Friday, November 21, 2008

Schoolboy nastiness

This afternoon when I picked Ben up from school, he went to the toilet in the park before we walked home. As he ran back over to me, one of the kids from his school deliberately tripped him and he landed flat on his face on the grass. On the plus side, Ben falls down a lot, so he is pretty good at minimising the damage when he falls. I walked straight over to him, and the kid walked off with the other boys he was playing with.

I don't know what the appropriate response is from me. If I had been within earshot as it happened, I'd have said something, but I would have to have pursued him across the park to speak to him, so I glared at him instead, and made sure I knew who it was.

To me there is a qualitative difference between calling out a kid as they do something and chasing them across a park to reprimand them. At the same time, I feel like I have been complicit in nasty behaviour because I didn't speak to him. And then there is the problems I create for my child by being an overly interfering mother if I step too far over the line.

When do you intervene and speak to other people's kids? I suspect this is a theme everyone who has kids old enough has had to deal with.


  1. If it's happening right under my nose I'll usually say something, even if my kid's not involved. I too would be hesitant to do the chasing across a park thing though.

    While waiting at the end of the day in the school grounds last week there was a pre-schooler thumping with both arms on his toddler brother's back, he'd knocked him to the ground and I could see the beginning of tears. Mum was oblivious (as she often is) so I told him to cut it out and that we shouldn't treat other people like that. He looked quite surprised and he now keeps half an eye on me as he harasses his brother each afternoon.

  2. I have no idea what I'd do.

    It would probably depend on my mood. I can imagine myself doing nothing, glaring, saying something, etc. I can even imagine myself running across the park. Although later I'd probably be really embarrassed about it.

    I think it would also depend on my child's age and the age of the other child. I think I'd be less likely to make a huge fuss if the child was close to Jack's age. But if the child is much older, I would probably intervene. I mean I HAVE intervened because it has happened before.

  3. What a minefield. I'd probably have done what you did.