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#61 of 134 Old 05-15-2006, 08:17 PM
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In the OP, I did not see her as 'interfering', she made a suggestion, that was it.

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Sometimes when You interfere it makes things WORSE for the child.
So, it is okay to let a child suffer?
I think that speaks volumes about our society as a whole.
If you think it will make a situation worse, then contact security and alert them to the situation, don't just ignore it.
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#62 of 134 Old 05-15-2006, 08:36 PM
 
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It really just depends on the kid, i think. I too was the kid with parents similar to what others have described and yeah, sometimes someone taking notice or speaking to my mom when she was going off made things worse when we were out of the spotlight of the grocery store line or whatever. But that didn't matter to me (I always expected that; it was routine and not in the least surprising). What did matter to me - and I remember every instance - is that an adult spoke up, offered an alternative, help, or tried to diffuse the situation. Those instances always stuck with me and let me know that I wasn't crazy for thinking this wasn't normal and that I wasn't worthless and people did see me and not just the burden my birth mother seemed to see. It reminded me I had every right to see my parent as whacked.

I could take any tirade or crazy/fierce spanking after someone graciously and non-confrontationally stepped in.

I find it so sad that we are more and more a society of by-standers. We've totally bought the line that stepping in is wrong or makes things more dangerous for the child. All those lines do is protect the abusers. I'm sure it's the abusers who started making that line of thinking so mainstream.

So, whether or not this girl had a home life similar to mine or not I think offering up another option to the parents (and child) was a really good way of trying to help the girl out without overtly embarrassing the parents (as some warped parents think they've been after someone steps in).

I'm with MITB here. If we never speak up for fear of making things worse at home what are we saying to the children in the situations who are being publically beat or humiliated etc? As that kid I can tell you it told me loud and clear that what my mom was doing was perfectly OK and that I could trust very few adults to help me out, contrary to what teachers, girl guide leaders, cops etc were always teaching in class.
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#63 of 134 Old 05-15-2006, 09:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nicole lisa
I find it so sad that we are more and more a society of by-standers. We've totally bought the line that stepping in is wrong or makes things more dangerous for the child.
Not stepping in doesn't mean you are a bystander. It means you accept the fact that other parents and people have a right to live their lives the way they want to, and the right to parent in a way they see appropriate, WHETHER OR NOT WE AGREE WITH IT.

If you aren't the girl's parents and you aren't involved in the situation, it is pretty easy to point fingers about how horribly wrong those parents were being. But nothing is ever that black and white when you're IN the situation. There are about a million factors that could have affected the tone of that situation and changed what it was really about.

I'm sure the OP did everything she could to make suggestions in a non-offensive way. But when you are telling other people how to parent (and I'm sure everyone here knows how frustrating THAT is), there just aren't too many ways to do it in a way that's going to be accepted.

I really find it ironic that so many people on MDC think they know how other people should parent and want to interfere so much of the time. I mean, who here hasn't gotten dirty looks for breastfeeding? Or comments about how we don't discipline (i.e. shame) our children? We have mostly all chosen different paths from the rest of society and we expect others to honor our right to follow that path.
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#64 of 134 Old 05-15-2006, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by KristiMetz
Not stepping in doesn't mean you are a bystander. It means you accept the fact that other parents and people have a right to live their lives the way they want to, and the right to parent in a way they see appropriate, WHETHER OR NOT WE AGREE WITH IT.
I was not talking about telling others how to parent. I was talking about when we see a child being abused or mistreated. There is a HUGE difference.
No human being has the right to hurt a child. We all have the right to stop it.
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#65 of 134 Old 05-15-2006, 10:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
No human being has the right to hurt a child. We all have the right to stop it.
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#66 of 134 Old 05-15-2006, 10:13 PM
 
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Remember you didn't see their whole day

What if they had the 10 dollar off coupon we all had, and swimwear was onsale (making the price the only thing they could afford). What if they had tried on every suit they could find, and the only two were the string bikini and that suit? What if they had been there 2 hours trying on suits, and the dad was at the end of his rope?

I'm not saying what the parents did was right, but you only have a partial story. I'd sure hate to be judged on only seeing part of my parenting.

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#67 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 12:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
I was not talking about telling others how to parent. I was talking about when we see a child being abused or mistreated. There is a HUGE difference.
No human being has the right to hurt a child. We all have the right to stop it.
Well, unfortunately, short of obvious abuse, there is a HUGE gray area in terms of what people consider hurting a child.

There are MANY things that one person would find hurtful that others wouldn't, and vice versa. And that's just the people who have the whole story about a situation, which no one does here.

