Watching Children Carefully

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  • #592155

    oomis
    Participant

    My husband and I were at a free Jewish concert in a local park recently, when we were appalled to see a VERY young child wandering around by himself, clearly looking for a parent. he suddenly broke into a run towards the street, and my husband jumped up and ran across almost an entire field to catch up to this child and bring him back to where we were. Luckily, at this point his grandfather who had brought him there, caught up to us and reclaimed his grandson. What bothered me the most was this same child (and grandfather) had been at the concert in the park on the previous week, and the child had run away then, too!

    There is absolutely no justification for this type of loosey-goosey careklessness with a child,. If you are too old, too tired, or too laid back to properly supervise an energetic toddler, then DO NOT BRING HIM TO A PUBLIC PLACE without additional supervision. Get a tether, kind of like a leash, and attach the child to you. At least he won’t run into oncoming traffic. I shudder to think what might have happened had my husband not caught him and brought him back.

    I see this type of thing all the time, but it is usually young parents who are guilty of this type of laissez-faire attitude with their toddlers. We took our two year old granddaughter to the Aquarium this week, and one of us was holding her hand every second. It takes just ONE MOMENT for a tragedy to occur chalilah.

    I don’t think that Zaydie realizes how close he came to losing his ainekel. My husband did NOT read him the riot act, as we were in public, but maybe he should have.

    #692954

    smartcookie
    Member

    Oomis, I think your husband should have mentioned something to the grandfather very politely.

    Anyway, this is an old problem. It’s terrible and we see it everywhere. But you won’t change the world.

    Many children live on a ness!!

    #692955

    oomis
    Participant

    Smartcookie, you are so right. It IS a nes!

    #692956

    SRPsych
    Member

    There is a malach protecting every child. It is not to be depended on exclusively, of course. But for those parents who try, and still have those heart-stopping danger moments with their kids (and don’t we all have those!)- it’s good to know!

    #692957

    smartcookie
    Member

    Oomis, I have a relative whose kids live in the streets. They play outdoors WITHOUT SUPERVISION every free minute.

    She just believes that she is the busiest mother and her kids just can’t be in the house!

    I asked her the following question:

    “If someone would pass by and walk off with your child chas vsholom, how long would it take you to realize that? (She doesn’t even check up on them once in a while).”

    Her answer?” Well Hashem should just protect them….”

    This is what I call putting youself into danger and relying on a nes.

    #692958

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Smartcookie. Ask your Rav if you are permitted to tell your relative if she doesn’t watch her kids you will call “Child Servces”.

    Also ask if you are permitted to teach her a lesson by walking away with one of her kids.

    #692959

    smartcookie
    Member

    Apushata-i will definitely not scare her by walking off with one of her kids even just to teach her a lesson.

    As far as calling child services, I wouldn’t do it to her. The streets are full of young children playing alone. I think all these mothers need some lessons.

    #692960

    rescue37
    Participant

    smartcookie,

    I don’t know how old you are, but when I was a kid growing up 30 years ago I would leave the house in the morning, and if I remembered maybe come home for lunch. When it started getting dark we would know it’s time to go home. I things are different today, but to say the kids can’t go outside and play by themselves is beyond the pale. It is thinking like this that has contributed to the thinking that a 25 year old with 2 kids still needs to be supported fully. Kids need to learn independence. If they are coddled all there life, they will need to be coddled as grownups also.

    #692961

    ZosHaTorah
    Participant

    My rav calls it “the total abdication of parenting” when he sees children running up and down the halls at shul, or outside the building. Perhaps you can add the phrase Chilul Hashem if they’re doing it at a public concert?

    #692962

    smartcookie
    Member

    Rescue- there’s a major difference between protecting your children and overprotecting them.

    If you walked streets alone as a young child, it doesn’t make it right. And same goes to 6 year olds who stay outside without supervision.

    Were not talking about 13 year olds here. These are young children. They should NEVER be left alone.

    Besides that it’s illegal and the parents can get into trouble.

