posted on: Tuesday, May 14, 2013

At some point during this crazy journey called parenting I knew I would have to address the issue of bullying with my children. I didn't however imagine that it would be an issue that I would have to address with my three-year-old child. You can imagine my surprise when it happened in it's most natural form at the park yesterday evening. The park was bustling with parents watching their children play league coach pitch while the children crowded around the playground equipment like lemmings itching to go down the slide. Brecken was in his element--running amok and befriending everyone in site. He was really quite the spectacle to watch, laughing and giggling, holding hands with complete strangers, calling everyone friend. At one point, a boy a few years older than him honed in on Brecken's charismatic energy and slowly began to test his boundaries with my son--a push here, a jab there, which then led into full blown shoves all the while calling him names and growing thirsty for the tears to appear in my little boy's eyes. 

After each attempt to fluster my son, Brecken would pick himself up and continue playing. Bless his heart, he was oblivious to the notion that anyone could ever truly be mean to him for no apparent reason, so he kept playing as if the jabs, pokes, and pinches were in some way a game. I was taken aback by the situation and every God-given motherly instinct in my body was on fire and near the cusp of boiling over into a full-blown mother bear frenzy. My heart was aching and I struggled to know when it would be appropriate for me to step in and take control of the situation. Do I jump in and defend my little boy? Do I let him fend for himself and learn about the hard knocks of life? Do I go all crazy-like on the other kid? Do I find his Mother and point out her inadequacy on raising a polite boy? (I'm sure she would have been mortified to say the least).

Once curbing in my own emotions I decided that if tears didn't appear I would let Brecken fight his own battle. Nothing about the experience was easy and it was one of those times where I wish I had a user's manual with step-by-step directions on how to approach the situation. In the end the boy grew bored with Brecken's friendliness and I imagine he was annoyed that he couldn't dampen his spirit so he moved on.

The feeling of inadequacy as a parent was very prevalent during the experience. Knowing that I couldn't intervene and allowing my child to get hurt to only understand that he was strong enough to defend himself was a hard concept to swallow for this Momma. At that moment I felt like I should have prepared him more for situations such as these and by not doing so I wasn't doing justice as a parent. Despite everything that happened I learn a valuable lesson that day--no matter where I may fall short as a parent he has learned (hopefully from John and I) to pick himself and keep moving no matter what obstacle may stand in his way. His true nature permeated the playground that day, bringing in light and laughter and not letting the vindictiveness of another individual dampen his glow.

Now let's all pray I don't run into his Mom on a bad day...


  1. I think you did the right thing, and way to hold back on the momma bear instincts! Brecken knows that stuff isn't right, and what a strong little boy you've raised to not start shoving and hitting back.

  2. Oh goodness. I would have had such a hard time restraining myself, but good for you! I think you are right to have no reacted, since your little guy didn't seem to care.

  3. When you put it all into perspective like that I think teaching our kids to pick themselves up, dust off, and just keep on going -emotionally & physically- just might be the best thing we could possibly teach them in preparation for bullying. As mothers we don't want our kids hurt in any way but inevitably they will be, so toughening them up sounds like the most logical way to teach them although it's most definitely the hardest.


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