So, who gets to determine when a child is being hurt and it's OK to butt in and offer advice? You? Many people feel I'm hurting my child by nursing him at the age of 2.5 years. Why is it OK for them to butt in and offer their ignorant advice and comments?
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#68 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 12:21 AM
 
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Kristi, I think the difference is that when you're seen nursing your toddler you are not in distress and struggling. There was a struggle in this instance and a child and parent were both upset (the child much more so). It doesn't matter if someone at the grocery store has my whole story or not, if they see me frustrated and with a metling down child I am more than happy for some help, whether it be a "hang in there, you're doing fine" or a smile or engaging my child while I pay or letting me know that the ice cream department offers no sugar added, natural fruit sorbets because they're witnessing my DS and I lock heads over junk freezies or ice creams. It doesn't mean I'm being told how to parent and I don't have to do anything with the information, but now I know. There doesn't have to be judgement involved and the way the OP responded was without judgement - she offered some info they might not have had.

Sometimes just offering up some information or engaging a child or adult when there's a power struggle or distress, meltdown, whatever is enough to diffuse the situation and for the adult to take a step back and breathe. It takes the focus off the disagreement. Obviously in the interaction the OP witnesses neither child nor adult were enjoying themselves - how can it hurt to offer something which might help the situation? The OP didn't comment on the parenting nor did she heap judgement on the child or the adult.

Totally different than coming up to a parent and child interaction which at that moment is working and offering contrary advice.
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#69 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristiMetz
Many people feel I'm hurting my child by nursing him at the age of 2.5 years. Why is it OK for them to butt in and offer their ignorant advice and comments?
The law is very clear on what constitutes abuse.
Also, the OP did not "butt in" and offer her opinions on parenting. She made a suggestion.

If the child had not been crying, would you all still be upset with her suggestion to the other parents?
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#70 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 02:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial
Her Mom MADE her go out into the store to her Dad to show him the bathing suit. She was so embarrassed. I have no idea why the dad didn't come closer so she didn't have to parade across the store.
Probably to "motivate" her so she would want to lose weight. My mom thought shaming me and making me angry would work. It didn't. I think making the suggestion you did was fine, totally within bounds. People make comments to me all the time. I just smile and thank them or acknowledge what they are saying.
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#71 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 02:35 AM
 
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I think what you did was perfect. You were an advocate for that little girl & she will remember that all her life.
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#72 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 03:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicole lisa
Kristi, I think the difference is that when you're seen nursing your toddler you are not in distress and struggling. There was a struggle in this instance and a child and parent were both upset (the child much more so). It doesn't matter if someone at the grocery store has my whole story or not, if they see me frustrated and with a metling down child I am more than happy for some help, whether it be a "hang in there, you're doing fine" or a smile or engaging my child while I pay or letting me know that the ice cream department offers no sugar added, natural fruit sorbets because they're witnessing my DS and I lock heads over junk freezies or ice creams. It doesn't mean I'm being told how to parent and I don't have to do anything with the information, but now I know. There doesn't have to be judgement involved and the way the OP responded was without judgement - she offered some info they might not have had.

Sometimes just offering up some information or engaging a child or adult when there's a power struggle or distress, meltdown, whatever is enough to diffuse the situation and for the adult to take a step back and breathe. It takes the focus off the disagreement. Obviously in the interaction the OP witnesses neither child nor adult were enjoying themselves - how can it hurt to offer something which might help the situation? The OP didn't comment on the parenting nor did she heap judgement on the child or the adult.

Totally different than coming up to a parent and child interaction which at that moment is working and offering contrary advice.
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#73 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 04:53 AM
 
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Yes, I would have stepped in and used eye contact to let the little girl know I see her. Good Job!
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#74 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 09:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies
The law is very clear on what constitutes abuse.
And a father who thought his daughter was too young to wear a bathing suit inappropriate in HIS eyes IS?
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#75 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 09:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristiMetz
Not stepping in doesn't mean you are a bystander. It means you accept the fact that other parents and people have a right to live their lives the way they want to, and the right to parent in a way they see appropriate, WHETHER OR NOT WE AGREE WITH IT.

If you aren't the girl's parents and you aren't involved in the situation, it is pretty easy to point fingers about how horribly wrong those parents were being. But nothing is ever that black and white when you're IN the situation. There are about a million factors that could have affected the tone of that situation and changed what it was really about.

I'm sure the OP did everything she could to make suggestions in a non-offensive way. But when you are telling other people how to parent (and I'm sure everyone here knows how frustrating THAT is), there just aren't too many ways to do it in a way that's going to be accepted.

