Q: While grocery shopping the other day, a woman called her child an “idiot” in front of me. He was attempting to maneuver his two younger siblings who were in a double-seated stroller. Because the brake was on, he was having a difficult time. All of the sudden, his mother yelled, ‘The brake is on you idiot! Pull them up to release the brakes.” I was appalled and I really wanted to say something to her. She had so many children and so little patience, but I ended up leaving the aisle before I blew up at her. Could I have handled the situation better or made any sort of difference in her child-rearing?
A: I empathize with your desire to take her to task for no one likes to see children abused. However, you really can’t “blow up” at a stranger, for her correct response would be that it is none of your business. It is tricky, because our first instinct is to deal with or report abuse of any kind, but there is little a law enforcement officer could do, either, in response to the kind of verbal abuse she was displaying. It was best, as hard as it was, to move on.