A word before I start: I am very aware I cannot address this topic in its entirety. I can only address one or two aspects. I am also aware that I do not have a formal background in what follows. All I have to guide me is that I am a mom.
Just two days ago, I was headed down the main road in town on my way to...where else...Wa-lly W-orld. There are plenty of traffic lights and I was just coming to a stop at one of them. I will say that as it was a cold day and my car windows were closed. I heard a loud, even to me in my car, shouted "NO!". Then again. That was repeated and yes, I counted, 7 times. I turned after the first two times to see where it was coming from and it was a car 2 car lengths behind me. There was a woman at the wheel and a poor toddler strapped into its car seat in the rear. The woman was screaming at the toddler. The toddler must have been used to it..just my assumption, because while there was distress on his or her face, there were no tears right at that time.
I made sure the woman saw me staring. I had to move on however, as the light turned green.
It ruined my day really. I remembered how many times I have been near by when someone was verbally abusing (which is what I call screaming) their child. In a department store many times through my adulthood I have heard pathetic and frightened sounding crying as opposed to just " I want" crying from little more than infants (they can't want material things..they haven't learned that behavior yet). and I have drifted over to see what was the matter.
Sadly many times it is a harried mother or worse still, an angry one who is handling a restless or crying baby roughly. I sometimes have to hear angry talk as well. I always stand near long enough to assess the best I can. Sometimes crying is just that...crying and nothing other than a fussy baby.
I have never challenged these people directly though every thing in me wants to. I stand near, and engage them in conversation if I can, about something non confronting. My hope is to provide distraction. Then if I can, I will offer something gentle about how it might be to deal with a crying baby day after day. My hope is to distract, hoping the child will calm, and I pray I might say anything..something that will be a "take away" to deal with future maternal frustrations.
Babies and toddlers are helpless. Small a thing as I have just mentioned that I do may seem meaningless to you. But I can't stand by and not try to reach out if possible and in an non threatening way if whoever it is with the child seems out of control themselves.
I will spare you my feeling about animal cruelty just now..but a blog will happen before long. There were two horrendous cases of it right in my immediate area just three weeks ago. Gut wrenching, as are the babies and toddlers who can't speak for themselves.
Sorry. Must be soap box week.