The parent who doesn't parent

by Stephanie
(Santa Cruz, CA)

My 15 month old son and I were in the park this week and "Ben", a four year old carrying a small branch with leaves on it runs over to my child and whacks him with it. Ben then starts running in my direction and raises it to hit me. My instinct was to grab his arm before the branches caught me and tell him that that this wasn't acceptable behavior. Meanwhile, his mother, who saw all this happen while she was gabbing on her cell phone did nothing but say "That wasn't nice, Ben".

What do you do when there's another child misbehaving, targeting you and your child, and their parent doesn't do anything about it? What behavior on my part is acceptable? I wanted to yank Ben half way across the park and whack the cell phone with the branch out of his mother's hand.

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