Accused of abuse - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-16-2008, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First of all I just have to say that weuse positive reinforcement and natural consequences as much as possible at home and at work. I do not bark orders, I tell them what I would like them to do, instead of not do. We do not hit, we do not yell, and we use time out very sparingly, and only for big no no's. So on to today.
First I just have to say that as a nanny and a parent, who has her own son with her all day and 2 other children as well, I totally respect people older than myself and their opinions about child rearing. But today a lady crossed that line.

We were having lunch at Red Lobster, 2 adults and 6 kids. The kids were all being great, except then one of my 2 year olds decided he was going to stand up in his chair. I asked him nicely to have a seat, and he swung his arm in my general direction. Now he has been having an issue lately were if he does not like something he hits the closest thing to him, whether it be a person, the TV, or himself. His mom and I decided together that this was not going to be tolerated at all, as we do not allow hitting in any form. So I gave him a stern warning that he was not to swing his arm at anyone and that he needed to remain seated in his chair. Following that he proceeded to hit the little boy next to him as he was angry with what I had just told him. Well that meant timeout for him. So I calmly proceeded over to his chair, removed him from it and took him by the hand and led him from the restaurant, in a timely fashion. When we got outside I placed him next to the bench in the corner for timeout and I sat next to him, paying no attention to him, while I set my watch timer for two minutes.

Well next thing you know I am being accosted by an older lady, screaming at me that I was going to cause him permanent physical injury by leading him from the restaurant by his arm. I politely said "thank you for your concern, but that he was fine." Well she could not let it go at that, she accused me of ABUSING him but forcing him to hold my hand and walk out of the restaurant and stand in time out. Let me say right now, at no pint did I yank him by his arm, ever lift him off the ground by his arm, or do anything but lead him in a quickly fashion from the restaurant. I became quite enraged at her allegation of abuse. I still tried to be polite and told her that he was going to remain in time out for two minutes, no matter her feelings on the matter, and truly it was none of her business. I had not treated him in any way that was inappropriate, and I was not standing outside beating him, and that I had nothing further to say to her. Well that just ticked her off and she went back in and complained to the manager of Red Lobster who informed her he could do nothing about it, and she stormed out with her husband.

My little man finished his two minutes, we walked back inside and had a peaceful finish to lunch. But I am just enraged that someone would have the nerve to say that I was abusing him. Had it been my own son who did it I would have taken the same steps. I could understand someone saying something if I had been beating on him, or degrading him in any way, as I myself will say something to a parent or nanny that treats a child in that way. But to correct an unwanted behavior with timeout and stern polite words, and still be accused of abuse just sent me over the edge. I am not sure I handled it right or what I would do next time, but I thought I would see what the rest of you had to say.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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It sounds like you did well by the unruly little guy. Everyone's got an opinion and it sounds like this elderly woman is just particularly opinionated. Her opinion doesn't matter. Don't give it a second thought.

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Old 05-16-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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from your description, what you did was fine. If my almost 2 yr old is misbehaving in a restraunt I will take him outside for a few minutes. He gets bored easily. Was that this child's problem?

FOr next time, maybe you could pack some table toys for him to play with at the table.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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from your description, what you did was fine. If my almost 2 yr old is misbehaving in a restraunt I will take him outside for a few minutes. He gets bored easily. Was that this child's problem?

FOr next time, maybe you could pack some table toys for him to play with at the table.
We had plenty of toys to play with, his problem was that he wanted to stand up in the chair. At home I just would have put him down on the floor and allowed him back up when he was ready to sit down and eat, but that really wasn't feesable in the resturant.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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You said "took him by the hand and led him from the restaurant, in a timely fashion"

Perhaps it appeared to the bystander that you were dragging the toddler by the arm?

Maybe she was concerned about "nursemaid's elbow?"

You don't mention the child's demeanor in your description. How did the child react to the sudden change in disciplinary tactics?

I worked in daycare for a while in my life. I have developed my own ways of thinking about living together with my children, but early on I decided against timeouts because I had seen them used in daycare. I came to believe that if one uses timeouts, one will eventually shove a child.

Certainly moms here have had a different experience, but I would caution you that it's a real possibility when you are talking about kids that aren't your own.

Neither of my kids could have managed the wait at a Red Lobster at 2 without my walking them around while waiting for the food. They would not have responded to a verbal instruction not to stand on the chair.

Maybe next time....call in the order before you get there, then hang by the fish tank until the food comes?
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You said "took him by the hand and led him from the restaurant, in a timely fashion"

Perhaps it appeared to the bystander that you were dragging the toddler by the arm?

