Why do parents allow their young children to run unattended in stores?

United States
May 4, 2007 10:40am CST
I was in Target the other day and I was approaching an aisle when this little boy ran right out and smashed into my shopping cart. He appeared to be no more than 3 years old. there he stood crying because when he hit the cart he scraped his knee and was bleeding... I look around for the parents and there was no one. So I ask wheres your mom or dad and he points and says over there somewhere. So I take him over there towards that area and walked all over looking for this childs mother. by this time almost 15 minutes has gone by and I am getting irate so just as I was about to go to customer service he pointed and said there she is. The mother is casually looking at candles. Now if that was me I would have been hysterically looking for my child, not smelling candles. I walk him over she looks at me and says "what has he done?" Not Omg, there you are, or where have you been. I said he didn't do anything other than hurt his knee. I asked how old he was and she said just turned 3 almost 2 weeks ago. I very rudely said to her, "Don't you think that a 3 year old needs supervision in a store of this size?" She told me he was just fine, she allows him to go look at what he wants. Do these people not understand the safety issues here or what? This child could get lost or worst of all abducted. Way too many bad things are happening to our children nowadays to allow them to freely just wander about. What's the matter with these parents?
12 people like this
40 responses
• India
5 May 07
Maybe because they feel that their kids are safe in the supermarket because of all the people that are there. Or something like that obviously. If these people have to get serious then they need to face the problem that comes from this negligence, until then they will continue letting the child to see whatever he likes.
• United States
5 May 07
Isn't that the truth? thanks:)
2 people like this
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
5 May 07
I have a friend who does this. Her daughter will be three in a week, but is allowed to wander off wherever she wants. The last time we were all out together, her daughter was somewhere in the store, Lord knows where, and I asked her mom, (because I had been watching her as closely as I could, b/c I didn't want anything to happen to her) Have you seen your daughter? SHe said, oh, she's around here somewhere, ...and somehow that was an adequate response! Iwas mortified, amazed, astonished, disgusted.. I couldn't believe it. We were at Jc Penny's or something, a fairly large store. Also, later on that day, we were all walking, and my youngest was in the stroller, and the oldest was upset because we wouldn't allow him to run around the store. We usually have him walk next to us, but he was having a hard time obeying because his friend was running all over the place, so we made him hold on to the stroller. The mother apologized to him saying "I'm sorry you can't run around like my daughter, I know it's not fair!" I think she honestly thought that my hubby and I were being unfair for not letting him run around like crazy, meanwhile she has no clue where her kid was! *sigh* Needless to say, we don't see much of them anymore, I can't handle it, it's too stressful to go out with them, b/c I will not just let her child run, I'll usually go babysit, b/c I don't want something to happen to her.
4 people like this
• United States
5 May 07
That's horrible for her to say that to your child. Maybe you should try educating her since you seem to be a responsible parent. Thanks:)
3 people like this
@KissThis (3004)
• United States
4 May 07
I see this kind of behavior all the time. These are the same people who will say how could this have happened to my child when their child gets kidnapped. Well duh, you couldn't be bothered to watch your own child. My children have to have one hand on the shopping cart at all times. They always walk in front of me so that I know where they are.
4 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
Yeah, they always appear to be dumbfounded when some s**t happens. What do they expect? Great parenting KissThis. Thanks:)
2 people like this
@cherylmae (173)
• Philippines
4 May 07
parents should always look after their kids.. but i'm not yet a parent so i have no idea how to really handle kids.. i've been to baby sitting kids and they're really a handful.. even if you don't watch them for only a minute, they'd run all over the house and exhaust your entire being.
4 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
Exactly, that's why you have to constantly chase them. A child that young could have been put in the cart. Congratulations, your about to get your 100th. post. Thanks:)
3 people like this
@stella1989 (2274)
• India
5 May 07
This is just carelessness of parents and nothing else...!! Accordiing to me I'll never leave my kids that freely ever ..!!(in their childhood) And this is the scenario of a shopping compless. Let me tell the what happens in the "chruch"?? Kids play "hide and seek" while a mass is going on..!! Now how can you answer that...! Kids run all the way in front of the altar..!! Disturbing whole of our concentration. And still parents don't tie them up to themselvs..!! These careless parents..!!
@Gumball (793)
• United States
5 May 07
Doesn't the church have a nursery area for parents to leave their children during services? Every church I've ever been in did. More than once I pulled babysitting duty during the morning servce for the kids that were too young for Sunday School classes. Most churches will insist that parents leave their kids in the nursery so services aren't disturbed.
3 people like this
• India
5 May 07
No we don't have that option ..!!