    #692964

    blinky
    Participant

    This is such an important concept-a friend was driving and a child just ran in front of her car. She braked and just missed hitting him. Shaken, she saw the kids mother on the porch talking on a cell phone. She told the mother that she almost hit her kid. The mother barely glanced up and mumbled, “oh whatever” or something like that. She had to drive over to a corner to stop her from shaking with fear and anger-toward this irresponsible mother. She said she felt like calling in authorities right than and there.

    #692965

    mw13
    Participant

    blinky – “This is such an important concept-a friend was driving and a child just ran in front of her car. She braked and just missed hitting him. Shaken, she saw the kids mother on the porch talking on a cell phone. She told the mother that she almost hit her kid. The mother barely glanced up and mumbled, “oh whatever” or something like that. She had to drive over to a corner to stop her from shaking with fear and anger-toward this irresponsible mother. She said she felt like calling in authorities right than and there.”

    I believe that case would definitely qualify for the “reading of the riot act” that was mentioned before. Your friend should have pointed out (nicely, of course) that this is a extremely risky thing to do, and that this mother was playing russian roulette with her child just so she could talk on the phone!!

    In general, there is a mitzvah of “hochaich tocheach es amisecha” – you shall rebuke my people. If you see somebody doing something wrong and/or dangerous, say something to them!

    #692966

    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    I recently heard of an incident in a bungalow colony where a mother left her four year old to watch her two year old while she went in to take a nap. She was woken up 30 minutes later by a friend who found her two year old in the street.

    The mother was appalled that someone obviously left the gate opened so that her two year old was able to walk out.

    Please, in the country (or where ever), always make sure that the gates are closed and secured when going in and out. (And don’t leave your kids unless they are under the supervision of an adult or a competent teen.)

    #692967

    Sister Bear
    Member

    It’s not always so simple. If the kid knows not to run into the street, then why can’t they play outside? My siblings play outside the whole day with our neighbors, and no parent watching outside and we live on a busy street. The oldest kids are normally 9. My mother lets my 4 year old sister play outside and I don’t think anyone would say that my mother doesn’t watch her children.

    If they know not to do something irresponsible, then why not?

    #692968

    blinky
    Participant

    Dr. pepper- I agree but i would change the order. I would say first “don’t leave your kids unless they are under the supervision of an adult or a competent teen” and then “always make sure that the gates are closed and secured when going in and out.” (unless you were being sarcastic im not sure)

    #692969

    LAer
    Member

    Sister Bear, it’s not always a question of the kids’ responsibility. Haven’t we all heard stories about predators? Do you really think that a four-year-old will not talk to a stranger, especially one that looks okay and/or has a yummy treat for them? I once saw a little girl, no older than 7, actually engage a stranger in conversation as he was walking through the development. And I don’t mean that she just said hello, she perkily said, “Hi! What’s your name? Where do you live?” Some kids are just friendly! Of course, there was no mother in sight, and I made sure to stay nearby until the man was gone. Honestly, where are the parents?

    The world is a sick place nowadays, and we have to do everything in our power to keep our precious children safe. There is no excuse for not watching young children outside.

    #692970

    smartcookie
    Member

    Sister bear- and what if some stranger comes up to them? Its not only a matter of running into the street. There are many more dangers to being alone in the street.

    #692971

    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    blinky-

    I would never be sarcastic with an issue as serious as this.

    The mother was definitely wrong for leaving her kids out alone, I wanted to bring up the issue of securing a play area which people, like myself, who do not go to the country, are not used to doing.

    At the end I mentioned again not to leave children unattended as it can never be said enough times.

    But you are correct, it is first and foremost the responsibility of the parents to make sure their children are being properly supervised at all times.

    #692972

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    I can’t imagine a mother would leave her 4 year old to watch her 2 year old!

    #692973

    Sister Bear
    Member

    I guess you guys are right, you really should watch your children. Although in my mother’s defense, there are normally other older kids outside or she just told me (my sister) that she goes outside with my neighbors, whose mother goes out with them too.

