Monday, March 2, 2009

Mama Bear

I took Jenna to the park today, because it was an okay day weather-wise. I was about to go down one of the slides and was trying to get Jenna's attention, so she could watch me (she'd already gone down right before me). Suddenly, someone shoves me in the back and yells, "GO!" It's this 4-year-old punk whose dad is 15 feet away yapping on his cell phone, oblivious to his child's behavior. I turn to the kid and say, "Hey, wait!" and then proceed with what I was doing. No apology and nothing but defiant stares from this kid. Anyway, we go over to the smaller kids' area and Jenna looks inside the window of a little house there, and all a sudden the kid starts screaming at her, saying not to do that. She thinks he's playing and goes around to go in the house where he is. I'm seriously right behind her, because I sensed what he might do, but he was too fast, and I turn the corner right as he shoves her to the ground. I didn't think, I just acted. I'm ashamed to say that I actually grabbed his shoulders and shook him a couple of times, shouting, "HEY, YOU DO NOT PUSH MY DAUGHTER TO THE GROUND!!!", amongst other things, like how rude he was and to stay away from Jenna. I should not have touched him, but I just snapped when I saw him hurt my child. When I calmed down a little bit later, I regretted actually touching him. I doubt anyone's ever done anything like that to him, because I could tell he was a bully. There is a difference between accidental and on purpose knocking someone over, and this kid KNEW right from wrong, plus he was twice Jenna's size. If a kid is being a bully and is a little bit younger and still learning right from wrong, that's one thing.

Just so people know, there is no way I would have reacted like that if he had not pushed me before. I could tell that he was oblivious to consequences and just did whatever he wanted. I mean, that takes guts to push an adult and still be defiant. There are some serious issues going on. Also, if the father had been around, I wouldn't have done that, either. But he was still yapping away on his cell phone and moseyed on over a couple of minutes later. I told the dad what his kid had done, and the dad had to tell his son like 4 times to apologize to Jenna. The kid just stared at both of us and finally said, "But she doesn't even talk yet!" And yet the boy was trying to communicate with her earlier!! And I said, yes, she does talk, and stood there waiting for his apology, which he finally said sullenly.

No worries, I'm not to go crazy on some kid in the nursery who pushes Jenna. Like I said, there was a clear understanding of right and wrong in this situation, and I'm not going to stand by and let someone hurt my child.

My adrenaline's pumping again just thinking about this situation. What would you do?


annahannah said...

you know I'm a mama bear.

Carolyn said...

Wow Kerry. I would have reacted in the same way I think. It's really hard to control the adrenaline that flows when your child is in danger. It makes my blood boil to think of all the irresponsible parents there are in the world. I know that I make plenty of parenting mistakes on a daily basis. But at my heart, I want my kids to know right from wrong and I want them to grow up to be kind and productive citizens. That kid's parents are really selling their child short by letting him behave that way.
I hope your next park experience is more pleasant. :-)

Glen and Rachel said...

Wowzer. I agree, that kid (along with his parents, probably) has serious issues. I actually haven't encountered a situation like that before. Caleb has been intentionally pushed down a few times, but either the other kid's parents have witnessed and dealt with it, or Glen was there and dealt with it. I think I would actually be on the opposite end of the spectrum, though. Which isn't necessarily a good thing either. When Caleb was pushed down and Glen dealt with it, my first instinct was to grab Caleb and comfort him, and pretty much ignore the offender. I'm of the opinion that physical aggression should not be punished with physical aggression, but it does need to be dealt with, not ignored (like I tend to do). I don't ignore Caleb when he is rough with Grace, but I get all anxious if I have to say something to someone else's kid. That's a toughy! But hey, good job for sticking up for your daughter!

Ker said...

Rachel - I agree 100% that physical aggression should not be met with more physical aggression, especially in a situation like this. I'm actually really shocked that I reacted that way, and I do regret it. I still would have done everything else, but I would not have touched him. To clarify, it was a very light shake, not like a rag doll or anything!

Also, just in general, if the parents are there, I let them deal with it, but I would say something if they don't do anything...although, yes, I would get very anxious about it. I don't like saying things to other people's kids at all! I'm so non-confrontational that if people even start to raise their voices, I have to leave because I can't stand it. I think the reason why I reacted the way that I did was because this kid had already shown a complete disregard for other people, no matter what size they were (hence his hitting me and being unrepentant). I saw a real danger to my child, because if he was perfectly fine with hitting me, what would he do to Jenna? I didn't wait around to find out; I let him know immediately that I would not put up with his behavior. (By the way, he KNEW that I was right there and still hurt my child...he didn't care at all about my presence.) Again, if the father had been there, I would have let him deal with his child AND would have told him about his son hitting me earlier. As it was, I left the situation immediately after saying what I had to say.

Also, if Braden had been there, I would have let him deal with it, and I would have comforted Jenna. Contention and confrontation is so totally not my thing; I avoid it whenever possible. However, I really think that in this situation I had to let this boy know that his behavior was completely unacceptable.

Braden said...

It's a good thing Braden wasn't there, because he probably wouldn't have been satisfied until there were some tears streaming down that kid's face.

Just sayin.