Proper protocol/etiquette for dealing with playground "bullies"?

Anita - posted on 05/22/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Yesterday a boy who was 3 or 4 years old starting pushing my 16 month old on the playground. I told him firmly to stop because it was not nice. He walked away. Then he almost walked back to where my son was a couple of times but kept looking at me before getting too close. I kept giving him looks to say that he should not try again. He did not do anything else. His mom was close by but very engaged in a conversation with some other moms and not looking at her son. All of this made me wonder - what's the proper way to deal with this? Should I be disciplining other people's kids or just go to the mom? Would I be a tattle-tale if I went to his mom and is that the wrong message to send to the son? This situation was very tame but what if he had kept trying? Obviously when my son is old enough, I will teach him to stand up for himself but for now I have to be involved.

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I would have handled the situation the same way. I have had a lot of experiences with unsupervised children bullying my son. I don't hesitate to discipline them using a firm tone. If their parent (or most often it is a sitter or Nannie) wants to look up and finally notice that's something is going on then I will gently explain the situation to them. You are not being a tattle tale by telling the parent. They need to know how their child is behaving and the child needs to understand that there are consequences for acting that way. I always keep in mind that it takes a village to raise a child and some villagers need more help than others.

Adf0905 - posted on 05/22/2009

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If my toddler is being bullied by an older child and the other parent isn't doing anything, I do exactly what you did. Step in and remind the child that the behavior isn't nice. Sometimes kids are extreme though. I stepped in once because a 3 or 4 year old was trying to tip a toy over on to my friend's son. I told him he needed to stop because he was going to hurt the other child, and the kid told me that he WANTED to hurt the baby and make him cry. At that point I pulled my friend's son and my daughter away from the kid, and told his mom what he said. I usually don't "tattle tale", but I have a problem when a child is purposely going around, specifically trying to hurt younger children!

Maria - posted on 05/22/2009

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Personal opinion:



I think you did the right thing by telling him to stop since his mother was engaged in something she found to be more important than watching her child. Taking it one step further and pulling the mother out of her conversation would have probably been even better. Of course your child is too young to even know much about bullying yet, but if he's treated that way he might think it's ok. I'm glad you were paying attention at least.



I think every situation is different and needs to be looked at individually. Sometimes I wonder though if the parents are just that dense or simply don't care that their child's actions are inappropriate. It really peeves me.

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