I am mommy, hear me ROOOOOAAARRRR

Last weekend, I did something I swore I’d never do. I said sharp words to another person’s child. I even harbored fantasies of grabbing her little arm and wagging my finger in her face. But I held myself to a few angry words.

On Sunday, our little family went to the mall to buy a new computer. While Dave took care of the details, I took R to the little indoor play area (Play? Me? She asked with incredulous joy). I watched from the sidelines as R struggled to climb the steps to the slide, often being run over by other, older children who didn’t have the patience for a barely two-year-old. I held my tongue, figuring she needed to learn how to fit in and climb those stairs, and God, I can’t do everything for her.

She was thrilled with the whole experience, though occasionally bewildered when the other children would cut her in line. And I was happy too. When it began to get really crowded, the line for the little slide stretched a ways out. R was a real sweetheart, waiting her turn and giggling with some other children. Suddenly, a little girl who had been particularly rough earlier on came up to R and another little girl. She placed two hands on R’s chest and pushed with all her might. And then kicked her once she fell down.

I was livid.

I don’t know what came over me, but I felt like the stereotypical lioness rushing to protect her cub. R wasn’t even crying, just sitting there on the ground kind of stunned. I looked around wildly for her parents, but no one seemed to care. So I marched over and said to that little girl with all the anger and “mad voice” I could muster (and that was a lot) “We don’t push other people down. We don’t kick people. And I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t do it to my kid.”

And I grabbed R and we were out of there. And I felt even angrier that R was basically being punished for that child’s rude and possibly dangerous behavior.In retrospect, what I did probably had no affect on that child whatsoever. And her absent parents obviously didn’t care very much about her behavior. She had been running roughshod over many of the other children the entire time we were there, even sliding over a BABY because his father was too slow in getting him up from the bottom of the slide.

But now I’m left to wonder what is the right answer in situations like that? If the misbehaving child’s parents are nowhere to be found, what are we supposed to do? I don’t want to teach R to run from her battles (or that mommy will fight them for her), but I also don’t want her to think that I won’t be there for her whenever I can.

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10 Responses to I am mommy, hear me ROOOOOAAARRRR

  1. Sarah says:

    Oooh, I got all sorts of heated just READING that; I can’t imagine what I would’ve done if it was my kid. Parents tend to use those public play areas as babysitters, which is unfortunate for everyone. I think you did the right thing.. I probably would’ve gone one step further and made the girl apologize to your poor baby.

  2. rimarama says:

    Oh, I would have done the same thing. Funny, it’s always the kid whose parents are nowhere to be seen who engages in that kind of behavior. I usually try not to chide other peoples’ kids, but when it comes to physical violence, I think its well within your rights to scold.

  3. Mar says:

    You ask all the hard Mommy questions. I too would have jumped in once it began a physical altercation. Its hard to know, go with your gut. It is usually right.

  4. I wish I could help. But I think you handled this perfectly. If you had seen/found/interacted with the parents, they probably wouldn’t have cared much. And that kid is going to be a monster because of her parents. So nothing you could say/do to the kid would really change that. You did what you should have, and I actually think you were a great example for R. If that happens to her again, she’ll remember your words and maybe use them herself.

  5. Erin says:

    While it may not have mattered to that child, it mattered to R. She saw you stand up for her and she heard you say that it’s not ok to push people. When it gets physical, I would definitely intervene.

  6. Victoria says:

    I’ve never sworn to myself that I wouldn’t say harsh things to other people’s children because I know I could never hold myself to it. Sometimes, when parents aren’t doing their jobs, other parents (or people who simply know better) must step in and do the necessary parenting. It’s kids like that one who go out and kill or or steal or even just become nasty people, and their parents are the ones who blame the school system and television and everything else for their child’s behaviour and what basically amounts to their own failure as parents.
    As for R, I think she’s still a little young for the “Mommy can’t fight all your battles for you” lesson. Right now I think the best thing for her is just what you did. And as she gets older, she’ll fight more of her own battles, but she’ll always know Mom will be there if she gets into something she can’t handle for herself.

  7. vixensden says:

    You did exactly as I have done many times. Hooray for “good” mommies who remind little kids running rampant what proper public behavior is.

  8. malinthemiddle says:

    I think you did that little girl a favor. Kids want limits, and it sounds like she was begging for them. I don’t blame the kid, I get furious with the parents who don’t teach and don’t care. I feel bad that she wrecked it for R though.

  9. skiplovey says:

    You definitely did the right thing. I’m sure she wanted to know that mommy was there to protect her and you were. What a tough situation, it’s hard to know what you’re going to do before hand. Steams me just thinking about it, lame parents suck.

  10. How awful! I am so sorry! Gosh…. I wonder where that child’s parent was. Of course, I would have beaten the crap out of the parent – but you know the research, right? Bully kids have bully parents. Just as bullied upon kids have bullied upon parents. Sucks.

    Good for you for standing up for your daughter. She is learning!

    Hey I tagged you with a ground hog meme – it’s easy.

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