Saturday, April 11, 2009

It breaks my heart....

To see children being neglected and/or abused. You may remember my post about reading A Child Called It... which still haunts me. Yet again, I am still glad I read it.
I was in Walmart today, and in front of me in line was a mother(?) and toddler son. Could've been grandchild, I have no idea. She was buying a high dollar outdoor game set, with horseshoes and such.
She says to the child, "Your sock is sticking out of your shoe!! Put it back in!" I look down at this poor kid, who is probably a year and half or two. He squats down to "poke" his sock back in his shoe. His dirty, filthy, shredded sock which actually looked dry rotted. Sticking out of shoes with holes in them that appeared to be about three sizes too small.
Then the mother said something to him about "I'm sorry, it's your problem~ not mine". Are you kidding me?! You're his mother, making sure your child has proper fitting shoes and clothing is your RESPONSIBILITY.
I never know what to do in these situations. I gave her the evil eye; the "you disgust me" eye... but I'm always afraid if I say something, then the child will only suffer more once they are in the car or at home.
Do I follow them out and get their license plate number?
He was also wearing a zipped jacket with his hood up. Hmmm. Too warm for a hood at that time. I can't help but think if she was hiding bruises.
I just don't see how people could be this way. I just spent two weeks searching ebay to find the perfect pair of shoes for Nova so he'd be comfortable. The kind with elastic laces that he can put on by himself and make him feel like a big boy. I make sure his shoes are made of breathable materials and prefer that they are natural and not man-made. I don't like crocs or most sandals because I think they're dangerous for his age. Over protective? Perhaps. But better than neglectful.
She could've bought a new pair of shoes and a package of socks for under $10. She could've gotten a used pair of shoes for a dollar. Go garage saling for crying out loud and get some for a quarter!!!! But something tells me that money isn't the issue... it's that she just doesn't care.
Just venting... again. What would you have done?


Decor To Adore said...

Hi Nikki,

Your post made me cry. I always just want to scoop these children up.
If you read my current post you will learn why a situation like this always hits me extra hard.
Each and every child has potential.
For children I do know, I help them in little ways~ whether it be meals, Ian's hand me downs (like you I search for "the perfect thing) or just a hug.
For those I don't know I see if there is an opportunity to say something pleasant and encouranging to the child. If there is not, I pray, hard.

art deco dame said...

=( poor little guy. Yeah I always want to say something in those situations too but fear making things worse for the kid. Some people just should have never had kids. Its always boggled my mind that you need a license to fish but any retard can be a parent.

Joanne Kennedy said...

How sad. Though I'm hoping it's not what you were thinking and maybe the little one had been outside playing having fun ang got his socks dirty while over at a friend or families house. Or better yet, that the little one was going to be going home to his loving mother. Maybe the lady was only a babysitter. Still bad but not as bad as being the mother.

I think I would have started to talk to the child. Saying something like "oh you are getting so big, you need some new shoes" or something to the effect that lets the lady know you are seeing what is wrong without making her feel bad by saying something directly to her.

It's hard to know what to do really. If you called the police they would just laugh and say "A hood on and dirty socks is not worth their time to go out and check on the child." It's almost to the point anymore where the child has to be really hurt before they do anything. It's so heart breaking.


That Crazy Ajumma said...

Nikki,it breaks my heart as well.I wish I could save them all.Right now,my heart breaks to tears..I have a member of family who has made her bed(no matter the amount of help and advise)and now has to lie in it.She has no stable place to live and her 5 childen are spread out all over town.I wish I had the rroom to take them all.

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

There could be lots of reasons why this child looked like he did, but one of them certainly could be neglect/abuse. The fact that your radar was alerted means something.

Don't know where you live, but your county (or maybe city) will have a child protective service, probably part of the social services agency. They can investigate the family without you getting into it, and get the child needed help--or the mother. If you witness something like this again, I would suggest getting the license number and making a report. I don't think you would be laughed at--and if you were, so what. If the parent is innocent of neglect or abuse she will be able to show that. If she's not, it's everyone's duty to keep an eye out for kids.