    #692974

    LAer
    Member

    SJS, believe it! People do even dumber things than that. They leave infants outside stores in strollers without even a four-year-old to watch them! I personally know someone who told me that he once saw his sister-in-law’s kids (all under age 5) outside a store on a busy street in Boro Park by themselves and walked off with them – took them to ice cream. The mother was hysterical upon finding her children missing (who knows how much later she realized it?) and I think she didn’t talk to him for a very long time. I hope that it at least taught her a lesson. I’ve been tempted to do the same thing many times.

    People also leave their children alone in the house, something that I cannot fathom. I once saw a young couple in my neighborhood taking a Shabbos evening walk and asked them who was watching their infant (I figured their parents or siblings must have been there). They simply smiled and answered, “Hashem.” I mean, yes, their bitachon is beautiful, but that is horrendously irresponsible!

    #692975

    smartcookie
    Member

    I mean, yes, their bitachon is beautiful, but that is horrendously irresponsible!

    That is not bitachon. It is pure irresponsibility and relying on Hashem for a nes which one shouldn’t do.

    #692976

    LAer
    Member

    I guess we really do need a sarcasm font. I was being sarcastic. Sorry that wasn’t clearer!

    #692977

    oomis
    Participant

    “If someone would pass by and walk off with your child chas vsholom, how long would it take you to realize that? (She doesn’t even check up on them once in a while”

    She is negligent. Period. And if she is so busy and stressed, she has no right to have those children, because they should eb her priority, no excuses accepted. If you were to walk off with a child to teach ehr a lesson, you would be arrested for kidnaping. I know because I enquired about this, when I wanted to teach a very negligent mom the same lesson. I found her 18 month old wandering two blocks from the house and she had no idea he was gone. You have no idea what a chillul Hashem this causes when goyim see the children volgering with no adult in sight. And I mean VERY VERY young kids under 4, including kids who have just learned how to walk.

    #692978

    oomis
    Participant

    Sister BEar, it is too great an achrayus to expect your older kids (who are also kids themselves) to be responsible all the time for their younger siblings. I have seen 8 year olds walk off, leaving the baby unattended. A woman has a baby, it’s her job and daddy’s to watch the kid. Her other children did not ask to be unpaid child care providers, though under strong supervision, they certainly can and should be expected to HELP out.

    #692979

    aries2756
    Participant

    I want to make this VERY, very clear. Children are a matanah from Hashem, again CHILDREN are a gift from Hashem and are not to be taken for granted. There are many couples who have the nisayon of having to wait many years and having to go through many trials and tribulations in order to have children, if at all. So lets understand the seriousness of this discussion and how painful it is to anyone chalishing to have children when those who B”H are blessed with children do not “get it” and are negligent at the job of caring for them.

    Children can not raise themselves and can not watch themselves. Small children should only be allowed to play outside with other children when older children are outside, or other adults are outside, if a parents specifically goes over to that adult or older child and requests that they watch that child and informs them when they can no longer do so. What would happen to the child if the older kids or parent goes inside and that younger child is left outside on its own? Can that child be trusted to go home alone? Would the child follow some other child home? Would the child cross the street and wander off? Anything can happen and a parent who does not take precaution is a NEGLIGENT parent.

    Let’s get something else straight. A four year old is a baby!!!! A four year old is not old enough, alert enough or smart enough to watch a 2 year old. Maybe a four year old can watch a 2 year old while a parent goes to the bathroom, or is in another room. But certainly a four year old is not old enough to watch another sibling outside of the home when the parent is sleeping. Yes even in a bungalow colony. Even a 6 year old is too young for that job! If a mother cannot handle the responsibility of so many young children, then maybe they should consider hiring a mother’s helper or speaking to their Rav about family planning.

    There is no excuse in the world for a parent to be on the phone, be too busy or too tired to watch their own children. Your children should be your top priority, and if they aren’t you really need to sit down and think about it.

    And grandparents should know their limitations. If you are too tired to babysit or take your grandchildren on outings be upfront and say so. Putting your grandchildren in dangerous situations because you want to be the “good guys” is a foolish mistake. Better to say “NO” and keep them safe.

    #692980

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I think it is irresponsible to do nothing more than rant on an internet blog. if you don’t to do anything, then tell me who this mother is and I will read her the riot act. If it doesn’t work, I will ask the shayla about telling child services.

