Do you ever say anything to strangers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The other day I was at the mall and a mom was walking a few feet ahead of her 2 young girls, maybe 4 and 6. It seemed like they were pretty sick of shopping. She was saying things to them like "The Easter bunny isn't going to bring you anything for easter" I guess in an attempt to make them walk faster. I was so tempted to ask "does that method ever work for you?" but of course I didn't because the situation was pretty minor and I'm also a big chicken lol.
But have there been times where you stepped in and said something about someone's tactics? Or when do you think you'd draw the line and say something?

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#2 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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I don't think I would ever comment on someone's parenting techniques. I mean, I would defend a child who was being beaten, but I don't think that's what you mean, right? I certainly wouldn't have said anything in the case you mentioned. Not by a long shot.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#3 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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If a person is not physically abusing a child I don't feel it's okay to ever critique a complete stranger for using a different parenting style than I would.
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#4 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No I didn't mean beatings. I would definately say something (and report) abusive parents.

But what about just spankings?

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#5 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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spanking falls under "physical abuse" as far as I am concerned
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#6 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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spanking falls under "physical abuse" as far as I am concerned
So you would say something? How would you say it?

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#7 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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You never know she could be a very gentile and patient parent in most cases. No one is a perfect parent and every one has a moment of weakness. I don't think you would like some one to call you out on you parenting skills so why would you do it to another mom. I don't understand why so many parents think all family's should raise kids the same way. My mom has told me since I was young that every one dose things differently. No ones right and no ones wrong just different. So no I wouldn't have said any thing it isn't my place to judge another mom when I am not perfect my self and can understand the challenges that come along with being a parent.
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#8 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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No, I would not say a thing. I would assume the best - that she was also tired and in a hurry and it was not one of her finer parenting moments. And that saying something would only make her feel that much worse.

I don't know about you - but I've had moments where I've said something less than gentle to my 7 year old ds. I've also usually realized what I said was totally rude, or uncalled for and try to stop and tell ds I'm sorry - and I also feel like a total a** and have to work hard not to beat myself up over it. I don't think it's fair to take a snapshot out of someone's life and judge their parenting skills, or even worse, make a comment about how they are parenting!!

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#9 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok well first, let's remember that I didn't say anything.

Secondly. She wasn't saying it in a stressed out voice or "losing it" or anything. It was like, singsong voice. Almost kinda mocking. "the easter bunny is going to bring you anything for eeeaaasterrrr" kwim?

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#10 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mods, just go ahead and delete this thread. I didn't mean it in a "judging other parents" way. I meant it in a "when would you step in" way.

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#11 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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Sorry mama, I hope you didn't feel attacked by my post - that wasn't my intention! I know you didn't say anything to the woman, and I get that you just want to feel out when/if it's sometimes ok to say something. I'm sure I would have felt sorry for the girls, but I do believe that it's not my place to step in and say something about another person's parenting. I guess that might be different if it was someone I know well (depending on the circumstances), but not with a stranger.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#12 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No not yours hun. More Misty's and Juljay's. Kind of implied that I think I'm better than other moms and don't tolerate other parenting styles. I do. That's why I didn't say anything to the mom. Someone more brash might have.

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#13 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 10:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bcblondie View Post
No not yours hun.
I'm glad.

I am kind of curious if anyone will post to say that they would speak up about a strangers parenting (physical abuse aside). What if someone was really screaming abuse at their kid or something? Or taunting and teasing them when the kid was in tears - yk? I happen to be very non-confrontational, and (as mentioned in my other posts) I don't believe in butting in over other peoples' parenting techniques... but maybe there is a point at which it's ok/important to say something - to stick up for a child?

What do you think mamas? Anyone BTDT?

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#14 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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The Easter Bunny thing does work very well so saying something would probably get you that answer. My mother used to use it and I used a birthday cancelation once when my patience was just gone. I later apologized and we got through it, but it does work.

I have spoken up when I see a really frustrated mom going over the edge, but not in a condemning way. I usually say something like "it gets easier" or "we've all been there, it will get better soon."
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#15 of 64 Old 04-05-2010, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yea I agree. I think there are times where parents aren't technically abusive per se, but condiscending...

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#16 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 12:09 AM
 
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I wouldn't. It's been done to me and it was terrifying for both me and DD. I guess the woman was well-meaning, but she completely misunderstood the situation. And when she got in between DD and me, I nearly had a heart attack. I shook for 2 days.

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#17 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh man, I wouldn't physically step between the mom and child. That must have been scary!

