May I Beat Your Kid? Please?

We met my friend Mo Mommy and her Things at the children’s museum downtown today. They have a membership, so I was able to freeload and get in with no cash, only a little guilt. It’s been hotter than asphalt here lately, so a day inside where the monkeys could have fun was a welcome outing.

When we first got there, it was quiet and mellow, only a few people- yippee! It’s getting harder and harder to keep an eye on diverging monkeys, and a baby. Granted, the baby doesn’t move much, but still, two eyes, two arms, three kids…I feel like silly putty sometimes.

While we were there, the boys were playing happily, having fun, and then I heard Jeffrey shriek. He had been messing around at the water table, and when I turned around, he was in a head-lock from a boy who was quite a bit bigger than he was, and he was struggling while the boy tried to take a boat from his hands. ( I really want to make the kid into King Kong and give him a villainous mustache and black cape for you, but really he was just a boy who was bigger than my kid.)

Immediately I intervened, pulling Jeffrey from the headlock. He was fine, and he had been trying to fight back, so I think his 4 year old pride was up in ire. I’m ok with that. Here is where I’m not sure I did the right thing- I very sternly (but calmly) looked at the other boy, as he was gathering up all the other boats for himself, and told him first, that he had to share, and second that he was NOT to put his hands on other people like that.

Was I in bounds? Should I have looked for his mother instead? My kid was fine, other than a slightly bruised ego- should I just have removed us from the situation and let the kid to his own devices?

Disciplining other people’s kids is always touch and go, and while I would be ok with a mother telling my son he was out of bounds for such an obvious violation of person, not everyone feels that way. At the same time, I DO want my kids to know that if someone hurts them, I will protect them and insist on their personal space and bodies be respected.

We left shortly afterwards, mostly because I finally have the chops as a mom to see when my kids are going downhill and cut them off at the pass. Eric was running out of steam, and had we stayed longer, I would have had a full-blown Mackerel on my hands, and Abby needed some attention, and no one had eaten lunch yet, and my parking meter had expired, and so on and so on.

(The rest of the truth is, it was getting really crowded- and I hate crowds. Have I ever told you all that? I hate crowds. Hatethem. Ughhhh.)

How would you have handled it?

10 thoughts on “May I Beat Your Kid? Please?

  1. Do you know how many times I have done EXACTLY what you did? Yes, youre in bounds mommy! I say if that kids mommy doesnt have enough sense to say something, and your kid is getting hurt..heck yes…say what you need to say. You got momma!!

  2. We deal with this a lot at the parks in our areas…either moms are chatting and not watching their kids or the nanny’s are there w/ them and don’t care. I expect other kids to follow the same rules that mine do…share, no hitting, be kind, etc. Just the rules of being a good human. If someone elses kid is NOT obeying the “rules of human kind” I will call them on it if my kid is involved. Not in an agressive way, but I will absolutely say “please stop hitting that boy w/ a stick…where is your mom/nanny?”. Half the time it is my kid who is doing it. It all works out.

    I have had mom’s get mad at me but I just smile and say “well, you weren’t here to intervene…if you feel stongly about it keep an eye on your kids and I will watch mine”. My kids have been pushed, hit, and almost drowned at the sprinkler park just this week alone….

    That being said, my friend Crystal had her kids at the park…she took her baby and her two year old to the car and in the mean time her 4 year old hit another child at the park. The baby and the 2 yr old were buckled in and safe (and w/in eyesight of Crystal and the other 5 moms..and w/ these kids…in the car is MUCH safer…they are a handful, also it wasnt’ too hot yet). She was kneeling down making her 4 year old apologize for hitting, etc, etc and a woman who had seen her put the other two in the car came up, interupted her discipline moment and gave her a long speech about how it is dangerous to leave kids in the car, how dare she leave them, blah, blah, blah. Crystal was so calm in the face of obvious meddling (even though I am sure that this woman, with ONE child who was about two thought she was fully correct). I was so impressed and never forgot how she handled it. She just looked at her and said “I have three children, they all have differnet needs. I am sure you don’t mean to be rude, but right now I am working with this one..the other two are fine. Thanks for your concern, please just let me finish what I am doing”. Wow, no anger, now indignation.

