I am very, very angry right now. Angry at the mother of another toddler in my son’s gymnastics class. I’m angry at his mother because I cannot be angry at the toddler, who is a bully.
My Son Is Very Shy
My son is very shy. I know I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’ve hesitated to describe the struggles that we are having with him. He is terrified of strangers, even the kids in his gymnastics class. Now, after several weeks of class, he really has started to enjoy himself and doesn’t completely freak out if another child bumps into him, but we have a new problem. A toddler sized bully who has decided to target my son.
My son is very sweet, very shy and very content to play with something by himself without bothering the other kids. I make him stand in line, explaining that we are waiting our turn and he never cuts, pushes or steals toys because that would mean approaching someone that is not his mother, father or siblings; something he never does.
New Kid On the Block
About three weeks ago, another little boy joined the class. If my child is “shy” then this child is “spirited”. He’s 3 months younger than my child, and probably outweighs him by 10lbs. For some reason unknown to me, he has it in for my son.
I am not exaggerating either; the first class I thought he was just That Kid, the one that shoves everyone, but by today, I realize that it is ONLY my son that he goes after. And his mother sees, comments on it AND DOES NOTHING ABOUT IT.
This kid steals every toy my son is playing with, shoves him off of the slide, cuts in front of him at the swing and MUST have whatever it is my kid is using. His mother’s response? “Oh, Richard,” said in a really patronizing-but-really-proud-of-him tone.
Enough Is Enough
I have had enough. I make my child wait his turn in line. Say thank you to the teacher, I encourage him to try activities that he would not otherwise because he was afraid – in other words, I am teaching my son how to live in this world. And I apparently now have to teach him how to deal with bullies.
I was a shy child, with the same kind of paralyzing fear that my son now suffers from and I know that bullies pick on shy kids. Whether this is the case at gymnastics or maybe the other kid is just jealous of my kid’s red hair, I don’t know. I do know that I can’t sit back anymore; My child will not defend himself. He will not try to get the toy back he was playing with. In fact, the child will give you whatever it is he has willingly and happily – he loves to share naturally. When his toy is taken, or he is pushed down, he looks at me confused and hurt and puzzled; he doesn’t get it. Why did this other boy take his toy or his turn?
This, of course, leads to other problems. I make him follow the rules, this other child’s mother does not make her son follow them. Am I giving my son the impression that rules are only for him? Or rules are not for everyone? Or they are arbitrary? Am I teaching him to be a doormat because he won’t defend himself or take his toy back?
Parent Your Child Or I Will
I’ve had it. I normally don’t get involved with other people’s parenting, but this has pushed me over the edge. Next week, the mother of the toddler-sized bully is going to hear about it. At first indirectly; when her child shoves mine, I’m going to take his arm as if he was my son and put him at the back of the line and tell him to wait his turn. If she doesn’t like it, I’m going to tell her to her face.
Hey Mom… It’s Not Funny!
I am not a perfect parent. I am far from it, but I do try to teach my son how to interact with others. Now, his needs are obviously different than this other boy’s, but the end result should be the same; we all are trying to bring up human beings no wild animals and not bullies. Maybe this other mother thinks it’s funny that Richard always wants whatever my son has, but it makes me want to kick her in the teeth.
Bullying: apparently it starts really early.
‘Till Next Time