I was heading toward the entrance of our local zoo the other day with my little one already crashed out under her lime green, canopy stroller. As I pushed the stroller off the walkway and into a larger area, I saw a boy around nine years old on the ground while a woman yelled at him.
She then gave him a shove with her foot as he scrambled to his feet and ran for the fence, while she yelled "you better get your a** up off the ground." She cornered him at the fence as she continued to yell and put him in an arm lock and said, "You better shut up before I beat you." And she held her hand over him ready to strike.
I did not know this boy, but he becomes my boy to protect when what I believed to be his mother failed to handle him properly. I stopped my stroller a few feet away from her and said "I don't think you should talk that way to your son."
She hadn't noticed me until now and swung her head up to see who dared to confront her. Her angry eyes were now directed at me and she released her grip of the boy to address me while the group she was with watched on and the boy fled from her back to the group. "What did you say to me? You don't tell me how to handle my son. That's my child."
I responded calmly but firmly."No, when you treat a child like that it is wrong, and I am going to say something." I stood my ground as she stepped closer and pointed her one-inch finger nails in my face.
"You better shut the h*** up. You get out here. You don't tell me what to do. It's none of your business how I treat him. Get out of here!"
"All I'm saying is that I stand up for children, and I don't like the way you were treating him."
She continued to rant as I walked away. That's when I noticed all the people that had stopped to watch. She was loud and aggressive and had created quite a crowd for herself.
I spoke to two other ladies as I walked away and said, "I'm sorry to make a scene, but when you are cursing at your son and threatening to beat him, I'm going to say something. I could call the police with the way she is acting."
I thought I was out of earshot but then heard her yell, "What? Are you going to call the police? Go ahead. Call the police, and you can take him."
I stayed calm, smiled and put my thumb up in the air as if to say, "I think that's a great idea." I didn't want the situation to escalate, and quite frankly I think having him in my care would be a great thing if that's the only way she knows how to handle him.
There were so many things I wanted to go back and say to her, but of course I didn't go back.
All The Things I Wanted to Say but DIDN'T
Like, "if someone treated you like that you would probably be screaming assault. Why do you think it's okay to treat him like that?" (There for a minute I thought she might even hit me. I could tell she wanted to.)
"You are the parent, he is the child. If you can't handle it, than walk away because I guarantee whatever he did was not worthy of that treatment."
"Yes, it is my business how you treat your son. When you are publicly threatening him, I have every right to intervene or tell the authorities, because it's against the law."
"And guess what? I will not shut up because no matter how common this scene becomes, it will NEVER be right to treat another human being this way. "
I won't speak up if you feed your kids candy instead of carrots, but behavior like that will not be ignored by this Mama Bear.
Have you ever intervened for the sake of a child or other mistreated person?
Janna - Blogs at The Adventure of Motherhood
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