An Open Letter To Pittsfield, MA “Parents”

I have watched for years as customers have physically and verbally abused their children in the grocery store. For those of you who don’t live in Pittsfield, this is a common thing. My guess is that it is even common in many other areas. Every time I wanted to speak up and say something, I worried for my job. I recently quit my job, though, and I now feel comfortable openly addressing the “parents” who have done this time and time again. With that being said, I have written an open letter to them. If you are from Pittsfield, have seen this type of behavior, or are just a parent who agrees with what I have written, please share. Also, any and all comments are welcome. I think discussion is important to facilitate change. So here it is:

Dear โ€œParents,โ€

I use that term loosely because in my mind you are not parents; you are simply individuals that brought children into the world without any concept of the ramifications of your actions. You care more about yourselves than you do about the lives that you created. You walk around abusing, belittling, and neglecting those who depend on you because in your mind they are nothing more than a burden or indentured servants.

Day in and day out I watch as you drag them around the store by their arms, scream in their faces, and treat them like they are beneath you; you โ€“ the very same people who do not know how to properly present yourselves in public. You yell to people more than thirty feet away from you about personal issues that nobody wants to hear about, you are condescending and rude to those around you, and you clearly didn’t look in the mirror before you left your homes because if you had you would have seen that you look dirty and unkempt.

I, not being a parent, cannot attest to the difficulties that parents face. I can, however, understand that there is nothing easy about it from the outside looking in. I would even venture to say that it is probably one of the most difficult jobs there is. I’ve seen how much work my siblings have put into raising their children and I am in awe of the ways that both have developed as a result. While sometimes they complain and undoubtedly want to give up, they never treat their children the way that many of you treat yours. It is one thing to discipline a misbehaving child; it something else entirely to physically and verbally abuse your children, in a public setting no less.

Your children will become the product of their upbringing. Their actions will mirror your own and a chain of abuse and neglect will only continue and worsen throughout their lives until there is nothing left but broken human beings with the mental health and substance abuse problems that are sweeping this world. Some will get past the abuse; they will even go on to do great things in spite of everything you’ve put them through. Many, however, will engage in self-harm and fall victim to the voices you’ve put into their heads, telling them that they aren’t good enough to be loved, until they take their own lives.

I can already see it in so many of them; those who haven’t yet learned how to hide the emotional and physical scars that you have left on them. I look into their eyes and I only see the manifestation of everything that is wrong with not only you, but the world as a whole. I see sadness, neglect, and everything you’ve taken from them: self-worth, self-esteem, and the light with which they were born.

The fact is that if you are not prepared to raise your children with patience, kindness, and love, you are altogether unfit to be raising hamsters, much less human beings. Do yourselves and this world one of two favors:

Give your children their best shot with others who will love them unconditionally and provide the type of environment that children need

OR

Tie your respective tubes.

Either way, we’re all better off.

Sincerely Yours,
C.M. Berry

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time…stay classy.

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About C.M. Berry

I'm an aspiring author, blogger, and poet fluent in sarcasm, profanity, and dark humor. I have something to say about everything and whether you love me or hate me, you'll always come back for more.
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70 Responses to An Open Letter To Pittsfield, MA “Parents”

  1. Didi says:

    Unfortunatelly there is a demographic in this world of 2nd and 3rd generation poorly educated and welfare benificieries who only know what they are taught. The children you see being abused will grow up to be abusers themselves. Not that all people of welfare fit into this catagory. However, you can tell by the appearance of these abusers that they don’t have much and really don’t care about themselves so much either. It is hard to see the abuse you describe and I have seen it many times as I am out and about. I have long thought there needs a way to change this culture and that it is too bad we haven’t the resourses tor inclination to do so. We need some kind of program to help the abusers first see that their behavior is not acceptable and then want to change the pattern of abuse. I don’t know the answer, but how many people like you are willing to go the distance to help these people get to a better emotional place? Not that it would be even possible. It would take time and commitment that most of us just don’t have.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      Didi, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I also think it’s tough for people to take a stand given their own circumstances. So many of us are afraid to lose our jobs that we don’t even say anything. We’d like to think that we’re willing to do the right thing, but in many cases the right thing has a cost that we aren’t always willing or able to pay. Many of my coworkers there barely make ends meet. They can’t take a chance on being reprimanded for acting even if it’s on the behalf of a defenseless child. It sounds like an excuse, but that’s the reality of the situation. They have their own families to worry about and the ramifications of acting could be personally detrimental. Half of us don’t even know how to go about acting. The location here isn’t the worst place, but it’s not exactly the safest place either. It’s a tough situation to be in. Now that I’m moving on and trying to find new work in the non-sprofit/human services field in Boston, I’m hoping that I can be part of the solution that we all need. I even just applied for a position to work with teen mothers. With any luck I’ll be able to make a difference. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. brianna says:

    I understand your frustration and I see these children. However, why would you not report these injustices to DCF? If you see this regularly I would. These kids grow up to be very angry indivuals I know I was a child in this situation. You can report without your name. You can not be repreminded for this. No amount of pay is worth knowing a kid is suffering.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      The problem lies in the fact that it’s all so fleeting. The people are in and out of the store before anything can actually be done. To add to it, they’re complete strangers. I don’t know anything about them beyond what they look like. Even if I were to pick up the phone and call DCF, what are the chances of someone actually being sent to deal with it ON THE SPOT? My guess is slim to none.

