Once I pick a topic to blog about, I don’t look back- I just figure out a way to write and just write it.  This topic is a little different-I’ve actually pushed this idea off a few times- I know there’s a point I’m trying to make, but I’m not sure what it is.

But- because I never give up, and once I get an idea in my head I have to keep pushing through.  Passionate?  Stubborn?  I’ll let you decide which…

A few months ago I went to the gym.  As one does, when I came back I was hot and sweaty and my muscles were a bit fatigued.  I walked into the air conditioned lobby of my building and drank my water as I waited for the elevator. A mother and daughter (about two) stood beside me waiting for the elevator.  When the doors opened, the mother and daughter got on the elevator.  When I tried to enter, the little girl screamed no and actually tried to push me off the elevator, hitting me. She continued to throw a tantrum screaming no no no.

The Mother was embarrassed and did all the mother things we do when our offspring behave in an inappropriate way. She apologized to me, tried to get the child to apologize. the whole deal.

The whole thing left me a little uneasy.  I’ve seen kids misbehave.  All kids misbehave.  All kids do things we wish they didn’t.  I understand testing limits- it’s what kids are supposed to do.

But- this didn’t seem quite like that.  This seemed different. This seemed more troubling.

So- my question is: how do we know what is acceptable bad behavior, and how do we know when bad behavior is hiding something bigger? Was this an appropriate two year old tantrum, or is something going on in this kids life/mind that is should be evaluated?

As parents, as bystanders…how do we know?

What do we do?

99 thoughts on “What would you do?

  1. there is not much you can do, as the bystander. as a teacher of young children, mother of 3, and grandmother of 6, i’d say this behavior is beyond the norm, and is indeed, troubling.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I found it odd, at best. I’ve now begun watching the kid when I see her with her nanny, trying to see if there’s an issue there….but i sort of feel helpless as a human because the whole thing doesn’t sit right with me

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, that’s inappropriate. My daughter cried so much leaving the house that we really didn’t go a lot of places until she was about 5. Maybe this child has similar issues, or a bad case of stranger anxiety. Hopefully, she will outgrow it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just thought it was really odd behavior…I haven’t seen too many kids hit an adult they don’t know…and the aggressiveness of her behavior was a little scary

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, very odd and inappropriate. I’m sure you are not the first to be on the receiving end of that. And I think I would have said something like, “Oh, we don’t hit anyone. We keep our hands to ourselves” just to make sure she got the message from you as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I would instantly begin wondering why this little one is so very terrified of being inside a small space with a stranger (and her mommy) when she seemed okay out in the open lobby. As for what to do…I’m not sure there are many options at this point unless you know this family, see them again to observe what behaviors may happen, can somehow ask a question or two of mom…etc. It is puzzling though and something I would continue to wonder about.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just know this family as one of many in our building. I’ve never had a conversation with her. But the whole incident didn’t feel right to me, and two months later I’m still going over it in my mind

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I would have to agree, this is very bad behavior for a two year old. She sounds like a spoiled little brat, but then again, there could be more behind it. One doesn’t really know these days.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I am leaning towards her just being a spoiled brat. I think she may have only wanted her and her mother on the elevator.

        If I were in this situation, I would have walked away. I have a very low tolerance for kids that throw tantrums like that.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been eating at me for awhile, and yes…this tale has been told at dinners and such since then, because the behavior just troubled me….I’ve seen kids act in odd ways, but something about this made me stop

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As the parent of a 3 year old who sometimes leaves all rational behavior anywhere else than wherever we actually happen to be, I can tell you that I would have been utterly mortified but also not 100% surprised. They can be ridiculously irrational about the strangest of things because, in their minds, they had it planned to go ABC and your stepping into the elevator was more of an XYZ gig. I hope that you stayed in the elevator regardless. That’s what I would have done. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know I stayed in the elevator…..I worked in the trading floor for fifteen years…I’ve dealt with actual big babies…😉….it was just something about her aggressiveness with a stranger….it happened two months ago and it’s still sitting with me….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not gonna lie. If I had been in your shoes, it would have seriously weirded me out, too. But being in the position of having one of these utterly unpredictable maniacs by my side at times, I feel more embarrassed for that mom than anything. Kids go bazerk whenever they are tired. It’s like their bodies decide to stick around even though their minds are hanging out a few doors down.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh….preaching to the choir. My greatest superpower is to ignore my child when she’s doing something weird….or my husband because he’s more likely to do something weird

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  6. I’d say all you can do is watch. Or maybe casually chat with the mother, in passing, about how tricky it can be to raise kids… open yourself up to listen to her… maybe the mother knows there’s a problem but doesn’t know what to do about it?

