What would YOU do?

So I had a situation this evening that has left me wondering what everyone else would do...

This evening I tackled the crazy amounts of laundry that had piled up and needed done ($18 later.. but that's another story).  The apartments I live in have a gym/laundry facility on the other side of the complex.  They are two different rooms with the laundry room nestled in the corner of the gym but open via windows to the whole building.  If that makes any sense.  Anyway, I was picking up the last of my laundry and I could hear this commotion coming from out in the gym area.  It's a small gym (couple treadmills, an elliptical, some bikes and lifting equipment sum it up) and there was only a couple of people in the whole building (me, another guy doing laundry, a 5 or 6 year old, a man and a woman [I believe were with said child]), so it was pretty obvious where it was coming from.  The man was yelling and cursing at the little boy.  I'm not sure what exactly was going on.  The child was crying and the man was telling him he had to stay on the treadmill.  It seemed a little inappropriate for public but I didn't see the man touch the child (thank goodness) so I didn't interfere.

When I went to go load my car.. the other man that had been doing laundry was outside smoking a cigarette.  I was mumbling something when I came outside, a bit upset at what I had just overheard.  We made small talk about how weird/awkward that was and I even went as far as saying, "I debated whether I should call the cops or not".  I decided not to.. but it's kind of left me a bit unsettled.

Like I said the man didn't touch the child (that I saw), he just seemed very verbally abusive.  I'd hate to be the one that didn't call when I should have and helped that child out of an unfortunate situation.  I'm not a parent, and I know that sometimes you just pop.  But that seemed far more inappropriate than it should have been.  And it sickens me to know that the woman let the man pop off like that on such a young child.

The thought I can't quit thinking..

What would you guys have done in the same situation?
How do you handle a situation like that when you are in public and someone "disciplines" their child in a way you don't think appropriate?
I'm sure I shot them some dirty looks but that is about it...

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  1. Girl, that's a tough situation... I hate being in that position because I don't know what's been going on in their lives- maybe the kid is truly a huge brat that has gotten on the parents' every last nerve, maybe the parents had the worst day of their lives at work, maybe the kid didn't deserve anything that was said to him and the parents should truly know better. It's so hard to tell since we're "outsiders."

    I personally, can't stand people that discipline in public. Of course, I only have a one-year-old, so that issue hasn't come up for us yet, but I can't see myself spanking or yelling in front of others. I hate rocking the boat. LOL

    I think you did the right thing though. Since he wasn't being physically abusive, there was probably no reason to call the cops. But if you ever see him talking to the boy like that again there might be reason to call CPS or someone like that so that the child can be "checked on."
    I feel for these poor children that are talked to in such a harsh manner. They grow up thinking that's the only way they can get their point across, and then we end up with all these kids spewing curse words and hatred...