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      • Emily says:

        My boyfriend once did call 911 when he saw a child hit out side of a grocery store. The cops showed up. The mom said she didn’t hit her son, the son undoubtedly sided with his *allegedly* abusive mother. The cops left.

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      • C.M. Berry says:

        Emily, that is EXACTLY a big part of the problem. I’ve been told on multiple occasions by police that they “can’t” do anything about assault or abuse unless it’s been seen “by” the police, which makes absolutely no sense to me. It makes me wonder what’s really going on around here. While I have never called the police in this situation, I have dealt with other instances of physical harm and they have sadly done nothing. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. John says:

    Seriously? How many times have you seen someone physically abusing their child, and you were to scared to say something? Your $7 an hour you were afraid to lose? But no that child lost his dignity , and when you say verbally abusing the kids you mean screaming swearing calling then countless names? Or do you see a parent yelling at a child because the kid won’t stop asking for candy in line? And the parent has lost their patients? I understand you don’t hVe children and you do not have any say in raising them, but you say that they are physically and abusing their children? In public? Now that I balzy of parents to do that! I once saw a women pick up her toddler by a leash thing, she ha her in the air, I of course said something, the mother didn’t like that one but, but she just stopped and thought for a min. And told me she didn’t even realize what it looked like, but her daughter kept pulling on her when she was trying to fill out paparwork , in any situation outside looking in, we can say how awful, glad she isn’t my mother, but the fact is that their are real cases of abuse out there, real cases of neglect! Not some you better not do that or I’m gonna give you a spanking! Want to write an article about your opinion u should state tht, you sound like you were put in the corner to many times as a child, and now your angry!

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      John, being that you like to make assumptions about people without knowing anything about them, I’d like to enlighten you.

      1. I do not make $7.00/hr and your condescending tone is off-putting.
      2. You have no right to pass judgment on me for my actions or lack their of when you do not know me or my circumstances. The same goes for my coworkers.
      3. I’m not talking about chastising children for misbehaving. If I was, I wouldn’t have written this post. I’m talking about people who treat their children like burdens and verbally destroy them day in and day out.
      4. Abuse isn’t just physical; words have power especially when it comes to children. While physical abuse wasn’t as prevalent as the verbal, it was still present fairly often.
      5. You want “real” cases of abuse and neglect? Well John, you are talking to one. I definitely didn’t have it as bad as some, but I didn’t come out unscathed either. Should we discuss the time I had my head smashed into a dresser for “misbehaving?” You would probably then say that I should be even more inclined to help these kids and I would be lying if I said I didn’t physically ache every time I saw these things. I get angry with myself when I think about all of the things I haven’t done. But sadly, John, things are never as black and white as they seem.
      6. If you plan on publicly shaming me, you should probably check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

      I thank you for taking the time to read my post and for your comment, despite how assuming it was.

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      • Brittany says:

        Perfect response to John’s comment, especially as it was difficult to understand. You are a great writer and I love this article. Pittsfield is definitely one of those “classy towns”, as we all can see from the kind of comments John writes. As always, Stay classy Pittsfield. You as well, John! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • C.M. Berry says:

        I was probably a little more sassy than I should have been, but I feel like it addressed the issues. I appreciate you taking the time to read the post.

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      • Paula says:

        Content of this article asid, you can’t say:
        2. You have no right to pass judgment on me for my actions or lack their of when you do not know me or my circumstances.

        and write a piece passing judgment on others… without knowing them or their circumstances.

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      • C.M. Berry says:

        That’s a fair point, but is me commenting on what I wholeheartedly believe to be abuse passing judgment on these people or bringing up an issue that needs to be addressed? While some of my words may not have been chosen very carefully, I still believe there is a very real issue that none of us are addressing either because it makes us uncomfortable or we’re too hung up on the way I presented it. I do appreciate your comment, though, Paula, and you taking the time to read the post.

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      • Iseeyou says:

        Don’t worry Chris, I am a College student and consider myself an outsider. You are spot on, most of these people are natives. They been living in shit so long they cant smell the stink. Listen keep thinking how you think because with you noticing this social issue, I can see that you can go any were in the world and survive. Let them go outside of here and see how they will do with that closed minded, I’m cool because im an idiot mentality. Its a generational thing as you mentioned, its a cultural thing here, to be ignorant is truth, it’s cool. Oh and for the person that said Pittsfeild is classy, umm, I thing Great Barrington has a lot more class, no argument or debate. I don’t care what any Pittsfeilder says never did and never will…they will tell you that you are worth nothing with little moral they have, I wont fall pray to deception. You are right on, right on the money

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  4. Jodi says:

    There is also the option of talking to a professional, finding out why one gives in to anger or frustration and discover ways to deal with it so that only the love that one has for their children is used to raise those children. The cycle has to be broken or it will just be repeated.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      Jodi,

      Thank you for your comment. I agree with you. I think finding the root of the problem is the key to finding a solution. If we can understand why someone is prone to anger or frustration as you said, we can find ways to help them cope with that. I think that’s why counseling could be a very useful tool, especially for new parents.

