Monday, May 25, 2009

Playground Bullies -- Oh, How I Want to Spank Them!!

Like most all children, mine love to go to the park. They love everything about it! The swings, the slides, the monkey bars, the wood chips or sand -- they love it all. I like to take them about once a week when we can get out. But when I do, I get anxious. Not because I am afraid some crazy out there is going to take one, I watch them like a hawk, but because of the bullies that come with every public park. I hate to say it, but there it is. There are mini jerks everywhere, and I hope none of my lovely readers owns one -- it would break my heart!

Nephi gets by just fine. It's Sam that seems to attract them. I think it is his disability that screams out "Pick on me!" Four out of five times we go to a public park, Sam somehow gets himself in a pickle with a mean kid. Most of the time (not all the time) he is minding his own business when it happens. And when it does, I pounce like a mad mama! Seriously, no one hurts my baby who can't fend for himself, no one. Now, I am not a violent person, but when I see a kid picking on my Sam, I feel like grabbing the brat by the hair and drop kicking him down the street. But I don't.

Yesterday, we took our little family on a picnic to the park. It was packed with families celebrating the long weekend with family parties or BBQs. After we ate, we let the kids loose so they could play on the playground equipment. Ben and I each take a kid and keep a watch. Ben likes to take Nephi, because he says he is more fun. Sam is very cautious about everything he does, has to think it out -- drives Ben crazy. So I was walking around watching Sam and showing him some stuff he might have missed, or how to do certain things. I think every new playground has a random steering wheel somewhere. Sam loves those. I showed him where it was and he was "driving" and making sounds. Then out of nowhere comes a 5 or 6 year old little (enter favorite cuss word here) and tries to push Sam off the wheel. Sam pushed back -- totally warranted. Then the kid flipped out and started punching Sam in the head. Super Mama (Me) immediately reacts and pounces.

"Get your hands off him!" I yell. "Get away from him!" Totally freaking the little jerk out, he backs off. Sammy was at this point in a little ball on the ground sobbing. I snatched him up, then glared at the bully. At first I thought I got through to him with my "mama-angry-look," but he just snarled at me. That did it. "Where's your mom?" I asked. He shrugged. "I dunno," he answered. I looked around. There wasn't anyone looking our way. It made me even angrier that there wasn't a parent watching this kid. So I said, "If you ever touch my kid again, I will spank you myself!" Okay, so it wasn't the coolest thing to say, and now that I look back I can think of a million better things I could have said, but I got my message through to him, because he ran off. He didn't even apologize... the little...!

One time we went to McDonald's. We got the kids a Happy Meal, and let them play on the playground. As Ben and I were eating, we suddenly heard Sam screaming... the bad kind of scream. Ben was faster than I was, but when we got around to the other side of the play place, we found Sam on the floor, curled up and a bigger kid was standing above him kicking him and calling him potty words. Ben grabbed the kid off Sam and hauled him out to where all the mom's were sitting and chatting.

"Whose kid is this?" Ben said loudly and angrily (and dang sexy to me!). One mom turned and looked and her face went red. She ran over to him and Ben told him what he was doing to Sam. She grabbed him by the ear and marched him outside. When they came back the kid was crying and his mom marched him right up to us and told us he had something to say.

"I'm really sorry," he said. "I'm sorry I kicked the little boy." I nodded and Ben snarled. The mom apologized too. I accepted. After all it was the first time ANYONE had ever apologized for picking on Sam. Even when the mom's are watching and don't do anything -- that REALLY tans my hide!

Like the time we bought Sam his first bike. He was so proud! Ben took him outside to teach him how to use the peddles. It was one of Sam's finest moments. Until Ben turned his back for one second and the neighbor kids came and pushed him off and took it. Sam was sitting on the sidewalk crying. Ben went and got the bike back, and gave the mothers and kids a talking to about picking on Sam. The mothers claimed that the boys were just "playing." After all, "boys will be boys..." I hate those excuses and I don't go for it. Bullying is WRONG! All those crazy teens we hear about shooting up schools and killing people... they were all picked on as children and as teenagers. I was picked one growing up and I won't tolerate that for my sons. I want something better for them. I am so glad we moved from there!

Anyone can pick on me, I am big and tough and can handle it. But when someone bullies my little Sammy, who can't fend for himself, I feel so much anger I want to slap some mean little faces! Instead, I just hold him close and cry with him.

****
I know I am stepping out of my norm, today. But bullying was something that has been on my mind this weekend, and I wanted to address it. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with bullying. What do you do when your child is picked on? Or if you catch your kid bullying?

I also want to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day!

25 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

Sometimes I don't know what bothers me more: the little bullies or their parents who excuse their behavior.

tracy said...