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#18 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 12:31 AM
 
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I thought that's why the Easter Bunny and Santa were invented...to have something to hang over the kids' heads during times of the year that tend to be consummeristic nightmares.

I mean if you DO push the myth of the Easter Bunny, it only seems natural that you would also push the myth that he comes only to the good little boys and girls and that the bad children recieve a basket of rabbit poop...or something.

I know Santa holds great weight for my nieces. My SIL need only whisper "tsk tsk tsk what would Santa think?" anytime betwen July and December and it's all smiles and sunshine for at least ten minutes.

We don't do the Easter Bunny or Santa. We decorate homemade chocolates and cookies and give them to eachother, as a celebration, but leave judgemental mythical beings out of the mix...because that is sort of their purpose for being isn't it? To be all judgy and pick which kids deserve toys and candy and which ones were too rotten (or poor) to count?

So in THAT case, no I wouldn't say anything because they are just being socially appropriate/normative, and to confront them would probably give away the hoax which they probably go to great lengths to keep up.

But if I saw a mom or dad being particularly verbally violent with a child and felt it was only escalating, I would WANT to suggest to the kid/s that they give mommy/daddy a break, and then ask the parent in question if I could offer to keep thier kid safe while they go outside and scream/have a cigarette/punch a wall, or I would WANT to maybe lighten the mood with a punchy bit of parenting humor we can all relate to that would result in the awkward silence/laughter that only a diffused disaster can create...but more likely I would ask a nearby guard or police officer to step in and diffuse before someone got hurt.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#19 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 12:48 AM
 
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This thread reminds of a very painful regret I have from long ago. I was a teenager, working in a big department store chain. There was a woman there, raging at her kid, screaming, pulling her arm and the poor girl was just hysterical. I think she ended up peeing on the floor. My manager (also very young) and myself just stood back surveying the situation, feeling completely helpless. I think about it often (I get tears in my eyes even writing about it now). The poor child haunts me, but so does my lack of response and the utter helplessness I felt. I SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING! but what?
Sorry, OT, but it's been in my heart for so long, just had to get it out somewhere.

SAHM to one moody son J hat.gif(06-27-03), one super-girly daughter M hearts.gif (02-23-06) and welcome Sophie! energy.gif(05-23-10) expecting fourth in July baby.gif

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#20 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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This thread reminds of a very painful regret I have from long ago. I was a teenager, working in a big department store chain. There was a woman there, raging at her kid, screaming, pulling her arm and the poor girl was just hysterical. I think she ended up peeing on the floor. My manager (also very young) and myself just stood back surveying the situation, feeling completely helpless. I think about it often (I get tears in my eyes even writing about it now). The poor child haunts me, but so does my lack of response and the utter helplessness I felt. I SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING! but what?
Sorry, OT, but it's been in my heart for so long, just had to get it out somewhere.

Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#21 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 12:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh dear. That's so sad. My heart aches for the child.

I guess more often than not we think "I shouldn't say anything. It's not my business. What difference will I make." But in the end the regret of not saying something might be worse than saying something and getting yelled at.

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#22 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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Yes! Thank you.
I think it is our culture that makes us feel isolated and alone, even in a crowded place like the mall, and that's why we prefer to ignore injustice rather than step out of our comfort zone.
That being said however, I've heard many cringe-worthy comments from parents (even my good friends), which I just let go, because I know they came from places of frustration, or being overwhelmed, or just tired. And I know that I must have said some things that perhaps could be interpreted as not-so-nice too, if not in content then in tone and delivery (like screaming at the top of my lungs, perhaps?)

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#23 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 01:04 AM
 
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I'm glad.

I am kind of curious if anyone will post to say that they would speak up about a strangers parenting (physical abuse aside). What if someone was really screaming abuse at their kid or something? Or taunting and teasing them when the kid was in tears - yk? I happen to be very non-confrontational, and (as mentioned in my other posts) I don't believe in butting in over other peoples' parenting techniques... but maybe there is a point at which it's ok/important to say something - to stick up for a child?

What do you think mamas? Anyone BTDT?
The only thing close to that that I have come was when my MIL was looking after my SIL's girls and I was there and they were eating spaghetti and being messy and my MIL was standing over the youngest (not yet 3yo) brandishing a steak knife and screaming to be neater and I very calmly, but very sternly reached over and grabbed the knife with a cloth napkin out of her hand and said, "Hey MIL, I think you need you need a break for a wee bit. Okay. I'll take it from here...why don't you go watch Weakest Link and I promise you the kitchen will be clean and tidy in 30 minutes when your dinner will be ready, okay?"