Maybe she was concerned about "nursemaid's elbow?"

You don't mention the child's demeanor in your description. How did the child react to the sudden change in disciplinary tactics?
Well while we walked out quickly, it was not fast enough that he could not easily keep up with me. There was no pulling of him at all. And as for the wait, we eat out with the kids about twice a week, and they all sit extremly patiently as I bring plenty of things to entertain them, and fruit for them to eat while their food is being prepared. It wasn't that he was bored, it was that he was more interested in the table behind us. And even at 2, he responds well to just verbal instruction, and he sat down when asked, the timeout occured for the hitting, not the standing in the chair. And when I walked him out, yes he was angry and telling me no timeout, but by no means would I ever have dragged or shoved him in any manner. And I am not sure how any parent can go from administering a peaceful time out as a solution to pushing or shoving their child.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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First of all, you are brave for taking SIX CHILDREN out to eat!!! I do not have the nerves for that kind of adventure.

I would have been really put off by the women who scolded you about handling things the way you did. I know with my oldest when he is being unsafe in public (hitting others, running from me, etc.) I have held him against his will to get him to a safer place. I admit that I have wondered what bystanders have thought of me holding my son screaming with flailing apendeges...I now do what I can to avoid being in those situations in the first place.

If someone did this to me I would ask sincerely how they would handle things better. Maybe it would inspire a little sympathy from them about what you are dealing with. I get frusterated when people are critical without offering helpful advice.
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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That woman was so out of line. I would've had to restrain my mouth if DS was standing right there but I would have had some choice words for her. Wow.

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Old 05-16-2008, 06:40 PM
 
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Ok I'm going to take a different tack here. I'm sorry that lady was rude to you, but bright side? Let's feel good that never will a child be abused in her presence without her speaking up. How many times do you hear people say they think a child was treated badly, but it was none of their business to say something?

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Old 05-16-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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I came to believe that if one uses timeouts, one will eventually shove a child.
That is quite a leap! Almost every daycare I've been in has used timeouts, and I've never seen any shoving. Besides it sounds like this discipline tactic was agreed on with the kids mom.

OP I think you handled it all as best you could- that lady was way out of line, and when a person is that unreasonable, there's nothing rational you can say to get through to them.

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Old 05-16-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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I came to believe that if one uses timeouts, one will eventually shove a child.
That makes no sense to me. Can you explain why you came to believe this?


FWIW: I'm not a time-out user.

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Old 05-17-2008, 01:00 AM
 
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Well while we walked out quickly, it was not fast enough that he could not easily keep up with me. There was no pulling of him at all. And as for the wait, we eat out with the kids about twice a week, and they all sit extremly patiently as I bring plenty of things to entertain them, and fruit for them to eat while their food is being prepared. It wasn't that he was bored, it was that he was more interested in the table behind us. And even at 2, he responds well to just verbal instruction, and he sat down when asked, the timeout occured for the hitting, not the standing in the chair. And when I walked him out, yes he was angry and telling me no timeout, but by no means would I ever have dragged or shoved him in any manner. And I am not sure how any parent can go from administering a peaceful time out as a solution to pushing or shoving their child.
I've only seen something I'd call a peaceful timeout once in my life. I believe you that you were completely calm and peaceful.

I wonder what upset the person so much she asked the manager to interviene.

ETA: It sounds like the 2 year old is no longer at the stage where he can wait patiently. I hope you are able to re-route your outings while he grows through this stage.
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Old 05-17-2008, 01:04 AM
 
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That makes no sense to me. Can you explain why you came to believe this?


FWIW: I'm not a time-out user.
Because children, especially toddlers like two year olds, rarely comply with a requirement to sit (just the way this OP's charge did not sit when requested to while standing on the chair). This requires forcing them, then they defend themselves, which makes the adult angry, which lead the adult to require them to sit in any way they can....then the shoving happens.

Not saying anyone here does that or did that. Just a conclusion from working with typical and non-typical kids in daycare and respite care settings for a decade or so. It informed my own choices with my own kids.
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Old 05-17-2008, 01:05 AM
 
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Geez, what a nosy old biddy. I wonder if she gets equally up in arms when parents are ignoring their kids in the restaurant while they scream and cry and throw food at other patrons. Cuz certainly that would be better than "abusing" them with discipline.
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Old 05-17-2008, 01:10 AM
 
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It bears repeating. Discipline is not synonymous with punishment.

Is there a child here who screamed and cried and threw food at other patrons? Or is this a hypothetical child? and a hypothetical parent?
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Old 05-17-2008, 01:30 AM
 
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Ok I'm going to take a different tack here. I'm sorry that lady was rude to you, but bright side? Let's feel good that never will a child be abused in her presence without her speaking up. How many times do you hear people say they think a child was treated badly, but it was none of their business to say something?
This is a very good point.

