A big part of riding BART is the people watching, especially on days when I'm out of reading material and my work email volume is low. Last Friday evening, without a magazine and with most of the company heading for the weekend, I chose to people watch to entertain myself while I waited for the Pittsburg/Baypoint train at the Civic Center station.
I heard screaming and kids crying. I turned around and saw a young mother with 3 kids. Two of them were crying while the older kid just watched quielty. The mom yelled at them repeated to shut up. They kids (probably 3 and 5) continued to cry. Then, the mom slapped them each on the face hard and said, "I said shut up. Do you want me to smack you again?"
The 5 year old stopped and grabbed the oldest kid's hand. The 3 year old continued to scream and protest. The mom slapped him again and said, "Are you done?" He cried even louder and she slapped him yet again. I was getting uncomfortable watching this sight. She then pulled him aside, away from the other 2 kids, and grabbed his hair while telling him to behave.
I was very uncomfortable with what I witnessed, so were others around me. But what can we do? Everyone raises their kids differently and uses different methods to discipline them! I don't want to judge so quickly but her actions definitely raise many eyebrows. Does that mean she's not a good mother? I don't know. Does it mean she's abusive? I don't know. Perhaps she was just under a tremendous amount of stress that day? Maybe. With my limited observation, I can't jump to conclusions.
People see all sorts of things while riding BART but this will be hard to forget. The youngest kid finally stopped crying and they boarded the train. Perhaps it was just another day for that family? For their sake, I hope it was a one time thing.