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Monday, 18 July 2016

What would you do? Other people's kids

Warning: This post may contain dangerous triggers so please don't read if you have any history or risk of domestic violence or random violence. (The post is not that interesting anyway). This is not my area but Lifeline Crisis line is 13 11 14 and their site is here. If in immediate danger, call 000.

This is an unusual post, as I witnessed something last week and my thoughts keep returning to it. We were at the BBR Festival and the kids were playing in the snow. There was a little boy about six, at the most seven, and he was kicking at the snow towers so they crumbled into small pieces he could stomp on. However, as his foot was coming down on the ball of snow to pulverize it, he would shout "Take that, bitch!". I stood shocked, watching with evidently with so much horror and disdain on my face that a young 20 something man caught my eye. "What the hell is that about?" He shrugged in collusion and then wandered off. Relevant only in the fact that the behaviour was noticeably odd, not that I'm some crazy lady.

The mother (or nanny) had no visible signs of abuse, but weirdly didn't seem to feel the need to tell the child off.

At that moment I got a phone call and was then distracted and we wandered off soon after.

What nags me is this: Should I have done something?
1) Should I have asked the mother/nanny if she was ok?
2) Should I have explained to the child they shouldn't say such things?

Where does a child that age get those words in the first place? Is it just something from GTA or an inappropriate movie, and I'm jumping to conclusions?

What would you have done? And what should I have done?

Linking with #MummyMondays & Fortheloveofblog

23 comments:

  1. If anything, I'd have asked him not to swear. It's a hard one- probably a tv show or game but who knows?

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  2. Oh, that gives me chills. Your gut instinct is saying everything is not alright. I remember something similar when I was doing some teacher assistance work. A 6 year old boy drew pictures of naked men and women in quite a bit of grown up detail which suggested to me that he was being "exposed" to sexual conduct. I was in a place that I could report it, which I did. I still think of him today and hope that things turned out OK. But hey, I could have just been jumping to conclusions. You just don't know! But it gives me shivers when my gut says that somebody needs to intervene ...

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  3. Wow, great question. I am not sure what I would have done, probably been just as shocked as yourself. I guess I would have tried to make eye contact with the carer and see if she heard it, maybe then gauged how she felt. Having said that, if she didn't tell him off, it's obviously ok in that family?

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  4. That's a tricky one. I'm not sure I would have been game to get involved. Did the mother/nanny hear and witness the child and not pull him up on it? If so, it kind of suggests that behavious isn't frowned up? Meaning any interference from you probably wouldn't have been appreciated. So hard to tell. I know my sister who is DOCS worker probably would have taken things further. Although I'm unsure if that behaviour warrants mandatory reporting. It certainly raises alarms.

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  5. That's a hard question and I have no idea what I would have done. It certainly sounds like something is amiss because children don't normally talk like that unless they have been exposed to it somewhere along the way. xox

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  6. It's very confronting when you see a child display such obviously aggressive behaviour - I'm not sure what I would have done either.

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  7. I don't like the sound of that at all. I can see why it's playing on your mind. Let's hope he picked it up from a game or tv program and not his family.

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  8. Very tricky and as others have said, it could be something, that under different circumstances would be a notification to family/community services. In this case, it is the sadness of the boy's behaviour that stands out for you, the person on the sidelines. As it is incredibly sensitive and you (and any other person nearby) probably did the right thing for that time as the child's carer did not seem concerned. A real dilemma alright and you did the right thing forwarning on the post. I hope you are ok too. Denyse #teamIBOT

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  9. SA child safe laws say that if you have any concern at all, you report it. What the police do with it is up to them, but if you're a mandated reporter, you've got an obligation.
    Most of us in that situation would not be mandated, but it is a concern. It's highly possible it is just TV, but still, I understand your concern.

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  10. Very concerning, but also concerning is the 'non response' from the parent/care giver. You would think they would either admonish him by saying that 'we don't speak that way' or at least acknowledge where such talk came from. Sorry that the incident played on your mind so much - you were just an innocent bystander. These ambiguous situations can be hard to handle.

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  11. I think I would have been just as shocked as you, and honestly, I don't know what I would have done. I think, especially if my kids were near, I'd ask him not to swear at the least. But it's awfully concerning.

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  12. Yup, I would be frozen with shock and wondering if I heard right? Shame the parent/nanny didn't do anything about it.

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  13. That's a hard one and I don't have the answer. Often in these cases you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. It certainly sounds odd coming from a 6yo but it's possible it's come from another child at school or TV or something other than direct abuse. I can definitely understand your concern x

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  14. Absolutely on no account should you have spoken directly to the child unless he was actually hurting himself or someone else. Take it up with the mother/nanny, kindly (you really don't know what problems they may have) but never with the child. D and I lived on Norfolk Island once and the locals felt entitled to discipline other people's children including physically. To say the thought of someone else smacking my child upset me is an extreme understatement. Verbally chastising another person's child is almost as bad - Don't even think about it.

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    1. It wasn't the swearing, it was the violence of it. I think I was more concerned about where he heard it. I think I may've witnessed people at risk and done nothing. It's still sitting a little uncomfortably with me...(who hits a child?? Especially someone else's?)

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  15. I'm not sure what I would have done in that situation if I didn't know the child.

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  16. I'm not sure what I would have done in that situation if I didn't know the child.

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  17. Like several others said this is a hard one. Where I work in retail, I've had to stop children from running around the store or climbing on things. I always address the child, and then most parents will back up what I say. I'm never had to or even tried to tell a child not to swear, so I have no idea how the parent would react.

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  18. Difficult but I would have probably just said to the child if I was beside them that saying that wasn't very good. Hard to say though not being there but I probably wouldn't have said anything to the person with them if they were not fussed by it.

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  19. don't think there was enough there to approach the woman or do much of anything. Difficult to just walk away, but I don't see that you had much choice in this particular situation #fortheloveofblog

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  20. Wow this is such a difficult one. To be honest I think I would have done the same as you and it would have played on my mind as well.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

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  21. It's hard to even know what to do? I mean it's not your child, and yet the swearing and accompanying violence is disturbing and makes you wonder where he is getting it from. I honestly don't know what I would have done! #MummyMondays linky

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  22. This is a tricky one, and I would be really shocked if I heard that coming out of a 6 or 7 year olds mouth. Even if I heard it being said by an adult I would still be shocked. It's really hard to know what to do, and I think if I was me I would have been I would have walked away not wanting to interfere, and then the event would have played on my mind all evening. Not that I condone that behaviour or language but wouldn't want to cause a scene. A thoughtful post. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG this week. Claire x

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