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  5. John says:

    No no no I’m not shaming you, but what do you see, your article just stated that parents drag their children around by the arm and scream in their face, if you wrote that you saw a parent throw a child in the ground and stomp on them calling them worthless, then I’d understand,what does their appearance have to do with it? Like you said looking from the outside in, I agree we have no idea what really goes on inside the home! And I agree that you want to say something and many times you can’t! I live in new haven Ct, I see this on a daily basis, it is disgusting. Not saying I don’t agree with you , it is something that should be stopped. how bad is pittsfield? I have no idea, and I’m terribly sorry you were treated like that as a boy, and you may know better then me what abuse looks like!

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    • DeeDee says:

      I honestly agree with john. You were kind of vague when describing what you saw. I have 3 children that I love them more than anything in this world. My oldest son has ADHD and my second son is 3 and going through what most people call terrible twos. It can be very frustrating and I will admit I’ve lost my patience in public and raised my voice to them, although I’ve never hit them. As for their appearences please don’t judge a book by its cover especially a parent. Not everyone has the money for decent cloths for themselves, most put their children clothing first. I most days am a mess its not because I choose to be its just sometimes you lose intersest when you are kept so busy. That being said I’m sure you see things that are uncalled for because I know I as a parent have too. In these situations when you see physical abuse call the police!!!! you can do that without losing your job. Verbal is obviously harder. In these situations you pray that people living around these people will stand up for these children and do what needs to be done to help them. My point to commenting though was to maybe explain what you see sometimes from a parents point of view. I do understand that its not the case with every time you see something. ๐Ÿ™‚ We just have to pray for these children.

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      • C.M. Berry says:

        DeeDee, I will be the first to admit that I chose my words poorly in regards to appearances. I never intended to put the focus on that or to come across as a judgmental jerk. With regards to specifics, I tend to see more verbal and emotional abuse than anything else. I’ve seen people lean over, get in their children’s faces and scream at them like a drill sergeant in the army would. I’ve seen a woman literally drag her child by the arm because he wasn’t moving fast enough for her. I’ve seen varying degrees of these things. It’s difficult to say what IS and ISN’T abuse because I see all degrees of these things as abuse. I probably have a broader definition of it than some. I know that there is a fine line between punishment and abuse and far too often it seemed like people either forget where the line is or deliberately cross it.

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  6. Becca says:

    I want to start by firstly saying yes many people abuse their kids mentally, verbally and sexually unfortunately, but being someone who has watched it happen without stepping in can be just as bad! Reporting to DCF is the right thing to do because every call MUST be investigated and although you don’t know the person in the line abusing the child all you have to do is nonchalantly follow them at a distance and get the plate number to the car they get in, DCF can and will track the person down, as I am a mandated reporter I have done it several times and went with police to residences to identify an individual! You do not personally have to confront the abuser as that may make it worse for the child in the meantime! But what I do hVe to say is basing a persona parenting on their age and appearance is pitiful!!!!! I had my son at 17 years old and have been a single mom since he was 6 months old, I have always had a steady job and home for me and him, as well as going to school full time, and the dirty looks I’ve accumulated over the years from judgmental people in public is pathetic!! So I just wish people would go off of facts and not assumptions of someone’s age or appearance!

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      Becca, you make some very fair points and you’re not the only one who has said these things. I inarguably didn’t choose my words as carefully as I had originally thought and I apologize for that. I do agree that it is just as bad to stand by while it is happening and this post has been an eye-opening experience for me in so many ways. I can only say now that moving forward I won’t make the same mistakes as I have in the past. Thank you for your comment and being part of the discussion, rather than just discarding my words as easily as some others have.

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  7. Lisa says:

    Though I generally agree with the sentiment, and I also agree with the fact Pittsfield is littered with a LOT of trashy people, not all parents are like this… I live in Pittsfield and am a parent and I don’t fit into this category other than occasionally being very unkempt!

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      I definitely do not think that everyone fits the mold here. I think there are just as many good parents as there are bad parents and I’ve seen as many good things as I have bad. It’s really the only thing that keeps me from thinking this entire world has gone to shit. Thank you for your comment, Lisa!

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  8. Sherri says:

    If you see this happening call the police it is not legal any more to bully, and that’s what these0people are. BULLY S.

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  9. D says:

    i would like for you to explain to me what your definition is of abuse. i work in a grocery store in pittsfield and have never seen this abuse that you speak of. i have seen however misbehaving children being discipline by their parents and children who should be being disciplined but are not.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      I have seen countless misbehaving children and I do not, in any way, think that their behavior problems shouldn’t be addressed. My issue when it crosses the line from punishment to what I perceive as abuse; something that varies by definition from one person to the next. To speak to a child by screaming inches from his or her face like a drill sergeant would, calling a child fat and useless in public, or dragging a child by his or her arm in an excessive manner is abuse in my mind. The way in which many parents deal with frustration or bad behavior is excessive and alarming at times.

