When should a bystander intervene?


While entering a grocery store last week, I saw a mother leaving the store, pushing a stroller with her son (age 3?).
She was clearly angry with the boy as she was pushing him.
Then she stopped, stepped in front of the child and continued her very heated reprimands to him. Given the age of the child, his crying, etc. the mother's verbal abuse seemed excessive.
The question: when is it appropriate (or not) to intervene to defuse a situation such as this?
As a 69 year old man, father of 5 adult children, one grandson, a retired family law attorney and a John Rosemond fan, I am wrestling with my conscience about this.
Please continue your GOOD work.
Thank you.

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