I have been thinking recently about kids playing in the neighborhood. I saw this post over at Love Well which got my wheels a-grindin'.
I have also had similar discussions with some of my friends. Particularly, how much should a mom interfere when her kid(s) are in a skirmish with other neighborhood kids? Barring physical violence, at what point should we parents step in?
I think I fall into the "let them work it out themselves" category. As a kid, I would play outside with my brother and two cousins who lived next door. Honestly, I think there was a fight about something every single day.
I mean, we were rarely "physical" in our fights (though I can remember a few times we walked away with some bruises) but in most cases there was a lot of arguing, some yelling, and usually one tearful kid.
So, perhaps you would say that if some adult had stepped in somewhere, then there might not have been as many fights.
But here is my argument: There are only a handful of fights which I can remember as an adult. I mean, I remember "fighting" all the time, but I only remember the source of the fights in a few instances. And in each instant I remember, an adult stepped in. Sometimes it was my aunt coming to fuss at us for making her son cry. Sometimes it was my mom coming to fuss at the boys for making me cry. But the only time those fights became a "big deal" (and something we still talk about to this day) were times when some adult stepped in to "handle" it for us.
Now, I'm not saying they were wrong. And it could be that those are the only fights I remember because those were to only fights big enough to necessitate adult intervention.
Still, it makes me wonder? What are the ground rules for mediating your kid's relationship with the neighborhood folk'? When do you step in? When do you choose to wait and see what happens? What do you do when it's your kid who comes in crying? What if your kid is the one who caused another to cry?
Let me know what you think!...