Would you have said anything?

I try really hard NOT to moan or comment on the parenting skills of others. Each parent is different, with their own ways of raising their children, and I respect that. I am not some interfering busybody. I am aware that some parents go by the book; others will completely disregard the book and some dip their toe in the book intermittently as and when they need to. It really doesn’t matter, because at the end of the day as long as the child is loved and looked after and safe, hitting those milestones is somewhat unimportant.

That being said, today I witnessed something which left me speechless and quite frankly appalled. I saw a Mother who in all honestly needs a lesson in being a parent.

I was walking with my three rugrats following a visit to the Chemist and I noticed a boy, I would guess aged between 3-4 years old, standing on the other side of the road clearly distressed and very clearly alone. I called to him to stand still, we were near a relatively busy through road – fortunately the after school rush had ceased. He didn’t. He began running towards a woman who was coming out of a Post Office. I realised she was his Mum, and relaxed.

But….did she walk up to her son to hold his hand and calm him down? Did she scoop him up and reassure him he was fine? I’m afraid to say she didn’t. She marched over to her car, which was parked on the opposite side of the road, shouting to the boy “I’m only here.” Of course the boy ran after her, as any young child would, but she did not turn around to see if any traffic was coming. And of course the boy didn’t, He’s an infant. Looking before running into the road is not a priority for a small child. Well my heart stopped, as I am sure any adults would. I did shout out, although I doubt she heard me “He’s running in the road”.

I carried on walking, and happened to have to walk past her car. By the time I got near, she was cuddling him and I overheard her saying “I was only in the Post Office. You’ll have to come in with me now if I cannot trust you to stay in the car.”

I am ashamed to say I didn’t stop to ask if the boy was alright. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t give the woman a piece of my mind. I am ashamed that I didn’t say anything to the mum, or do anything to help/prevent the situation I witnessed. It did happened so quickly.

But sitting here, I wonder if anyone would have said anything? Is it right to publically question the actions of a parent? Would you I wonder have said anything? I wish I had done. I hate myself for not saying anything, for at least checking the boy was ok.

Now I’m not saying we haven’t all done it, or considered it. Your child falls asleep, but you have to stop to get a pint of milk or whatever. Your child looks so cosy. They need a nap. It would be horrible to wake them for such a quick stop. They’ll only be grumpy if you wake them. It’s raining. They’ve kicked their shoes off. They don’t have their coat on.

I to am guilty of leaving my children in the car. But please note the plural, CHILDREN. They are all together, and all seat-belted in. My eldest locks the car from the inside with strict instructions to use the horn if she feels uncomfortable or scared. It doesn’t make it right though. Hands up to that. And I won’t be doing it again.

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2 thoughts on “Would you have said anything?

  1. Would I have said anything? Or perhaps the question is – Should you say anything?
    I suppose you have to turn the situation around and ask how you would react in a similar position where a stranger criticised your childcare?
    What complicates the situation you describe is the matter of the safety of a child, but a child that is not connected or known to you – if the child was in danger you would react to save it. But how far you would go you would only know if something like that happened. There are situations in life you cannot predict how you would react, you may think you can but you can’t – fear, adrenalin, whatever makes you behave in ways you couldn’t know.
    Then there is the reaction of the parent – verbal or physical abuse or worse, a parent that would end up in that situation would probably be more annoyed at being questioned by a stranger than letting their child be in danger.
    We may disapprove or despair of how we see some people treat their children, but if the child is not physically harmed or in physical danger then perhaps all we can do is moan to our friends (or on our blog!)

  2. How terrifying! I am very unassertive so would probably have said nothing but done my best incredulous&disapproving look.

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