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Something or someone may have frightened her ,in an elevator before. I know,duh. The best you can do is what your doing-keep an eye on her. My son at that age wouldn’t go near men or even look at them. A photographer once lifted him to a chair and my boy nearly had a class1 meltdown. It could be her age…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Apparently when I was four, maybe younger, a man of color entered an elevator that my mom and I were in. This was in the south back in the days of segregation. I’d never seen a black person before. My mom said I began to scream and cry hysterically. She was embarrassed and yanked me off of the elevator at the next floor.

    I don’t remember any of this, but I do know I was a really neurotic kid. Anything out of the ordinary set me off—looking back I’ve always wondered if perhaps I’m on the spectrum, but over time I have developed coping skills that mask most of my behaviors.

    That could very easily be the case here. This child might have some issues dealing with things/people that aren’t part of her comfort zone. Having said all that, it’s probably not a bad idea to just observe.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That is interesting. Last year, while I was still subbing, I subbed in a 2nd grade classroom. I called the office to have a 2nd grader removed because of similar behavior to this. As she was with the class and there were other behavior problems, it became exceedingly challenging for me to control the class. It took awhile for someone to show up and I was annoyed. It put me in a difficult position. Unfortunately, although only a sub, I felt graded on this event and was later asked what happened as if I had caused the event. I have finished subbing now with my new job this year but I have noticed more behavior like this than in the past decades from 2000-2002 subbing during grad school. Thanks for listening. Sorry for the long response.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, and you are blamed for things of which you have no knowledge. That day, I didn’t take the class outside to recess after lunch because I didn’t quite trust the class dynamics. I checked with one of the other teachers and she told me, “Well, you don’t have to.” I got into trouble for this. Teachers really have a challenging as do the subs. Obviously some problems are beyond simple.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Something came to me as I was reading down through the comments. I noticed that you stated that the child is usually with her Nanny. Could it be possible that this child was afraid you would take her away from her Mommy like what happens when the Nanny comes? Being out in the open the child was fine, she didn’t feel like anyone was threatening her Mommy and me time. But when you tried to get on the elevator, perhaps she was suddenly worried that you were going to get on and her Mommy would leave?
    Just a thought, I obviously could be very off!
    The other thing that struck me is how you can’t get it out of your mind. I have had those times and I think we always need to trust our instinct for usually there is a reason that we can’t get something off our minds. I am not sure what to tell you to do about it though, besides being observant of the girl and her behavior the next time you may happen to see her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t think that about the mother and leaving her with the nanny…good point. But yeah…the fact that I keep going back to this is troubling me….that whole instinct thing

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  11. Kudos to you as you must have nerves of steel to work on the trading floor for that long and a great sense of humor. This particular situation stayed with me for awhile also. For a long time, I felt on the blame line and faced many mornings with dry heaves wondering how I would be perceived. I noticed many caring people who were subbing after retirement from teaching full time, or between jobs leave as last year was in my district, “Lets blame the subs.” I wonder who the blame will be on this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I don’t always seem like it, but I’m incredibly good under pressure, and I can be oddly calm when need be. Bit that also means I can be emotionless and cold when I need to be. Good and bad

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes it is so much easier to relate to adults because the blame line in society is not pointed in the right direction often in this decade. The point is that you get into trouble with schools if you attempt to discipline by withholding a treat like recess. It is much easier to deal with adults because they can’t blame you for being “mean.” Well, they can but..thanks for listening. Enjoy our day!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. If i were you, i’d have stepped back and either waited for the elevator to go and come, or if there was another one, waited for the second. As the kid’s mother, i’d have known if it was a normal behavior for my kid. If it was, i’d have been stern, and have her make room. If it wasn’t normal, i’d have stepped out of the elevator and tried to figure out what caused the strange behavior.
    On a side note, when my oldest was three, he and his father were in an elevator when a man entered. he tried talking to my son, what’s your name, age, does he go to school and so on, but my son ignored the guy completely. My oldest is very outgoing, so when the other man stepped out, his father asked him why he didn’t answer. My son said that the guy looked like a stranger and a kidnapper.
    What i mean is that my son’s silence wasn’t usual, but he still had a reason for it, parents only need to give them a chance to speak. I know we’re blindsided sometimes, but children always have a reason, no matter how illogical, for the things they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There was no way I was stepping off the elevator because then the kid will think that whenever she misbehaves or throws a fit people will listen to her. For better or worse we’re all members of a society and we have to get along to a certain extent. Especially in a city where we’re always taking elevators