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  10. Linda says:

    I work in retail and have seen the ignorant approach to discipline of which you write. Again, depending on the situation, I will try to break the tension by talking directly to the child in what I hope is an empathetic way, by asking a question that might give the parent a clue . . .such as, are you hot with that jacket on in here? Or Sounds like you are ready for supper (or a ride in the car. . .) If the child was taking something (in my dept., shoes) I might say Do you like those? Do you like the color ? . . . By speaking in an upbeat tone to the child, I find it calms the parent down, because they see the child isn’t annoying, but cute (as all children are).I also try to acknowledge children who have waited patiently by say, “You have been a very patient waiter, I am trying to finish up quickly so you’re almost ready to go.” Or “Thank you for being such a patient shopper”. My primary goal is to give the child some affirmation to counteract the parents’ loss of perspective. Sometimes, I’ll volunteer information to the parent, like there’s a water fountain down the halll, he or she might be thirsty, etc. Talking to or scolding the parent isn’t going to help and may make them even angrier with the child who they see as the source of their problem at the moment. If it was a recurring situation I would try to get the name and make a report to child protective services.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      Linda, I think that’s a great approach and something I will definitely consider from this point onward. You clearly have a deep understanding of how to interact with people and children especially. It is something that I am still working on. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and to comment. Your addition to the conversation that we’ve begun here has been valuable and I thank you for it.

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  11. 413DUDE says:

    It’s funny that you say to John, “being that you like to make assumptions about people without knowing anything about them”…Isn’t that what you are doing in this article? Telling a child to stop running around or screaming and maybe putting a little anger or frustration into it is a lot different from physically punching or hitting your child, and cursing and calling them terrible names. I wouldn’t be very happy if I saw this too, but I think you may be taking this article a little too far. Like you said, you don’t have children, therefore you do not know what it is like to raise them. Sometimes they need a little spanking on the butt to keep them in line. It’s how they learn. Honestly, this generation has it much easier than our parent’s generation. My parents tell me stories of getting thrown around the room or literally hit if they acted out. I’ve heard stories from other parent’s about getting beaten. I think the reason why this generation is going to shit, isn’t because the parents are beating and verbally abusing their children, I think it’s because their NOT doing it. Most of our parents grew up to be pretty good people even after having to go through some of the stuff they went through. It gave them a backbone and taught them respect.. Kids now a days don’t respect anyone anymore, because if a parent so much as raises a finger at their children, DCF comes running in and takes them away and cries abuse. Why do you think you see all of these young high school kids running around fighting and thinking they are in gangs and disrespecting their elders? It’s because they never get punished for their actions. And then we got people like you writing these articles that are being addressed to :Pittsfield MA Parents”, so now any parent who lives in Pittsfield thinks they are in the wrong for having to keep their child in line. SO what do they do now? They just let their kids run around in the store, eating everything in sight, screaming and playing and having no self control whatsoever. I think you should let the parents raise their children, and punish them when they need to. Unless you see a real case of actual abuse, where a parent is physically punching, kicking, hitting, biting their child to the point where it isn’t “keeping your child in line”, then definitely go and try to stop it or call DCF. But jumping into something that YOU DO NOT KNOW, makes your point kind of invalid, because unless you have a child that you are raising, you couldn’t possibly know what it is like, or how their life is at home. They could have the best parents in the world,. have a wonderful life at home, everything they could ever want or need, but then might have to get disciplined while out in public. But you will never know this because you automatically label these parents as bad parents without ever knowing anything about them or how they live their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I hate abuse too, but like I said, their is a difference between abuse, and discipline.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      I will entertain the thought of me perhaps having a broader definition of abuse than other people, but I definitely believe in what I wrote. I also think you can instill respect in children without physically hitting them. That isn’t to say that I’m outright opposed to corporal punishment. I just think that there are alternatives. Many of us just do what is easy and what we know. It’s easier to hit a child than to find another way to curb what it considered bad behavior. I think (as I’ve said several times now) that we are forgetting where the lines is between punishment and abuse. It’s a very fine line and too many people are crossing it. You say yourself that there’s a “difference between abuse and discipline,” and I agree with that statement. The interpretation of that statement goes both ways and while you may think I’m wrong about what is actually happening, I think that maybe you are wrong. I also think you shouldn’t discount my understanding solely on the basis of me not having a child myself. While I may not be as well versed, that doesn’t mean I don’t understand altogether.

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  12. Dustin Boyce says:

    You wanna stop it? stop giving free handouts, stop promoting teen pregnancy by offering them all the help In the world simply offer free education… No more red field house section8 welfare and all of the assistance programs. If you don’t have to get up to o to work ever you will not be a functional member of society and it becomes ok to wear pajamas in public I work 2 jobs while my wife stays home with my 2 children but we are just barely able to get by… We get no assistance… You cater to shit bags and make it easier for them to reproduce More shit bags keep upping minimum wage why it’s stupid too… Cut off support and let them die off!!! Or adapt and survive

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      I’m not sure how to respond to this. I, in no way, meant to imply that welfare plays any role in this. Many people keep on bringing that into the conversation when I think in all honesty that’s an entirely different topic. As another reader said, abuse doesn’t come in one shape, form, or social/economic class.