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! Im so with you

Guilty Mother said...

Hey there, Guilty Mother here from NZ. I was upset to read about your wee Sam. Bullies make me seethe and so do the parents who deem it acceptable. I'm so protective of my 2 and it just makes me think, what if it were Lucy, or Billy? Billy (18mths) once got clobbered by some kids (unintentionally) because they were playing wrecklessly on a rotating see saw (stupid piece of equipment anyway) and he got in the way. 6 kids (as opposed to the 2 it should take) flying round on this thing like it was some kind of torpedo and even though I was right beside him I couldn't get him out of the way fast enough. No-one was paying attention. Billy was screaming (mostly with the fright of being knocked to the ground but also with the bump he got) and I was the one who had to tell these kids to use the equipment sensibly, not 1 mum came over to address their child (even to ensure their own safety). It angered me but mostly it saddened me that there seems to be a lot of parents who perhaps aren't all that bothered.

I tried to become a follower but it seemed to hiccup so will try again later.

I'm a bit of a newby, glad to have you as one of mine :)

Anonymous said...

So where does it start? We live accross the street from a cemetary and yesterday a car pulled up and a tiny puppy pushed out, people watching said the puppy chased the car as far as it little legs could go. She will be taken to the Humane Society tomorrow, and that is a two hour drive from here. I have 9 dogs all rescues. Is this a form of bulling to do this to a puppy? Yes! Would he do likewise to his fellow man? Yes!

Daphne said...

i so totally, TOTALLY with you on this. At the end of the day, our kids depend on us as guardians - and if we don't protect them, who's going to? let the parents of those bullies protect their own little barbarians. I have no qualms making a scene if necessary (though i must qualify that, like you, i'm typically a serene person - mostly). But I would have given a two-footed lunge with my sock'her mum boots on the kid as well as the parents of the kid. So relatively, you've already exercised a lot of self-control. Man i could go on and on. Aargh, i hate bullies. Did I mention I'm so totally with you on this???

DaveandRuth said...

All the reasons I fear Kindergarten for my little Meghan who struggles so, have just been realized here in this blog. They tell me we will cross the Kindergarten bridge when we get there next year. One thing I know for sure is that we have taught our kids not to bully, but if someone messes with them they are quick to defend each other. I am happy about that. Have a good rest of the weekend!

Teri said...

Bullies always make the mama bear come out in me! Luckily we live in a fairly good neighborhood when it comes to bullies, but I can't say the same for school. My kids are able to defend themselves, but we've taught them that violence is never the answer, so they generally just run away, crying. That in itself breaks this mama's heart. Sadly, it always seems like it is the children whose parents are uninvolved or uninterested that bully those around them, just seeking some sort of attention. Too bad it has to be negative.

Jill said...

I so get what you are talking about. You already know about my son's issues. He and Sam are bosom buddies. It is so frustrating to see others hurting your child. But for some reason, when it is a certain child, the mama bear comes out even more. Good for you for standing your ground with those playground bullies. And good for Ben, too, for making those women take responsibility for their children. That is very aggravating when other parents sit back and don't do anything. I appreciate this post. Maybe some mom out there will realize her kid is a bully. Or another mom will be grateful she's not the only one who has to protect her children in places she thought were safe.

Sara Richins said...

Oh, I have one of each. Sad, yes. Jake is the one that usually gets picked on. We have a devil child that lives in our triad that always seems to pick on Jake. And his parents NEVER watch him, like you're suppose to. They are always inside. So it's up to me to put my foot down. I try to get the kid to say sorry to Jake. It never works. Jake is just so nice and quiet, that kids just take advantage of that.
As for Zoe, she's the bully. I'm always so embarrassed when she makes some little girl or boy cry. When this happens, I make sure to put her on a time out, then go say sorry to the child. And I always say sorry to the parent. We are trying to make her stop, but without any luck. I really hope she grows out of this. Jake and her go round all the time here (lots of time outs and screaming over at my place b/c of this) so I think that "I will protect myself and the toy I think is mine" attitude carries over to the playground. Still, that doesn't make it right. So, sorry if my little girl every bullies your sweet little guy. You know I'll make it right, somehow.

Practically Perfect... said...

We don't have any little ones yet, but I hear lots of similar stories from my sisters about their kids. From what I see and hear, my own observation is that the biggest part of the problem is parents, or lack their of. I really like the fact that McDonalds Mom made her child apologize, and apologized as well. I'll bet that her kid didn't forget about that for a long time!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

I can kind of forgive the kids - they haven't learnt yet. But when the parents don't discipline them for it - that is what gets me!

Thanks for stopping by at mine! Great to discover your blog too. I'll be back.