I really find it ironic that so many people on MDC think they know how other people should parent and want to interfere so much of the time. I mean, who here hasn't gotten dirty looks for breastfeeding? Or comments about how we don't discipline (i.e. shame) our children? We have mostly all chosen different paths from the rest of society and we expect others to honor our right to follow that path.
Good posting.
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#76 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 09:33 AM
 
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This situation has nothing to do with questioning parenting skills. The OP never said "you guys are parenting wrong" or "you are monsters for making her wear the bathing suit." She simply made a suggestion. Had it been a grown woman choosing a bathing suit and not finding one that fit, she probably would have recommended the other store as well. What's the difference?
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#77 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 10:19 AM
 
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So, who gets to determine when a child is being hurt and it's OK to butt in and offer advice? You? Many people feel I'm hurting my child by nursing him at the age of 2.5 years. Why is it OK for them to butt in and offer their ignorant advice and comments?
First of all, the OP did not offer ignorant advice and comments, she made a polite suggestion which they could take or leave.

Secondly, if your child were crying and BEGGING you to not nurse him, I might think it would be OK for someone to "butt in."
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#78 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 10:29 AM
 
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I've been musing over this question a lot lately because of a couple of incidents that I have witnessed and some that have happened to me.

(There's a great section in Playful Parenting on this exact topic, by the way.)

I worry about the degree to which people are disconnected, and how that leads to quick, and often negative judgments about one another, but does not lead us to reach out and make a supportive connection.

This is a bit off topic, but last week's "This I Believe" story on NPR was written by a soldier who, upon returning from the Vietnam War, found himself in a bus station feeling tired, defeated, and isolated. A little girl came up to him and gave him a magazine, and he's never forgotten that small effort to make a connection.

I staunchly support what the OP did. I think it struck exactly the right balance between offering useful advice, making a connection that let the little girl know she was heard, and yet not judging or condemning the parents.

I don't want to live in a world where how a child is being treated is none of my business. It is all of our business. No, I don't welcome "dirty looks" when I nurse my 2 y.o. DS in public, but there's no effort made to do anything other than judge and disconnect in that case. I DO welcome the help from a grocery store clerk who sees my son about to have a complete meltdown in the cart and who whips out a roll of stickers and gives some to him. I DO welcome help from a waiter who sees my son getting restless and offers to put a cartoon video in a nearby TV for my son to watch. No, my son doesn't watch TV, but I appreciated the offer, nevertheless.

I believe we have to reach out and support both parents and children whenever we can, in a way that emphasizes our connection to each other. I think the OP took a good approach.
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#79 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 10:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by newmommy
And a father who thought his daughter was too young to wear a bathing suit inappropriate in HIS eyes IS?
It's not about what the dad thinks is alright for her to wear, it's how he went about it and made her feel. What he did TO her is emotional abuse.

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#80 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 11:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by KristiMetz
There are about a million factors that could have affected the tone of that situation and changed what it was really about.
This bears repeating.
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#81 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 11:27 AM
 
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You don't need to know anything other than what's happening in front of you isn't working for either parent or child and a distraction or some new info could change that around and give either party an out or pause enough to catch their breath.

At the very least it reminds the parents that they're not in their living room and a loud struggle impacts not just themselves and their daughters but the other people that are sharing space with them. Something like that would not only upset me but my young son very much so I'd have an interest (additional to the one based in kindness even to those I don't know) in trying to diffuse the situation a bit.
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#82 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 11:36 AM
 
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From the MDC Web Statement of Purpose:

Quote:
At Mothering we recognize parents as experts and seek to provide truly helpful information upon which parents can make informed choices. Mothering is both a fierce advocate of the needs and rights of the child and a gentle supporter of the parents, and we encourage decision-making that considers the needs of all family members. We explore the reality of human relationships in the family setting, recognizing that raising the heirs of our civilization well is the prerequisite for a healthy society.
We each have our own comfort level with "stepping in," and IMO, it's up to each of us to be gentle advocates for those who can't speak for themselves, in whatever way feels right for us in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

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#83 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 12:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2evan
I've been musing over this question a lot lately because of a couple of incidents that I have witnessed and some that have happened to me.

(There's a great section in Playful Parenting on this exact topic, by the way.)

I worry about the degree to which people are disconnected, and how that leads to quick, and often negative judgments about one another, but does not lead us to reach out and make a supportive connection.

This is a bit off topic, but last week's "This I Believe" story on NPR was written by a soldier who, upon returning from the Vietnam War, found himself in a bus station feeling tired, defeated, and isolated. A little girl came up to him and gave him a magazine, and he's never forgotten that small effort to make a connection.

I staunchly support what the OP did. I think it struck exactly the right balance between offering useful advice, making a connection that let the little girl know she was heard, and yet not judging or condemning the parents.

I don't want to live in a world where how a child is being treated is none of my business. It is all of our business. No, I don't welcome "dirty looks" when I nurse my 2 y.o. DS in public, but there's no effort made to do anything other than judge and disconnect in that case. I DO welcome the help from a grocery store clerk who sees my son about to have a complete meltdown in the cart and who whips out a roll of stickers and gives some to him. I DO welcome help from a waiter who sees my son getting restless and offers to put a cartoon video in a nearby TV for my son to watch. No, my son doesn't watch TV, but I appreciated the offer, nevertheless.