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  13. rebecca serba says:

    I will most certainly take my son by his arm and lead him through the grocery store if he thinks he’s going to sit down on the grocery store floor and throw a fit because he can’t have a Twinkie. if you are truly witnessing child abuse that you are obligated to report it. you should stop what you’re doing call the police and the store security should not let them leave until the police arrive you simply writing an open letter does not protect those who are truly abused. my question to you is should those parents allow their child to cause a public disruption and continue to misbehave or do you think the parents to take them to the side and check them. Your letter sounds awfully judgmental since you are a person who does not have children. You should reconsider your comments. as for your position on adoption do you mean to say that all women on welfare should give their children up to people that make more money because money does not bring happiness I am pretty sure there are plenty of rich well to do people that have been convicted for child pornography child rape and most certainly abuse because they have the power and the means to hide it better as a mother who receives welfare and shops at Big Y Price Chopper, stop and shop and all other local grocery stores I am beyond offended. My son is disable suffering from many behavioral problems I did not use drugs while I was pregnant and I do work as much as possible so why don’t you try to better the world maybe you should educate yourself on the lives of these women before passing such ignorant judgement I’m sorry we cant all grow up in white suburbia with parents that have enough money to raise a child properlyI also believe I hear a slight racist tone in your voice I happen to be Caucasian but I definitely grew up in an urban environment and I take great offense to the racial undertones and judgment I’m pretty sure the Bible says judge not less ye be judged yourself take that and your condescending letter and go get a job with children. then maybe you could make a difference children all over this country die everyday because people like yourself don’t speak up when they witness abuse so if these people are being so if you think you should call the police I certainly would not be worried about my job if I find inocent child being physically and emotionally abused at my place of employment

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      Rebecca,

      1. There is a difference between punishing a child and abusing a child. There is a fine line that many people cross.
      2. I never said anything about welfare. I grew up poor; the kind of poor where I couldn’t afford the five dollars or whatever the schools expected parents to contribute for fieldtrips. I worked full time when I was a teenager and I busted my ass every single day.
      3. My family is biracial and I’m gay. I’m not a bigot.
      4. The only reference I made to adoption was in cases where a parent can’t provide “patience, kindness, and love.”
      5. I think you should reread the post and then reread your comment.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post and for commenting.

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  14. Lucas says:

    I don’t wish to leave a lengthy response. I simply want to mention that this not an issue only happening in Pittsfield. I went to college and lived/worked in the Boston area suburbs for quite some time. While there, I encountered similar situations often. This type of behavior from “parents” is generally localized. I would remove “Pittsfield, MA” Parents from your title. . .Thank you.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      Ironically, I’m moving to Boston next week. I’m looking for human services work that will allow me to be more active and to approach this and many other issues head on. I, admittedly, have done little to nothing thus far, but I’m hoping the days ahead will bring more light to the issue and provide me with the means of making a difference. Thank you for your comment.

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  15. Sue says:

    I commend you C.M. Berry for writing this. I don’t blame you for not doing something, saying something or calling DCF. As you mentioned, I would imagine this would be a fleety situation and obviously not directed towards 1 or 2 specific situations. I would imagine this is something you were seeing daily to varying degrees. Yes a parent might be stern about no candy, no this, no that, etc….but when a parent, as you say, is acting like their child or children are burdens and simply “dragging” them along because they have to, or putting them down because they can…something needs to be done…to be addressed. But what? I hope if nothing else, that your post has opened up the eyes and raised awareness to everyone, including the residents of Pittsfield as well as everywhere else. Us parents made these children and we should be listening to them, appreciating them and raising them with the morals of giving and receiving respect. Thank you for voicing your experiences and letting the situation be heard.

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    • C.M. Berry says:

      Sue, I really appreciate your comment. There has been quite a bit of backlash at what I wrote and understandably so. There are many good points being addressed and these points have opened my eyes even more than I could have imagined. It has inadvertently become a learning experience for me and I’m thankful for that.

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  16. You say you can’t do anything because their in and out of the store too quickly? But then you go on to say you see this day after day? Are you seeing this on the same children? And if so you should be reporting it. I was an abused child and many times more then just members of my household saw this. No one ever stood up for me. And until I was of and age where I was able to stand up for myself I took a lot of physical and psychological abuse. I have major depression and major abuse issues now. Had someone just stood up or took the time to report it instead of taking to the internet and writing an article I could have had a much better life. So I’m sorry I have much more sympathy for those children then your concern for loss of job. Whether we are mandated by law to report or not it is all of our jobs to protect the youth of our world and whether that means taking a photo or standing up to someone or somehow getting their information then that is what you should do. Not look the other way because all of those children were probably abused more then once or twice that you seen and if they weren’t and it was truly because they miss behaved then they wouldn’t have a problem passing a DCF follow up and learning from their mistakes and it would make a difference even to those who don’t often lose their tempers.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I very rarely saw the same children. Many people are focusing on the physical abuse, when I was trying to address the broader scope of things. I, more often than not, saw verbal and emotional abuse than physical. I fully understand your anger toward me and I am angry with myself for doing nothing. We’d all like to say we’d stand up and do something, but there is no way we can know until the situation presents itself. I’m being attacked for my inactions, as I probably should be, but that’s only because I was the only one who has actually said anything about the issue. I don’t expect you to have sympathy for me; nor do I need it. I would, however, like you to try and understand my point of view just as I have found understanding in other points of view. I’m not perfect and I don’t claim to be. It may be too little too late now, but I wholeheartedly am trying to do better, which is why I wrote the post to begin with. Thank you for your comment and I appreciate you taking the time to read what I wrote.