    The whole time I was thinking..if this woman was really coming from a place of concern, she could have waited by the car, or asked whose kids they were and asked if there was anything she could do to help, etc. She wasn’t trying to do that, she was just a preachy older Palo Alto mom. A few minutes later the same mom saw my son at the top of the slide (I was standing near the bottom) and was saying to him, in a sing-song voice “where is you mamma? Why is your mamma letting you be up here alone?”. When I answered “I am right here!!”)(I was standing right next to her) she was very suprised. I just smiled and said “I appreciate your concern, but I am perfectly capeable of taking care of my own child”. I know she just didn’t realize that the brown child had a white mom…but still.

    Ok, so I had a lot to say. I guess my point is, if it kind, helpful and necissary then why not? If it is a safety issue for YOUR child then absolutely. There are very few reasons why it is NOT ok to get our kid out of the clutches of other children…even if they did start it. It is not ok to put your hands on another person in anger. All kids should hear that over and over. If you are just trying to worry about other kids being “safe” or fed, etc. Mind your own business and give moms some credit, KWIM?

    SOrry so long. I guess that was MY post for the day…

    Are you still coming up in August?

  3. We had the exact same thing happen today at the pool. Somebody told J that he was a baby and that he wears stupid shoes. No mom in sight, and J started crying. I told the other kid, “Be friendly. That’s not a friendly thing to say.” J continued to play with him (why, I’ll never know), and when J went under the water, this kid held J’s head under. I quickly jumped up and told the kid not to touch J, and sternly told him that we NEVER hold kids under water, EVER! He said, “I was just playing”. Yeah, whatver. I was ready to wrench his grubby little mitts off my kid, but J seemed to be okay, and they (again) continued to play. Seriously, no mom in sight, although another mom said to me, “I don’t let my son play with that boy. He plays rough. I’d go find that mom if I were you and tell her what her son did to your kid.”

    I didn’t bother, but I have no problem telling another kid immediately that his behavior is not appropriate if his mothers isn’t around. Kids are like dogs–they have to be corrected immediately, or the moment is gone.

  4. We left about 20 minutes after you (yep, crowded) and I STILL hadn’t seen that kid anywhere near an adult of any kind.
    You were a little stern, but he was DEFINITELY old enough to know better. I think he felt a little sheepish about it though, because he made an effort to play nicely with Jeff later.
    And FWIW I think you were in the right, he was a LOT bigger than Jeff and was willing to go to any length to get what he wanted.
    Did ya hear that we’ll be up around 100 again this weekend?

  5. I think it’s important that kids know that certain standards apply in society, whether or not the adults who are nearby are their parents. I would hope that any mother would be horrified at the thought that her child is putting other kids in headlocks–and if she’s not, it seems all the more important that someone else teach him.

    But then, my baby’s only six months old, so my ideals have yet to shattered. 🙂

  6. I hate when that happens, when other moms just sit there and watch while their child is bullying another child. We had a mom at play group that we finally had to quit inviting because of the problem, we tried talking to her about it but she totally didn’t get it. She would watch as her sons would hit others and all she would do was tell them to be nice.
    I think that if you see a child being hurt or intimidated (even if it’s not your child) you should say something.

  7. The same way Tracy! A similar thing happened to my little girl last week at the pool–only it was with a girl we know. She is a few months older and much bigger than my Rachel. They were playing in the baby pool and ‘A’ tried to give Rachel a hug. I was watching as ‘A’ then leaned and knocked Rachel over. She was still holding on, while standing and holding Rachel under the water. I jumped up with all the motherly instinct I could, grabbed my kid and grabbed ‘A’ firmly. I should say her mom was right behind me. I looked her straight in the face and said probably more firmly than I should have “You don’t hold other people under the pool!” I was so upset! We have every right to protect our kids even if we risk insulting the other kids parent. That’s my 2 cents.

Comments are closed.