The mall play area. Breeding ground of germs, head lice, and bullies in the making. What's not to love? With few choices in the winter, Hubs and Big One headed to the mall play area Thursday night. Big One was able to burn off energy. I was able to put Little One to bed without a screaming 3 year old in the next room. And Big One was able to avoid all of the little germs and bugs that infest the average mall play area.
The bullies? Not so lucky. How does a young child learn to be a bully? Apparently another little boy claimed the tree slide as his own. Big One unknowingly encroached upon his territory. The little boy shoved Big One off of the stairs. OK, so it's only 3 or 4 stairs high. And the floor is soft. But still!
I try not to be the hovering mom. And generally I'm more worried about Big One accidentally bumping into someone else or not paying attention to what he's doing. And there was the one time when he called some other kids Stinkers. He got in trouble for that too. But I try to stand back and let him handle things himself. But as boisterous as he is, his feelings are easily hurt and I can't help but be there to pick up the pieces. I was not there but Hubs just steered Big One to a different part of the play area.
So how do you handle situations where other kids are aggressive toward yours? Hubs said the child's parent didn't say anything. So either he was there unattended, the parent wasn't paying attention, or the parent just didn't care. Do you say something to the child? Look for the parent? Let it go? I have a feeling had I been there I would have told the little boy he needed to move so my son could go down the slide. I wouldn't have lectured him but I would have said something about letting other kids on the slide. I'm not so good at biting my tongue when it comes to my kids. I'll go all Mama Bear if the situation warrants. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has had a similar experience and how you handled it. I know kids aren't perfect (I have the bloodshot eyes and gray hair to prove it). But I make sure Big One knows he won't get away with treating others poorly. Thoughts?