Bullying is a topic that I think about often because my “little” little guy gets picked on a little bit
more than the average toddler. I not sure if it’s his size, demeanor or something in the universe, but it happens more often than not. I feel conflicted about this topic for two reasons:
1) It breaks a momma’s heart to watch other kids strong arm toys from him, bop him on the head, push him out of the way and so on
2) On the other hand, this is a part of life and sooner or later my little guy is going to have to become emotionally tougher to survive as an adult
The question that I am stuck with is…how much is too much? I have some friends kids in elementary school that beg not to go to school the next day or the rest of the week because kids in their class are picking on them. Do you forcefully encourage them to forge through the bullies and become emotionally tougher or is this an emotional breaking point? How do you know?
While I think about this side of bullying, I saw first hand at the park the other day the “other” side of bullying. The kid, we will call him “X” for reference, was a rather strong and taller 8 year old that came over to the sandbox to play with my little guy and 2 of his buddies who ranged in age of 2 to 6 years old. He started by grabbing the shovel out of my little guy’s hand, then took a toy car from another kid without asking and then began making a racetrack in the sand for the car. My 2 year old thought he would join in on the fun and went to help dig with X. Well, X was not looking for an assistant and went nose to nose with my little guy and telling him to go away and that he couldn’t play with him and that he was ruining everything. So what did I do? I pulled my little one away and then without thinking started telling X that this was not a nice way to play, sharing was a must and that we do not talk to people in this way and took the shovel and car away from him. I looked around and X’s parents were no where in sight. This situation happened several more times. After moving my two year old away each time, X situated himself back to my little one. As any 2 year old would, my little one tried to play with him again and then X would get back in his face. At some point my husband stepped in and told X that this was no way to play or make friends. After removing our little one for the last time, X sat there, turned bright red and started shaking and saying he is ruining my castle over and over again. As we all packed up our sand toys, my heart began to ache.
We always think about those that are bullied/picked on…but what about the kids that we never taught how to play with others, how to communicate or socialize in a positive manner. I felt terrible, X was desperately seeking interaction yet clearly wanted to dominate every situation while craving a friend to play with. Any parent could see that this child was in emotional distress; however, it is mine and my husband’s sole responsibility to take care of our child’s emotional well-being first. I have to remember that it is X’s parents responsibility to teach him how to interact with other children, how to share, how to keep his hands to himself. These are not innate qualities, they must be taught by an adult so that a child can be set up for success in life. I know this, but my heart still aches for this 8 year old kid…
Mommas weigh in…How do you deal with bullying? Parents of bullies? Overall thoughts?