Liv Tyler Battles for a Distraught Child

Have you ever heard a stranger being cruel to a child and didn’t know what to do? 

On June 17th, Liv Tyler heard an elderly woman screaming at a crying tot and started screaming back.

Read the full story and see pics here

I remember when I was a little girl, my mother used to follow people around and stare at them if they were being mean to children.  It was her way of letting them know she disapproved, I suppose, and I think she also hoped that they’d be embarrassed and stop hitting or shouting since they knew they were being watched.

My daughter Anna has a habit of loudly saying things like "She’s not a very nice mother, is she, Mommy?".  Eek!  πŸ™‚ 

Personally, I try to smile sympathetically at both the adult and child.  I smile at the adult to lessen the stress of the situation and because adults often act harsher in public because they’re embarrassed at their children’s behavior and feel judged.  I also want them to focus on a positive feeling and switch their attention from their anger.  I smile at the child so the adult sees that the child deserves sympathy right now too.

I never feel like it’s enough.

I also called Child Protection when I had good reason to suspect abuse.  I worked as a domestic abuse advocate and I was a Mandated Reporter (required by law to report suspected abuse), but I think we all should consider ourselves Mandated Reporters if we really believe children are being abused.  I even called from a restaurant once, because the adults at another table were being downright cruel and discussing plans to hurt a very unhappy toddler.  I couldn’t stop thinking that if they thought it was okay to loudly be that mean in public, what they would do to the child once they were in the privacy of their home or car.

I have also befriended mothers who acted abusive in the hopes of helping them and their children.  I guess I feel that you don’t teach people to be less mean by being mean to them.  πŸ™‚ 

I read an interview once with a woman who had been abused as a child and she said a stranger once intervened and told her mother off in public when she was acting abusive.  She said she didn’t care if she got hurt worse once they were home because of it, it was so important that someone else finally made a statement that she didn’t deserve that.  She never forgot it, and it was the only time she ever felt an adult looked out for her.

What do you do to try to help in situations like this, if anything?


1 Comment

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One response to “Liv Tyler Battles for a Distraught Child

  1. Anonymous

    I think it was a mistake on Liv’s part; it is rare that angry confrontation helps this kind of thing, and usually the fact that you were angry just leaves them with the feeling of righteous indignation which would interfere with any actual thought about the matter. I usually do what you do Alicia; I know it doesn’t accomplish much but people are going to be won slowly, bit by bit, not through one isolated correction or conversation. It’s a whole way of thinking which is often driven by fear and probably comes from the person herself being raised that way. Maybe it would have been good to offer the lady to try to comfort the child or offer alternatives to solving the problem–it looks like the baby was crying in the picture–and let her know that everyone needs a break sometimes. Any real change that comes about is going to come from raising our own children lovingly, compassionately, thoughtfully.
    I once saw a (foster?) mother berating a five-year-old girl for having peed her pants. She went on and on, for the whole 5 minutes or more I was in the bathroom at the store, and was really harsh. The little girl was just silently sobbing the whole time. I wanted to say something, like lighten things up by telling about how I peed my pants in kindergarten once, but I kind of felt like the lady would bite my head off if I said anything; she was so angry. I still don’t know what the right thing would have been, but I would have liked for that little girl to remember that someone thought it was okay to have an accident sometimes.

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