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feministmama
10-19-2007, 05:37 PM
Omigoddess. I work in a computer lab on my college campus. My office is a little cubicle in the lobby outsdie the classrooms so I can hear everything goign on. There is a kiosk station right by my desk that people use all the time. There is a woman who brings her small son (I'd say he is 2 1/2 -3) and yells at him the whole time, "SIT!" she yells at him while she is trying to do her work. "You should not be doing this! Sit still!" she yells. This poor child does not "know better" to sit completely still and silent while his mother works on the computer. He's a little kid!!! He's bored out of his mind and there is NO WAY a little kid CAN sit still. I mean if they were at a dentist office or getting haircut (but even then you give them something to distract them). For me, this feels like child abuse. She is yelling at this kid and telling him what a bad kid he is and blah blah blah. I can't stand it. So I go over with a stack of paper and some colored pencils and ask if he'd like to draw. The mum always says no. But then she doesn't give him anything to do. He tried to crawl under the desk to hide and yells at him "GET UP HERE AND SIT STILL!" OY! I can't stand it. They come in every Friday. I would love to have someone from social work school come over who is a mandated reporter to watch this crap. Btu I know that how I discipline my kid is probably child abuse to someone else so i can't really judge another parent.

what would you do?

auburnchick
10-19-2007, 05:45 PM
Well, I doubt that you're going to be able to do anything that will really change things, but perhaps you could ask explain to the mother that you are working nearby (or maybe even that other people are trying to work), and that maybe she could keep her voice down? I don't know. This is kind of tricky. What about getting a supervisor involved. Maybe have your super sit in your office for a few minutes when the lady is there.

I'm so sorry for the child. At least give the child some trucks that he can roll around or some blocks to play with.

iza
10-19-2007, 06:44 PM
:shock: How long do they stay usually? I think this is the key. If it's half an hour, it's not great, but maybe it's just bad parenting, not child abuse. But if it goes on for 3-4 hours, it's ridiculous. You can't ask such a young child to stay still for that long.

mrs_faller
10-19-2007, 06:57 PM
i know it's painful to see a kid being yelled at, but moms loose their cool and minds plenty of times.

god knows i get frustrated with my daughter at times because she's crying for something utterly ridiculous or is having a very cranky day. and i know an onlooker may judge me for it and assume things but that's not how i am all the time, and that does not summarize how i am as a mother to my child.

feministmama
10-19-2007, 07:08 PM
:shock: How long do they stay usually? I think this is the key. If it's half an hour, it's not great, but maybe it's just bad parenting, not child abuse. But if it goes on for 3-4 hours, it's ridiculous. You can't ask such a young child to stay still for that long.

It's 4:00 now and they got here around 2:00. They're here every Friday and its the same thing. That poor child.:cry:

Jan in CA
10-19-2007, 07:32 PM
At the very least that is bad parenting. It makes you wonder what goes on behind closed doors if she's this way in public. Children that age cannot sit still for that long. Do you mean she brings NOTHING for him to do?

I'm not sure what you can do. :shrug: :think:

Susan P.
10-19-2007, 08:39 PM
feministmama.. That is inappropriate on a few levels:

1. It is placing the child in an ongoing stressful situation of critique and placing unrealistic expectations on the child
2. It is inappropriate that the workplace should be disrupted by that ongoing sound.

I gather the situation is for an afternoon? You said she started at 2 so she goes from say 2 to 5? I would therefore assume she does not want to pay a babysitter for the time and have a lot of her pay go on that. I think one has to accept paying for proper care but that is another thing entirely.

What is the 'boss' in this situation doing or saying or are they out of earshot? The child would obviously, IF they MUST be there, be better placed at a table with pencils and paper and a glass of water etc. That is better care and would lead to a quiet workplace. I feel that is something that should come from management and I think your recourse is to go and speak to someone appropriate in confidence. Accepting of course that in workplaces privacy can be problematic!

letah75
10-19-2007, 10:36 PM
You know if she is telling the child he is bad, wrong, yelling, etc. That can be considered emotional abuse. especially at his age.

You don't need to be a mandated reporter to report someone for child abuse (Mental, Physical, Sexual, General Neglect, Caretaker Absence are the most common types).

I work with CPS (in my area) everyday. You can make an anonymous report, you don't have to give your name. If you don't have her or the child's information you could at the very least call them and ask their advice on the situation, explain your concerns, and see if they could let you know if her behavior full fills the requirements for reporting.

I would suggest making a report, for the simple fact that there very well might be other referrals to CPS already. Helping the agency with a pattern is very important.

Now honestly, what your seeing likely will be evaluated out, meaning they will take the report and not go out to the house. But believe me, helping to document the pattern is very important, and if it doesn't help in the immediate, could very well help out in the long run.

If you want anymore information, pm me.

