Friday, May 23, 2014

It's a Cruel World Out There

Yesterday at Gymboree we encountered a very mean boy.  One who did multiple mean things to Lemon, and one whose mother never scolded him for any of them.  Lemon had some of her first exposures to the cruel world around her and it made me so sad. 

First, toys were snatched out of her hands, more than once.  Then, she was pushed.  And to top it all off, as she was reaching for a bubble and caught it, this boy smacked her hard, in the hand (to pop the bubble!).  (Captured it on Vine if you want to see.)  His mom was young, had another baby strapped to her chest (facing out in a crotch dangler) and every time she saw her son do these things she would say, "that's not nice" or "you need to apologize" but would never get down on his level, remove him from the situation, wasn't firm and didn't actually ask him to apologize to her.  The worst part is that  every time he did these things to Lemon - you should have seen the look on her face.

It broke my heart.  It was a look of "Why did he do that?"  Or, "What did I do wrong?"  She looked at us for help, for guidance and we had nothing for her, just a hug and a kiss and to tell her that it was ok.  We couldn't stop this kid from being mean to her, only his mom could, and we couldn't shelter our girl from it.  I guess it was a tough lesson for us to learn too, you can't protect your babes from the meanies out there in the world.  What a bummer.

Sometimes I think Ian is too firm with Lemon when she does something wrong; but he deals with behaviors like her, in grown kids, every day so he does know his stuff.  And you know what?  Lemon doesn't hit kids, push them or take things from them - and it's because we taught her that you don't act like that to someone else, you keep your hands to yourself.  She is really the sweetest thing, and despite the confused, hurt look on her face, she just toddled away and got over it.  She is so resilient, unlike me, I wanted to just scream at that mother.  Don't get me wrong, our kid is not perfect.  She doesn't listen (like all other toddlers), throws things when she doesn't want to do something and throws silent fits when she wants her way (seriously silent, face down, on the floor).  But, she does treat other kids with respect. 

I know that people have different parenting styles and some don't like to give their kids a firm "NO" like we do.  But, it works!  Lemon doesn't touch things she isn't supposed to, only tried to eat dog food once (and got the firmest "No!" that scared her half to death!) and treats other people nicely, because the one time she pushed a little girl she got that "NO!" and never did it again.  We don't spank her, and with good discipline I personally believe that you don't have to, but we are firm with her, and it takes just one or two times before she knows not to do it again.  Why are parents so afraid to be tough with their kids?  You know what happens when you aren't?  Your child is the one hitting, pushing and snatching things from others . . . and it drives me bonkers.

I love doing "kid stuff" with Lemon - we love Gymboree, swimming and doing whatever else she loves to do.  The only thing that makes it not fun are the other kids, and of course I don't blame them, I blame their parents.  The parents who are on their phones instead of watching their kids run wild and knock over the little ones playing peacefully, the parents who don't see their kids pushing, hitting or being mean to others.  The parents who are too afraid to say no or that say no too much it has lost all meaning (you've seen these frazzled, crazy parents too!).  There's nothing like the mom constantly yelling at her 3 children at the grocery store the other day to make me not want to have 3 kids - it looked terrible!  But, it's all how you handle it and the kids were just bored with nothing to do.  Give those kids a list and make them go on a grocery scavenger hunt!

Lemon is a good girl because we've taught her to be a good girl.  Ian's kids bite him as teenagers because no one taught them not to when they were just little muffins.  I am happy that my husband isn't afraid to be firm and give Lemon some boundaries; after all, kids are like dogs, they love rules and boundaries.  Trust me, I teach high school.  The best teachers, who have the best students, hold their students accountable, give them timelines and rules and expect nothing less.  Why don't we do the same as parents?

So, to the kid's mom at Gymboree who I think was just young, tired and didn't know what she was doing - I do blame you for not disciplining your kid.  Next time, I just may say something.  But, to my sweet Lemon who had no idea what was happening - I wish I could protect you from what's out there in this world, but I won't always be there to do it.  It's a cruel world out there but you handled those situations with grace, tact and just ignored his bad behavior - just like we've taught you to do.  Just like I hope you will do in the future, when the bullies get meaner and the world gets more cruel.  I'm proud of you. 


