Parenting for me is constantly evolving, because the kids are constantly growing. I keep telling them to stop, but they just won’t listen.

Claire’s starting to enter into the age of not knowing what’s OK and what’s not when it comes to other kids’ behaviors. She thinks that if you’re older, then you must be right, and even if it makes her feel sad, it’s OK because they should know better.

Wrong. They don’t know better.

Lately there’s been some undoing with a kid who goes to the gym daycare and he’s older by at least 4 years and thinks that my kids will always think he’s the greatest thing ever because he’s bigger. And I give him credit for that. What upsets me, however, is that he thinks it’s OK to shoot things at my kids and make fun of them if they say that what he’s doing isn’t nice or he’s being mean.

And that’s so not cool.

Claire is very trusting. She’s also extremely impressionable. I don’t want her to grow up thinking that’s OK. That that’s how boys are. Because guess what, it’s not OK and boys shouldn’t be like that. I don’t care if it’s ‘what boys do’ because guess what, mine won’t. Mine won’t deliberately hurt another kid just because it’s funny, or taunt someone because they don’t want to play with them or generally be a little shit.

Luca, however, knows that what’s happening isn’t nice and he defends himself. He tells me that so and so is mean to him and it makes him sad.

Where my problem is, is who do I talk to? Personally, I’d love to threaten the shit out of the kid, because, well, that just sounds like fun, but truth is, it’s not very adult like or right. I know I should talk to his mother, whom I like very much, but I find it as if it’ll be like speaking to a brick wall and only embarrass her. Then I think, it’s my kid. I have to defend my kid. And I have got to stop this now because I can’t just let my kids think that this is OK.

Tonight in the car ride home, we talked about it and Claire said she understood, but was quiet. Luca was much more energetic about it, saying, “Yah! I didn’t like that! It’s mean!” But I think, for Claire, she felt something new. Betrayal perhaps, or even that unsureness that comes with growing up and just not knowing who is right or wrong. As I said, she’s a very trusting girl and doesn’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. Especially someone she thought to be cool.

As she grows, I realize that my opinion will become more and more obsolete and I should really try to build a strong foundation now, so that even when she’s saying, “Yah, yah, yah” to me, she at least knows her roots.

But now, I am beginning to question my parenting and if I am teaching them correctly or not. Am I building my kids to be strong for themselves? Time will tell, of course, but I’d like to think that they could stand up for themselves given the situation. Just not at five and three.

This is uncharted territory for me. I’ve always felt so sure in everything I’ve done as a parent, but now it’s entering into the level of other people’s kids. And we all know how I feel about other people’s kids. (Frankly, some were surprised I even had one kid, based on how much I don’t like other people’s kids.) But worse than other people’s kids is the people having those kids. I can’t parent the kids and I surely can’t tell another parent how to do their job.

But do I say something when it directly relates to my kid? Because hearing from the daycare lady that she had to rip the boy a new one for making fun of my kid, and my kid not realizing she was being made fun of, well, frankly it breaks my heart.

She had no idea.

I’m at a loss.


About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on November 27, 2012, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I’ve had to deal with this on many occasions. Absolutely, positively you MUST talk to that boy’s mom. If you like her and she likes you, she’ll be understanding and apologetic. Approach it in a way that won’t cause her to be defensive. Just state the facts: “Claire’s and Luca’s feelings are hurt when so and so does XYZ. Could you talk to your son about it?” That’s all you have to say. If she is a good parent, she’ll talk to her son and his behavior will change. If not, then get the daycare worker involved so that you have some backup. You have to face other people, especially parents – wait until school! If you don’t, your kids will think it’s okay for behavior like this to continue and that you are condoning it. They need you now since they can’t really defend themselves against older kids.

    • Deb K From Harrisburg

      I think this is great advice. I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of these conversations. In many ways it is so much harder to be the parent of the child who is behaving inappropriately but I was so appreciative perhaps not in the moment but as soon as I had a chance to reflect on it. When your children are older, as Kelly P mentioned, they will have to figure out how to navigate these situations for themselves. By discussing the situation with them and telling them it is not OK to be treated this way you are modeling the behavior that we hope to instill in our children — to be respectfully assertive when others’ behavior feels inappropriate to them. I found this article to be particularly interesting, albeit published far too late to be useful in my parenting of my now 20 and 23 year old offspring: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/raising-successful-children.html?pagewanted=all

      • I think that article is really where I’m at as a parent. I don’t feel as if I over parent, more or less, I communicate with them and try to teach them life lessons or at least see things as teachable moments. The article actually made me feel better about how I’m handling it, so thank you. Sometimes we all need validation in our parenting. My heart just aches for Claire thinking that someone’s being mean to her and she has no idea. But it’s life, and I have to realize that she’ll learn to sink or swim, and I certainly can’t carry her.

    • Exactly. Everything you said is what I said to Matt, so I’m glad to know I was on the right page. It’s just disheartening that kids can be so stupid yet know what they’re doing. I have no doubt this kid knows what he’s doing, but figures Claire’s an easy target. I wrote to her Taekwondo instructor, asking if she could do more bully teaching in class and she happily agreed. So I’m happy for that.

  2. Yes speak up! I encourage my older kids to handle things themselves but give them the tools to do so. However at that age, Mama Bear has to step in. Some kids are just rotten & often I think the parents have no idea. Regardless of how it is received, it still needs to be said. And you know how you handle this will show your kids that they don’t have to put up with someone making them feel that way.

    • I truly think the parent has no idea, as you said. I also know her well enough to know she’ll be receptive, which gives me hope. I just hate to make her feel badly, but I’ll simply be honest and state facts and let that be it.

      • She’ll naturally be a little embarrassed, but if she’s like us, she’d want to know her kid is being a little puke. Both my boys have said or done some things (very few and very minor, mind you) that have needed attention and I was glad to know. Often when mama gets involved, the kid knocks it off right away. I think a lot of this is about pushing limits and seeing what they can get by with. I wish you luck and a receptive parent who will listen!

  3. This breaks my heart for your kids. I’m glad to hear the daycare teacher is on your side. I know confronting someone you know is hard, but when your kids are at stake, you may have to. Encourage your kids to keep telling you what’s going on, and after you talk to the other mom, follow up with the teacher to make sure it’s stopped. And Luca may be the little brother, but it sounds like he’s stepping up to the plate for his sister, which is so awesome. So sorry you’re facing this.

    I do know that if it were my child being nasty to other kids, I would want to know.

    • I have just such an anti-bullying policy. I spend all this time making sure my kids won’t be the bully, that I forget that they may BE bullied. So I have to teach them how to not be a bully’s target, but also how to stand up to a bully and defend those who are being bullied. It’s a tough job, man.

  4. I couldn’t be happier to see you say that that’s NOT “just how boys are”. I want Claire to date a nice, effeminate boy someday.

    It sounds like the kids are right on track to me. I can’t imagining anyone their age knowing how to stand up to a bully; crying for Mom seems more natural. And they’re not crying for Mom; they’re telling you about it and, in their own way, probably asking for advice. Which you’re giving. Now go punch that kid in the face.

  5. I recall growing up in a neighborhood full of bigger and older boys. It was some time between the beginning of Kindergarten and the end of 2nd grade. All I remember is that by 3rd grade, we had moved. I was a skinny runt with no older siblings. The oldest kids would egg on another tougher kid my age to beat me up for their entertainment. No parents present. Just kids on the playground. I don’t remember it breaking my heart. But it did teach me a thing or two early on about being more selective in choosing friends and appreciating kindness in people versus cruelty. It’s amazing how those lessons are learned. No great insight for you. Just reminiscing here.

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