Last week, I had 2 separate incidents at 2 different playgrounds with children physically harming my children. One child drew blood from pinching both my boys on the face. The mother of this child did not punish her or have her apologize to my screaming, bleeding boys. I did not say anything because this is the first time I have experienced anything like this and I was a little bit shellshocked.
The second incident (3 days later) did not involve bloodshed, but a child of similar age and larger size attempted to strangle K because she was standing next to the slide he wanted to climb. K is very easily intimidated in stranger situations, so she started screaming and it scared the little boy into letting her go.
A couple of minutes later, he approached P and attempted to do the same thing. I was hovering like the overprotective-first-time-Mom that I am...and his guardian was no where to be found. So, I said in my stern Mommy voice, "No sir. Let go of him. We do not do that!" This prompted his grandmother to come huffing over to where we were, obviously upset. I supposed she was going to reprimand the boy as she said, "They just don't know how to play with other kids." (He had an older brother on the playground too.)
I was quietly pleased that she could admit that they were acting ugly until she continued, "MINE go to daycare..."
"Oh, ma'am, he was strangling them...he had his hands around their necks," I stammered, sure that she did not see the incident and would be mortified if she had.
"Like I said, MINE go to daycare. They know how to take care of themselves!" she said, with her hands on her hips.
I was dumbfounded. Seriously, I was standing right there and I KNOW my children did not provoke this...and yes, K started crying and I picked her up...but she was being STRANGLED , by a bigger boy!
So, as my mind raced...I lied! I replied, "Mine do too, they just know how to play nice."
The fact of the matter is my children play with each other all day, they are in the church nursery once or twice a week. We go to Kindermusik, we have other children over to play and they spent 2 weeks in Day Camp this month. AND, I was furious that this woman presumed to know anything about me and would imply that my children deserved to be physically harmed by her grandson.
On the ride home, as my blood was still boiling, I replayed the situation in my mind and felt a bit ashamed that I had been a smart alec back to the woman. I simultaneously felt pride that I had "stood up" for my children and wondered what do I teach my kids AT THIS YOUNG AGE about how to respond to bullies.
We have rules at home for this kind of thing (since it happens on a much smaller scale several times daily.) But in a public setting, I am a little stumped. I am thinking "Stop. That hurts." is something they can manage to say...but to all you Moms who have been there & done that, how do you handle the inevitable scuffling of toddlers when you are powerless to discipline one of the ones involved? (and in both these incidences do not even know them)