    #692981

    oomis
    Participant

    APY, ranting is good for the soul. It enables us to blow off steam before we act. I don’t know if you were referring to me or not in your last response, but I want to assure you that when I returned the missing child, I DID tell the mother off, in a quiet but unmistakeable way about how close she came to losing her precious baby. She was a choshuveh rebbetzin in my neighborhood, btw, and I was extremely uncomfortable giving her mussar.

    I would never call CPS on a parent without a) asking a shailah if this was mosering and b) warning the parent that I would do so if I ever saw the neglect again.

    #692982

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I was once given permission to be moser a crook. It takes some real achrayus to pasken on a case of mesira.

    Really! I had a heter. You’re not allowed to kill me.

    #692983

    olamhatorah
    Member

    I have been blessed ka”h with 4 young children,and much as we are so careful, mistakes happen to the best of us and not every situation canshould be judged – in such cases we are so thankful that there is an additiona; shmirah for our children, a malach sent by HaShem – the malach DOES NOT mean we don`t have to watch them ourselves…and every situation of sakanah which does not end in tragedy is as much a chesed as a lesson to be learned!

    There are some parents who are by nature more relaxed and others less so and this is clear in their parenting practices…I definitely think there is a level of overprotectivenes which can be damaging in itself…

    When I see outright cases of disinterst taking safety for granted or even negligence I shudder.

    Unfortunately the news is full of tragedies – no one is immune – one can`t think that could never happen to me….We need to be vigilant and domour utmost hishtadlus to protect our treasured gifts and rely on HaShem for the rest!

    #692984

    aries2756
    Participant

    olamhatorah, agreed but it is always better to err on the side of caution. So I would rather parents are a little overprotective than under protective.

    Here is a lesson to be learned: Tell friends and family to call you in the evenings after play time, after dinner, and after the kids are asleep, that is when your time belongs to you. If they don’t understand this, then you should look for new friends and if family doesn’t understand this, try calling them when THEY are busy with their kids, see if they stop what they are doing to speak to YOU!

    #692986

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I wouldn’t call CPS without permission from a Rav, but the more I think about it, I’m not so sure a shayla is warranted. Do you have to ask a shayla to call 911 if you saw your neighbor about to physically harm someone? Leaving a small child unattended in the street is putting them in harms way.

    #692987

    Helpful
    Member

    Even putting aside if you’d become a moser by doing so (as there is no imminent harm present), you certainly cannot since you’d be putting the child in GREATER danger by calling the goyish authorities. We all know spiritual harm is far worse than any theoretical/potential physical harm, and we need not elaborate the CERTAIN SPIRITUAL DESTRUCTION that WILL occur should the goyim seize a Jewish child putting him into a non-frum environment.

    #692988

    smartcookie
    Member

    Helpful, that’s what I thought. It’s not gonna do good to the child if they’re parents get reported.

    We gotta work with other solutions.

    #692989

    oomis
    Participant

    It’s true that it could be bad for the kids if parents are reported (because CPS doesn’t care if foster parents are frum or even Jewish). But a warning should be issued to the parents that they are ABOUT to be reported, and give them a chance to clean up their act. Sometimes the threat is enough to get a result. And if not, then their rov should be notified and let him decide how to proceed. If there is real sakana to the child, I think the frum community needs to step in.

    #692990

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    CPS doesn’t usually whisk kids away unless there is abuse or serious neglect. They usually try to work with parents to give them child care classes to help family situations. CPS does not want to remove children from loving homes for no reason – they want to provide each child with a stable, solid home.

    I would rather ensure a child’s physical safety and then worry about their spiritual safety. They can’t perform mitzvos if they are dead (and dying because your parent neglected to watch you in the street is not a kiddush hashem).

    #692991

    Helpful
    Member

    The spiritual welfare of a Jew always takes precedence over his physical well-being. This is an uncompromising point.