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I hold a firm line with my kid. I always tell parents the supermarket story. If you’re tired and cranky and at the market with your kid, just say yes when they ask for a candy bar. If you know you’re not in the mood to deal with a tantrum and hold your ground, it’s better to say yes from the get go than to hVe them wheedle you into giving in anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do that with my kids – if i’m not in the mood for tantrums or out of patience. But the kid on the elevator wasn’t mine. Like i said, as the mother, i’d have been stern and have my kid make room.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I believe kids learn faster if they are grounded when they misbehave. The bigger the tantrum and misbehaving, the more severe the grounding gets. My kids are no saints, but they’re well behaved – in other people’s houses or when we have guests over. Otherwise, they’re little pests.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I always think it’s ok and expected if a kid misbehaves with its parents because that’s testing boundaries. I’m often wary when they act out with others

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sometimes I give in and give them the candy bar. But there have been times when I just took the child out of the store leaving the cart and everything except my personal belongings behind. We would go home and I would go back another time alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Being on the spectrum is a possibility and the mother might not be aware yet, I hate to think that people have been feeding into the fear of strangers so much that this kid is traumatized by being on the elevator with someone.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. It is so difficult to know when to get involved and when not. I transcribe a lot of psych reports and there are so many adults who have issues that stem from their childhood. Maybe ask around if anyone else has seen/heard something similar?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think HITTING a stranger makes this scenario unacceptable………… I should qualify that statement with hitting anyone is wrong………. my sibling’s children are 10 and 12yrs and the parents have never once hit them. They are adorable lovely kind children who play up lol as all kids do but they never hit each other so perhaps that child has been hit?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bizarre behavior for sure from the kid and odd circumstances. I’m sorry that it happened to you and hopefully you won’t meet again in the elevator. If you do happen to have another encounter I hope you’ll blog about it as it is mysterious…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I think calling a two year old a spoiled brat is going to far. Two year olds are irrational. They have only been on the planet for 24 months and have zero idea what’s really going on in the world. I wouldn’t overthink it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As bystanders, step back, smile sympathetically at both suffering parties, pray for both suffering parties.

    As a parent, whatever we can think of in a massively futile attempt to battle everything in our kids’ outer realities, from destructive “entertainment” to mind programming “games” to dumyadown compulsory rote education to medical implants and autism-causing mandatory vaccines: we can only love the child and give it to God, and hope it is enough.

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  18. When I was in grade school, I dreaded when the bus stopped to pick up this one little girl. Every morning she kicked and cried and screamed so that her mother couldn’t even get her on the bus. Even as a third-grader, I knew something wasn’t right with her behavior. When I read your post the same red flag rose. Something is not right there. I’d say keep your eyes and ears open for the sake of the child in case something else is going on. You never know these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. You did right, and can’t do much from here.
    As to the behavior, I agree that it could be separation anxiety (peaks around then), poor behavior that often goes unchecked, behavioral disorders (autism and ADD/ADHD stuff), or even adoption issues if her family did that.
    My cousin (adopted) was very violent, in that she wantonly kicked or hit even when she wasn’t particularly upset.
    I would have been really weirded out if the mother did nothing about it, myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. The child could have had Autism, sounds like it to me. I used to work with children with Autism. I know some people would say if this is the case the mother should have explained this, but really it can become very tiresome explaining all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This is a really incredible question. Thank you for bringing it up, I’m so glad that you did.

    I don’t know what I would have done. And, I so appreciate that it’s been bothering you. When that happens for me, I talk with someone I love and trust (in fact, I just did this tonight with something!).

    I hope that writing about it helped you, and it sounds like from the comments, it was really valuable for other people.

    Sending you lots of love.
    Blessings,
    Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well maybe it’s a big enough apartment building that your encounters will be infrequent, if at all. Or that child will be taught proper behavior. Either way you handled it well. I’d have melted in shame (wrongly) and waited for the next lift. Good for you.

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