She never really forgave me, I don't think for "making her seem crazy" (yeah, that was my fault, okay. ) but I still felt pretty good about not letting her terrorize the children over dinner because her life was feeling out of control and scary.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#24 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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She never really forgave me, I don't think for "making her seem crazy" (yeah, that was my fault, okay. ).
Haha yeah She did a pretty good job of that all on her own.
Good on you for saying something. I have a friend that likes to hold my son up in the air, sitting on his hand... Kind of balancing my son... I'm like uhh...

You want to say something but you don't want to offend them for being unsafe with your kids...
ugh.

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#25 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 01:36 AM
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Spanking or anything else physical or intensely verbally abusive, yes, I'd say something, just as I'd speak up or call authorities (depending on my assessment of the threat) if someone was treating any person of any age that way.

I'm sure I've looked like the crazy mean mom a handful of times, like when DD pooped her pants (after having visiting the bathroom, and being potty trained for almost a year) in the dressing room at the mall the ONE time in maybe two years I was trying to buy some clothes without holes in them or stains on them, and I had to get her back across the mall to the one place with tables to change her on, and she wanted me to carry her but I knew if I held her or put her in the carrier or stroller, it would smoosh the poo all over her, rather than the quick clean up and change it was... still, me leading a screaming child and trying to not express my frustration... I knew I probably looked no different on the surface right then than the least-GD mama out there. I try to keep that in mind. Sure, many parents ARE regularly abusive (verbally and phsyically) but I have to assume the best.

Now, the mama screaming at her kids for running around an uncrowded space at Disneyland, where they were contained and safe and she was playing with them the same way five seconds before... I was close to saying something b/c I felt that my DD did not need to be exposed to a mom threatening to hit her children. The one other mom there and I were staring at each other, like we both were about to say something-- and then luckily she moved on. What does everyone think about a situation like that? I think if I was someplace like a park or library I would say something, to at least protect my child. Hmm.
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#26 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 01:49 AM
 
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Couple years ago, my mother called me and was ranting and raving about a lunch date she had. She was going on and on about this other family that were having lunch next to her.

I guess the mother *was* being abusive in many manners. She was calling her child names, the child was slumped down in the seat-head lowered. The mother was kicking the child under the table, yelling at her to sit up straight, to stop embarrassing her (the mother), to use her manners, that she was NOT going to get to eat lunch cause she was an embarrassment, on and on. Food came, the child got NOTHING, her mother gave her water and a pack of crackers that came with the salad.

I was horrified by what my mother was telling me. Finally I cut her off in the middle of her rant and said, MOTHER WHAT DID YOU DO!?!? She did nothing! Said nothing!

I was applauded! I truly do not believe that I could have done NOTHING if I witnessed that event first hand. It would have taken all that I had not to intervene myself!
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#27 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 02:04 AM
 
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I face this situation with my own family. My 2.5 year old second cousin and her dad live with my parents, and everyone in the house...my parents, my brothers, the little girl's dad...all taunt this little girl. Tease her, hold her down and tickle her until she cries, take things from her and hold them out of her reach until she cries...and often, she gets so upset she can't get a hold of herself, and she ends up being spanked for not stopping crying

I never know what to say, but I hate being around them for this very reason.

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#28 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Tammy and Ihugtrees. I would definately say something in both situations. That's abuse to me.

Mom to angel baby, grew wings at 5 weeks in May '07, William, born Dec '08, and another angel who grew wings at 8w4d (lost at 11w) in Oct '10. Rachel born Feb 2012, Another angel Lost Sept '13. New bean due Nov '14!
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#29 of 64 Old 04-06-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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I face this situation with my own family. My 2.5 year old second cousin and her dad live with my parents, and everyone in the house...my parents, my brothers, the little girl's dad...all taunt this little girl. Tease her, hold her down and tickle her until she cries, take things from her and hold them out of her reach until she cries...and often, she gets so upset she can't get a hold of herself, and she ends up being spanked for not stopping crying

I never know what to say, but I hate being around them for this very reason.
Why? Why on earth would they do this to this poor baby ? Your family are bullies, sorry.

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#30 of 64 Old 04-07-2010, 03:45 PM
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I talk to close friends about discipline, but even then, I do it when it's not in the moment, and I generally talk in general terms rather than about how what they did in x situation was wrong, just that I don't think that spanking, timeouts and other forms of manipulation are respectful of human beings regardless of age. As far as strangers are concerned, I would alert authorities if I witnessed an abusive situation. Maybe if I saw a situation that I thought I could help, I might say something validating to the child or the parent. I would want to send the message to the parent and child that I was trying to help, not judge.
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