her in the car. A woman came up and said, "Are you okay?"
He said, "Yes, we're fine." (Over her screaming and hitting which did stop briefly at the appearance of a stranger.)
The woman just stood and stared and stared. Finally he said, "I assure you, we're fine."
She finally left but it really shook him up. He said it made him feel so inept and he wasn't doing anything non-gd.

So, I guess my answer is, you don't know if it will help. And I think you should have a good intent--to calm and help the parent not to judge and lecture.

:Mama to 2 :
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#10 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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I cringe at the things I hear people say to their kids sometimes, and I get frustrated listening to pointless power struggles over stupid things, you know, conversations going nowhere and for no reason:

"Put your coat on."
"I'm too hot."
"Put your coat on."
"I'm too hot."
"Put your coat on."
"I'm too hot."
"Put your coat on."
"I'm too hot."
"PUT YOUR COAT ON!"
"NO!"
"PUT YOUR COAT ON!"
"NO!"
"PUT YOUR COAT ON!"
"NO!"

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!



But I figure my getting involved is unlikely to make the situation any better, so I stay out.

I do know that even though my daughter is very young and we don't really have to deal with "discipline" per se yet, I do get a lot more flustered when we are out in public and I could see that making harder to keep my cool when she gets to the age of arguing, acting out, etc. Having strangers stare at you with big "why can't she control that child? cluck cluck!" thought bubbles over their heads is really freaking intimidating!
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#11 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 05:13 PM
 
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I would have been annoyed if I was at a restaurant and instead of separating the kids, the parents sat there and yelled, disrupting my meal. I know kids get rowdy at times, but in that case there was a solution, the parents didn't want to implement it. I would rather fix the problem then spend my meal screaming at them to stop.

Otherwise, sometimes moms and kids have bad days. I have had them and I am sure I will have more. I remember a mother yelling at a small infant saying if she didn't shut up she wasn't going to get a bottle, that bothered me. But other than that I probably wouldn't think much of it.

I would say that it would be hard for me to not say something if a parent started hitting a kid out of anger/frustration in public. I don't think I would be able to stop myself.
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#12 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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i just got to say here, hitting a kid sucks. i dont care how bad of a day anyone's having. i know no one is disageeing here, i just feel like that its important to reiterate.
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#13 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#14 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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the woman who i saw hit and scream at her child: he was her only child.
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#15 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 08:16 PM
 
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Ugh, I hate these threads. Of course no one likes to see little children hit, or humiliated or threatened. But losing your cool in a restaurant and hissing at your kids that you shouldn't have brought them does not register on my radar as any of those things. It's probably the truth - she shouldn't have brought them. I have experienced that several times. Being a parent is stressful. Sure, maybe to you the solution is obvious - to separate the kids. But we all know that hindsight is 20/20, and in the moment it can be hard to think clearly. But maybe there are other factors at play - maybe the kids freak out of they don't get to sit together, maybe separating them had already been tried. You don't know. You don't know what kind of day that mom has had, how much sleep she's had, when the last time she ate was, how she is as a parent or as a person in general.

Seriously, save the judgement for serious situations. If you want to respond, respond with empathy and compassion, not judgement from somewhere up on a high horse.
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#16 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 11:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by maxwill129 View Post
I just wanted to say I agree and to add that if a parent feels so free to yell and scream at their kids in public, what are they doing behind closed doors?
Well, in my case, when I spent about two years at the end of my rope, I actually ended up yelling at ds1 more when we were out in public. When we were out, I wanted to get something finished, I wanted to get home, I was often carrying heavy items (eg. groceries) and wanted to unload them...and I - completely unreasonably - wanted him to stop being a toddler/preschooler and just do what he was told and hurry up. I'm not proud of myself. But, the fact that I felt "so free to yell and scream" in public didn't mean there was anything going on "behind closed doors".

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#17 of 20 Old 02-03-2007, 11:57 PM
 
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I'm LESS likely to yell and scream at my DC when we're at home. When **I** need a break, and they're non-f'ing-stop, I can put myself in a time out and close the bathroom door until **I'VE** regained control.

In public, there is no such outlet. leave your kids in the car because they've been acting up non-f'ing-stop the entire day but you NEED milk (and have NO ONE to go for you) AND you need a break gets you a call to the Cops because you've left your kids in the car. Take them out of the car to take them into the store where you either yell at them or smack them silly and you get the cops called on you because you're "abusing" your children.

And everyone's a critic and a judge. Parenting really sucks sometimes.
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#18 of 20 Old 02-04-2007, 12:38 AM
 
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Well, in my case, when I spent about two years at the end of my rope, I actually ended up yelling at ds1 more when we were out in public. When we were out, I wanted to get something finished, I wanted to get home, I was often carrying heavy items (eg. groceries) and wanted to unload them...and I - completely unreasonably - wanted him to stop being a toddler/preschooler and just do what he was told and hurry up. I'm not proud of myself. But, the fact that I felt "so free to yell and scream" in public didn't mean there was anything going on "behind closed doors".
Ita. I am going through a rough time with chemo right now. I am tired and pretty cranky alot of the time. Being out in public is the most stressful. Doing errands tires me out, and when ds is being stubborn or misbehaving I get very frustrated and snappish. I actually yell/lose it much less at home.
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#19 of 20 Old 02-04-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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OP - No one could possibly know that you have fertility issues preventing you from having another child so your response is ridiculous. It is true, no matter WHY you only have one child - it is MUCH easier to be a parent to only one child. Not saying a parent with only one child has it easy or that they never lose their cool but it is a hell of a lot easier to keep one child behaving in public than 2 or 3 or more. When I only had one child I too had never yelled at my child. I have 3 now and yes I have yelled. I have lost and it and said things I wish I hadn't. One time when my second was a baby and my son was 3 he hid in the racks at a store. I had only turned around for a second but he was gone. I freaked out and started frantically looking for him. After about 90 seconds I was going to get security to lock down the store and he jumped out all happy, "Here I am Mommy!" I lost it! I grabbed him by the arms and shook him (not like shaken baby syndrome shaking) and yelled, "Don't you ever, EVER, do anything like that again. If you ever do anything like that again you will NOT like the consequences." Yep I got dirty looks. But of course people didn't know the inside the story, that at 2.5 my son had been the victim of an attempted abduction. They couldn't possibly know that but I'm sure they judged. And there have been other times too. That doesn't mean that every parent that yells in public is doing it with the best of intentions. I think we can all acknowledge that there are many abusive parents out there. But to assume someone is one because they are stressed in public is a bit of a stretch. My son throws psycho fits sometimes. He is 6 and should be beyond that behaviour but he isn't. So picture me a few months ago trying to drag a kicking and screaming almost 6 year old, a 4 year old and a 10 month old out of store - damned straight I was yelling. I wonder if anyone who saw me started a thread about me...

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#20 of 20 Old 02-04-2007, 01:10 AM
 
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I never snapped at my daughter in public until I was pregnant. Wearign her was extremely painful and she would thrash and kick and laugh making it even worse, and I couldn't carry the stroller with her in it up and down the subway stairs with her in it, and taking her out and back in wasn't an option because she would fight tooth and nail for "freedom" to run away from me. Half the time I just wanted to cry. Sometimes I just had ENOUGH.
I still do it occasionally now with two, because when I've got one trying to nurse and one hanging all over me going mamamamamamamamamamamama non stop my patience is gone. I work on it and improve every day but it does happen.
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