Friday, June 13, 2008

MY mommy can beat up YOUR mommy!

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!...


HW said...

I came across your blog through JMom.
This post speaks to me, because I have certainly been through the trenches in the Mommy Wars. My kids are 14 and 17, so there are few neighborhood squabbles now; although with our 14 year old girl, there is still some junior high drama.
I have always been one to let kids work things out to the extent they are able. We wanted to teach our children to turn the other cheek and to forgive; but at the same time, we had to step in if there was a continuous problem with one child. You hate to see your child be a victim. It is a fine line.
It has been my experience that the parents who step in quickly are the ones who refuse to see that their child could ever be at fault. And often it is their child who can't seem to get along with anybody; and these families usually develop a reputation for themselves - among adults and children.
I also think that if you involve yourself only rarely in your kids' relationships, then people really listen to you when you do speak up. If you are constantly stepping in, you kind of lose your credibility - like the boy who cried wolf.

Anyway, obviously I could write quite a bit about this topice. Great post.

I look forward to getting to know you through your posts.

Brandy Thixton said...

Good to have you, hw! Thanks for the input. What you said makes a whole lot of sense to me, and I think we're probably on the same page!

superstarr said...

Thanks hw & Brandy. I have actually been the mom stepping in TOO much and have been dealing with a kid that doesn't seem to get along since I've started being so 'protective'. Thanks so much for the good advice. I'm going to exhale now and relax a little!!

Natalie Witcher said...

Just the other day a little one called my little one a bad name. Mine came home and the other one went home. Few minutes later she was back. Once she stepped in my house i said, kindly, but STERNLY, "You are not allowed to talk to my child that way. You will not call her ugly names or you cannot come back down here to play"


She did apologize without promting. If my kids are being picked on, I have no problem telling someone else's kid to skidaddle!

Brandy Thixton said...

Makes sense to me! I think any mom is entitled to defend her child... especially in her own home. Good thinkin'.

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