Sunday, April 05, 2009

I'm Not So Sure I Handled That the Right Way.

I hesistate to write this because it is still so fresh and literally made me ill, but I have to get it out. Just bear with me...
Last night we went to our friend's house for their annual Easter extravaganza. We have been to these friend's house mutiple times and Caleb LOVES playing with their two youngest boys, who are near his age.
These friends of ours also have a son who is nearly 2 years older than Caleb, therefore his friends that come over during these parties are sometimes up to 4 years older than our son. Last night, while we were all sitting around waiting for the fun to begin, I heard Caleb screaming this blood curdling scream that he only reserves for times of real hurt. I, of course, hurtled up the stairs, ready to discipline, if necessary, Caleb to end the situation. I was raised that if you are in someone elses house, their rules reign supreme, so I have always erred on the side of my son being wrong unless proven right. Does that even make an sense?
Anyway, once I got up the stairs, I encountered all the older boys, aged 6-8, standing around Caleb, whom they had backed into a corner, kicking and poking at him. My mother claws came out and as I asked what was going on, one of the boys got in my face and yelled at me.
Yes, that's right, he, a 6, 7 or 8 year old, yelled at me, a 31 year old mother of two. If he were mine, I would have tanned his little hide right then, but he happened to be the child of our friends, so I did nothing.
Instead, I grabbed Caleb and took him downstairs where he was perfectly happy to hang with Jes, Piper and I and play with a toy that we swiped from the toy room.
Just typing this story out is making me nauseous and my heart rate has increased at least two fold. However, this is not where the story ends.
A little later we gathered all the kids up to go do the Easter egg hunt. The general rule is that the older kids, 5 and up, go in the back yard and the youngers go in the front. Thankfully, Caleb was assigned the front yard, so I thought we would be able to avoid the boys who were bullying him.
While we were waiting, the child of our friends started hitting and kicking Caleb when he turned on the light in the area of the house that we were all gathered in. Granted, Caleb was not supposed to do this, but all the other kids had and this child had not responded to them as such. I was so ill from the situation that had occured not 15 minutes before hand that I looked him in the eye and asked him if I needed to have a discussion with his mother. He quickly decided that he didn't want that to happen and stopped, but I was ready to leave right then and there.
My friend was not privy to this whole situation and I didn't feel it was my place to bring it up at her party. However, this is the same boy that I witnessed flip his mother off in a crowded bowling alley a couple of weeks ago and my sweet friend did nothing.
Just looked at me and shrugged her shoulders.
I am not judging my friend's mothering, as I know that any of our kids could do this, falling prey to the bad influences of the world, but I don't have to let my kid be affected by it.
In all honesty, I wanted to throttle that kid, all of them in fact. I know that a little of this is somewhat normal for kids to experience, but a group of 8 year olds bullying a barely 4 year old? What exactly have our kids been taught? Why is it that parents think this is ok (I failed to mention that another mom was upstairs, witnessed the whole pinning in the corner, and just smiled at her son while he kicked mine)? I don't think that boys will be boys, I think that parents need to be parents and teach their boys that that is not acceptable behavior.
Ok. I'll end my rant there. Tell me, though, do you think that I should have handled this any differently? Have any of y'all experienced this type of thing? What did you do?


Amy said...

That's horrendous. I don't know exactly what I would have done in that situation, but I think I would keep my kids away from those boys at all costs. IMHO, that's way beyond a "kids will be kids" level.

Debra said...

I can't say that I've ever experienced that (yet), but it made me so so sad for Caleb and for you! I can't imagine that I would have held my tongue and temper as well as it sounds like you did. I don't know how strong the friendship is, but objectively it's easy to say to try to keep get-togethers with that family to a minimum, and keep Caleb safe from harm and corrupting influences when it's within your control. I think you did an awesome job of handling the situation!

Hoppe Family said...

We never experienced anything like that. We only have socialized with families that we knew had the same values and discipline that we do. I think the only way it could have been handled better would have been for Jesse to have handled it (because they were boys). The situation makes me think of something I've heard about elephants -- that when mature males are missing from the herd, young males become like gangsters. I wonder how involved these other boys' dads are in their lives and discipline.