As a parent, one of our main obligations is protecting our children. It is said that the urge to protect our offspring is instinctive. We go through great lengths to ensure our children are safe.
I know everyone has their own ideas on what it means to be a decent person. Part of being a parent is shaping our children to be decent people. For me, that means, I don’t want my kid to be a bully. Part of teaching your kid not to be a bully is teaching them right from wrong.
Example. A child is playing with a toy and another child snatches it away from them. You are the parent to one of those children, what do you do?
I have had to be the parent in both situations. Kids don’t understand things, that’s why we have to teach them. If I was the parent of the child who took away the toy (which I have been), my child is taught the proper way to ask to play with that toy instead of grabbing it out of the other child’s hands. Sometimes it also leads to disciplining my child if necessary.
I have also been the parent who witnesses a child taking something from my child. Naturally when this happens, he gets upset.
I explain to him how to react when this happens. I tell him how he should ask for it back and let them know it made him upset, instead of hitting and causing a fight. I also tell him to tell a grown up if the child does not respond.
Some parents though, they let their children be bullies. This is where I struggle. They can sit there and witness exactly what I witness and do nothing about it. Some parents even laugh it off.
I get it, everyone has different approaches to parenting, but I ask this. How do you react when it is your child being bullied? Do you laugh then? Do you let them react with hitting?
Yes, I am teaching my child to stick up for himself in these situations. Right now, he is still very shy around most people. He will not stick up for himself around people he doesn’t know well. This means, I instinctively feel like I have to be his voice when he can’t put his feelings into words.
My second struggle. When I witness this happening, is it too far for me to stop the bully? To talk to the child that isn’t mine, as their parent sits by, doing nothing? Is there a parenting other people’s children etiquette or handbook?
Now that Pickle is in preschool he is around more children. Everyday, before and after school, I observe the kids and how they interact with one another. Some of them are also shy and mind their own business. Some of them are rowdy running around. Some of them like to constantly touch other children.
One day in particular, one of the other kids was mad because Pickle was in the front of the line. Pickle was line leader for the week. This kid proceeds to stomp on Pickle’s feet. I wanted to let him try to sort it out for himself. He literally just stood there with an angry face and let this kid keep stomping. The kid even tried pushing Pickle out of line. Pickle just stood there, visibly angry. The kid stopped as soon as the teacher came out the door. (Incase you are wondering this kid’s parent did nothing the whole time.) The whole thing lasted maybe 2 minutes.
I am torn between being that over protective mom and letting him learn to stick up for himself. I constantly am talking to him about these things as they come up, but his shyness hinders his ability to stand up for himself during the moment.
I think each situation is unique, but I am struggling with how to handle some of them. I don’t want Pickle thinking their behavior is justified simply because the parents don’t have the same parenting standards as we do.
Let me know in the comments how you handle bullies or kids with parents who let their kids do what they want, when it affects your child.