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Old 06-05-2010, 06:47 PM   #1
BHope
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Default Walmart Discipline Experience.

I had a really interesting experience at Walmart earlier this afternoon. I was there looking for some last minute WDW supplies when mid-shopping I heard a blood curdling scream. The sound was immediately followed by more gut wrenching sobbing and shrieking.

I saw people look in the general direction of the screaming but no one seemed to be rushing to the aid of the child who was screaming. Stomach in knots I headed over. I was expecting to find a child who was being beaten, but instead there was a seven/eight year old boy in the middle of clothing section who was SCREAMING at the top of his lungs.

I want to be clear, he didn't sound like he was screaming in anger, instead he just sounded out of control and desperate.

Thankfully (?) the parents were giving him room and I never saw them touch him angrily. Although, they were angry. Really angry. In as much as they never (at my witness) struck him, they were totally strung out. When the parents saw me, the mom screamed right back at her son, "STOP SCREAMING, STOP SCREAMING, STOP SCREAMING!!"

The Dad, in turn, yelled "AND THIS IS WHY WE NEVER TAKE YOU ANYWHERE. YOU ARE UNREASONABLE. YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL. KNOCK IT OFF."



I could tell they were overwhelmed, embarrassed, and totally out of their league. I honestly didn't know what to do. I knew it was possible that the boy was dealing with special needs, but the parents were >.< this close to snapping. I couldn't imagine any way for me to approach them that wouldn't further escalate the situation.

There was a lot of angry shouting (from the parents) about how they were NOT going to buy him a game. So, as near as I can gather, the whole episode had escalated from the boy asking for a game and the parents saying no.

Dr. Karyn Purvis always talks about "predator posture" when it comes to approaching a child who is raging. The parents had "predator" written all over the way they were moving and talking.

I literally stood there. I wasn't willing to walk out of sight, because I was pretty confident that my being there was all that was stopping the child from getting punched. Yet at the same time, I was so lost as to how to help. Right as I was gathering some strength to step in, an older (think: Grandma) Walmart employee walked right up to the couple.

She virtually ignored the parents and approached the boy confidently. She said in a conversational, friendly -but no non-sense- voice, "Oh boy, I bet you're exhausted. Here, I brought you some water. It's cold and will feel good on your throat." She knelt by the boy and held out an ice cold bottle of water, saying to him "Go ahead and take a deep drink."

Followed by, "Take a second, you really look thirsty."

She then wet her hand against the condensation of the bottle and ran it across the boy's sweaty forehead.

In an instant the boy went from full on desperate screaming to quiet sad sobs. He took two big drinks of the water and then wrapped his arms around his Dad and cried. The Dad gave him an awkward hug, and the Walmart employee said, "I bet, you both would feel so much better if you got a nice big hug. Hugs feel good."

So the Dad knelt down and gave the boy a big hug and the boy hic-cupped and just held onto his Dad.

The mom was shifting uncomfortably and said something like, "how much do we owe you for the water?"

I didn't hear what Walmart employee told her, but essentially she acted like the water was no big deal. Almost like she gave out free bottles of ice cold water all the time.

The employee sat and chatted with the parents, talked to the little boy, and then I wandered away. I saw the parents and son a little bit later and everyone looked soo much better. The parents were smiling, the boy was smiling.
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May you always know God's love and His comfort.

Last edited by BHope; 06-06-2010 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

How beautiful
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

What an angel that woman is! Thank you for doing your part until she got there.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

That is SOOOO beautiful and not what I expected from the title of the post. Thanks for sharing that. I *just* told a mama-friend yesterday that a cold drink of water can sometimes help de-escalate a tantrum situation.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:59 PM   #5
MaybeGracie
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

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Old 06-05-2010, 07:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

It is good to hear one with a happy ending.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

What a wonderful example she was to those overwrought parents. I bet they'll remember that. I'm so glad you told us.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:06 PM   #8
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

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Old 06-05-2010, 07:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

How awesome!
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:25 PM   #11
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

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Old 06-05-2010, 07:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.



I've been that parent *this* close to snapping. How wonderful she was there to help.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.



I am taking that with me. What a lovely story for sharing
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

Thank you so much for sharing.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:33 PM   #15
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Default Re: Walmart Discipline Experience.

That's beautiful!
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