Knitting_Guy
10-19-2007, 11:02 PM
Ok, I know this is going to be a very unpopular point of view, but my own feeling on this is that it isn't your kid and isn't your problem. Frankly I feel that that it's her kid and her business. Butt out.

auburnchick
10-19-2007, 11:15 PM
In a way, I agree with you, Mason; however, this is occurring in a public place, and it is affecting her job. At the very least, it is very rude and distracting. She should say something to her supervisor. Perhaps they could put a sign on the desk about being courteous to those around them...yada, yada, yada...

Silver
10-19-2007, 11:25 PM
I agree Nathalie. If it were at home, it would be different, but in a public place, and a place of work no less, it IS Femmy's business.

Personally, I'd bring in a little goodie bag with toy trucks, coloring books and crayons and tell her, "This is for him. If you can't keep him quiet, at least let me try before I involve our superiors."

Knitting_Guy
10-19-2007, 11:35 PM
Makes sense to me.

hob
10-20-2007, 12:44 AM
im not being funny hear but its nit about if hes quite or loud its about how she is treating him! its just wrong! and it may not be her kid but its not like the kids gonna stand up and say can someone stop this pls hes only 2/3.

AnnaT
10-20-2007, 12:45 AM
:shock: How long do they stay usually? I think this is the key. If it's half an hour, it's not great, but maybe it's just bad parenting, not child abuse. But if it goes on for 3-4 hours, it's ridiculous. You can't ask such a young child to stay still for that long.

You can't ask such a young child to sit still for half an hour!! Unfortunately, I agree that it isn't abuse, "just" bad parenting. So maybe it's time for some good parenting lessons!!

Maybe Feministmama could go out there and try to chat with the mother, starting off with complimenting her on the child. At some point in the conversation, she could bring up how she (Feministmama) notices they are there every week for a whole afternoon. If she can get the mother discussing what's going on, make it into a commiserative issue--"Oh, I know how it is. When my child was that age, I always had to bring a bunch of toys and crayons wherever we went!" Plant the seed that way.

Then have some toys ready for next week. If the same thing happens the next week, I would bring out the toys and tell the mother "Perhaps you forgot to bring some activities for your child? Maybe you can remember next week. Here's some he can play with now." She needs to start taking the initiative and shouldn't be made to feel that Feministmama is going to fix her problems every week, though.

The other approach is the direct one. Just go out there and inform the mother that her child is too young to sit still for extended periods of time and she should bring some activities for him. Obviously she never thought of it.

Make it clear that the child is not bothering you in the least!

Jan in CA
10-20-2007, 01:26 AM
Personally, I'd bring in a little goodie bag with toy trucks, coloring books and crayons and tell her, "This is for him. If you can't keep him quiet, at least let me try before I involve our superiors."

This sounds like the best solution to at least try. Then if you do have to report you can honestly say that you did make attempts to solve the issue before bringing in either superiors or CPS.

feministmama
10-20-2007, 01:41 AM
Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

I think what I will do is this: Get some brochures from the office of Parent Student Services at our University and leave them around that area. We've also got a drop in day care that has litereature too. That way I could "drop a hint." Then I have some toys my son doesn't play with anymore (finger puppets) that I will bring and when I hear her yelling at him I will offer them to her. I like Annas suggestion of talking to her in light conversation about how hard it is to parent and be a student and then slip in an offer to help. If she is offended or anything I'll back off but if she continues to yell at him, I'll ask my boss for advice. He's really cool, he's a very understanding, copassionate and kind person. He's the best boss I've ever had. His office is down the hall and he has a door and he is out and about a lot so he probably has never seen this. It's at a quiet time of the day so not many other folks around either. Maybe that will help when I talk to her. Wish me luck

Susan P.
10-20-2007, 04:55 AM
It's worth trying..her tension and constant comments to the child may be a misguided method of thinking it's best if the child is as minimally seen. The mistake of upping the ante (louder and more) is one we all make. It was unusual she rejected your previous offer but perhaps she thought you were annoyed. Let us know how it goes..interesting situation.

KnitClickChick
10-20-2007, 07:07 AM
Myself, I would be tempted to go tell the mother off. However, doing so would probably not be be a good thing for the kid to see. Maybe put some goodies in a bag for the kid, and leave it there --- with a "nice" note for the mother that the people working in that area think that maybe if the kid had something to occupy his mind she wouldn't have to spend the afternoon yelling and you all could get some work done. :p

GinnyG
10-20-2007, 10:38 AM
I would not hesitate to tell her that her child is not bothering you but SHE IS!!!!!!!!!!!! I would definately report her to someone in a supervisory capacity, even if you have to call campus security. Making a 2 or 3 year old child sit quietly and still for 2 hours or more IS ABUSE no matter how you look at it and she needs to be told.