3 people like this
@RobinJ (2501)
• Canada
5 May 07
I personally would have reported that woman after that conversation. There is no way any child under the age of ten should be allowed to roam a big store by themselves, and I am not even sure about age 10 but at least they might have the sense to yell if some one was trying to grab them . You could have easily walked out of that store with the little fellow, and his mom probably would may be tomorrow be on TV pleading for her much beloved son to be returned. That is the most irresponsible person I have heard about in a long time, It is a darn good thing you are a good person, because it could have happened that there were the others that steal children and God knows what happens to them but it isn't good. Shame on her
3 people like this
• United States
5 May 07
yes, shame on her. Thanks:)
2 people like this
@Rickrocks8 (1751)
• United States
5 May 07
I still do not let mine run around in a store and they are 8 and 10. I may let them go one row over, but hey are never far from me. Evil people are out there one day I got a really bad feeling. This guy was behind us at the store my son wanted to look at the toys and I said well we really do not have time for that today. I know he could hear us. He followed us around the store. So when I took my son to the toys he left and I really think it is because I stayed right with him. My kids are my world and it's my job to keep them safe. Most people are not like that. My husband also thinks that I have some kind of 6th since about evil people. LOL Anyway your doing the right thing for your kids to keep them safe!
3 people like this
• United States
5 May 07
Good thing you stayed right with him. Thanks:)
2 people like this
• United States
5 May 07
My hubby and I tell our boys before we go anywhere "You are not to walk away from us, if you do (insert punishment here)." We also use this for whining and other behaviors that are unacceptable in public. I see this alot also, and I can't even begin to tell you how mad it makes me. Because those same parents are probably the ones that will blame everyone but themselves if something happens to that kid. It's neglectful, but since they're not hitting the kid no one cares!
3 people like this
• United States
5 May 07
Isn't it amazing how they will overlook certain forms of abuse just because it's not physical. abuse is abuse whether it be neglect or a physical beating. Thanks:)
2 people like this
@gegegelay (934)
• Philippines
5 May 07
Parents can sometimes be too irresponsible. It's their responsibility to look after their kids and shopping is not supposed to be their first priority. Their first priority is to look after their kids and make sure they're beside them and they're safe. It's funny coz' sometimes parents would often get mad at their children and blame them because their kids probably ran away or wander around.. Well, it's not the kids' fault! They're kids! They're supposed to be running around or going to places that they think is fun and exciting. I don't know why parents are like that nowadays..
@Gumball (793)
• United States
5 May 07
I kept my daughter in the cart with me until she was too big to fit in the seat anymore. Now if she's too tired or cranky, I'll put her in the basket itself and let her sleep if she's tired or take her home if she's too upset to be out in public. They also make nylon child harnesses and I used one of those on my daughter until she was 5. Had to quit when she got too big for it. It kept her with me but let her walk around some.
2 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
OMG! What an outrage. i usually say something t oparents like this. The kids irritate me with their behavior, but the parents anger me with their lack of supervising and discipline. i think there needs to be laws enforced on this. Children at that age have NO business left unattended to run around the store.
• United States
5 May 07
No they absolutely do not. Thanks:)
2 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
When I worked at a zoo kids always got lost. Do yo know why? Because their parents walked in front of them. now any child will get distarcted and stop while you keep going. It would make me so angry. I never let my daughter ot of sight. She can't walk yet, but the cart is right next to me. I would never walk away from teh cart for anything. But I watch parents do it and they wonder hy their purses get stolen.
• United States
4 May 07
That's right. Thanks:)
1 person likes this
@sjohnson628 (3197)
• United States
4 May 07
OMGOSSH! That is terrible that the little boy was away from his mother for 15 minuts in that big store! Thankfully there were no child predators around to abduct him. I would or been freeking out if my son was gone that long at that age!
3 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
i would have been to. thanks:)
1 person likes this
• United States
4 May 07
I don't see this too often in my part of the planet and for that I'm grateful. I hate it when parents let their kids even a little ahead of them. Mine is in the cart or holding onto the cart. He's 4, and just learning that the store is no place to run around and mommy means business when we shop. Now when he goes with dad or dad is with us, he's like a different, wilder child. I don't get it and don't like it. As in the case of your mother I think she is the worst kind of mother. Rather than be the first to whine about how it could have been her kids abducted, she is the opposite side of the coin. The one that says, "That will never happen to me/us." They are the most dangerous, because they sit there and think that nothing could happen (small town mothers are this way more often than most) to their kids. Its a small safe town, or the town they grew up in... I'm a sneaky mom, I let my child play at the park with what would look like too much freedom, but I know where he is, who he's around and what he is doing at all times. Even if I don't APPEAR to know, I do. I'm a little more lax right now, because it is hard to chase him being 8 months preggo. My stand is as long as he is in the park and I'm sitting where I can see EVERY section (and I do) then its ok. Then again, our park isn't that big... I actually have neighbors that aggravate me though. They let their kids play out front of the house next to a fairly busy road. Cars frequently speed down through there and it bugs me that they play outside unattended. I only just started taking my son out front to play, but damn if I'm going to let him play out there unsupervised!
