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Scarsdale Mom Loses It With Kids

When you reach the breaking point with your kids, what do you do to calm yourself down? Madlyn Primoff, a Park Avenue lawyer who lives in Scarsdale, N.Y., reached that point Sunday when her squabbling, 10- and 12-year-old daughters wouldn’t stop fighting in the the car. But instead of taking a few breaths, Primoff left them on the street in nearby White Plains, The New York Times reports. She was arrested.

The 12-year-old chased the car and got back in but her sister was left alone and comforted by a passerby who called police. When Primoff came to fetch her daughter, she was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and held overnight in jail. The mom “needed a time out. Instead, she traumatized her own children, took away their sense of security, perhaps forever,” says New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser. “I wonder if well-off yuppies were never meant to bear children.”

What do you think? Might Primoff have a legitimate defense? Did the police overreact? Do the kids bear any responsibility for what happened?


  1. jennifer killingsworth

    unbelievable! even I have to be screened to leave a comment here but New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser feels perfectly entitled to comment in a major publication that perhaps people that are fortunate or “well off” shouldnt pro create! how dare she! i grew up in Scarsdale and some of my best girlfriends from high school moved back to our hometown of Scarsdale to raise their own children there. They are not only the finest women i know but the absolute BEST MOTHERS. how does having money and having children have anything to do with each other? The imputation being that if you live in Scarsdale or are a “well-off” “yuppie” you couldnt possibly have a moral imperative to make good decisions as a parent!
    i completely understand the backlash against this woman. i am a single parent and when my child is difficult it is VERY HARD ON ME! and i would NEVER leave him anywhere. it is a nightmare for me to even imagine him alone frightened or unsafe.
    however, Madlyn Primoff’s decision to do what she did had NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING to do with being a resident of Scarsdale!
    lets not take this horrible incident as an excuse to slam Scarsdale!

  2. Nicole

    I see nothing wrong with what she did and I’ll ignore the psychologist’s opinion because I don’t agree. Those cops that want to charge her are the same cops who are going to pick up these undisciplined kids in a few years for doing something they shouldn’t be. Disciplining children makes the world a better place. I bet the fear she put into that 10 year old straightened her little butt out!

  3. bungalow babe

    Andrea Peyser is completely bitter and off the wall. It is ridiculous to lump people of any group into one whole and deem them unfit to raise kids.
    However, Madlyn Primoff did a completly irresponsible thing and should NOT be defended as someone who just reached the end of her rope or, idiotically, as a mother entitled to discipline her kids.
    This was not a reasonable method of discipline.
    This was an enraged, out-of-control response from someone who might be crumbling internally.
    I’m the mom of 3 kids, 2 of whom are now grown. I have trouble understanding the big crime of arguing in the backseat to begin with. And I think that it speaks volumes that one of the kids abandoned the other and was picked up by Primoff.
    There is something screwed up in this family.
    To reiterate, Madlyn Primoff’s action was hostile, mean and devoid of any educational value.
    But there are hundreds of Americans who think otherwise and applaud Madlyn P. Reading their words, it is clear that there is a fear or hatred of kids in our culture.

  4. Gimena

    To the reporter I say:
    “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
    Bible, John 8:7 (King James Version)

  5. Nancy Oliver

    I am the adoptive mother of 13 children (most of whom are adults now). I am in college again to get my degree in social work. I have had over 300 foster children over the past 30 years. I am at a loss to understand how this woman should be arested. In many school districts children are required to walk to school if they live no more than 3 miles from the school. These girls are not toddlers. They can walk 3 miles. Her biggest indiscretion was allowing the 12 year old back in the car. She should have made the older girl go back and walk the younger home. She could have circled the blocks- keeping an eye on them but not alowing them to ride in the car and fight within her ear shot. In many poorer neighborhoods the adults would have sent the girls in the direction of their home- but a spoiled and probably hysterical 10 year old manipulated the system to have her mother arrested for having her walk as a consequece for inappropriate behavior while riding. I remember walking at least a mile to the local library as an 8 year old- with no one accompanying me. That was 2 miles round trip, alone at 8. My parents weren’t arrested. This is a ridiculous use of our government sevices. We have tied up police, social workers, foster parents, courts… for what? A spoiled little girl who had a tantrum that she would have consequences for bad behavior. Shame on the government for inappropriate use of power!

  6. Michelle

    I have been through a similiar incident, except I was leaving my kids who are 10 & 13 home alone. Kids can really bring you to your breaking point, you don’t want to spank them you really want to deal with them by talking. If I didn’t walk away that day I probably would have totally hit the roof on both my girls. I tried hard to make them understand about their constant bickering over every little thing is sometimes stressful and not necessary. Someone between the two of them needs to make piece. but, I guess my words fall on deaf ears.

  7. Sherrie Kelley

    I think our legal system has gotten way out of hand. I walked or rode my bike everywhere I went until I turned 16 and got my license. I think the mom was right to drop them off. I have walked away from my children and left the store when they have started bickering about something. They are 12 and 17. I have told them that I will not listen to their bickering. My children know that when I walk away from them that they have crossed the line. Both usually apologize. I think the mom needs to find alternate transportation for the girls until they can learn not to misbehave in the car. They are lucky their mom has a car. For many years my children and I walked 3 1/2 miles to the grocery store and paid for a taxi home. My children are both in better shape because of it. They do not mind walking places. The older daughter should have been told to stay with the younger daughter until they finished walking home.

  8. C. Cordell

    What she should have done is turned around and told them to shut up. Then when they didn’t, put them out. As a matter of fact putting them out was probably the safest thing for the kid’s at the time. It probably kept her from saying or doing something she would regret. It wasn’t a bad neighborhood and she didn’t zoom off and leave them. I would like to hear both sides of this story instead of an opinionated, one sided writer’s view.
    Parents are no longer allowed to raise and or discipline their children.
    I am so tired of bleeding hearts, sans kid’s, who want to give advice on raising kid’s. Sure we would all like to have perfect children like Leave It to Beaver or Opie on Mayberry, but guess what we don’t.
    And another piece of advice you people need to realize: talking to a child or a teen just doesn’t work. Your the parent, you are already stupid in their eyes and probably will be until they have kids of their own.
    Honey, I hope you enjoyed your night in jail, it must have been nice not to have to deal with cleaning, cooking, running errands and being a maid to a husband and kid’s. It is probably the break she needed.
    Leave her alone.

  9. KD

    Primoff. You are not alone. Your actions are understood and supported by many frustrated parents. Your girls will thank you for your boundaries one day. They’ll respect you for taking a stand. They were not harmed in any way, but maybe learned a valuable lesson. The police putting you in jail for the night likely did more harm than anything else. But I bet your girls will behave in the car now.

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