There's a rite of passage that, as a new mom, you may not know you'll have to inevitably experience. It will happen, though. Your sweet little baby will be the victim of some kid's mean streak, either at the playground, at daycare, or in the school yard, and you'll be bombarded with a slew of thoughts that probably (usually) shouldn't be repeated. Yes, there are things every mom thinks when a kid is mean to her kid, and most of them aren't all that pretty.
I know that, as parents, we are supposed to help our kids negotiate the challenging parts of growing up, especially when it comes to learning to interact with others. That means teaching them about respect, and respect means non-violence, among many other things. Still, I dare you not to feel at least a little bit violent when you find out your kid has been bullied or picked on, in any way. It's pretty much impossible. Those innate, maternal reactions kick in and suddenly you're having to remind yourself that violence isn't the answer and you're an adult human, not a lioness in the Serengeti.
So yes, these are all things that will go through your head when another kid is mean to yours, but that doesn't mean you should be saying these things in front of your kid (or to the kid that is doing the bullying). It's one of the things that makes parenting hard; going against your instincts to protect your offspring at all costs and, instead, teaching them how to be better humans. It may not be what we want to do, but it's what will help make the world a better place.
So, with that being said, here are eight things every mom can't help but think when a kid is being mean to her kid:
It's pretty much impossible not to go all Mama Bear and overprotective when you witness your own child being picked on in any way. You'd better believe I keep an ongoing list in my head of any kid I see being mean to mine, and those are the kids who won't be getting a birthday party invite.
Indignation is a pretty common theme when moms find out there's a kid being mean to theirs. How dare someone make your baby feel badly? Who do they think they are?!
I'm probably going to catch some flack for this, but when I've seen one of the boys push my daughter in the school yard and, in that moment, it took every ounce of strength not to go over there and smack that kid on the behind. Clearly, I would never do something like that, but that protective instinct is a strong one and I had to remind myself that physically punishing someone else's kid isn't OK.
That kid's parents (hopefully) didn't raise them to be the little a**hole that they're currently being to my kid. I don't know how it happens, but I'm sure their parents would be shocked to find out their kid's behavior.
OK, obviously no parent is raising their child with the intention of making them into a bully (I hope, at least). I have noticed, however, that kids who get picked on by their older siblings sometimes end up taking it out on other kids at school. This is just a theory, of course, but I've certainly seen it happen in my daughter's kindergarten class.
I know, I know; violence begets violence, right? Most of the time, fighting back will only escalate a situation (with kids and usually with adults, too), but there's a part of me that will always root for my daughter, who is a tiny slip of a thing, to push back, instead of being victimized. I want her to stand up for herself. Sometimes that means walking away. Other times, that means standing your ground.
When my daughter started pre-K, she was only three years old and so very innocent. It didn't take long for her to come home complaining that one of her classmates pushed her, or that another classmate was just being mean "for no reason." I honestly didn't expect it to happen that early, but I guess that was a naïve assumption on my part.
Don't you just want to wrap your arms around your kid and rock them in your arms all over again? When your child is picked on by another kid, it reminds you of their frailty, and it breaks your heart, every single time. You want to protect them with all you have, but you know that, in the end, they have to learn to deal with rude or mean or vindictive individuals on their own, so that they're better prepared for the "real world" when they enter into it. This parenting thing isn't for the faint of heart, you guys.