It is very hard to be accused of something you didn't do. From where that woman sat she thought she saw something happening that wasn't happening. I completely trust that you were in no way harming the child.

I think what I have learned here is that if something like this were to happen to me I would say something like "He's ok and I wasn't hurting him, you misunderstood what you saw, however I have to give credit to you because it's good to know there are people like you who stick up for children" and turn it around that way. Thank you for this insight Tinker.

OP...I hope you feel better about his now.
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Old 05-17-2008, 01:44 AM
 
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I wonder if that woman was the mom of the guy who yelled at the MDC mama in Ikea the other day because she got her son down from climbing on the high shelves?
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Old 05-17-2008, 03:38 AM
 
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I worked in daycare for a while in my life. I have developed my own ways of thinking about living together with my children, but early on I decided against timeouts because I had seen them used in daycare. I came to believe that if one uses timeouts, one will eventually shove a child.
This is what first steered me away from T/Os actually. My inability to gently enforce them.

However, I have some friends whose children quietly and gently go to T/O. These are also kids who almost never hit, too. Just not really physical. I think it can definitely be done.

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Old 05-17-2008, 04:38 AM
 
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It bears repeating. Discipline is not synonymous with punishment.

Is there a child here who screamed and cried and threw food at other patrons? Or is this a hypothetical child? and a hypothetical parent?
I assume you're referring to my post. I never said discipline and punishment were anything alike. And yes, I'm speaking about hypothetical parents...we've all seen them. Tuning out their kids who are screaming their heads off for whatever reason. I was referring to this kind of situation because perhaps the lady who accused the OP of abuse would prefer such behavior over tactfully and gently removing the child from the scene?
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:56 AM
 
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This thread makes me feel extra bad about all the times I have half dragged my crying child to the bus or train when we really needed to get somewhere, but he didn't want to walk. Of course, most times he was insisting that I not let go, but just objecting to the pace. THank goodness we've both gotten better at judging the time it takes to get around and actually doing it.

However, your story reminds me of this one time I was out to eat with my son and a friend. It was a place I frequented, and it was when my son wasn't yet walking on his own, and was still strictly breastfed. We were having a nice dinner, and I let him get up and down from the highchair as he pleased. I let him crawl a bit if it was right by the table, and try to climb the highchair while an adult supported it, etc. All three of us were content.

Then, an older lady who had obviously been drinking came over and started accusing me of abusing him. She went on at some length, despite my calmly saying that he was safe and happy. The kicker was she then commented on his race (he is half Chinese and I'm white) and saying that it isn't his fault who his father was. So, not only did she think I was abusing my kid, but she thought it was because I was racist against him! Some people...

It sounds like you handled the situation as well as you could. I don't think there is anything wrong with taking kids to a restaurant for the whole experience, either, unless they really can't handle it at all. No one would ever suggest that an elderly person who talked too loudly or was suffering from dementia and not acting entirely "appropriately" be kept from the places from which we discourage children, and I really think keeping children and their caretakers separate hurts takes us farther being a more naturally structured society.

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Old 05-17-2008, 10:12 AM
 
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Because children, especially toddlers like two year olds, rarely comply with a requirement to sit (just the way this OP's charge did not sit when requested to while standing on the chair). This requires forcing them, then they defend themselves, which makes the adult angry, which lead the adult to require them to sit in any way they can....then the shoving happens.

Not saying anyone here does that or did that. Just a conclusion from working with typical and non-typical kids in daycare and respite care settings for a decade or so. It informed my own choices with my own kids.
I have to agree with this, even if time outs are relatively "peaceful" at 2, I've seen many a child at 3 or 4 resisting a time out and then it turns into a physical struggle where the child is forced to wherever the spot is - and while the caregiver may be able to keep their cool emotionally, a child who is physically struggling with you is more likely to get injured. Which is one reason why I'm not a big fan of time outs. I've had a friend who did give her little girl a nursemaid's elbow over enforcing a time out at 3 yrs old, and she wasn't being particularly rough. It can happen *really* easily.

I would have absolutely taken the child out of the restaurant for a bit, but probably would have picked him up instead of walking with his hand in mine.

I'm not against physical separation and firm addressing of aggression issues, I'm just not particularly for traditional, "Supernanny-type" structured time outs.