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17 comments:

  1. This is so, so true. My husband gets a much better response from Rae because he's more firm with her. I have learned that getting on her level and making eye contact while saying "no" works best for her. We haven't overcome the dog food though. That I need some major pointers on because this little babe would trade all the cheddar bunnies in the world for some dog food ;)

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  2. I actually have a few thoughts on this. First, you just never know what someone else is going through. Maybe that boy has a developmental disability, maybe his daddy just dumped his mama, or maybe that mamas family is in crisis. That's what I always tell myself before getting my own emotions involved about someone else's behavior. Second I think it is totally okay to "parent" another child, especially if they are behaving in a way you don't approve of. And third, something big my parents learned with my brother and taught me - you cant own your child's successes or failures; sure, it's a parents job to guide their children, but people are individuals with their own thoughts, personalities and behaviors, and aren't just products of "good parents" or "bad parents." My dad uses the analogy that life is like a buffet, and while it is a parents job to steer their kids toward healthy food choices, there is still an entire spread of unhealthy foods that will likely get eaten along the way, too. You sound like not only dedicated, disciplined, educated parents, but like your bean is a well behaved girl with an easy temperament. Consider yourself lucky!

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    1. I understand that there could be more to this situation and perhaps I did judge this mom/kid too soon. I was frustrated and upset and used this as a place to vent. I just don't believe in the passive parenting style that was used and think she could have stepped in before Lemon got hurt. I think she SHOULD have. Great advice on parenting someone else's child!

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  3. Ditto Joanna!! She said everything I was thinking as I read your post! :)

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  4. I am so glad you posted this. We've been having issues at the playground with kids whose parents don't believe in discipline, I think they call it the positive parenting approach. Anyway, they are TERRORS! I have to hold myself back so hard to not knock them off the stairs or square off to protect my kid. It's made me a total helicopter parent because they are sooooo rude! I often feel like scolding their parents and saying, do what you want with your kid but leave mine alone!! We are firm too and we don't have a biter, hitter or toy snatcher. Yes sometimes she acts out but it is never maliciously. Oh it gets me so frustrated. Parents, you need to PARENT!

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  5. I'm not a parent, so I sorb feel like a have a lot to CONTRIBUTE, but I certainly see and appreciate a child that has been raised with discipline and love. It is just so obvious how much more well adjusted they are.

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  6. Well said Joanna.

    This post is "mean" and it's bullying. Bullying the little boys mother. Yeah she may never actually read it but that shouldn't make it ok. Everyone has a story and for all you know she may just be at her breaking point that very day. And Emily to suggest that this little boys Mother didn't love him because he was doing such things, well clearly you have no children. You have no idea the back ground she has come from also. We model what our parents have shown to us, you have no idea what environment she was bought up. That does not mean she doesn't love her little boy!

    You have done such a great job at raising lemon but as Mother's our job isn't to slam other mum's.

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    1. I am not bullying this mother and my post was not meant to be mean. I am simply saying that I do not think passive parenting works and I saw it that day with this parent. I am not slamming another mom, u just don't agree with how she handled the situation. I do not like how my child was treated, and this is my blog so I get to vent here. :)

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  7. I think you meant well, but there is a whole lot of judgement in this post, right down to how the mother was wearing a forward facing "crotch dangler."

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    1. I was frustrated and upset and vented here, on my blog. Yes I judged because I saw my daughter repeatedly pushed around by this boy and saw his parent do nothing. I am entitled to my opinion, as you are to yours, and felt that this parent may have been uneducated in certain areas, even in the way to properly carry a baby.

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    1. I am a teacher also with a Master's degree, why are we comparing degrees? I have written often about moms supporting other moms and not judging, but when your child is hurt repeatedly by someone else's, and you have a blog to vent on, this is the outcome. Thank you for your opinion but your chastising is a bit judgemental as well.

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  9. The age of the parent is very irrelevant, and it makes me very sad that you judged another parent in this way. Perhaps this mother just looked young to you, but really is around the same age as you. It does not matter what age you are. Your age does not make you a good parent, nor does it make you a bad parent.

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    1. I feel as though her age and the fact that she had another child with her contributed to her parenting style. I was present in the situation and those were my observations.

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    2. I also agree that age does not contribute to parenting but in this situation I felt it did and am entitled to write my opinion on my blog.

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  10. this makes me so sad!!! today at chick-fil-a we had just bought our kids some dorky power ranger outfits and scarlet chose the red suit. some 8 and 9 year olds were full on picking on her telling her thats not a girl color and scarlet just stood there taking it from these bully kids making fun of her! she was so confused why they kept saying only pink and yellow are girls! the look on her face killed me and i wanted to go body slam those kids. i was like what the crap did their parents teach them to not pick on a THREE YEAR OLD?! i told jeremy all i hope is that our kids are always nice no matter what. good for you. i don't believe in spanking either. i don't think physically hurting your children is the way to teach them. by pain? no. but a good solid NO is perfect. you're doing a great job mama!

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