      Like

  17. As a foster parent for 18 years and over 600 kids coming in and out of my house i have seen a lot things that you couldn’t even think of. i do think if you see a child being abused you should report. we as adults need to be that child voice. there are to many people that just turn the other way and do nothing. i don’t believe just because you don’t wear the best clothing or have the best hair do you r an abuser. abusers come in all rich ,poor and middle class.so please don’t just single out one type. And as for you seeing this and doing nothing you are just as guilty as the one who is abusing that child.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I, in no way meant to say that a specific type of person does these sorts of things. I think I just chose my words poorly in that regard. I never intended to imply that abuse was solely a problem of one socioeconomic class. There’s no way I could make that claim. Up until this point I honestly hadn’t thought about my own role in this by just standing by. I do have my reasons, but they would only sound like excuses. So all I can say is that the unexpected response to my writing has at least opened my eyes to my own role in all of this. Thank you for your comment and I appreciate you taking the time to read what I wrote.

      Like

  18. SH says:

    Your actions speak louder than your WORDS! For anyone who doesn’t have the patience to be around kids, shouldn’t HAVE kids! Thus your mistake is simply U DON”T SPEAK, shut & pay your taxes!! Many of you are these parents / or have parents whom treated you as such! I was a teenager the 1st time I heard my parents swear, & when it implied to me I knew I fucked up! Learn or be taught the harsh lessons of reality….. Some parents aren’t shit!!!

    Like

  19. 413DUDE says:

    Are you going to publish my comment? I find it rather rude that you won’t publish my comment because you probably don’t like what it says, or because I am not totally agreeing with you. Pretty messed up that you can write an article like this and then ignore people’s opinions if they don’t side with you.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I did publish your comment. I have responded to almost every single one I’ve gotten. I publish everything. You’ll notice that there are others who didn’t like what I had to say either.

      Like

  20. Samantha says:

    I must say that this letter seems condescending and a bit overblown. While child abuse does occur in Pittsfield as it does everywhere in the world, to say it’s common is a dramatization. If you look at the national statistics you will see Massachusetts does not lead the country in child abuse. Although I think your letter also represents the psychology of many people to judge others in an attempt to hold themselves and their values in high esteem, and to feel better about themselves and their life, like the rapper akala said “lost in a fog of my own insecurity I hold myself up as an image of purity and i judge everybody else by the color of their skin or the size of their wealth. But its not good for my health cuz the only one I ever really judge is myself”. That’s why so many people love to talk about people on welfare, or teen mom’s or the unemployed, it is a simplistic and easy way to look down on others while feeling better about yourself. Now I have a professional job and receive no assistance, and am raising a young son. Having been the victim of domestic violence I must say your letter does not address the complex and complicated reasons domestic and child abuse occurs, but rather a superficial and judgemental assessment of what you see as an issue. Also having not been a parent I don’t think you are qualified to judge until you have walked a mile in a parents shoes as you acknowledge it is a tough job…

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      Samantha, being that statistics are important to you, should we also talk about the rate of under-reporting when it comes to statistics in general? Also this letter was meant to start a dialogue, which it has done. I believe in what I wrote and while others may think that I’m stretching and dramatizing the truth, I think that others are quick to discard what I have written because they are uncomfortable with the topic.

      Like

  21. Fbs says:

    Now that you have written this, you have a chance to stand by what you said and call someone or say something the next time you see parental behavior that you view as abusive. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing. I definitely understand the hesitance but if you’re brave enough to write this you MUST stand by your words and be brave enough to say something the next time you’re in a similar situation. writing this from the point of view of someone who did nothing but pass judgement is a useless exercise. When you see injustice, abuse and wrongdoing, it is your responsibility as a human being to address it. That comes in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to endanger yourself, but our society is shitty like it is not because of “welfare” as some other commenters say, but because we are generally loathe to treat one another with love and compassion. Sometimes that compassion must come as a rebuke: please don’t do that to your child in this store.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I cannot argue with a single word you have written. It is my duty and I plan to stand by what I have written and what I’ve gained from this as well. This was eye-opening in ways that I hadn’t anticipated and some things have really sunk in. I appreciate your comment and your time.

      Like

  22. ali_OOPs says:

    for you to judge every parent that lives in pittsfield is not only wrong but narrow and simple. how dare you, especially you not being a parent, judge any parent ever. you can take this article straight to the trash as far as Im concerned and while your there gain some perspective.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I didn’t “judge every parent that lives in Pittsfield.” I made a commentary about those who mistreat their children. If you don’t mistreat your children, than you have nothing to do with this. I’m willing to discuss this with your further as soon as you are willing to at least consider my point of view. Also I think you meant “you’re” in the last line rather than “your.”