    #692992

    aries2756
    Participant

    SJS, this is true, they are too overburdened to just take kids away from parents, and work too hard to reunite families than rip them apart. So if you got to the point that you had to call them in, don’t think too hard about it, do what is best for the children. Some parents need monitoring.

    In addition, I wouldn’t go to the Rav, I would call the grandparents and let them know before the Rav. In this day and time, most Rabbonim do not get “involved”.

    #692994

    oomis
    Participant

    Aries, while your idea makes sense, you would be surprised at how many grandparents are super-indulgent with their aineklach. In fact, on my block, it is b’davka the fault of the VERY nice grandmother, that her kids have such a loosey-goosey attitude towards child care. When we moved onto our block and we were all young parents, I saw her kids in the street and she mentioned how she had “moved here from a more rural neighborhood where kids could safely play in the street at all hours (little or no traffic), so this was a real change, but old habits die hard.” This is the same parent whose 18 month old child we found wandering two blocks away from her house, one sukkos and no one at the house even realized the child was gone. She is no different as a grandmother, and has imparted her parenting style to her kids, whose children in turn are ALL over the place, crossing the street at age two, teetering at the top of a steep staircase on a riding toy, at about age 3, etc. etc. I strongly beleive in Lo saamod al dam reiyecha, but where do we draw the line. I would not want a child’s injury (or worse, chalilah) on my conscience.

    #692995

    smartcookie
    Member

    It’s not so much the child’s spiritual welfare I’m worried about. It’s more their emotional being.

    A child who’s placed in a foster home is a big pity. Their emotional being doesn’t stay the same.

    P.s.

    Helpful, that’s what I thought. It’s not gonna do good to the child if they’re parents get reported

    Sorry about my BAD spelling mistake I made in an earlier post!

    #692996

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “The spiritual welfare of a Jew always takes precedence over his physical well-being. This is an uncompromising point.”

    You cant grow spiritually if your dead. I dont know about everywhere else, but in NYC they try to place frum children with a frum social services agency to be placed with a frum family. If there are no frum volunteers…..

    “In this day and time, most Rabbonim do not get “involved”.”

    You must not know the right Rabbonim.

    #692997

    Helpful
    Member

    If you see someone beating a child to death or giving him a loaded gun to play with, call the authorities. If you see someone let his child play outside himself, or other parenting practices you are philosophically opposed to, don’t try to become a moser.

    #692999

    aries2756
    Participant

    “The spiritual welfare of a Jew always takes precedence over his physical well-being. This is an uncompromising point.”

    Sorry I don’t agree. If you don’t show kids that you care about their health and welfare you automatically put a huge boulder up between them and their spirituality. Love has to be unconditional and not based on whether they are a good jew or not. So first and foremost we must keep our children safe and secure. Then we must worry about their spirituality. Do not allow kids to be neglected, or fall between the cracks and you will save them mind, body AND soul!

    #693000

    Helpful
    Member

    You may not agree, but the Torah and Gedolim do.

    Before the 2nd World War, Gedolim, in their infinite wisdom deeply steeped in Torah values (unlike us), advised Yidden it was better to risk physical death in Europe than to escape to somewhere where it was physically safe but risked spiritual death.

    Yes, without hesitation or doubt. The spiritual welfare of a Jew is far far more important than his physical well being. Better to burn at the Inquisition’s stake, than to even pretend to leave Judaism.

    #693001

    i believe that is a gross misconception/ the Gedolim did everything they could to help Jews escape.

    One is mchuyiv to give his life rather than transgress certain Mitzvos but not to avoid living in an undesirable place, even in a place of tumah. Avrohom, and Yaakov went down to Mitzrayim, the most immoral of all countries, because of famine

    #693002

    in addition. To save the last few minutes of a Jews life, even one in an irreversible coma, every other Jew is mchuyiv to stop learning, to block up his mind by eating pork, and transgress almost every lav in the Torah, if it will definitely prolong this Jews life for even one minute.

    But as a basic principle, you are right.

    #693003

    apushatayid
    Participant

    The discussion has (surprise!) strayed from negligent parents. Bottom line, if you see a negligent parent call them out on it. Don’t let them get away with it. Scare the living daylights out of them.

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