In which I almost beat up someone else's kid

01/10/2011 at 3:17 pm | Posted in Motherhood, Small Fry | 15 Comments
Tags: , , ,

No, I didn’t really. Not even close.

But man.

When that little boy pushed Small Fry down at the mall playground yesterday — BLATANTLY SHOVED HER TO THE GROUND WITHOUT ANY QUALMS — I felt like yanking him by his collar and putting him in timeout. Or worse. My protective instincts flared harder and higher than I’d ever before experienced.

Pregnancy hormones? Maybe. Flashbacks to schoolyard bullies? Likely.

It just broke my heart. She was happily playing when out of nowhere this child bulldozed her to the ground. She looked stunned, confused. Then burst into tears. I scolded him, scooped her up and comforted her.

Everyone saw it. No one came over to apologize.

Except about 10 minutes later, when the kid, obviously forced by whichever parent was with him, walked over and muttered something like “I have to apologize.”

I’m not one of those mothers. I don’t coddle Small Fry or encourage her crying. I want her to be independent, fearless.

I don’t hover over her at parks and playgrounds. I let her fall and encourage her to get up and brush it off. Especially when the place is crawling with children climbing and sliding all over each other like ants swarming a picnic basket. Getting hurt is inevitable.

But when someone intentionally harms her, I will strap on my gloves. Even if he is only three feet tall.

Has something like this ever happened to you? How did you handle it?


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  1. You know, I never really liked other people’s kids anyway.

  2. This hasn’t happened to me, but I have a feeling that I’d have a REALLY hard time keeping myself from knocking that kid down myself so he could see how it felt.

    (I *wouldn’t* actually do that. But man, it’d be tempting.)

    • Hey Sue, this has happened to me on more than one occasion. I usually scold the child that is pushing others, then if I see it happen again, I make the child take me to their parent. I then simply tell the parent what’s been going on and let them decide how they want to deal with their kid. Usually the parent is very apologetic & punishes the child.

      I’m with you…I do not tolerate bullying!

  3. Oooh I would have been irate!! I had something sort of “similar” happen last week where a bully was teasing at after school care. I was so angry that a bigger kid could push around a kid in pre-k. I wanted to go all mama bear and roar and scream (again, pregnancy hormones? Probably not). It’s so frustrating!

    But with that other kid’s parent, who probably saw what happened. Gah why bother even sending the kid over and make them apologize at that point. Sheesh. Nerve.

  4. oh, snap. I would have rained down the fury of every mom on the planet had that happened. You did well, lady.

  5. I love your analogy! Especially since our mall playground is made to look like a picnic with oversized sandwiches and strawberries.

    I try to keep my kids independant but I’ve stepped in a handful of times to show my son how to express himself with kids when they are rude or invading his personal space. And sometimes I haven’t been proud of how I handled it. I’m a momma bear and don’t tollerate bullies!

    • Great way to handle it! When I taught preschool this was my mantra in my classroom. We talked a lot about personal space and when someone came crying about being hit, the first thing I addressed (after making sure there wasn’t blood or severe emotional or physical damage) was using their words to tell that other child how they felt and to tell them ‘stop that, i don’t like it!’ It worked. I had a great class that ran very smoothly because of this every year :0) Kudos to your awesome parenting technique!

  6. While I don’t have any little ones *yet*, I was a preschool teacher for a few years before I quit and took a job with the state. I loved working with the kids but it was the parents that sent me over the edge. I don’t hold back. I had to be firm with parents numerous times when they didn’t hold their 3-yr olds hand walking through the parking lot to their cars, as other parents were backing up and with our school bus entering/exiting the lot. When it came to safety, of course, I never kept my mouth shut. However, there is an understandable line in “parenting” other’s kids in public. It would drive me nuts if someone else came up to me and told me how to handle my own child or even parented my child in front of me. I get weird around my friends’ kids for this reason … until I know what they expect from their kids and then I know. I just know that parenting styles are different and I don’t want to offend. But, again, I know I will probably see things differently when it’s my child and either they’ve been pushed or they ‘re doing the pushing (god forbid … because my children will be perfect, right? Ha!).

    So glad to have stumbled across your blog! Looking forward to following along!

  7. I would have found that kids mom and scolded THEM. Clearly they are doing something wrong.

  8. Oh yes. This has happened. My son is much much taller tagn his age so on playgrounds he gets confused with a 3 or 4 year old…he’s actually 2. We were at the beach and these two snotty kids started telling the other kids that my son was “stupid” and “he’s dumb because he’s still in diapers” my momma rage kicked in and told the kids that they were picking on a two year old and they were rude. I then told their parents.
    Sigh, you can never start too early about teaching a child about bullying.

  9. I HATE it when this stuff happens. I always want to pounce on whichever parent is responsible but it’s inevitably some parent that isn’t even looking and is ignoring their kid. Your instincts were right on target!

  10. A boy at my son’s daycare just walked up to him and kicked him – for no reason! It took all my strength not to kick that little boy back or cry! Luckily that boy moved up to the 3 year old room and my son is still in the 2 year old room. I want them to stay innocent forever. I’m with you about letting the kids play, but being mean on purpose is another thing. I’ve encountered rude kids at the playground before and the most frustrating thing to me is when the parents don’t even notice.

    P.S. I’ve been following your blog for a while and just love it. This is my first comment. I have a 2.5 year old and am 20 weeks pregnant. My son is also in the same daycare class as Natalia’s daughter 🙂

    • So glad to hear from you!! What a small world. 🙂

  11. Something like this happened to us during a xmas shopping trip. We were looking at some toys and Bresho was pressing some toy’s buttons (which was great because we could get our stuff done while he was playing in one spot rather than running around). Anwyay, so a girl came to where he was playing (she was maybe three and clearly wanted to play with the same toy despite the fact that we were at a toy-store and there were 5 bazillion toys around). She just came up to him, pushed him away and began playing with the toy. Bresho tried to come back and press the buttons, but she started hitting him on his face and pushing him away. He tried again. Same reaction. Both Ku and I looked at the little girl’s parents with a WTF?! face, but we got nothing. They just kept looking at some toys right beside their bully-daughter. Okay. So we went up to Bresho and told him he could go play somewhere else. He didn’t want to and kept trying to press the buttons and she kepts pushing him and slapping him. He clearly did not know what was going on (he didn’t hit her back). We just took him and left.
    I don’t know if this was the best thing to do, but we kept telling him: “she doesn’t want to share, let’s go somewhere else. she is not being nice, so let’s go play with another toy.” This infront of the parents who were completely oblivious of what was going on (a.k.a. playing deaf). It is such a sad sad thing to see your kids being pushed away, especially when they are left completely clueless as to what the hell happened.
    We noticed Bresho started hitting us when we play with him at home so we brought it up at daycare and were told that it happens, kids learn to do this from other kids. Well, it’s true it “happens” but I think there is a way that you, as a parent, can deal with it and just completely ignoring when your kid hits another kid is definitely not the best way. I mean, if I had been that little girl’s mom, I would have come over and tried to mediate while telling her that what she was doing was not right. Kids learn to hit, TRUE, but they can also learn that that is not right.
    *sigh* longest comment ever. Sorry.

  12. wow, that WAS really long!

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