Crouching Tiger Mom, Hidden Dragon

At the park, Nathan fell off the ladder to the slide. He wasn’t hurt but he was shaken up and started crying. I swept off the bark from his shirt and told him he was okay.

“HA! HA!” a snotty boy ran up and taunted, pointing at my son. “You fell down! Ha-ha!”. He was moving into Nathan’s space, his voice getting louder.

He looked about five or six years old. His mother was right behind me, pushing another child in the swing. My blood began to boil as he continued prodding at my crying son. His malicious sing-song voice knifed at my ears.

“I don’t think that’s very empathetic!” I spit out at the kid, using my firm CUT-IT-OUT voice. The boy shut up immediately.

Nathan cried into me, and I turned back to the bratty kid’s mother. She stared at me with the stupidest look in the history of faces. A slack-jaw country-yokel that couldn’t muster up a two-syllable word, let alone step in and give a teachable moment to her child.

I patted Nathan on his back while he whimpered and I announced, looking directly at her, “I’m sorry that SOME children aren’t nicer.” I told him it was okay, it would be okay. Accidents happen. (And sometimes they’re in the shape of snotty children.)

I ushered him back to the car. It was already time to go home. I kept soothing him with promises of popsicles and other post-fall treats. I didn’t look back at the woman and her children.

I know kids will be kids, but I really hate when adults waste opportunities to teach kids empathy and to be better people and not be little playground vultures who feed on the pain of others. I know there’s a difference between harmless teasing and what that kid was doing. I know kids will be kids, but adults have a place in that continuum, too. If Nathan had made fun of another child, I would swoop in quickly and warn my son to check himself before he wrecks himself or before I do it. He’s old enough to know better. If he can’t behave on the playground, he can’t have the luxury of being there.

It’s so ironic because the park we were playing in was called OhNoYouDidn’t Playground and Recreational Field. I guess I should have known.

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  1. Great post, Monalicious. This is your inner Chamorro biha too, lol. It’s all about having respect for others. You are an awesome mama. Miss you and your darling fam! Kiss da boys for me!

  2. I hate mean kids, good for you.
    Mrs. Tuna recently posted..Fatal Attraction

  3. We’ve had a couple of run-ins with mean kids at the playground recently. Like, seriously means kids. And their parents did NOTHING. What is wrong with people???
    Mimi O recently posted..Enamored

  4. Mean kids, mean parents. It’s sad but at least you know your son will grow up to be a kind person .
    Ellie @ The Mommyist recently posted..Blue Skys

  5. Mean people suck. I’m glad somebody put that little brat in his place. If kids learn to imitate what they see their parents do, you can be sure Nathan will follow your example and come to the rescue of a smaller kid in the future.

  6. Been there, too. It is infuriating. You handled it perfectly. I honestly don’t know what some parents are thinking when they watch their kids act like brats and do NOTHING.

  7. If mean boy’s mom had any sense in her your encounter would be replaying over and over in her mind, a lesson that she needed to learn and would hopefully be a start to more active parenting. Having said that, she could also have shrugged it off and walked away thinking “what’s the big deal?” Kudos to you for stopping to deal with it it. Bullying begins early and is nurtured with indifference.

  8. Whoa. Are you kidding me? That woman just stood there?! Oh hell to the no! I would have lost my emmin-effin mind! “Excuse me? Would you like me to make your kid cry? No? Then get over here and PARENT!”

  9. Classic! And good for you for saying something to the kid that A) put a cork in his mouth and B) didn’t shame him and thereby turn YOUR teachable moment into a “this is how mamas shouldn’t act toward other kids son”…

    I’m always appalled by other parents LACK of INTEREST in what their little hoodlums are doing to other kids on the playground, either b/c they’re too busy effing around on their cell phones, or b/c they just don’t care enough to step in and make sure their kid isn’t a goon faced bully like they probably were. Ugh.

    And no, I do not give a crap what another parent thinks. If I see a kid pushing another kid around, be it my kid or not, I’m GONNA say something. You bet I will. B/c that’s how I roll. Rawr.
    Cheryl recently posted..West Seattle for Japan – TODAY!

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