      Like

  23. Deb Newton says:

    I can’t read all of the posts so I’ll just share what little I have to add….CM – you took the words right out of my mouth……except Pittsfield, sadly, is everywhere…..Torrington CT also. Don’t listen to these condescending posts. It’s incredible how eIntelligent these people are when sitting at their computer and not face-to-face. I wish I could help you….just know so many of us agree.
    Debbie

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      Deb, I appreciate your comment and you taking the time to give your encouragement. My post wasn’t without its flaws and I’m beginning to see that, but I still believe in what I wrote no matter how many negative comments come my way. If nothing else, I will simply learn how to communicate it better in the future. Thanks again!

      Like

  24. Edward rivera says:

    Back in the day when I was raised kids got hit and yelled at there was never any time out or stupid stuff like that ,you got out of hand you got dealt with and every body watched everybody’s else kids as if they were their own and I grew up respecting my elders but now you can’t even scream or discipline your child with out some one calling dss. And that’s why these kids these days don’t have any respect for strangers or their own family ,I say go back to the old days and see how the kids will start respecting .

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I’m not saying that punishment shouldn’t be used as a means to correct bad behavior. I just think that we have to be aware of the line between punishment and abuse. It’s a fine line and many people either forget it’s there or deliberately cross it. I also think it is possible to teach respect and raise children right without corporal punishment. It’s all a matter of how we go about it.

      Like

  25. lori says:

    I completely understand what you say and maybe if I can give an example, it can be more clearly to those that do not understand. Example: A child looking at a toy and drops it, mother “what the f*&^ is wrong with you? get your A^% over,you can be so F&*&^ing stupid,” grabs the child roughly by the arm. I see it everyday and there is nothing I can do, but say something nicely to the child “thats ok, I drop things too” because I am a vendor in the store. I live out in California and it happens everywhere, both wealthy and poor areas of town. We all lose out temper with our child, but there are MANY ways of dealing with it and the above example is NOT a way. I think parents like that do not know the developmental stages of a child or expect them to be little adults at which they are not. Not understanding, that children behave differently than adults which some adults do not understand can frustrate adults because they expect much more. I am way off topic, but I guarantee you most off those adults do not know any better because it is generation after generation of parenting. Something every night I pray that someday those children will break that cycle

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I think you definitely bring up a very good point. There are “many ways” of dealing with frustration or anger. I have no doubt that parenting can push someone to the edge. How we deal with that, though, determines whether or not it’s abuse. I think many people just forget where the line is. Several people have asked me to cite a specific example and I honestly can’t believe I wrote the letter without any specifics. One thing that really sticks out to me is a child harmlessly sitting on the floor in an aisle without misbehaving or anything of that nature. She just plopped down for all of ten seconds. The mother grabbed the child’s arm and yanked her so forcefully that it seemed excessive to me. More than anything else I’ve just come across various people who are verbally abusive when speaking to their children.

      Like

  26. K says:

    Chris I feel you have hit the nail on the head with this letter. I have the pleasure of working in Pittsfield and have for the last four years. I work in a setting that also exposes me to these parents you are describing, it is heartbreaking to say the least. I myself am a single mother and go through the struggles of being a single parent. My situation is different than most for I have an amazing support system and do not reside in Pittsfield. Every choice I have made has been for my child, including my career. Unfortunately most of these parents are products of their environment and only repeat the cycle they know. They know how to use the system and are content doing so. I also understand the fact that you cannot report these sightings of abuse. Every beginning of the month I cringe when I see certain customers walk through the door at my job with their kids in tow. I already know what chaos will ensue for the next 20 minutes. It has even been degraded to teaching the kids to steal rolls of toilet paper from our public bathroom. Other customers will make comments to my employees, myself or these parents directly (this can make for a hostile situation) because these poor kids are out of control. I have even witnessed one child going up to a complete strangers baby in a stroller and hitting them. That baby’s mother was livid, here she was conducting personal business, keeping to herself and her baby is victimized. I can only imagine other places of business that these people and their children wreak havoc on. What we must remember is that it’s not the kids fault in these scenarios, the parents are responsible. I am also thankful to these parents because they teach me how to not raise my son. As a result my son gets extra kisses, hugs and snuggles because he deserves it. I am fortunate enough to able to provide for my son financially and emotionally allowing him to just be a kid. I have also made choices so that I am not a parent of the welfare system and have a great career ahead of me. Being a single mother has empowered me to be the best I can be for both my son and myself.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I’d just like to say that I, like many of the commenters, don’t think that this is a problem restricted to one social class. Different things may affect the prevalence of abuse and social class may play a role, but there is no way I could say either way without hard data. I just want to make that very clear because I think people misunderstood what I meant. Maybe it was a poor choice of wording on my part. I think it’s great that you are putting your son first and making choices based on his happiness. That’s important and I honestly think people lose sight of that sometimes. Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read and evaluate what I have written.

