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June 18, 2011

Some people shouldn't have the privilege to be parents, and how I'm trying to make things right.

I'm going to get really serious here for a minute. And sorry there's no recipe with this. Just my thoughts and I guess a recipe on how to protect our children.

I've been witness to some really sad situations involving children the past few weeks. And maybe it's heightened my sense of awareness. And let me preface this by saying that I am in NO way trying to claim I'm a perfect parent. And I don't have a lot of parenting experience either. But I do know when something isn't right.

Yesterday, I was walking out of the grocery store, when I heard blood-curdling screams coming from a child. Now, I know how frustrating it is to have a child melt down in a store, TRUST me. But this was different. Up ahead of me was a small boy about 3 (and maybe that hit me close to home, because I have a boy about that age). He was standing in the big part of the shopping cart. What appeared to be his mom was pushing the cart and what seemed to be his grandmother was next to them in a motorized cart. 

This small boy was wearing nothing but a diaper. And he was screaming. I mean SCREAMING. I watched as the grandmother spanked him and then hit him in the legs a couple times. Which, of course, perpetuated his screams. She then started shoving his head down in the cart, scraping his face against the front of the cart. And then she tried to pin his face against the bottom, I guess trying to get him to lay down? I have no idea what the heck was going through her mind. She had hell-fire in her eyes. He was wiggling and screaming, trying to stand up. It was awful. I can't stop thinking about it. 

I wasn't the only one who noticed, people were turning and staring. But I was so shocked I just walked right past and out to my car. I was so mad at myself for not saying anything. I just thought, "If they are doing this in public, what are they doing at home? And if I don't stand up for this child, then who will?" 

So, I loaded my car and walked back into the store looking for them. I had NO idea what I was going to do when I found them. After walking around for a few minutes, I didn't see them and I didn't hear the screams anymore. 

So, I left. Ugh.

It really disturbed me and I can't stop thinking about it. What do you do when you see someone abusing a child? Last night I was asking my siblings what they would do in that situation. My brother-in-law who is an officer gave me the answer I was looking for. 

He said, you go up to them and say loudly and firmly, "STOP. Stop doing that, or I will call the police." He said once you say, "STOP." Other people will most likely join in and that's when you tell them what was going on.

I wanted to know in case I ever found myself in a similar situation. And I keep beating myself up for not saying anything. I kept thinking if this child lives in an abusive situation and grows up thinking, "why didn't anyone try to stop it?" I don't want to be the stupid bystander that failed him. I know this wasn't like the "end of the world," situation. But it really didn't sit well with me and I think that says something. Since I can't go back in time and do something about this child, I decided one way I can "make it right" is to share this information on this public forum, to empower others with the information of what to do in situations like this. 

Some people just shouldn't have the privilege of caring for children. Some days I think I'm pretty darn unqualified myself. It is a HUGE responsibility. No one is perfect in it. But we have to protect these little kiddos as best as we can. They are so sweet and innocent. Since some of us obviously don't get it, we all need to do our part to make the world safer for the little ones who are our future.

Thank you for indulging my thoughts. Hopefully, you'll be more brave than I was yesterday.
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Kristy said...

Heart breaking. I am so glad you posted this. I hope I have the courage if I ever see something like that. Child abuse makes me more sad than anything else I can think of. Thanks Aly.

Shannon said...

This was hard to hear. I too have thought recently how many children in our world are abused and have horrible parents and caretakers. There is so much evil in the world and it breaks my heart that so many innocent children live through hell. All you can do is be a good parent yourself and be a good example and pray for these children. This is an interesting situation and I'm wondering what I would have done. I hope I would have the courage to say something. Thanks for posting.