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WWYD? Hypothetical situation: Mom belittles toddler in public

You are at some type of convenient store like walmart or the dollar store or out getting groceries. You're standing in a isle looking at the merchandise when you notice a woman very loudly reprimanding her child, loudly, who is clearly a toddler. The woman is very angry, harsh and belittling and the child is crying and very distraught. You're not sure what prompted mommy dearests out burst but you hear things like "Are you really that stupid!" and "I'm never taking you anywhere in public again!"

Many people stop and wait to see what the mother does next but no one seems to intervene though a small crowd has gathered with customers giving each other disproving looks but still no one does or says anything and the abuse continues. Some other customers simply walk by shaking their heads, eager to get away from the situation.

You are outraged and have had enough but do you say something? Come to the child's defense? Call an employee over or possibly notify the authorities or assume that the child did something wrong it's none of your business and walkaway?


Asked by AnonNdrag at 8:59 AM on May. 16, 2013 in Just for Fun

Level 19 (7,783 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • I'd leave it- unless there was name calling, or something physical.
    I can admit that there were a few times I "lost it" at the store or in public with my kids when they were very young. I am NOT proud of it, but it happened.
    No parent is perfect, and you have no idea what has gone on that day that caused mom to lose her cool.
    It's not pretty, but I wouldn't call it "abuse"

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 10:06 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • Unless mom is being physical I'd most likely leave her alone. If things seemed to be getting out of hand I might ask her if there's anything i could do to help. Sometime's it's as simple as getting frustrated because you can't find something in the store or the little one needs to go to the bathroom AGAIN and you don't want to leave your cart while you take her.

    Answer by baconbits at 10:10 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • Unless there was physical abuse I would leave it alone. It might not be right, but it isn't illegal. I'd feel bad for the kid, but it isn't my business to interfere. I know I wouldn't want someone interfering with me if I were disciplining my son (though I tend to go for the lowered voice instead of yelling).

    Answer by kmath at 11:04 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • You cannot possibly know enough at that point to merit an intervention. I know it sucks, but that's life. You can't train every parent you see in walmart, nor should you.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 10:49 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • I saw a similar thing at the mall last week. I was there with my 11 yo dd who pulled me into the next store in years asking me why that mother was so mean to her little one. There was no physical abuse, just the mom speaking to the child in a way I would never (even when mad) think to speak to anyone. It breaks my heart but had I stepped in I'm sure it would have accomplished nothing but me getting cussed out.

    Answer by missanc at 11:20 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • I would not get involved - without any other info about who she is, she could leave and take out her anger at me for getting involved on her kid. And I would not want that on my conscience. I would probably try to find out her license plate number or something else that would help locate her, and then call the cops or CPS and explain what I saw. Let them go and investigate and see if this was an isolated incident brought on by stress or something, or something worse that needs to be addressed.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 9:13 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • MYOB unless I saw that she physically hurt the child in any way then I'd call the Police right away. Store Employees cannot do anything that you can't do yourself. Call 911 if you feel a child is in danger.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 10:49 AM on May. 16, 2013

  • I used to work in a mall that had a full size carousel in it. My store was directly across from it. I watched this mom with 3 kids in tow get in line. One of her kids was acting up, so she kept him off the ride, but put her other kids on. The "naughty" one had to watch them ride as punishment.
    I watched this woman not only spank her child (maybe around 3 years old?), but pull his pants down and smack his bare ass in front of every other child on the carousel! Not only was she humiliating him, but scaring every other kid on the ride!
    I left my store, marched down to center court and told her I'm going to pull HER pants down and whoop her in front of all these people for being such a witch!! (I was very good about not cussing in front of everyone)
    She threatened to knock me the fuck out or something, but by that time security came and escorted her out of the mall.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 1:19 PM on May. 16, 2013

  • I would keep doing as I was doing, Shopping.


    Answer by louise2 at 1:36 PM on May. 16, 2013