Back in the day when Uncle Zeroboss ran the site he had a feature called ‘Bad Parent Sightings’. These were stories he received from readers about Bad Breeder sightings they would encounter during their day-to-day activities. Just like the er-mail we received this week from a reader from north of the border…
I’m a Canadian who,occasionally, crosses the border into the US with a friend of mine for the sole purpose of doing a little shopping. You all have better deals and way more cereal choices than we do! Anyways, yesterday was one of those days. My friend and I left the kids home with their dads and headed off to the Wal-Mart.
I had a super day checking out the products we don’t have, loading up on treats and buying my oldest son his birthday present ( a Lego set he wanted which was only available in the States). When I got to the checkout, a family of a mom and five young children pulled up behind me. They were all really close in age and were shoving each other as children do. I smiled at the little girl behind me putting the articles on the strap.That mom looked absolutely overwhelmed. She was alternately yelling at the kids, who were all pretty dirty and generally unkept.
I know it was a Sunday afternoon and maybe they were playing and got dirty, but the image was more of neglect than of kids just getting dirty from playing outside. Every time the mom would get annoyed with one of the kids, she would get in their face and shout. The cashier was just shaking her head and mouthed over to me that they are there all the time. The mom would take a kid by the upper arm and squeeze when she was yelling at them. She stopped when she realized that my friend and I were staring at her. At some point, one of the kids that was sitting in the carriage kicked another of the kids, a little boy maybe four years old hard enough in the mouth for the kid to start bleeding. The kid just quietly whimpered and the mom didn’t even turn around.
I told the mom, your kid is bleeding, ma’am. You need to rinse his mouth out to see how bad it is. She then turned to the kid who had kicked her brother, a girl maybe seven years old, and gave her a good telling off. While the little boy continued to bleed there. Again I said, ma’am, your son is bleeding. There’s a fountain right there (a water fountain about five feet away in front of the cash register). I asked her if I could take him over to rinse his mouth out. She looked at me and shook her head no. The poor kid just continued whimpering and the other girl who got yelled at started laying in on her little brother while her mother turned her attention to another kid who was touching something in a candy rack and started giving her what for.
I looked at that little boy with the bloody mouth and felt so very low and sad for him. I have three sons and I can tell you that had any one of them gotten hit hard enough in the mouth to bleed, they would have screamed the store down. Especially at this little guy’s age. The fact that he was so quiet about it, and, worse, didn’t seem to expect anyone to help him just broke my heart. I want to think that these kids were just dirty from playing hard all day and mom was just frazzled at being in a store with five little kids, but it just seemed like there was an air or neglect and anger from mom to the kids and the kids to each other.
I left the store with a heavy heart, my pleasure at all the treats and toys I had bought for my kids entirely gone. I knew that my kids had a good day at home. My husband, I found out when I got home, had taken them and the dog to the dog park that day. They had come home and gone for a bike ride. They then went to my parents house for supper and spent the rest of the evening building Lego with dad.
I don’t want to judge this lady and presume I know what’s going on, or even label her a bad parent. I know what it’s like to have kids drive you crazy in a store and to lose your temper with a kid. But not like this. Not squeezing and upper arm and getting in their face to yell. Or completely ignoring a silently crying one who’s bleeding. This doesn’t compare to anything on this site, I know. But I still think that if someone reads this and recognizes themselves or someone who they know and it makes them realize that in public we only see the tip of the iceberg of what happens at home, maybe people will keep a closer eye on their neighbour’s kids. I wish there was something I coud have done, and it really left me with a bad taste in my mouth that I left this little boy silently crying and bleeding.
Also, I wanted to commend you all on the good work you do here on this site. When we read stories on your site, it’s often too late. But stories like those little kids at Wal-Mart, well, those kids are everywhere.
If you have a bad parent sighting that you’d like to share drop us a line at our contact page.