I am getting a little tired of Other People’s Kids. Specifically, other people’s kids who have not been taught to behave like civilized human beings. Or even vaguely nice ones.
During the past two weeks, I have watched as my daughter has had a number of run-ins with badly behaved, aggressive, and generally just mean children, and I am starting to get tired of it. I’m getting tired of her standing there while other kids are allowed to be mean to her, or manhandle her. I am getting tired of having to police my kid’s social interactions because apparently, by taking her out into the world of school and classes and such, I’m throwing her to the wolves.
I’m talking about the bratty Ryla who, on That Girl’s first day of school, when they both went to play in the kitchen area, grabbed my daughter and told her in a bratty, mean fashion that she could not play there, and pulled and manhandled her out of the play area.
I’m talking about the satanic child Emma or Emily or whatever in dance class who, when she laid eyes on Stinkerbelle within moments of walking into her very first dance class, said out loud for all to hear, “I don’t want to sit beside THAT girl.” Or the other little brat who took great pains to avoid even having to TOUCH my daughter in class that day.
I’m talking about the little monster (Aidan or Liam or one of those ubiquitous boy names) that we passed on our walk today, who, after we exchanged hellos and pleasantries with his family, felt compelled to run after That Girl and try to push her down. His horrified mother was right on it, chastising him, which is at least a step in the right direction. But when she said to me “Oh no, and he got mud on her too… This is so unlike him, usually…” I confess I didn’t believe a word of it. And then, after this encounter, her older child proceeded to pursue us at a too-close-for-comfort distance for awhile as we walked. I wasn’t taking any more chances with Stinkerbelle, and so we ducked into the woods to escape the lunatic family.
I’m tired. I’m tired of teaching my child manners, to behave herself in social situations, to be a good girl. I’m tired of stepping in to protect her from the misbehaving, uncontrolled monsters she is interacting with on a daily basis. I’m tired of seeing her badly treated, because although she is too young to understand it now, soon she will not be. And she will be hurt, and not just physically, by some of these kids.
I feel that rather than teaching her to be polite and well behaved, I should be teaching her to defend herself, and fight back.
When did things change? When did it become okay to let your kids run wild, and not intervene when they misbehave, and not teach them right and wrong?
I am not asking for perfection, here. Kids are going to be kids. But why is it my language-delayed child can understand the basics of polite interaction with other people, and many of the brats we encounter can’t? Or is it just that they have been allowed to disregard the rules for so long they just don’t?
I don’t have the answers. But I am getting tired of holding back, holding my tongue, and “letting them work it out”. I’m going to speak up soon, and I don’t care what parent’s sensibilities are offended because they can’t teach their special snowflake child to behave in a less feral manner around my kid.
I don’t know how to fix it. I only know I’m tired of my open, loving, happy kid running to meet new kids, with nothing more on her mind than to have fun and make new friends, and being mistreated time after time. She doesn’t deserve this.