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WWYD when other people's children are violent towards your child?

(16 Posts)
BoobyMoon Tue 25-Sep-12 12:13:57

My DS is quite a gentle soul and finds conflict difficult. He's 6 and enjoys most typical boys things but he has a fear of getting hurt or hurting others, and often hangs back when things get physically rough with his friends. To be honest, I'm probably to blame and I think I mollycoddle him a bit but I am aware of this and try to let him get on with things.

Anyway, the other day we were at a friends house for a playdate and one of the boys there was being very aggressive towards everyone and then it was all directed at my DS. This boy is younger than my DS but is physically much bigger so my DS didn't really stand a chance to defend himself. I held back and asked the other boy to calm down (the mum was out the room at the time) but he carried on trying to hit my DS and wrestle him to the ground. DS then hit his head and started crying so I intervened and told the other boy to leave my DS alone. Then 5 mins later heard a cry and looked round the corner to see the other boy standing on DS' legs!! DS was nearly crying again, I grabbed the other boy off him and told him off - I was furious. He was saying something along the lines of 'he's a wee baby for crying'.
I was so angry and told the boy off again so he kicked me in the stomach. I had to restrain myself from going crazy. The mum didn't see any of this, but I just made excuses and we left.

what would you have done? I like the mother and up til now liked the boy. My DS seemed unperturbed once we were out the house. When I asked him if he'd had a good time at the playdate he said it was brilliant. I didn't want to make too big a deal of it so just told him that if anyone tries to hurt him again then he needs to try to defend himself - he mustn't just take it - but that didn't mean I expected him to fight, but he can shout at them to get off etc.

It's not the first time we've come across something like this. My DP thinks he (DS) needs to toughen up, but I'm not happy about telling him to hit people. But equally not happy about him getting pushed about. Any advice on how to handle situations like this would be welcome. I'm pretty sure I should have confronted the mother about it at the time but I was too angry.....

Hassled Tue 25-Sep-12 12:17:54

I think you did the right thing to not say anything, but now you've calmed down you could maybe say something about it. IME lots of boys, especially, of that age struggle with the distinction between playfighting and actually hurting someone - do you think the other boy actually intended to hurt, or was it all harmless messing about as far as he was concerned? Because, if so, that is something the mother needs to address. And at 6, the boy would have known damn well hitting you in the stomach was not on. Tricky for you if you like the mother, though.

BoobyMoon Tue 25-Sep-12 12:25:29

That's the thing - up til now this boy has seemed nice. High spirited and totally different to my DS but generally a good kid. But on this day I noticed a much different type of behaviour that I initially put down to excitement of the kids all being together but when he looked at me when I was trying to get him off DS he was really aggressive and not in the least sorry.
Maybe it was just messing about but I still think if messing about goes too far it needs to be stopped. This boy's behaviour in general was shocking that day, so much so that I was feeling sorry for the mum having to cope with that.

BoobyMoon Tue 25-Sep-12 12:30:31

I think I'm willing to let this one incident slide, but I'll keep a close eye on this boy incase it happens again. What I really want to do is to give DS ways of dealing with situations like this. He struggles to even tell someone he doesn't want to play a game or that it's his turn etc! How can I help him become more assertive without turning him into a fighter?! He's a popular kid according to the teachers at school but often says he's unhappy because he feels he is being bossed about too much....

littlebluechair Tue 25-Sep-12 12:37:52

I would not have play dates with this boy again, I would be raving if my DSS had kicked an adult in the stomach - that is not 'play fighting' or 'rough play' that is not knowing boundaries and behaving badly. I would be pretty worried if my 3yo kicked an adult - but a 6yo?!

Your son should be taught it is ok to walk away from situations like this - he does not need to toughen up, he is required not to engage in this type of play if he doesn't like it. He can say I don't want to do that and you should back him up if another child is not listening.

To be honest, I think a lot of bad behaviour gets called 'rough play' but hurting other kids is not ok.

totallyupskittled Tue 25-Sep-12 12:58:27

I feel for you! We have regular playdates with a group of friends one of who's child is a real pain, constantly hitting and pushing the other kids. The last playdate we went to this boy constantly jumped on my DS while they were on the trampoline until after being told off by me and another mum, his mum finally got him off the trampoline only to let him back on 5 minutes later angry. This kid also hit me that day. I'm in a dilemma whether to uninvite them to future playdates at our house which would become quite obvious and cause awkwardness or whether to step away from this regular meet up but I don't want to lose touch with my other friends. I really like this weekly chance to get together but don't see why it has to be spoiled by this child.

AllPastYears Tue 25-Sep-12 13:01:27

Don't think I'd have made "excuses", I'd have told the other mother exactly why we were leaving!

BoobyMoon Tue 25-Sep-12 13:15:04

I agree it's not ok for kids to hurt each other intentionally or not. If my DS was behaving that way towards another child I would absolutely not tolerate it. Not everyone thinks like this though. I think I have a right to interfere if DS is getting hurt, but I wonder how much I should let him deal with himself in a non violent situation.

totally - I too feel that if I was to stop DS seeing this boy outside school it would be really awkward as we usually meet up in a group of kids from school. I wouldn't ever just be having a playdate with this boy on his own anyway, or at least we haven't done this in the past so I see no reason for it to happen now.

