Ugly & Awkward
I can’t help but think that every parent has found themselves face to face with another parent in a situation flourished with awkward exchanges and ultimately ending in a mess of ugliness.
Just us lucky few?
Okay, regardless… This is the best way I can think to describe my recent encounter with a couple that found their son’s persistent, aggressive behavior entertaining.
Now, before anyone flips their lid…
No, I wasn’t upset with the way this toddler acted, I was livid with the way his parents responded.
It was as if the sight of me cleaning sand out of my daughters hair while kissing her ‘ouchies‘ where he had hit and pushed her was just another day at the park for them.
With all of the anxiety parenting brings, the last thing we want to deal with is someone else’s kid and their nonsense.
However, I refuse to accept the idea that my daughter should think a comment like, “He must like her!” or “Boys will be boys!” is appropriate after she just spent the last ten minutes establishing distance from a child who quite frankly, acted like a jerk.
I made it a point to speak directly to his parents, maintaining my composure to the best of my ability (minus my visibly shaking hands) but my goal was to teach my daughter a lesson more than anyone else.
I wanted her to hear the words I never heard growing up. To know that just because a boy likes you, it doesn’t give him the right to treat you how ever he sees fit.
I spent years trying to make sense of all the conflicting interaction I had with boys growing up. One minutes we were friends on the playground and the next thing I know I’m picking thorns out of my arms and legs because Johny decided to shove me into some rose bushes when he noticed he might have a crush on me.
Fast forward to highschool and it’s the same old story, Timmy might like me but he doesn’t know how to express it, or what ‘it’ even is, and so he creates distance using insults and sometimes violence.
So what happened here? Did no one think to sit little Timmy down and tell him that a girl is more likely to respond to kindness?
That’s probably not the case. In fact, he was most likely taught all about the golden rule ‘treat others as you would wish to be treated’ but it was muffled by the sound of his fathers laugh as he spit out, “Oh well, boys will be boys.”
So the next time he saw me, he had the confidence of a boy who has just been given the green light. He knows there are consequences but, really… who is going to enforce them? Boys will be boys, right?
Boys will grow into men who need to know that this term is not an excuse to act like a complete jackass.
“They told me if he picks on you he likes you when I was a kid. Then they wonder how I stayed in an abusive relationship. Teach them young that we don’t talk to bullies.”Erica Rose of iddybiddyworksoflove.com
“Calling bullying behaviour ‘Aww he likes her’ and ‘cute’ when they’re little is dangerous. It’s not cute. Showing interest or affection and mean behaviour are not the same. Uncorrected, excused & ignored, those little boys can become violent men.”Sara of raisingroyalty.com
So… What IS the right approach?
I think it’s a pretty simple concept really, teach your child that what they say and do has meaning by being an example.
If you agree with the fact that, “Oh he must like her!” and “Boys will be boys.” is something that encourages poor behavior, then don’t say it.
“I feel our generation is the generation to change how children are brought up and the start is when they are young. It is how they cultivate relationships at home and the playground. It is our job as parents to set the example and to correct the behavior when it isn’t on track. Bullying does not equate to liking and for anyone to believe it does needs to have their head checked. 🙂 “Tanya of themamalifeblogspot.com
There are a million other ways this family could have addressed this situation. Even ways that would expressed their blatant disgust with my response as they stormed off.
I honestly don’t think I need to write out literal examples of alternatives. Just don’t spread the message that bad behavior can be overlooked when dressed with traditional excuses.