It’s never been something I enjoy. I’m guessing I’m not alone in that.
My heart has not settled since the mama-bear awakened Monday evening. In case you weren’t aware of the situation, some kids playing king-of-the-hill at the playground put the beat down on my guys Monday night. After successfully getting them off the hill and onto the ground they proceeded to kick them in the backs. Two days later, Hayden’s neck still hurts. (I told him I bet he slept on it wrong, but I’m fairly certain it was from the playground “roughhousing.”)
This is not the first instance of other kids being bullies on the playground. I don’t want to go into detail because our community is very small, but there have been multiple incidents where we’ve had to speak to these kids and tell them to put our kids’ toys down as they were walking out of our yard with them.
10 kids on the playground, some were in middle school. My three, ages 10, 8, and 7, had no chance. While I’m all in favor of boys being boys, and kids working their own problems out on the playground, I am NOT in favor of a bunch of bigger kids kicking smaller kids while they’re down. Another issue I have is that none of the bystanders said anything.
When my three walked in crying and hurt, I walked to the playground and told the group that if my any of them hurt one of my sons again that I’d call the MPs. With 10 kids out there, there’s no way I could find each of their moms. Not to worry. Two of the kids’ parents stopped by that night. I can’t say for sure that the other parents were fully able to put themselves in my shoes, I at least feel I can contact them directly if there is a further situation. We swapped phone numbers and had the boys shake hands.
But I still can’t shake the uneasiness. Part of me wishes I had left it alone. That same part of me is thinking, “We can tolerate this until we move next November.” But the other part of me knows that I won’t survive with the lack of peace. I don’t want to be the bad guy but at the same time I want my kids to be able to play at the playground in peace. I want the bullying to stop. And if my kid was doing the bullying, I’d pull him off the playground so fast he lost his shoes in the process. He’d find himself doing chore after chore while the rest of the kids played.
So why do I feel so torn? Is it because now we’ve been here a while and we have a visible role in the community which makes me feel I should be perfect? I went out there in defense of my children, not as the Chaplain’s wife. Not as the teacher. But as mama-bear. I’ve since thought of a few ways I could have handled the situation differently but in the moment I just wanted the kids responsible to finally know that I’d had it. No more. NO more.
Now I want to go to them again and say, “Hey, now that we’re on the same page and we understand that bullying is not appropriate, we can share the playground and be friends.” Not sure if that’ll happen. But if it did, I think I’d be more at peace. So, I will look for that opportunity to show them that, while I will protect my baby bears, I am actually a pretty nice mama-bear.