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MaMaToLiam 09-17-2012 09:30 PM

How would you have reacted?
Today my son was bullied right in front of me. He does not seem traumatized by it (hasn't brought it up, and reported he had "a great day"), but I am still replaying the whole situation in my head and am not sure if I, as his mother, reacted appropriately at the time.
Backstory: We were in a busy store in the children's section and my son (almost 4 years old) was minding his own business and playing quietly with a toy next to me while I shopped. A child who appeared to be the same age, but much bigger than my son came up to him and immediately started trying to grab the toy out of his hand and hit him. The other boy's mother gave him some line about how "he wasn't being nice and he shouldn't do that", but he continued to follow my son around and attempt to grab the toy. Finally, my son said "I give up" and dropped the toy and went to find another. The other boy was happy until he saw my son with a new toy, and decided he must have that one now. He then persisted with attempting to grab the toy, growling at my son, saying how he "was a mean boy" and occasionally adding in a slap or pinch. My son just stood there looking at him. His mother kept intervening and saying how "he wasn't being nice" and how "he never acts like this", but clearly her disciplining tactics were not effective as he continued. Meanwhile, my son buried his face in my legs and began crying. Up until this point, I contemplated leaving the store, but felt like we shouldn't have to leave just because this mother could not control her son. After I realized how it was affecting my son, we promptly went to the opposite side of the store. Once the other mother and her son left the children's area, we went back since I was still attempting to buy my son some fall clothes. The boy and his mother then returned, and my son then shared his toy because he knew it was the right thing to do. When the boy's mother told him to give it back, he refused and she grabbed it out of his hands. He then proceeded to hit my son again and by this point, I was ready to loose it. His mother scooped him up and said "lets go" and on their way out, he began whining for a toy, so she picked it up and said "you want this truck? Ok, you can have it" and they left. After we left the store, I had a conversation with my son about how that boys behavior was completely unacceptable and no one deserves to be treated that way and made it clear I expect he will never treat anyone that way (he's such a gentle soul, I can't imagine him ever behaving in that manner).
I was so disgusted by the display that had just occurred and now I'm wishing I'd intervened more. At the time, I was trying to be polite and let the other child's mother discipline in her own way, so I didn't say a word to her child, but clearly it wasn't working. I didn't feel we should have to leave the store and not get what we came for because of this other child, but I find it absolutely unacceptable that my son be subject to this behavior by another child. I do want my son to be able to stand up for himself, but at not even 4 years old, I feel it is still the parent's job to intervene. I'm also not an advocate for allowing my son to hit because he was hit.
What would you have done?? I'm feeling like I really let my son down today because he experienced this and its tearing me up inside :cry:

Sweet_Fantasy_Fox 09-17-2012 09:35 PM

Re: How would you have reacted?
:hugs: I would have told the kids, "we don't hit!" and moved with your son to a different part of the children's area, away from the other kid. his mother couldn't or maybe chose not to control her kid, I would have had a hard time not taking it up with her about her kid touching mine.

CarrieMF 09-17-2012 09:37 PM

I would have told the boy to cut it out and stop hitting my child. I would not have stood there and let it repeatedly happen

Erinne 09-17-2012 09:41 PM

Re: How would you have reacted?
My dd is a little younger and not quite as verbal, but I've told other kids "please leave her alone, she doesn't want to play right now" when things like that are happening. If they keep bothering her, I'll tell my dd right in front of the kid and parent to come stay next to me because that other kid isn't being nice. I'm sure it might hurt some feelings, but when it's happening repeatedly and the parent doesn't do anything, it pisses me off enough that I don't really care.

momof3boys1girl 09-17-2012 09:46 PM

Re: How would you have reacted?
Yeah ive been known to tell other children to leave my child alone :blush: It also doesnt bother me if my kid is the one in the wrong and the parent asks them to stop. Usually if a parent says something to my kid i missed what happened but ask them and ask my child and let them know the behavior is not acceptable. I have a VERY stubborn 3 y/o so have to watch him like a hawk. I wouldnt worry bout it to much. you talked to your son about it

hodgenkc 09-17-2012 09:46 PM

Re: How would you have reacted?
ooooo yeah I would have said something to the kid. I've done that on more then one occasion. Usually that takes care of it. I usually dont have to say anything to the mother. I must say it with enough "crazy" to freak the kids out or something. Having the boy take the toy away, yeah I usually wouldnt have bothered, but touching my son..he would have crossed the line & there would have been words.

doulamomma 09-17-2012 09:48 PM

I tell my dds " tell them to stop! If they dont, thenwalk away. You don't have to play with someone who is being mean to you"

Sent from my droid

Green Decals 09-17-2012 10:03 PM

Re: How would you have reacted?
I would have told the other kid to find his own toy, DS is playing with that one, and to keep his hands to himself - "Don't touch another person's body" or a simple, firm, "No hitting, young man!" If the other parent doesn't get a clue, and the behavior continues, I would say, "Please parent your child, he is hurting my son and that is not okay." Any mother with half a brain will not allow it to continue any further.

Just the other day, my kids and I were waiting in a very long line at the museum for a drink at the water fountain. It was exceptionally crowded, and kids kept cutting in line. I was about to pass out (literally), and three little boys came along and cut right in front of us. I did the "please get in line", "hey guys, please stand behind us", "please wait, we will all get our turn" and they kept going in front of us, stepping to the side, cutting in front again, etc. All the while their mother stood there with them and did nothing. Finally it got to be our turn and they cut again, and I tried as nicely as I could, repeatedly, as they cut in front of my oldest, my youngest, and then me. The 6th or 7th time, I had had enough, and seeing how their mother obviously wasn't parenting, I said, firmly and not so nicely, in my sudden, raging hormonal bought of pregnancy and heat exhaustion, "EXCUSE ME, YOU CAN WAIT, WE HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR A VERY LONG TIME" and physically blocked them from the fountain. Parents need to buck up and parent.... Like, for real.

Green Decals 09-17-2012 10:08 PM

Re: How would you have reacted?
FWIW, kids will follow our lead - teaching him to speak up and demonstrating good personal behavior and parenting skills will go much further than you think. It isn't always a matter of "stepping back and letting him fend for himself" - there are appropriate times for that - but in your situation, it is the other child's parent who needs to step up and do their job. I let my kids duke it out sometimes, that's how they learn, but I stopped being passive when my son was thrown out of a set of bleachers by an out-of-control kid whose parents refused to remove him from the situation. I no longer trust other people or their children blindly, and neither do my kids. Lesson: Learned.

MaMaToLiam 09-17-2012 10:10 PM

Re: How would you have reacted?
Thanks ladies...I think I was so caught off guard and felt like since the mother was "disciplining" him/addressing his behavior, it wasn't my place. I have definitely stood up for my son when there was no other parent present, I guess I just felt awkward with the other parent standing right there. But my son obviously comes first and I'm just feeling horrible about not saying something now. Next time I'll just go with my mama bear instinct! Thanks for the ideas of things to say!

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