The other day at the cafe playground my little boy started playing with a girl a year or two older than him. It was innocent at first but then it started to get suss. She began pushing him down the slippery slide, no biggie I thought, all kids do that, but then she started dragging him by his t-shirt around the playground and telling him what to do, like the future boss lady I think she will grow up to be.
I didn’t know if I should step in but my, ‘is that kid being mean to mine?’ radar was going off.
I looked around for her parents but couldn’t see them among the sea of cafe customers. My son was going along with it but he looked confused. So I told him it was time to leave and he was actually happy to go, which he never is. I guessed my gut instinct was right.
Then I wondered if I overreacted.
I know my kid needs to learn resilience but I can’t help but want to protect him always. Here are some secret thoughts I have when I see another kid being mean to mine, and also why I know he’s not a saint.
1. Kids are kids
They are learning the art of social interaction and sharing, this is all just age-appropriate behaviour and just how kids play. Relax, nothing to see here people.
2. No, I think that kid may be an a-hole in training
Stop that, how dare you push him! You little brat. Figures. Kids are future grown-ups so I guess this is just a rogue one on a one way street to becoming a douche adult. Calm down. He’s just a kid. Oh now he’s throwing sand at that kid and another mum is telling him off. Ha! Sucked in.
3. Should I intervene?
No you shouldn’t. Kids need to learn how to work things out on their own. They have to learn to stand up for themselves. They have to, oh, wait, you did not just tell him he can’t be your friend and then run off with two other boys! That’s so mean. My poor little boy! Oh, I should talk to this kid about being kind. No, you are not his mummy. Just talk to your boy about it later (and have a little cry now under your sunglasses).
4. You know he’s not perfect
That kid may have pushed him just now but he’s no saint. Remember that time at the shops when he pushed that little girl off the play equipment and she fell? That was HEAPS worse. Sure, you got all “I’m telling Santa” on him and took away his promised sushi as punishment, but he’s been guilty of the same sort of behaviour in the past that you’ve worked really hard to get rid of. And how understanding was that girl’s dad who said, “It’s okay, she’s alright” when you made him apologise to her? You need to chill.
5. I never want to send him to school
If this sort of sh!t happens on my watch when I am here watching over him, what’s going to happen when he’s at school? I know kids are mean at daycare but I also know the teacher/child ratio nips it in the bud. But school? Geez, I remember school. Oh god, can I home school him? No, you would be a terrible home school mum, you know that! You need to prep him for this kind of stuff.
6. I need to teach him resilience
How do I do that? Quick, Google ‘Teaching resilience in young children’ now while he’s busy climbing that tower. Oh, so many things. OK, will read this tonight properly. I should be watching my kids and making sure everyone is safe. What idiot thought to put rocks in the landscaping plan of this playground?
7. Where are the parents?!
Am I the only one seeing this? Rocks are flying everywhere! Okay, too much sitting on the fence, someone is going to get hurt. “No throwing rocks, kids. Rocks stay on the ground. Play nice!”