Unknown said...

Nikki, thank heavens for Mothers like yourself who care, not only for your own child, but all children.

I know what you mean about being too uncomfortable to say something, but even if the person has out of control anger's very good for that child to know from someone else that the behavior she is displaying toward him IS NOT OKAY!!! It kind of validates the way the child may already be thinking, "Hey this isn't right." They may not be able to verbalize that, but deep down inside they know the way they are being treated isn't right...even if after years of abuse they've started to believe that they deserved it. A comment from you could change that child's life forever...for good.

God bless you and yours! Happy Easter! :)

Anonymous said...

What a shame... it is obvious the child needed socks more than a silly horseshoe game! This makes me really mad, we sacrifice so much so our little ones can be happy and have nice things and yet there are people who neglect their children. I can imagine the little one poking his tiny sock into his shoe :( I probably would have reacted like you but I'm sure my husband would have said something...

A Southern Rose said...

That is so sad. I love children and I hate to see them mistreated. They are so presious. I don't know what I would have done exactly but I know that I would have given her the evil eye!!! Poor baby. I probably would've talked to him and smiled just to let him know that not all people are like this hateful woman.

Life on the Edge said...

How very sad. Situations like these are always difficult. If you see something like this again, yes, you would be justified in reporting it. I have known of people who actually did copy down license plate numbers and report them. Here is how to do it: call your county's Department of Job and Family Services and ask to speak to someone in child protective services. Tell them what you observed. It may not be an abuse case, but certainly sounds like at least a neglect issue.

Calling does not mean that the adult involved will get into trouble. It merely means that they have to investigate. If there is nothing bad going on, then the case will be closed, but if there is even a suspicion of neglect or abuse, it merits further investigation.

It's hard to get involved because we are taught to mind our own business, but this might be the only way to help a child.

Don't worry that you didn't know what to do, most people don't know. I'm just very happy that you were concerned and asked what to do.

My Monday post will be very much related to your post today as it will address child abuse in my county.


Heather said...


I hate things like this. It angers me, I cry countless's terrible. I believe it is our responsibility to care for children!
I was 16 and working at a grocery store. When I went out to the parking lot to gather carts I witnessed a mother slam her (3ish) child's head into the cart because he kept asking to go back inside to get a candy bar. She said "Maybe that will shut you up!" I gave her a dirty look but did nothing else. Two weeks later there was a story on the local news about a child in intensive care for head injuries caused by the mother. When they put the child's picture up I completely fell apart- it was the same child I saw that day being hurt! I have always wondered if I had done something that day if that child would have been okay. I felt responsible for the actions I did not take. From that point on I do take action. Children need our protection. They have no voice, they can not protect themselves.
If you had a gut instinct that something was amis, it probably was.
Things like this make me hug my kids tighter.

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

I so feel your frustration. While I may have done exactly what you did, I know I would have breifly "befriended" the child. Saying "hi little one, oh look at your shoe, can I please fix it for you?". I've done it before and gotten pure smiles of joy from the little ones. I can only pray that the little bit of kindness and concern is something they can remember. I pray for them and even the misguided parents. It's so common to see young mothers just overwhelmed with responsibility they appear to be unready for and it just makes me sad.
I am that person that will follow a car with kids that are not in car seats but should be. i will call the highway patrol, give the plate number and exact location until I see a cruiser show up. It's not being "nosy" it's being concerned.

Rue said...

I don't know... I probably would have called the police after writing down the license number, but then again, I would worry that he might get his butt beat. It's so hard to deal with those situations.


Lori said...

Oh Nikki this saddens me so, I wish I knew what to tell you.I too have had many situations like this, it breaks my heart. I worked in several schools with such poor children and when you see them daily never bathed and the socks just as you descrribe it sickens me. I have given the "Look" as you've said, but I have also made comments to the parents. no child on the planet asks to be born, someone needs to speak up in their defense. Take care dear I will hope as you do for that little ones best. Love,Lori

Lallee said...

That just breaks my heart, Nikki.