Is it ever OK to ‘run over’ your child?

tantrumI heard him a good 10 aisles before I saw him. After weaving from the health and beauty section to the vacuum cleaner accessories I met the source of the screams — a towhead of about 3-years-old (maybe a tad younger) slung on his mother’s hip. She balanced the teary-eyed, red-faced youngster while pushing her shopping cart.

He squirmed and she tried uprighting him. My breath quickened, and my chest tightened. I was panicking as if this was my child having a breakdown. I gave the mother what was intended to be a sympathetic look, but what probably came across like fear, or constipation. I walked faster, as if leaving the tantrum in the rearview was somehow going to make it stop.

It didn’t. Of course it didn’t. The child was upset — and howling louder than a needle-fearing 5-year-old on vaccination day.

We arrived at the register at the same time. Her son was now on the floor, dumping the beef jerky displays onto the floor. The mother righted one box, and left the rest. I debated picking up the others (there had to be 40 strips of freeze-dried meat on the floor, at this point), but stepped back, unsure if the mom was going to make the distressed infant — who was now laying on the floor — clean up after himself.

And then I heard a “beep beep” — kind of like the sound one of those hover scooters makes when it’s backing up. But this was no scooter. It was the mother and she was running the wheels of the cart into, and nearly over, her son.

I watched, my mouth agape.

I debated suggesting she stop, then remembered a promise I made to myself when C was born: I said I’d be less judgmental of parenting techniques. Now that doesn’t mean I won’t judge, but I’m (attempting) to judge less harshly.

I don’t know what was going through this woman’s mind, and I’m sure there’s a history there with her sone none of us know about.

I do know C’s just about at the 10 month mark, so we’re not yet at the tantrum stage. And I also know I wouldn’t “pretend” run her over with a cart — in part because everyone around you sees your actions. And, well, I don’t believe roughness and injury is a solution — and I don’t want to end up on the Bad Parents of WalMart website.

But here I sit, several hours later, wondering if minding my business — something I’m not really known for — was right.

2 thoughts on “Is it ever OK to ‘run over’ your child?

  1. Dina

    Oh man, what a no-win situation. I used to walk away from my kids’ tantrums, but not if they did damage in public. That just needs to be addressed, and not with the wheels of shopping cart. Wow……

  2. Judy

    When my daughter was small she tried to throw a tantrum in the grocery store. Since it wasn’t too busy and I had had it – I told her “Go ahead and throw yourself on the ground. Kick your feet and beat your fists on the floor. Go on, do it right. I want to see it.” Then I stood there for a bit while she stared at me with a really nasty look on her toddler face, disappointed that I wasn’t buying into her tantrum. “So are you done? Then lets keep shopping.” She may have stomped her feet while walking but that was it.

    Don’t show fear – they can smell it and will use it against you. Even (especially) the most angelic of kids. They are smarter than most adults give them credit for – Call their bluff and be ready for theatrics. They will learn that you are not a push over and don’t care what others think.


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