3 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
The same here, there's a little boy next door still small enough for training wheels.There he is riding on the road, now let me mind you this is a one way narrow street without a parent in sight. It almost gives me heart failure. Thanks:)
2 people like this
@prestocaro (1253)
• United States
4 May 07
My sentiments exactly. The other day I saw a child that was probably 2.5 or 3 running around my local park. His parents were clear on the other side of the park. I mean, I could have taken this kid and left and they wouldn't have known! He could have been bitten by a dog that frequents the park! Who knows what else! After that occaision I have started to carry my cell phone with me when I walk my dog. If I see it happen again, I'm going to call the police. That is neglegent behavior. I also see kids running rampant in restaurants, where they could trip a waiter carrying hot food or drinks. The parents act like it's no big deal. Well, next time I see it, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind. That is just unacceptable!
• United States
4 May 07
I agree, totally unacceptable. Thanks:)
2 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
OMG! I agree completely. I have my fourth child on the way!!! Just 5 more days! Anyhow, I have a 6year old, 2+ year old, 1 year old and the new baby coming. I take my children most everywhere but they are NOT allowed to wonder off. My 6 year old isn't even allowed to go off! Parents that allow this just must not care. That is just crazy. My 6 year old told me just last week that his friend was walking to the store could he go? The store is like 4 blocks from here. UM NOOOO I don't think so. that's how trouble makers get started, children get abducted, ran over, etc.. KEEP YOUR KIDS AT YOUR SIDE! If you don't wanna deal with them when shopping then for heavens sake take them to a child care facility or enlist a family member or friend to take care of them while you are out!
3 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
Perfectly said. Congratulations on the upcoming baby. Thanks:)
1 person likes this
@meljessxena (2317)
• Australia
5 May 07
i know where your coming from and its just plain rediculous. these people their responsibility is to look after the child not let them rome the stores by themselves. actually a real close person to me the other day let her child do this. i went right off at her because this child is special to me and if i had a child i couldnt live with myself if something happened to them.
3 people like this
@magica (3709)
• Bulgaria
4 May 07
Some of them are just too indulging of their children and they miss a control. Or they are so excited in their shopping that they forget that their children is with them.More shocking for me is when a parent FORGETS his child at the store, then more when this is a small baby:-(
2 people like this
• United States
4 May 07
Now that would be terrible to actually forget your child is with you. My children make themselves known, there would be no way anyone in that store wouldn't know they were there. LOL. Thanks:)
1 person likes this
@Gumball (793)
• United States
4 May 07
How about the idiots that "forget" they have a baby in the backseat and go shopping while leaving the baby in the car? Those people need to be relieved of parenthood for a while. (Maybe permanently!) You're always hearing on the news every summer about how somebody's child was found left in a hot car. Sometimes they get to them in time, sometimes they don't. I saw one on the news last year where some so-called mother left her baby in the car while she was in a casino getting drunk and blowing her money on the slots!
• United States
4 May 07
What a shame. I agree they need to be relieved. Thanks:)
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 May 07
Hi dedicated, hope all is well. I agree with you 100% on this one. I can't count how many times I have just about hit a kid with a shopping cart or found them walking or running up and down the aisles. I would freak out if I turned around and my child was off somewhere and I couldn't see her. I definitely was not allowed to do that as a kid or I'd of gotten in big trouble once we got home.
2 people like this
• United States
5 May 07
That's me, I freak if my daughter gets too far ahead of me but is still within eyesight. Thanks:)
2 people like this
• Canada
6 May 07
My daughter is only 11 months, so I don't have to worry about that yet. Yet of course being the key word, but I will be the kind of parent that will keep my child close to me at all times. I won't having her running around, or worse not knowing where she is!
1 person likes this
6 May 07
I dont have kids myself due to something that happened in my younger years, but I have worked with children in a playgroup at one of our local churches.. I am appalled at this mother just letting her 3 year old run where he wants as if a store is a playground for him.. Where is her sences! Especially in this day and age where more and more children are getting obducted, raped and murdered.. Lynn-Marie
• United States
6 May 07
i'm so sorry for whatever may have happened. Thanks:)
1 person likes this
• United States
5 May 07
I find it particularly disturbing that just after I responded to this and took my son out to the park, the VERY day, I noted a couple of children playing in the park unattended, while the adult sat in her CAR of all places. What if one of these children hurt themselves to where SECONDS count?? What if someone snatched them and took them to the other side of the park in a car before the lady could even get out of her car? I just don't get people!
2 people like this
• United States
6 May 07
You see, this is happening way too much. I don't feel sorry for the parents, I feel sorry for the kids who are still too young to defend themselves. Thanks:)
1 person likes this