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How can I help a non-caring mother?

Q: There is a lady staying in my neighbourhood who has a teenage son and a 4 year old son, as I see them pass my house the youngster, although now walks on his feet, is always confined to the pram by his mother and looks unhappy with the mother who does not take him in her arms or talks to him. How do you evaluate such a case and what should be done in this type of cases where the mother rarely cares for her children. I asked this question because I have seen the child go in the pram and the mother not so happy with the new arrival.

A:It was not too clear from your brief description, whether the 4 year old was being pushed in a pram or there was a younger one, who could now walk. Anyway the more important aspect of your question / appeal is should one do something when a mother is not affectionate or tender with her young children? If you can just start a casual conversation with the mother, it might be later possible to help her. Perhaps she has other problems that she is handling. Since you seem to be a concerned neighbour, perhaps you could just organise an informal play group for five or six children for about an hour and ask if she wants to send her younger children. It may be a relief to her to have her children off her hands. However, there are many who will advise you to keep off any action and tell you that it is not your business to do anything. My view is that we are all in the world and related to each other in many ways, some of them closer and more consistent than others. But even the short term ones can be meaningful and provide warmth and concern, as we know from train journeys, and sometimes even from hospital stays. Please work out the best way in consultation with your family and a neighbour or two and help the mother. But it is possible that she may reject any effort on your part to be friendly. Her problems with her own sense of well being may need professional help. And you cannot offer that. But sometimes a smile or a kind thought goes a long way. No harm in trying! All the best in your endeavours.

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