Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reprimanding other people's children.

The young, pregnant woman with her small dog came 'round to see if we had any baby clothes.  As usual, we didn't have much to offer her, so she focused on finding tops to fit her increasingly large belly.  Her dog, quiet and unmoving, sat on the floor somewhat out of the way and waited.  Another woman was also browsing in the ladies' section while her two year old son stood near.  The boy, of course, was more interested in the dog than he was women's blouses, and went over to give the dog the two-year-old version of a friendly pat on its head.  That action was not met well by the dog's owner who swiftly told him to stop hitting the dog and to be careful of dogs, generally, as one can't know how they will respond to such treatment.  The kid's mother then came over to the boy, grabbed his hand and dragged him in the other direction.  Crying ensued.

A few minutes later, the toddler made his way back to the dog, who now was slowly walking around the entry way of the shop, and began smacking its rump just above the tail.  Unfazed, the dog simply stood there looking around the room.  I hesitate to call what the kid was doing 'abuse' as his two year old hands weren't doing much damage.  I would also think that if 'Fido' were upset by the attention, then he would have barked or snipped at the child in response.  The only barking came from his owner, who, again, came over to the child, and, this time, gave him a bit of a shake coupled with growling, 'Stop it!!'  Mom, again, dragged the boy away from the dog while yelling at him.  The kid's face was a red mess of tears.  As mom and child came past me, he angrily stomped on my foot.  That action produced more yelling from his mother.

The most interesting part of the scenario was that the mother of the child seemed to take no issue with the pregnant woman reprimanding her son.  In fact, there was no communication at all between the two women.  The pregnant woman is Swiss; the mom with toddler is from Afghanistan.  If such a scene had happened back home in the States, then I would think that the mothers would have exchanged some sort of words and the toddler's mother probably would have expressed some sort of dissatisfaction with the way her son had been treated by the other woman.  I envision a sort of 'don't-you-talk-to-my-child-that-way' response coming from the mother were she American.  It could be that no words were exchanged because of language barriers.  Or, more interestingly, it may be because kids in both of these cultures are allowed to be reprimanded by other adults. 

3 comments:

  1. I honestly don't know how kids are "supposed" to be treated by non-parents, or even by their parents alike. But, I assume most parents are protective and defensive about their offspring, and surely would react in the "American" way?

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  2. I'm American and I would have totally said something a long those lines and perhaps a little shaking for the prego woman as well, lol ... : )

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  3. I get that most parents in 21st century America would probably not want to have strangers angrily telling their children to 'stop it!' However, I should think that the fear of having a dog perhaps bite a toddler who was only trying to 'pet it' would outweigh concerns of who is and is not allowed to reprimand a child. Two-year-old children hitting unfamiliar poochies on the muzzle could spell disaster, if you think about it. :S

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