I believe we have to reach out and support both parents and children whenever we can, in a way that emphasizes our connection to each other. I think the OP took a good approach.


To the OP: ! I think that what you said what great, as most of the PPs said, I really think that you struck a great balance of offering advice and not judging the parents.
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#84 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgia
We each have our own comfort level with "stepping in," and IMO, it's up to each of us to be gentle advocates for those who can't speak for themselves, in whatever way feels right for us in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
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#85 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 12:21 PM
 
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I would not have stepped in. She was not being hurt
Emotional pain is just as bad as physical. I would have said something also

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#86 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 01:49 PM
 
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I think it's funny how some people think children being publically humiliated isn't other people's business.
I'd say "reprehensible". The "it's not my business" attitude perpetuates bullying throughout our society. I suppose the next time I see a child being mean to another child, or an animal, I should tell my child "don't get involved, it's not our business." I am proud that when my child sees someone being mistreated, they speak up. I can't ethically do anything less.

The child's right to not be humiliated trumps the parents' right to humiliate her. Sorry, but I could care less what their relationship to her is. Their ownership of her doesn't make it right, and it's doesn't make it wrong for me to speak out.

Anyway, how the OP handled it was just great. I wish I could be as cool-headed and diplomatic in these types of situations. It reminds me of once when we were grocery shopping and I was having a hard time with my two small children. I was about ready to crack. At one point I grabbed one of their arms and was hissing at them to behave (nice, I know.) An elderly woman sidled over and started telling me what beautiful children I had, and she proceeded to talk to them very kindly and sweetly, with no hint of judgement in her voice. She totally diffused the situation with nothing more than kindness, and gave me a chance to step back, take a breath, and get some perspective.

To the OP, you did a wonderful thing. Even if it didn't help the parents wake up a bit, that little girl at least knows she was heard and felt another human being's support, even as subtle and indirect as it was. For all you know, she may carry that validation with her for a long time and it may in some small way help her survive her parents' unconcern for her feelings.
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#87 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 02:01 PM
 
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ITA with fourlittlebirds. I don't want to be part of a society where we close our eyes and cover our ears so we don't ever dare getting involved.

I think it's so important to be a positive influence in whatever way we are able. For some it might be volunteering and/or donating to child-friendly causes, for others, marching in political rallies, for others, simply living their lives, reaching out a helping hand and offering kindness whenever they can

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#88 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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Would you have stepped in?
YES! With the same solution. I have a niece who is 10 and is a little heavier. Nobody else in their family is this heavy. She got her Nana's genes. They just don't get how to choose clothes for her. She likes to do it herself but then feels pressure because they would like her to stess conservatively, but just because it covers everything doesn't mean it looks nice. I have taken she and her sister shopping without their parents and I buy what they pick out. I don't go against being modest,BUT you can find tasteful modest clothing that is NOT "Granny Gump" backwoods bargains.
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#89 of 134 Old 05-16-2006, 05:29 PM
 
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I wanted to address the idea that the intervention would cause the child more pain from the subsequent punishment...

ETA: I don't particularly see this issue as being on-topic for the OP, but it was raised in subsequent posts. This is to address those posts.

I see it differently. Let me first say that I was also one of those kids who would've gotten the beating of a lifetime for making a stranger take notice. So I'm not speaking theory here.

Parents who will spank, beat, berate, or shame their children more in private for such a public embarrasment will spank, beat, berate, or shame them for something anyway, no matter what it is. They will find a reason (or not) to vent their frustrations when they want to, regardless of the actual or factual situation. People like that are not functioning based on any reasonable level, so please don't try to assign a reason to it.

Most especially, the reason of saying a helpful thing! Or even a seemingly unhelpful, but interventive thing. It doesn't matter. The point is not to make the parent realize the error of thier ways (they won't), but for the child to hear even one tiny voice that what they are experiencing is not OK. It might be the only one they ever hear in their whole childhood.

It's hard to muster the courage to be that voice, especially if we really identify with the child. But to use the subsequent abuse the child may experience as the reason to stay quiet is failing to see the bigger picture.

No one is responsible for the abuse except the abuser. And not giving the child a potential life-changing connection for the sake of theorectically avoiding one beating in a life of many, seems like poor probability-mangement to me.



[/off-topic rant]
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#90 of 134 Old 05-17-2006, 01:43 AM
 
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Giving the child validation may be the most life changing experience. SOMEBODY took the time to care. Whether the parents give her heck at home or not they would've whether OP said something or not. The poor child may just remember somebody bothering to care and it could open her world up to realize there really ARE people out there who genuinely care.
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