I hate conflict…

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.

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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4 Responses to I hate conflict…

  1. Jess says:

    I am so sorry that happened 😦 And I think you absolutely did the right thing. Sometimes we have to be advocate to our kids, not only to protect them, but to be an example to them as well.

  2. Evelyn says:

    I also feel that you did the right thing….the boys can still play at the playground but the other kids will now know that they can’t bully them as their mom is there for them…as you said no one said anything so these kids have been doing it knowing that they will not get in trouble. What you did is your right as a Mama Bear, your are still the person that you are but your family come first. Don’t feel guilty and I hope that Hayden feels better soon!

  3. Jennifer Clark says:

    Speaking as another chaplain’s wife, I believe we should not be expected to be any different than other mamas protecting their children. We are watched on a regular basis because of what our husbands do but that also means showing them what it means to be a strong woman of God. You know as well as I that many see Christians as weak. Standing up for your children is what God has called us as parents to do esp. when our children are being attacked physically. Keep your head up and be proud that you moved to take care of the situation. Keep in mind that you are such a role model that there are moms who are cheering because you did something they wished they had the strength to do!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for your amazingly encouraging words. I needed them. I believe that God speaks to us through many ways, one of which include other people. I also believe He can speak through prayer, the Bible, music, etc. I’m always amazed when it comes from somewhere strange, like on the Dave Ramsey Podcast I listened to just after I read these comments. I had JUST turned on the podcast and the very first words that came out of the speaker were: “When there is an injustice you need to attack the injustice. When there is something that is wrong, somebody needs to have the backbone to stand up and say, “Hey, that is wrong.” Real, personal, relational, courage is starting to be rare in our culture. It seems like you don’t like any kind of conflict…. In the name of no one having their feelings hurt no one can do anything. It causes people to not stand up for justice. There’s a number of people who just don’t want you to ever raise an objection…. You’re so wussified that conflict is not a possibility in your paradigm. Tension, disagreement, right and wrong, scare you…. If you become that wussified you’re going to get walked on where ever you are.” -Dave Ramsey (PodCast 7-19-11; 3rd hour; 31:00-34:00 minutes into the program… it was a repeat program and I don’t know when it originally aired.)

    Guess I’m a product of the culture. Afraid of conflict. And I reel from said conflict for days afterwards. I don’t want to be confrontational in nature, but I do want to have the courage necessary to stand up when necessary. I want my kids to grow up with the courage to do the same.

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