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Mommy Dearest: When Is It Appropriate to Intervene?

Mommy Dearest,

The other day I was at the mall waiting for my ride when a car pulled up to pick up the grandmother, mother and three children standing beside me. The driver, who appeared to be the father, was in a rush and started screaming and swearing at the three-year-old who was slow to get into his carseat. The grandmother and mother chimed in and it sickened me especially because no one was even helping the child climb in. They had six people piled into a compact vehicle so I considered calling the cops to pull them over, but wasn't sure if that would just make the situation worse. What should I have done in this situation?

— Feeling Bad for the Boys

To read the response from Mommy Dearest,


Feeling Bad for the Boys,

This is a tough one and especially disturbing, as the adults were so comfortable cursing at the child. It makes one wonder how he is treated at home. While these situations are heartbreaking, deciding to take action is a personal decision. On occasion, I have confronted parents who were mistreating their children or contacted mall security or a police officer nearby. My thinking was the child has no voice so as an adult, it was my responsibility to do what I could to prevent them from being mistreated. That said, let's turn this issue over to our lilsugar readers to advise on.

— Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

Join The Conversation
g1amourpuss g1amourpuss 8 years
I actually would have popped my husband in the head! He never talks to my daughter that way, thank goodness. ..It's usually me that has to set her straight. I get frustrated sometimes, but I just get loud and STERN with her. She knows when she is out of line... but as for getting into a carseat too slow? That's just fk'n rude! Get out and help your kid, wtf. That is part of having children. It sounds like he's under a lot of stress though. But really, he needs to get it together before he goes spilling his sperm everywhere. I probably would have said something. Or at least gave them a serious look. (The last time I made a mother do a reality check on herself a good look of wtf is your kid WHIIIIINNNNNNING for really did the trick. This little girl was like 4-5 years old *Pretending* to whine [no tears.. totally fake all over her face]. Cut that shit out early enough and it won't go on for THAT Long!.. especially in the god damn grocery store annoying everyone.)
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 8 years
If you feel the child is unsafe or being mistreated, do not hesitate to call the police or security. They take such calls very seriously.
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
I think I would have written down the license number and reported the incident to CPS, not the police. CPS could investigate, find out if it was a one-time incident and handle it appropriately. Yes, it could be over-kill, but sometimes doing nothing could be worse.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
that is so sad but i agree it does not warrant a police intervention i mean now if they were beating the child then hell yeah or if the person personally witnessed the child not buckled then yes
School247 School247 8 years
Where Im from th law that greggie wrote about is very true and full swing
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I'd have called the cops. What disgusting behavior. That poor child.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
Unfortunately, yes. Or at least all they can do is issue a "warning," no actual ticket or fine. I have no idea if it's legal in California, and I don't ever plan to test it to find out
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
>> It's actually legal in many states to have a child unsecured if the number of people in the car is greater than the number of seatbelts. Greggie, are you serious??? :jawdrop:
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 8 years
My heart breaks for that child and any other child being treated like that right now in the world =( I don't think calling the police would've helped the situation, if the parents were cursing and annoyed by a slow-moving toddler, imagine their outrage at a police officer pulling them over.
Greggie Greggie 8 years
It's actually legal in many states to have a child unsecured if the number of people in the car is greater than the number of seatbelts.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 8 years
i think calling the cops to report the incident and give the license plate number is a good idea... and it doesnt say the ages of the kids, maybe one of them was sitting on grandmas lap in the back seat and old enough to be out of a car seat? (is that even allowed anymore, i dunno) and seriously what grandma allows ANYONE including her child CURSE at her GRANDSON... it's sad.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
I would have called the cops too. I even called the Human Society once because I saw this guy take his cat out of the backseat and shake it really hard! I asked him what the hell he was doing, and he said it peed and pooed in his backseat...get a crate dummy!!!!
foxie foxie 8 years
Don't compact cars only have seating for 5?
jessie jessie 8 years
very true greggie....could of been older children who were out of carseats...and just the younger one in one...and as long as the young was buckled in....then there would be no reason then to call...
Greggie Greggie 8 years
The swearing and yelling, as much as it would bother me, I can't see how that could warrant a cop call. The 6 people in a compact car, I'd probably try to take a gander to see if the children were belted/carseated and call in a carseat/belt violation if I saw an obvious one.
jessie jessie 8 years
First..I don't curse at my children...but I do curse alot in front of them. Shame on them for degrading the child like that! And yes I would of called the cops....its just not safe. The situation was already bad....the children come first.
foxie foxie 8 years
I definitely would have called the cops.
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