What I witnessed today was a whole different ball of wax.
Jake is off on Mondays so that is the day we run errands and get groceries. Today we were at Walmart getting the tires balanced and picking up some things for when the boys and I go to Tennessee next week.
We were maybe two aisles into the grocery side when we heard ear splitting screams start on the next aisle over. We turned the corner and passed a mom and her two kids, the little girl was probably between 4 and 6 years old and was following her mom screaming because her mom refused to buy her cookies. It looked like they were only there for a few things because Mom didn’t have a cart.
I mentioned to Jake that “at least it’s not our kid this time.” And Jake made a point of telling Aedyn “that little girl needs a spanking” in a very quiet voice. Neither of us wanted our copycat 2 year old picking up that behavior! We both agreed that if she were ours we would’ve visited the bathroom or gone to the car, but we agreed with the mom for not giving in.
The screaming continued and about 10 minutes later we heard a grown woman start yelling. We were several aisle away but could hear pretty much everything. “Would you make her stop screaming! She’s been crying for an hour! Just give her what she wants! I’m going to call child services if you don’t make her stop!”
We then saw the mom head to the check out line, the little girl still screaming. In the check out the mom picked the girl up and was paying when the lady who had yelled got in line behind her and began acting like she was dialing her phone and yelling at the mom. “I’m calling child services! I saw you pull her hair! I saw you push her!”
Jake asked as walked by, “You’re really going to call the cops because the kid’s crying?”
The lady answered “I saw her slap the little girl!”
“That’s not what you were yelling two minutes ago.”
“I work for child services! I’m a nurse and my brother’s a police officer! She’s abusing that child!”
“Could you just stop yelling?”
“She was yelling at me!”
“Call the cops if you’re going to, but stop yelling.”
“Would you want to someone to treat your child that way?”
“I want you to stop yelling, call someone if you need to but stop yelling.” (Don’t you love how my hubby can stay calm and not be taken off topic by people like this?)
At this point a couple of employees had walked up to the woman to find out what was going on. But just stood there and did nothing as they listened to all of this. By the time the woman turned around to yell at the mom again, the mom and the kids had finished checking out and made it out of the store. The cops never showed up. The woman shut up and began checking out.
I wanted so badly to ask her how old her children were, because she’d made it pretty clear that she either wasn’t a parent or it was so long ago that she didn’t remember what preschoolers were like. I also wanted to say a few other things too, but I did ot want to start a new fight over those issues, and I didn’t wan my husband arrested when he punched her in the face, Because I’m pretty sure she would’ve been nasty and my hubby doesn’t let anyone talk to me like that, much less yell at me!
We were talking about it as we walked to the car and noted that what the woman accused the mom of changed every time she opened her mouth. Lies or at least exaggerations? We didn’t see what was going on, but I can guess that if anything the mom was trying to quiet her daughter after the woman’s first onslaught and may not have behaved in the most patient way. Who could when they have someone yelling at them?
Then we began to talk about the little girl. Fifteen minutes is a pretty long time to keep a tantrum going for a child who’s used to being waited out. Maybe her mom does give in often enough to make the tantrum worth it. Or maybe her mom is a single parent and the kid’s dad gives her everything she screams for when he has her. Whatever the case, how does yelling at a child’s mom help?
Don’t you think that yelling at her mom might have scared her and made her cry more? Or on the other side, she was old enough to know what was going on, did the woman prolong the tantrum because the girl realized she had an adult on her side?
We also noted that NO ONE ELSE approached the mom, even after the woman started yelling. They let her do what she needed to do with her screaming child and they let her leave. On the other hand several people surrounded the yelling woman and tried to get her to calm down. NO ONE said anything to back up the woman’s claims of abuse. (Typically if one person says something that everyone else is afraid to say then others to step up in support after the issue has been broached. Not the case in this situation.)
I can only imagine how that mom must have felt. I wish I could’ve said something to her, but she was long gone.
And that is why I think all social workers, case managers and every employee should be required to parent a child through preschool before they are allowed to handle any calls. And the first question a child services worker should ask a caller is “Are you a parent yourself? What do you think?