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Old 05-17-2008, 10:58 AM
 
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I assume you're referring to my post. I never said discipline and punishment were anything alike. And yes, I'm speaking about hypothetical parents...we've all seen them. Tuning out their kids who are screaming their heads off for whatever reason. I was referring to this kind of situation because perhaps the lady who accused the OP of abuse would prefer such behavior over tactfully and gently removing the child from the scene?
Since no one did that, there's no way of knowing that this person would have preferred that behaviour. Perhaps she would have preferred lovingly pulling the toddler onto the nanny's lap and interesting the child in another activity (redirection) or taking the child to see the fish tank (more redirection) or singing a song or ......

If the child hit, she might prefer all of the above or gently taking the child outside for a walk around or to the bathroom to play in the sink for a bit....

She wouldn't necessarily prefer neglect.

I'm not suggesting that children be kept separate....Both my kids went through a period where restaurants just weren't very much fun for us, so we switched to picnics from around 18 months to somewhere in the 3's. We hs and are out and around the world throughout our day.

If I read the OP correctly, the 2 year old hit after having to sit in a chair. That doesn't sound like the ability to wait patiently in a restaurant. Kids sometimes make these leaps overnight...it can be hard to keep up with the changes as they learn and grow!
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:07 AM
 
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Im another who is against the traditional Super Nanny techniques. And it does tend to lend itself to less than peaceful discipline. My 2 yo was getting very very antsy last night at dinner out (I had already finished) and we left to go sit in the car and listen to music and wait for the rest of our party to finish. that wouldnt have happened at the beginning of the meal, but i have always found (in 17 years) an alternative to the time outs. time ins are productive but dont include clocks or "ignoring" a child.

the lady was out of line. but i dont consider time outs to be GD.
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:16 AM
 
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Considering what I've seen lots of parents do when I go out, which is either ignoring the child while he/she disturbs the rest of the patrons, or smack them in public, or take them out for a spanking, I'd prefer the time-out.

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Old 05-17-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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Considering what I've seen lots of parents do when I go out, which is either ignoring the child while he/she disturbs the rest of the patrons, or smack them in public, or take them out for a spanking, I'd prefer the time-out.
The manner in which the child was removed disturbed a patron.
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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I'm not suggesting that children be kept separate....Both my kids went through a period where restaurants just weren't very much fun for us, so we switched to picnics from around 18 months to somewhere in the 3's. We hs and are out and around the world throughout our day.
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Oh, and this too. While they might be OK for 25-30 min in a restaurant, when the trend begins that they get wound up and antsy at the end and it's more work to keep them "managed" than it is enjoyable, we stopped going out to eat for a while. For DS that was about 18 months to 3 years. For DD, well, it's been since about 3 months ago, and she'll be 2 in late June. Going out to eat at a sit down restaurant just isn't valuable enough for us to be frustrated regularly with normal developmental behavior, and I'm not of the "they have to learn by experiencing it" crowd. From my experience, when they hit a developmental capability they hit it and will be able to handle things whether they've been 'practiced/trained' or not.

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Old 05-17-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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The manner in which the child was removed disturbed a patron.
Sounds like this patron was already disturbed before the incident. Mentally, that is.

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Old 05-17-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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As the mother of a child who has never 'resisted' a time out other than crying or grumbling I have to say that it does not exactly follow that you will be forceful with a child if you use time outs eventually.

Once DS was old enough that redirection did not work, (around 2 1/2 or 3) we began using time out - ie: removing him from the situation to a safe place, allowing him time to cool down (we didn't and do not use a strict amt of time just noticed when he cooled off which was always visable and very quick - his has my quick but also quickly deflating temper) then we'd go in and talk to him about what happened.

Now at almost six when he's angry he removes himself from the situation (like going into his room when he's frustrated and coming out when he's ready).

He has never been shoved, hit, shamed, threatened or yelled at. Always consistantly gentle but firmly told to sit down in 'time out'. Of course I am his mother and if I were a daycare person and not so emotionally attached I might not be able to accomplish this... I have no way of knowing that.

Now actually ON TOPIC: It's nice to know that the woman has the interest of children at heart but I understand how incredibly hurtful it is to be accused of something you did not do. I think the word "abuse" is tossed around too much these days, and it is degrading to those who have truly suffered from abuse.

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Old 05-17-2008, 03:34 PM
 
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Wow. Whether someone would completely agree with exactly how you handled the situation or not, I can't imagine how anyone could feel that non-violently putting a child in time-out would be considered abuse. Even if they felt you should have handled it differently, there's a huge difference between less-than-perfect parenting and actual abuse!
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Old 05-17-2008, 04:09 PM
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I came to believe that if one uses timeouts, one will eventually shove a child.
Excuse me? Bit of a leap there, doncha think?
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