What has this society come to when bullying is considered a serious matter and unjustifiable; unless you’re a child’s mother.
Parents should for the most part, stay uninvolved in petty disputes between their child other children, unless it’s escalating and there’s cause for concern. Even at this point, there’s a right and a wrong way to approach the situation. Approaching a child all with your emotions exploding, irate, screaming and threatening them is never an ideal method of confrontation. If you’re truly concerned about an issue between children, the first thing to keep in mind is that you’re an example of proper etiquette, whether you realize it or not. What separates you from the child’s behavior is that you’re an adult who should have accumulated and sharpened some communication and conflict resolution skills over your years.
Remember that perspective is everything, what your child has relayed to you about a specific incident, is coming from a child’s perspective, one that can be biased based on children’s natural tendency to see the world with themselves in the center. Children aren’t experienced enough to necessarily distinguish between what they’re understanding from a situation and what someone else may understand, heck, most adults can barely make the distinction.
Reality is subjective, yet, during conflict resolution you must aim to be objective and keep any emotions wanting to flare up.. at bay. Otherwise, are you not acting as the child in whose character you’ve just found fault in?
Tearing a strip off a child and/or that child’s parent is not an example anybody should set. Approach your battles with dignity, class and respect. Before that, choose wisely as to whether this particular battle is worthy of being fought.
Name calling, swearing and threatening a child and/or their parents is also and obviously not an example to set. This is not how anybody should conduct themselves for any reason, especially when you’re reason for being upset is because of your own belief that they were mistreating your child.
CASE IN POINT
I’ve had obnoxious and highly volatile womEn (yes, more than one at a time) confront my child at a water park recently over a water fight.
Apparently one child was being tagged by water guns from various boys, and didn’t appreciate it. One of the boys was my son with his two friends. My son and two other boys told me they had “got in trouble” for spraying some kid who was playing in the water..(this itself is amusing..) I then got up from my nearby blanket on the grass to overlook the situation. No sooner had I approached the water section, some hijab donning woman honed in on my son, walked up angrily to him standing with his two buddies, and proceeded to tear a strip off of him. I immediately made my presence known and firmly asked what the problem was. The woman was stunned and took a few steps back in silence as I approached her position. As she, in a more calmly manner, explained that the boys had been squirting another child and been involved in some water tagging, I also calmly addressed the boys and advised them to plan their attacks on willing participants only. This is when it was taken to another level as another woman came from the depths of the water park abyss, like a whale out of hell, and screamed at the boys “Stay away from my kids!” Blah blah blah …at which point my son pointed me out and said, “My mom is right there”. By this time I was already tired of the situation being blown out of proportion, and I walked up to her as she aggressively ranted about the boys supposed wrongdoing, I explained to her that I understood what the complaint was and again mentioned to the boys that they were not to squirt other children who don’t wish to participate in a water fight. Just then, another (ahhh…woman?) bikini clad, over-weight, tatted, breast and nipple exhibitionist showed up, like a troll from under a bridge. This (woman?) was, as it turns out, the mother of some children which had been sprayed and was livid (obnoxious, ratchet, immature…etc.) and laid into the boys regardless of her friend telling her that I was one of the boy’s mother and after I had told her that I had dealt with it. She screamed at them and threatened them that she would call the police if they squirted her child again. Just unnecessary, ratchet behavior and obscenities coming from a woman who was lambasting young boys for spraying water at a water park! The boys and I were in complete shock by this gong show, and after failed attempts to calm their spewing mouths, we turned to walk away. They’d be damned if that were going to happen though! These women were in for the kill as they followed me continuing their bullying attack. I said, “You are taking this too far. They were shooting water, not bullets, just leave it, it’s been dealt with. It’s over, finished.” The anger emanating from these two was astonishing. They were quite literally in my face screaming with rage, at which point one of the woman quite proudly let it be known that ” I’m a Social Worker, and we take kids away from people like you! Where were you this whole time!? You weren’t anywhere near!” I stood there in amazement at her statement and confirmed with her in disbelief, ” You’re a Social Worker!?..now that’s scary!” ” Yes, I am.. and your statement about them not shooting bullets but water, I’m sorry but that sort of behavior leads to bullets, and bullets lead to death.”
What fantastical nonsense!!
Parents, if you’re going to get involved in your children’s lives to the point where you’re fighting or creating battles for them, disputes, drama and chaos, perhaps it’s an appropriate call for you to have a ‘time out’. A little class, as in gracefulness, goes a long way, and effective communication is key, especially in times of conflict. Many times I have done and said nothing in a dispute involving my children, so as not to stunt my child’s development and personal growth. Unfortunately, children need to face, at times, unpleasant situations with their peers, as a part of their transition into adolescence and eventually, adulthood. These experiences help to mold them and teach them; along with our guidance as parents on appropriate methods of anger management, conflict resolution, ethical conduct and respectful and non intimidating and non threatening communication. We as parents don’t need to pounce upon every issue that arises, rather we should watch and instruct when necessary in order to build them as individuals, not tear them down (including other people’s children) because of their lack of life experience and wisdom.
“There’s no way to approach anything in an objective way. We’re completely subjective; our view of the world is completely controlled by who we are as human beings, as men or women, by our age, our history, our profession, by the state of the world.” ~Charlie Kaufman
“The faculty to think objectively is reason; the emotional attitude behind reason is that of humility. To be objective, to use one’s reason, is possible only if one has achieved an attitude of humility, if one has emerged from the dreams of omniscience and omnipotence which one has as a child. Love, being dependent on the relative absence of narcissism, requires the development of humility, objectivity and reason.
I must try to see the difference between my picture of a person and his behavior, as it is narcissistically distorted, and the person’s reality as it exists regardless of my interests, needs and fears.”
― Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving
“Imagine a wall that’s green on one side and red on the other. You stand on one side and only see green. I stand on the other side and only see red. We’ll both be right about the color we see, even though we disagree on what color the wall is. Being able to realize that the other person has a valid point, even if you disagree with it, that’s maturity.”
― Oliver Gaspirtz
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