My child is 3. He is my son (not my dear son (“ds”) as I have heard no one refer to their child as ever in real life but seems to be the common abbreviation for nob heads on all parenting forums). He is the light of my life, the reason I breathe but also the reason I regularly lose my shit.
He is learning the difference between right and wrong and as is common with most pre schoolers, he makes mistakes. When these mistakes are made I do my best to point them out to him and either help him to know how to avoid (i.e perhaps don’t windmill through a bush of stinging nettles) or show him the right way to deal with situations that he understands (i.e. just because that dog is taking a dump in the park doesn’t mean you can).
However there are some circumstances as a parent I struggle with and a recent event got me in a quandary but thankfully there are plenty of strangers who seem to have magically obtained a font of parental knowledge and feel the need to press this upon others at every given opportunity. Despite a lack of invitation, these people advise me how I should manage my son’s temper, but I’m a stubborn woman and often subliminally request these people fuck off while I smile sweetly at them. On this occasion I could not…
I took my baby (of nine months) and my son to an indoor play area (hell with padding). My son has an obsession with the Little Tikes cars. For those of you not familiar, think Flintstones version of a Smartcar. He was happily whizzing around the assigned area for this car when another little girl crashed into him. It was an accident which my son accepted. She did it again, now I’m watching this little brat and considering if this is no accident. She did it again on purpose with a big grin on her stupid face. This time my son jumps out of his car. Now I know what’s coming so I swing my baby under my arm and I am hurdling my way over plastic tables and chairs with the grace and vigour of a newborn giraffe to try and get there before the worst happens. But it’s too late. My son has pulled the little sod out of her car and is now proceeding to repeatedly hit her – Oh Shit!
Now the Mother who was nowhere to be seen while her little angel was attempting to inflict untold vehicular spinal damage on my son is there before me. She is clearly furious and pulls my son off her daughter. I arrive and apologised and was about to tell my son off for his reaction when the other Mother began to make such a fuss of her daughter (I bet she calls her ‘Dear Daughter’ – nob head) who was really hamming it up. I mean screaming like my son had really hurt her when clearly she wasn’t hurt. She then began to tell her daughter that my son would apologise while eyeing me in anticipation.
I lost my shit (internally). I looked at my son and said very slowly and very clearly that even though this girl was very naughty and had hurt him lots of times before he lost his patience, he should have moved away or come to me, but you have hurt her now and that’s not ok. I did not make him apologise because basically if someone deliberately crashed into me three times I’d probably get out and go a bit crazy on them.
Now the Mother was not impressed with this and advised my son would grow up to be a bully. I advised the Mother that perhaps she ought to watch her children more closely and then she would have observed why my son opened a can of whoopass on her or she should teach her daughter not to start what she couldn’t finish. She advised its natural for children to wind each other up and its not normal for my son to have that reaction.
I internally finished with “while I don’t advocate violence of any kind, it’s not my fault your daughter is an antogonizing wimp”. Now the last part I’m not particularly proud of.
But I guess my point was this…
How can this woman argue my son’s loss of control after being wound up was worse than her brat’s vindictive streak of deliberately trying to upset mine? I didn’t step in when I saw the nob head’s child bash into my son because kids do fight just like adults do. I want my pre-schooler to learn things for himself and also to take responsibility. If my son falls and hits his head on a road, I will teach him that’s his stupid fault for being careless, not that it’s the inanimate objects fault and we need to sue someone. If someone attacks him I want him to stand up for himself. Of course I want dialogue to be his mode of attack/defence instead of his fists but he is LEARNING! And if I do see him deliberately starting fights he is disciplined, because no one wants to be the parent of a shit.
But I wont make him apologise for defending himself because I don’t want to drain my son’s ability to stand up for himself or others away – Also I bloody hate kids that tell tales! Urgh…