AllPast - I should have said something, but I guess I'm like DS and can't handle confrontation! I was so angry too, I would have ended up saying something I regretted.

EdMcDunnough Tue 25-Sep-12 13:20:06

You acted rightly. I would want to say something but not be sure what, tbh.

I'd definitely avoid play dates with this child for a long while.

there is a very high spirited boy in my son's class, and they went to his house last week after school and when I turned up it was mayhem - his mum looked surprised that they were being so wild. Mainly it was her son, but mine was going along with it as he felt rude to say anything.

Yesterday same child emerged from school, havig just ripped to pieces one of ds's letters home - which ds handed to me in bits, still laughing - I was really angry but I explained to ds why it wasn't acceptable, that I thought this child was being outrageous, and I hoped he would find a way to distance himself a bit as the other child is going to land in trouble soon if he continues with this idiotic behaviour.

It worries me - I won't say anything to his mum as she will think I'm being silly, but I will refuse any more play dates etc as I hate kids being allowed to behave like that and ds never normally does.

Do what you can, within your own remit.

amillionyears Tue 25-Sep-12 13:22:00

I would have literally picked my boy up as soon as he was attacked,or else shouted in a loud enough voice to the other boy to stop,and hoping the mum overheard.I would not have let the violence continue.Your boy needs to know that he is protected by you when you are around.
I would also tell the mum what her boy did.But tell her nicely,as in,"did you know little johonny kicked so and so last week when we were round".
Chances are the mum knows what her boy is getting up to,but she might not.

You boy is letting the other boys get away with too much.
He is old enough now to be taught by you what is and isnt acceptable.
Fighting back is not the answer.
sometimes it will be appropriate to tell the teacher if it happens at school.

littlebluechair Tue 25-Sep-12 13:26:26

You say 'you wonder how much you should let him deal with it in a non-violent situation' but it was a violent situation IMO because he was being hurt on purpose! You got kicked - how is that 'non-violent'?

Surrealistrhinoceros Tue 25-Sep-12 13:41:22

I am the owner ( for my sins) of a 6 year old boy with behaviour which can be very tough to manage. Probably SN of some sort, we are doing the rounds of the professionals at present sad

If this had happened in a group of friends i would greatly appreciate being told nicely, and having the opportunity to apologise profusely and agree with you how to handle it if it occurred again. Maybe agreeing that for the moment this lads mum will take him home at the first sign of trouble? If he's okay in different situations it may be that a play date with lots of people is too overwhelming for him just now and is provoking the awful behaviour.

I wouldn't worry too much about your DS learning to manage the situation, it sounds to me as if the other lad needs managing by the adults around him at present. I'd just make it clear to him that nobody is allowed to hit him and he is quite within his rights to tell you or make a loud fuss etc.

totallyupskittled Tue 25-Sep-12 13:50:01

Booby it's hard, isn't it? DS isn't at school yet but they all go to playgroup and the other mums pick them up (DS comes home from Nursery) and all go to the meet-up together so it'll be really obvious. Part of me thinks "sod it" I don't care if she notices, but it will make it awkward for the others. But it's not fair to stop DS from seeing his other friends and us having fun on these play dates. This has been going on for quite a long time and the other mums have had issues with this child's behaviour but I think they are more tolerant than I am!

MaryQueenOfSpots Tue 25-Sep-12 13:52:51

I have to post and run, but wondered if you had thought about sending your DS to karate or judo? It might give him more self-confidence in a situation which is getting more physical than he wants. It did wonders for my boy cousin aged 6 who was getting teased for doing ballet.

BoobyMoon Tue 25-Sep-12 17:11:52

littlebluechair when I said I wonder how much I should let him deal with himself I wasn't being specific to this time. What I'm asking is, where is the limit in a non-violent situation? Of course I would step in in it gets violent (like I did a few days ago) there is no way I would stand by and watch DS get hurt, ever. But I can't step in all the time when it's just a disagreement can I?
Mary We did try a martial arts class, but he is just not interested. It was too much like hard work for him. He is totally not sporty so far, although we do try to encourage him to do physical things as I think it would help his confidence in that aspect. The thing is, he is totally not shy in the slightest and has no qualms about getting up infront of the entire school to read from a book, but put him in the playground or a soft play and he's having a meltdown every 5 mins cos someone pushed past him! Poor wee guy, he's a total sweetheart and I just hope that his charm will be enough to get him through.....

BoobyMoon Tue 25-Sep-12 17:25:08

Surrealist I feel for you I really do. Kids are such hard work sometimes and even the supposed 'well behaved' kids have their struggles.
I appreciate what you say about the boy being overwhelmed with lots of kids because I think that is what DS feels with loads of kids being there at once so it could be true in reverse.

I think probably the issue here, thinking about it more, is that I need to be more assertive in these situations and this might let him see that it's ok to tell people you are not happy with them hmm

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