Amy said...

That is just sad. Not only do I feel bad for the children who are victims of the bullies... but I feel bad for the bullies too. Somehow they have learned that behavior for someone.. and I feel sad that there are parents out there who bully their own children. It is sad that there are children who have so much anger inside of them, to take it out on other kids that way. Luckily I have only come across a couple of them at parks. I guess that I have been lucky. Sorry that your boys have been treated like that Cat.. he will be one tough cookie!

Pam said...

Poor Sam! He is such an adorable little guy and it breaks my heart that he is the target of bullying. And by much older children, too. That part really bothers me. I think it is important to point these incidents out to the bully's parents (when you can identify them). Even if they don't respond as you would like, it does make them and their kids accountable to a certain extent. As the mom of a daughter who was on the receiving end of "girl bullying" all through elementary and Middle school, you have my sympathy and understanding. {{hugs}}

Yaya said...

Happy Memorial Day!

I can't stand the playground bullies. When I bring the kids I nanny for to the playground I always step in with the bullies.

BridgetJean said...

Love the post. That's right Mama Nut, protect your babies!!!! I can't stand bullies

Clair said...

I was bullied as a kid and no way will i let my kids bully or be bullied. If they act up and get pushy or whatever,i intervene right away and they have to apologise- in front of everyone. They soon learn fast! Keep that anger and work it!

Thanks for popping by.

Camryn said...

Bullying breaks my heart. Truly. How can parent's NOT care? If my kid ever did that to anyone--I'd boot kick my kid. But that's only because I was bullied myself as a child and I will not let my kids do it, or ANY kid do that to my kiddo. Sammy is SOOOO cute--love the pic of him on his bike. I think it's the tender-hearted, kind children that get picked on. You've got a good boy if he doesn't fight back. It tells you that you're a good mommy!

Pam said...

We have had experiences like this over the years and I want to spank them too!
But it's the parents who bug me--"boys will be boys" is not an acceptable excuse!

Our Family said...

Poor Sam. We haven't had too much trouble with bullying. I usually don't have a problem making sure everyone plays fair. However, I'm at a loss when their parents are standing right there when it happens. That's when I don't feel comfortable upbraiding another mom's kid, especially when she can see what's going on and should be the one to step in.

casey aubut said...

Here from SITS- Thanks for stopping by! I totally agree with you- bulying is never ok! I would do the same things you mentioned if I ever saw a kid doing that to my little ones. And you better believe I would pounce on m y kid if I saw him doing that to someone else- not acceptable!!!

amonkeyslife said...

I COMPLETELY feel you...and this post actually got me SO. ANGRY. at the other mom's for not taking action! Thank you for being a mom who watches out for her little one and holds the little bastards accountable.

I'm finding that more often than not parents want to be friends more than being the parent and that's going to KILL this generation of children.

For example, when I worked in a daycare. We would tell a few parents that their kid was pushing/hitting/saying bad words/etc., and they would LAUGH and say "oh, kids will be kids".

One of many reasons I will never work in a daycare again...

Pamela Donnis Designs said...

This happened to me just yesterday! The mom was on the phone the whole time, not watching the kids who recklessly kept going UP the slides while my kids were correctly trying to go down. That teacher voice comes out in me when things like that happen. Ergh...

Jodie said...

I haven't had to deal with this too much yet since my kids are 2 and almost 1. But, Cooper is not the best about sharing anything with others. I always try to teach him to share, but it always bothers me when the older kids who know better, are the ones not sharing. And of course, Cooper is a bully to his little sister and it drives me crazy. It doesn't matter what I do or say to him, he just doesn't get it. I can't stand bullies and the parents that just sit back and not watch their kids.

Kelly Dawn said...

Dont even get me started...bullies just PISS me off...and you SO sound like me....lol...my babies are now 17 and 13 and my very proudest moment was when my daughter (she was 14 at the time) got KICKED OFF THE BUS for knocking a big ole boy down and sticking her foot at his throat then threatening to embarrass him worse if he EVER picked on "Tommy" again..."Tommy" is a special needs child whose parents mainstream him...and this big ole boy bloodied his nose then laughed at him when he cried...My child kicked his redneck butt right back! Bus Driver was so proud he called me to apologize that the cameras caught her and NOT the bully...

these days...kadie tries to bully me...lol....cause no one else deserves that treatment but me....of course you and i both remember that 17 sucks for an age...lol....especially if you are a girl...

Emmy said...

Wow! I can't believe those kids! It is one thing to try and push another kid out of the way to have a turn with a wheel (that is more kid like), but then to proceed to punch him! Wow I would have been SOO mad to! Good for the one mom for disciplining at least.
You had every right to be so mad.