Thursday, September 22, 2011

The big, wide, mean world.

There's nothing like seeing your kid bullied by a bigger kid.

This kid was thin but he was probably three heads taller than Joshy and maybe three years older. Up on the park play equipment, I noticed the boy and a girl crowding up close to Joshy, no doubt wanting to use the little periscope too.

I overheard Joshy say, "No! I was here first! And I'm strong." I think he then pushed the big kid. The big kid just laughed and said,"You're not strong."

Later, I was disciplining Joshy for something and Joshy was crying. The boy more than once chimed in things like, "He's crying like a baby!"

Finally, near the end of our park adventure, Joshy was face to face with the boy (who always had a friend or two with him) and did the only thing that came to mind: He tickled him with a big smile on his face. He was trying to play with him. The kid replied with something like, "I'm going to shove you down."

That was when I stepped in and said, "Kids, can you please be a little nicer?" But I don't even think the kid heard me. He was running off to do something else before I could tell.

This kid didn't do anything to Joshy really; he mostly just seemed to enjoy saying mean things to people and probably had issues that my kids haven't had to deal with. But it was still so painful to watch. It hurt me somewhere deep inside to see Joshy reaching out to play with the kid and the kid laughing at him.

It also made me proud to see him stand up to him and say "I'm strong" and defend himself, even if that wasn't necessarily the nicest thing to do. It gives me hope that Joshy won't be bullied. Of course, I also don't want him to be the bully. (And I can't even imagine what sweet little Bennett would do. I can only hope that he will have some good survival skills from being pushed around by his older brother all the time!)

Sometimes I just wonder... at what point does the parent intervene? How far do you let them go before embarrassing your kid and stepping in? And what is going to happen to your kid when he is at school and you aren't watching?

Sometimes I just wish I could hold my kids close to my heart and never let them go. Never let them out into the big, wide, mean world.


NoSurfGirl said...

Hey, this is a big coincidence. Today... I yelled at a neighbor kid.

Yup. Yelled. Chewed out. Almost made cry.

He was ten. He told his four year old brother to hit sammy in the face with a football and then repeatedly screamed "shut up" at Sammy when he did as I instructed and told them not to hurt him anymore.

I felt bad afterward and went over to their house and gave them granola bars.
:/ motherhood is a difficult thing sometimes. I think there is a time and place for intervening. A big kid bullying a small kid might be one of those times... depending, I guess, on how well the little kid is doing at keeping confident and defend themselves?

Gosh I'm so full of opinions.


Adele, I understand :D

The Gilberts said...

OH man I totally agree with you here! Chloe is so funny because she likes to socailize with kids almost twice her age. It's sad because most don't even notice her, or if they do they say mean things. Chloe is too young right now to understand, but I just tell her that she's so sweet everyday for being so friendly to other kids. I think it can be such a good thing for kids to become leaders--they obviously have some confidence, which is a great thing! Something I didn't have as a child, but I want for my kids. But in that confidence I want them to be NICE and NOT be a bully. I think it's totally possible to have those two qualities in one kid!

And the desk by the way we got when we first got married at Office Max. It is so heavy, and not as awesome as it looks. Haha. Thanks for commenting! :)

Trent and Meg said...

You are such an amazing mom and Josh is a wonderful dad. I can only imagine how rough it is to see your kids not being treated in the way they should be--especially when that treatment extends way too far into the negative. I mean, I just think about the world we live in and get nervous at the thought of bringing kids into this world. However, my husband and I often talk about building that good foundation--about teaching our kids the best we can and loving them after that (even when they will make mistakes...we know they will because we do ;0) I think in the end it comes down to the fact that even if people aren't fair and kids are major stinkers--your kids will know how much you love them and they will know how much they are loved by others that surround them, and they will be resilient little souls :D Then, one day when they are in front of the big bullies, they will kill them with kindness--or some witty joke--for sure :D Keep up the good work :D

Linda said...

I think the only thing you can do is accentuate the positive things your child does. I would always step in to defend against bullies and never worry about embarrassing a child (at least not small children) because the child needs to know he can turn to you and other responsible adults when he is threatened and you are not there. It truly is a "mean" world, but your children have something not all children have-loving parents who teach them about what Jesus would do. Love trumps all. Even trying to love the bully of course. (after reproving betimes sharply) Btw, I think nosurfgirl did that admirably well in her anecdote.

Martha said...

I agree it is hard to know when to intervene. I think it is just mostly important for your kid to know that you've got there back should they ever need you.

Lori said...

Bullying is such a touchy subject for me. If i see any kid anywhere being in any position that might resemble being bullied, i go ballistic! I am glad he felt strong and I'm sorry you had to witness him in a tough spot. Three cheers for joshy.

Margaret said...

Oh man the first time I heard a kid at the playground be not nice to my oldest niece...oh nellie...

I think stepping in is fine. Joshy stood up for himself, and you did too. Nice going. :)

I'm sorry it hurts, though...

Camilla said...

This post made me sad. I don't like the thought of ANYONE pushing my boys around. I kind of feel like marching right up to CA and finding that kid and having an important chat with him and his Mom. Not that I would really do a good job; I have no idea what I'd say. My one consolation is that I don't think Joshie is the type of kid who's in any real danger of being trodden upon much in his life. He is just so sure of himself and socially well-adjusted from what I've seen.

Sigh. Ryan and I have dealt with this a little too as we've taken D to various places to play with kids her age. I also have a hard time not jumping in at the first sign of meanness from another child. I think it sounds like you handled the situation well, for what it's worth.

Jackie said...

Oh man oh man. My heart hurts for you and Joshy. :( I've been going through a similar thing with Maxine and an older neighbor boy. It's extremely hard and is definitely a new parenting experience for me. I think you were right to tell him to be nicer, at least for your own sanity, knowing you did something. I'm sorry Adele.