Other people and bad behaviour(14 Posts)
Walking DD 3.5 to nursery this morning we were walking near a mother and 2 older boys about 6 and 4. My DD likes other kids so was trying to engage the boys until the 6 year old started to try to bar her way on the pavement. I intervened and carried on past the boy encouraging DD to carry on too. I could see she was worried but didn't want to make it an issue and acted as if the boy was just playing. The mother told the boy off but only as a passing comment rather than explaining that it was actually rude to behave this way. As we walked he continued to flick his slinky toy at us and he was repeatedly told to stop by his mother who threatened to take it away but never did. The rest of the walk was spent with this boy actively trying to get close to DD to torment her until fortunately we parted ways.
My question is what would you do in this situation? I felt really angry towards the mother who obviously had very little control over this boy and who didn't carry out any of her threats. I have real issues with confrontation due to a childhood history of violence and intimidation so really hate this kind of situation. Also I am really wary of overreacting and causing a fuss when it isn't required. However I do believe this boy was trying to bully DD and was not worried by me being an adult or the threats of his mother.
Would you/have you been in this situation and what would an assertive person do?
I'd have crossed to the other side of the road.
"Stop that please, it isn't kind"
My opinion is that, whether the mother was dealing with it or not, dc need to see their own mum standing up for them and also modelling assertive behaviour. You don't have to be shouty or unpleasant, just firm.
I would have swept dd up and marched off while looking pointedly at the mother, In all honesty. That's what I'd do. If she said anything, I'd tell her politely and coldly, that her son was being a nuisance.
I have come upon this a handful of times, and that's what I do. I make a point of removing ourselves, and speak up if challenged.
I often say to other children "dd doesn't like that"
I could see she was worried but didn't want to make it an issue and acted as if the boy was just playing
I think you handled it fine, last thing you need at that time of the morning is to up the ante and get worked up. If you see the same family on your route again, either cross the road or keep DD engaged in normal small talk and overtake or drop back as necessary. Avoid eye contact with the boy in question and any nonsense, speak up firmly and address a civil remark to the mother.
I don't like these situations either so if you have any history of being caught up amidst aggression, can see why it's abhorrent. In this instance having your DD to focus on and protect is paradoxically a help, because you are grown up and she looks to you for protection and guidance, and in her eyes you are authority and confidence personified, so you can act thus.
I think you are being a little bit precious to call it "bullying". You and your dd initiated the contact. The mother may just have been trying to get her children to school. The child in question may not have wanted to be bugged by a slightly younger child or he may have been trying to engage her in play. Yes, he responded badly, but he wasn't that old and he didn't actually do anything to hurt you or your dd or say anything unkind. Was the mother supposed to put her child into timeout (on the school run?) because your daughter didn't like the way he was playing?
You will come across many situations like this as a parent. You did the right thing in asking the boy to stop when he barred your daughter's way, because she didn't want to play like that. Many six year old boys do like to play like that, and he will be at the stage of learning that not everyone engages in the same way as some of his friends.
If he had hit her or called her a name that would have been different, but I still don't think it would have constituted "bullying". Similarly if it had been a playdate situation and your daughter was visibly unhappy, I would have expected the mother to do more, e.g. tell him not to and suggest another activity. But they were just going about their business when you approached them.
Your daughter will need to learn that not everyone plays in the way she likes. It's not a very nice lesson, but if she is at nursery she will need to learn how to walk away from situations that she doesn't enjoy.
FWIW I had a similar situation in a softplay with my 1YO dd on Sunday where we were walking through minding our own business and a 3yo boy just jumped out, blocked her way and growled at her. I told him firmly but gently that it wasn't a nice way to play with a baby, and we walked past. Not nice, but not a big deal in the scheme of things.
I would have told him off but then I have no qualms about telling off other people's kids and I expect dd to accept discipline from other adults
Schmee - I may have given the impression that my daughter was trying to play with this boy but after her initial contact with him she soon realized that he was not playing in a way she liked and she tried to back off. He persisted in his pursuit of her even though I had shown him my disapproval regarding his behaviour. I accept that 6 year old boys like to play in this way but I don't expect them to keep doing it when they have been told to stop.
A 3.5 year should not have to fend for herself in this kind of situation when there are adults present. I left it up to the mum to discipline him because I realized that she may well have been rushing to school and not wanting to deal with a curious toddler on the way but she didn't handle it and as a result I had to intervene. I just know that if this had been my child acting in this way towards a smaller child they would have got one hell of a telling off for being spiteful.
I would have told my son off as well.. Seems like the mother didn't notice this at all.
I see your point - he sounds like he was acting unpleasantly. You did the right thing by telling him that she didn't like it and by moving out of the situation. You could have told him off more forcefully but it doesn't sound like it was necessary. The mother could have been more effective but ultimately she was telling him off and it wasn't an enclosed situation, or one where she could take him off for a time out. Also there was no physical contact or name calling.
A confrontation would have probably made things worse.
I just don't think this sounds like bullying.
Polite but clear: 'Please stop flicking us with your toy'.
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