Thursday, June 01, 2017

Playground Bullies

On one of our many trips to the playground this past weekend, my son had his first exposure to bullying. It unfortunately involved the same non-English speaking family that had previously shared a cookie with him, which left me confused about how best to handle the situation. My guess is that the kids actually speak English, even if their grandma does not.

Our playground is quite small, having only one straight slide and one twisty slide with a tunnel between them. My son has only recently started going down the twisty slide and he's obsessed. He's played with other kids of all ages without any problems, one climbs the stairs, one slides, and repeat. But this time the two kids (age 3ish and 5ish) would not share the slide with him AT ALL. Both of them stood in the little "house" at the top, then one would slide down and immediately climb back up the slide, thus never clearing the house nor slide and never allowing my son the chance to play. They were being very clear and very intentional about their behavior. 

When we first got there I tried to reassure him that all the kids could share and take turns, but it soon became clear they had no intention of doing so and that their grandma had no intention of making them. So my son was left crying on the platform below, saying "His turn" (by which he means his turn and IT WAS) and "need to share" over and over in his sad little two year old voice.

My heart broke in a million pieces. I wanted to throttle those kids. And their grandma. And throw the Oreo they gave my son last time right back in their little bully faces.

What was I supposed to do? Scold them myself? I genuinely don't know. I'm still quite new to the whole playground dynamic, and so I bowed out. Maybe that was the wrong approach because what happens the next time we go and they're there again? Now they know they can get away with their bad behavior. Maybe I will work up the nerve to stand up to them next time. Someone has to.

But my heart was so shattered all I could do was distract my son with the suggestion of throwing rocks in a storm drain up the street. And he still wanted to say bye-bye to the wretches as we climbed up the hill towards the road. We camped out at the storm drain way longer than normal until I saw the bullies leave. And back we went to the twisty slide, so my son could have HIS TURN.

1 comment:

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! What a BUMMER! Somebody does need to tell those kids that they need to share. We should drive out there and assign Keith to do it.