      Like

  27. T.Briggs says:

    It is easy for people to sit back and judge others when they don’t put themselves in the shoes of the people their judging. You make connections that are just not true. If a child is truly being abused then shame on you for not calling the authorities. It sounds like you put your employment ahead of a child’s safety? So, who are you to judge??? Parents and families are struggling more than ever, Social Services are dwindling and the physical act of just going to the grocery store can be very stressful if you are having difficulties providing. Additionally, child abuse and neglect is not just for the “poor” or people on welfare. It affects all social classes. Stop making generalizations that these “people” are poor. Finally, you write “I can already see it in so many of them; those who havenโ€™t yet learned how to hide the emotional and physical scars that you have left on them”. What? Are you in their homes? You see them for a few minutes and you make the assumption they have emotional scars.

    You help to keep the stereotype that poor people abuse. You feed the public like you are some sort of expert. When you are just some busybody who has probably never had to worry about keeping the lights on, heat in you house, or feeding a child on limited income.

    T. Briggs, MSW

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I don’t claim that social class determines abuse. I can’t possible say one way or the other. It seems like everyone else is drawing that conclusion on their own without actually taking the time to consider my words beyond what they immediately see. I also never claim to be an expert, but I do have experience to draw on when discussing the topic. I’d also like to say that I come from a very poor family that barely made ends meet while I was growing up. I had to worry about finances since I was ten years old when I had to get three paper routes to buy my own school clothes. I even worked full time while in high school. I understand, better than most, what hard times are. Everyone wants to condemn me for my “judgments” when in reality we’re all judging each other on some level. I appreciate your comment and you taking the time to read what I wrote, even if you don’t agree with me.

      Like

  28. name not important says:

    Chris, There are times when I wish I could go with the flow this way and express my anger at this type of horror. I will start by complimenting you for taking the time to express your views and doing it your way.

    One unfortunate truth about your post is you are actually demonstrating the same type of voice and style that you are protesting against. You label, make black and white statements and are using abusive language yourself towards people using abusive language and actions.

    Think about what I wrote above for a moment. Look over what you wrote.

    Your impact is what matters here in my opinion. This problem you rightly point out is a huge issue and it needs to be put in the spotlight.

    I think a parallel or greater problem is the apathy and lack of action on the part of each and every one of us when people abuse their children. It is as if our society says it is ok because .. what? .. they OWN them? Wrong.!

    I applaud your taking this on and bringing your experience to light. I support you.

    I also would like to request you write another post that does not label and make abusive attacking statements while making your point.

    I would not only support it I would share it everywhere. I can not share this post because it does not represent the point you are trying to make.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      Many of the comments on here have actually opened my eyes to some things that I didn’t see when writing the post. I have been reflecting on it since I originally posted it and I think you bring up many good points. I appreciate your comment and I will definitely consider everything you have said. Dialogue is important and I will be the first to admit that some of the things I said were not only poorly worded, but in poor taste. I think I didn’t get my point across as effectively because of the language I chose. I just hope that people will understand that my intentions were good.

      Like

  29. Renee jones says:

    Iv grown up in Pittsfield my whole life and when I go to the local market I make sure I’m showered usually and I almost everytime leave my children at home with there dad.im a mother of two crazy little boys who can be animals in the store.im not sure that I could keep my mouth shut if I seen a parent screaming in there child’s faces and grabbing them by there limbs what does that say about parents these days?well right after I had my second child I tied my tubes children are hard to raise as they don’t come with directions that said screaming in your child’s face does nothing but make your child act out even more because it’s most likely the only attention they get Iv learned that if you take even one hour a day to just hang out with your children play a game something.they actually behave usually the rest of the day because you didn’t ignore them.im rambling but this isn’t a Pittsfield problem it’s a society problem!parents need to step up and act like parents and by standards need to Always speak up if you see a child being abused they might not live another day if you don’t report it.you could save a life.and moms need to get dressed and comb there damn hair brush there darn teeth CLEAN up your act people are paying attention!:)have a wonderful day!

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      Renee, thank you for commenting. There are so many ways to engage children and I agree that screaming in their faces is no way to address a problem. While I don’t have direct experience with disciplining children beyond that of my nieces and nephews when I am watching them, I think I have a pretty solid foundation. I agree that not acting can be just as bad and this letter ended up being more eye opening for me than I had anticipated. It made me see my role in all of this. With that being said, I plan to do better and I hope that those who have read this and are also part of the problem both directly and indirectly will do the same.

      Like

  30. J says:

    Until you deal with a child on a daily basis you shouldn’t pass judgement on parents. Children these days are disrespectful as hell to their elders. I have watched children at a store tell their parents they will buy something or else. I have seen children throw food at restaurants because they wanted dessert instead. When I was a child I got disciplined for throwing fits in public. Now parents are afraid to do anything because of DCF because when they discipline their children people like you call it abuse. Objects other then belts are abuse; Abuse is when you are trying to cause excessive pain rather then teach a lesson. Abuse is when you have an Morbidly Obese child because you pacify them.

    Like

    • C.M. Berry says:

      I know the difference between punishment and abuse. I’ve personally had my share of both. Everyone thinks that I am just simply passing judgment without critically thinking about the implications of my words. As I have said before, I think there is a line that many people cross and that line is becoming harder and harder for people to see. Thank you for your comment and I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on what I wrote.

      Like

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