I would try the nice approach for about minute but if she was not recpetive I would have no problem with involving anyone and everyone. That poor child.

feministmama
10-20-2007, 11:57 AM
As soon as I got home I grabbed my son and hugged him.

It makes me think of all the times I yell at him :doh: Usually things like "puuuleeeze put your shoes on so we can go!" for the 6 millionth time. And i think how much therapy will he need for that one? Maybe I should've prepared him better, blah blah blah. Then I forgive myself cuz ya know sometimes you just yell, it hapens and at least its not as bad as yelling mama at work. I guess yelling is relative. I wonder what Pema Chodron (woman Zen Buddist monk, really cool) would do?

hob
10-21-2007, 12:47 AM
i wish u all the luck in the world with this pls let me know how you gat along and what happens to the poor kid.

Songbirdy
10-21-2007, 03:38 PM
I was thinking about this a lot.

I do think you should approach her, but use extreme caution in how you word your conversation and come across with so much love for her and her child.

Truthfully... to me it sounds like she is trying.

She could be a person that is desperately trying to better her world by working very close to the edge of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. That is what I hear in the way she talks to her son, very automan and not really hearing how she sounds. She is defensive when approached... which is another sign to me.


I can picture, not to say that she is, a person who simply doesn't have the money to pay for outside care for her child.

She is using the resources at a time when very few others would be using the resources... Friday afternoon right after lunch. Most students would be planning their weekend.


Maybe approach this from a 'supportive' position. "Hi, I work here and I've noticed that you are always diligently working here with your son. Were you aware that there is this daycare resource available to you? I even happen to know of some funding resources available."

"I know it is hard to get a lot accomplished while having to provide care for my children ..."

She is perhaps not a bad parent, but one who doesn't have the support that some of us have. Perhaps this choice is the best choice she could have made given the choices available to her.

threesmom
10-21-2007, 04:57 PM
In my opinion, your best bet is the make nice with mom route. I think most of us have been in those situations where we've gotten frustrated with our kids and later felt like completely bad parents. Draw on that, compliment what she's doing right, and stress how difficult it must be that she has to bring her child to work, and how good he's being under these diffficult situations. Depending on how she reacts back to you, you can either go with it, or if she's still hostile, you can, and perhaps should, report to your local child welfare. I would be most concerned about what happens at home - if she treats him like that at work, I would be afraid it is worse at home. If you get too involved in a way that threatens mom, I would be afraid she would later take it out on him. It sounds like she is already taking out her stress on this child, I wouldn't want to add to it!

Whatever you do, good luck! It takes a bit of courage to intervene, even if you are following good instincts!

Mommy22alyns
10-21-2007, 05:04 PM
We've also got a drop in day care that has litereature too.


Is that at no extra cost? You could mention it in light conversation that it's there and her son could play with other kids and have fun so she could get her work completed more quickly. Just a thought...

She seems very stressed and frazzled. I'm trying to put myself in her shoes, because I have a 2.5 year old right now and I have often tried to keep the girls "too still" - as Susan said, "minimally seen." What upsets me most is her calling her child bad - that's hurtful and not constructive at all. And she honestly should be bringing things to try and keep her child entertained herself. I have to wait with Sylvia at Becca's gymnastics class and always bring some Cheerios, a drink, books, Color Wonder books & markers, sticker books, etc.

It's curious that she is making more noise yelling at her son than he is being 2.5.

I don't think it's abuse... but she does need some help and/or guidance.

(trust me I am still learning on the job too - I don't want to sound like a know it all!)

Abbily
10-22-2007, 01:43 PM
I was thinking about this a lot.

I do think you should approach her, but use extreme caution in how you word your conversation and come across with so much love for her and her child.

Truthfully... to me it sounds like she is trying.

She could be a person that is desperately trying to better her world by working very close to the edge of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. That is what I hear in the way she talks to her son, very automan and not really hearing how she sounds. She is defensive when approached... which is another sign to me.


I can picture, not to say that she is, a person who simply doesn't have the money to pay for outside care for her child.

She is using the resources at a time when very few others would be using the resources... Friday afternoon right after lunch. Most students would be planning their weekend.


Maybe approach this from a 'supportive' position. "Hi, I work here and I've noticed that you are always diligently working here with your son. Were you aware that there is this daycare resource available to you? I even happen to know of some funding resources available."

"I know it is hard to get a lot accomplished while having to provide care for my children ..."

She is perhaps not a bad parent, but one who doesn't have the support that some of us have. Perhaps this choice is the best choice she could have made given the choices available to her.


This was my first thought, too. My second thought was that if you approach the mom with 'You are disturbing my workplace', and if she really is abusive, that child is going to get much worse for 'getting the mom in trouble'. Not to say you shouldn't intervene, just be careful.

Let us know how it goes!