Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kids. Are. Cruel.

Someone please loan me a spine, a set of balls, or some thicker skin.  I'm going to need it if I am going to survive the rapidly approaching elementary school years. 

Last night we went to Chick Fil A for dinner.  Camdyn finished her dinner before the rest of the family so she scampered off to the play land.  We could see her through the window and we watched as she quickly paired up with two older girls (about 8 years old) and began running around with them.  Up and down the slide they went, hiding from the boys and it looked like they were having a blast.  The Hubs and I chatted about how Cam is extremely social, and how she doesn't have one shy or reserved bone in her body and how awesome that is. 

And, then I finished my meal, Chloe was squawking, so I took her in to the play land so that she could play and watch the bigger kids run around.  We walked in to the room and Camdyn announced to her friends that her baby sister was there and to please watch out for her.  Serious sweetness.  And, then I saw what was really going on.

The older girls weren't playing with Camdyn, they were trying to run from her.  She was like the annoying kid sister that they couldn't shake, and they were irritated with her.  I was kind of stunned because I've never seen her in that position before.  Typically, she is the leader.  She is the one in her class that the others are following, and if they don't follow her, she could care less.  She's strong and independent, so to see her be the odd child, the outcast child, was pretty much a needle to the heart.  So, I sat there and watched.  One of the girls would tell Cam to go and hide in the cow car, which was at the top of the play thing, on the opposite side of the slide.  Cam would climb all the way up there and wait a minute, and then realize that no one was coming to find her and she would climb down, and join the girls again, smiling the whole time.  They were like her new best friends, but she was the only one that felt that way.  At one point, the older girl said under her breath "stop following me. you are so gross." 

At that point, I debated saying something.  I was going to call that little girl over to me and explain to her that Camdyn is only 4 years old, and if she can't include her and play nicely, then she should go back to her table and sit with her mother.  She was probably above the height restriction for the play land anyway.  And, then, I second guessed myself.  Is it my place to discipline or reprimand this child?  After all, she wasn't physically hurting my child, she was just being rude.  Do I step in, or do I see how it plays out?  Although, I want to protect Camdyn from all the hurt and pain in the world, I can't fight every battle for her, right? 

So. I. Did. Nothing.

After a few more minutes of witnessing this behavior which is hurting my feelings, not my child's, but MINE, I tell Cam it's time to go.  As we head to the car, the whole situation begins to eat me alive.  Why?  Because I'm a frickin' sap, and a wet noodle, and I can't stand hurt feelings....I over empathize with people, to the point where it is becoming a personality flaw.  We get in the car, and I begin to enlighten Hubs, who missed the whole situation.  We are spelling out the majority of our conversation so that Cam doesn't understand and he thought without a doubt that I should have done something about it.  He told me to grow some balls, and stand up for our kids, and that I better learn how to do that when they are young, because when they are 14 and I have to do it, it's going to be even tougher.  On one hand I agree, but on the other hand, I am not going to be able to fight all of her battles for her, and I can't protect her 
She's going to have to learn how to stand up for herself.  And, I hope she does.  And that she learns how to stand up for other kids that are picked on and bullied.  I hope she is that kid. 

As tears are welling in my eyes on the drive home, Hubs turns to Camdyn and asks, "Did you have fun at Chick Fil A?"  Between licks of her ice cream cone she says, "Yes Daddy!  I had so much fun with those girls, but not with those boys."  He looks at me, squeezes my leg, and says "That's all that matters."

I still lost sleep over it.  I debated whether or not I did the right thing, and I wished that I could just keep Camdyn at her Christian School forever, in the classroom where she is loved and feels accepted with a teacher that she adores, but I know that can't happen.

Eventually, she's going to run in to cruel kids.  And when she does, I hope that I am better prepared to handle it than I was last night.

I am interested to know what you would have done.  Please share.


Amanda said...

Hey you, screw those meanies and come look at the award I gave!

Sippy Cup Mom said...


This is what I'm so afraid of! I would have the done the same thing as you though or wouldn't have known what to do.

I tell my husband all the time we should home school H because I just wanna protect him!

Britt said...

This broke my heart. I obviously haven't been in that position yet but I have no clue what I would do. Honestly, I think you did the right thing. We want to protect our babies but they are strong enough to do it themselves sometimes. And how sweet that she still had fun. Your hubs was right... that's all that matters! She seems like such a strong and sweet girl, I don't see her running into this problem much!

Mama Hen said...

Carol, I am so happy you wrote about this because unfortunately it happens all of the time. I have seen it growing up and I saw it as a teacher and now as a mom. I will, however, say something at the playground. Especially when the child that is being unkind is not being monitored by her own mom. You will se how quickly their behavior changes when another adult says, "be nice." I was always hurt growing up, because from early on I knew what it was to be a friend. There are a lot of cruel people out there and it truly begins from when they were younger. Like I wrote in my blog about the mom being rude to me and my daughter, people won't change unless they are taught early on or if they realize they need to change. I am still that sad little girl on the playground not understanding why some people can be so unkind. As a mother it breaks my heart. Little Chick is like yours, very friendly and outgoing. You just have to be there as a family, which is the most important thing. Next time please say something.Maybe it is the teacher in me or the mommy protector, but I will not allow another child to be rude and hurtful to my daughter in front of me. I think Little Chick learns from me when I tell other children to be nice. Have a good day!

Mama Hen

Mama Hen said...

Carol I just want to add that this is SO out of my character also. I have always been shy and avoid confrontation also. I guess I am at a point where I have had enough of unkind behavior. There is no need for people to be unkind, especially when children are involved.

Mama Hen

Anonymous said...

I would probably have done the same thing! Its so hard - esp. when the other parent isn't there to watch their child's behavior and see how ugly they are being. At least your Cam has such a happy nature she can't imagine someone not liking her!

Mama Hen said...

Hey Carol, my post for Wednesday is again about wanting to protect our children. Come and see!You also have an award waiting for you! You deserve it! Have a great night!

Mama Hen

Sassy said...

I tend to be pretty protective of my kids. And I'm not afraid of confrontation. To the point where it is one of MY character flaws. My first instinct would have been to say something, especially if the other mother was nowhere around to witness it. You make a good point though...we can't fight all their battles. Still...sitting here just thinking about it makes my blood boil. I probably would have said something. :)

Sassy said...

I just wanted to clarify...that I meant if the other mother wasn't around to witness her kids behavior I would say something to the child. Not that I would say something to the child only if the other mother wasn't around. lol

LeeAnn said...

Oh that post made me cry. I think I'm just emotional right now as it is, and I just felt so sorry for Camdyn when I read that. I probably would have done the same thing you did. And then I would have beat myself up for it like you did. I just feel like we have to be so careful when talking to someone else's child. I wouldn't mind another parent saying something to my kids if they were out of line, but not all parents think that way. And I certainly don't want to get in a screaming match with another parent when they get mad that I said something to their kid. It is a tough situation. Rylie sounds like she is a lot like Camdyn. So usually, she isn't getting picked on. But I know the day will come...