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Son bullied by three year olds

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
Oh I REALLY need to VENT here!

Today I went to a Le Leche Leauge meeting with my 10.5 month old son, and I'm feeling pretty up-set at something that happened to him there..

All of us mom's were gatherd in a circle talking with the babies and kids playing in the middle. When all of a sudden a little three year old boy say's in a loud and mean voice to my baby " I'm going to cut your arms off!" and then an other little boy comes over and say's to my son "Yeah, we're going to cut you in half!" Although my son isn't old enough to understand what they were saying, he could pick up on the tone of there voices that it was not friendly, and he looked hurt and confused. Everyone at the meeting could hear what was said, including the mothers of the boys..However, nothing was done. The mother's did not seem to think this was a big deal. One mom my just said "oh my" and giggled a bit. I don't think my baby getting bullied is amusing or cute at all.
Are these mother's afraid to correct, and teach thier children about bullying, violence, as well as kindness, and feelings?? Also at this meeting these two little boy's were yelling, banging around and what not while the mom's were trying to talk! One new mom was very up-set and crying beacause she's having a lot of problems with breastfeeding, but we could hardly hear her with the boy's bashing toys together! Is this what GD is? Or are these just mom's who are affraid to correct/teach thier kids?? I wonder if other mothers could see that what was happening to my son was bullying? TWO kids GANGING up to threaten another child..What else could you call it?! It was shocking to see anyone ( yes, even three year olds) be mean to my son, because of couse being a happy little baby, almost all people he come's in contact with adore him. How dare ANYONE direct negativity towards my child! ahhhhh!

This is really bringing up a lot of emotions for me, because I was severly bullied at school as a child and it was horrible. My self-esteem was very low, and I absolutly hated most of my childhood BECAUSE of bullying. So seeing this happen to my baby today was extreamly up-setting to me. It really bother's me that some adults think bullying is no big deal, that it builds character! Abuse/Bullying/Violence is ALWAYS a big deal no matter what the age!! I'm planning on going back to more meetings, but if these kids threaten/bully my son again..I don't think I'm going to be able to sit back and let it happen. If this happen's again how should I handle it? Also I'm really thinking of home schooling now!

Thanks for letting me vent, I feel a bit better now.
post #2 of 79
What do you think should have happened?

I think the mom should have said something to the boys along the lines of "That's not a nice way to talk to someone." Or if the boys were play fighting with a baby the mom should have redirected them.

The 3 year olds banging toys, running and being loud sounds like normal 3 year old behaviour.
post #3 of 79
I'm so sorry this happened to you and your son. How awful. I don't have any advice for you ... yet ... but I am interested in seeing what other Mamas say because while it hasn't happened directly to my DS yet (who is 13 months) ... there have been some instances where similar things have been close to happening but have been averted at the last minute. So, I'd also like to hear any suggestions on how to handle such a situation. Sorry that's not helpful.

(Honestly though, if I had been there and thought I could have acted without fear of reprisal, so to speak, I would have put the fear of the Everlasting God into those two bullies. : )
post #4 of 79
I think it's possible that 3year olds would like to engage the baby somehow, but don't always think of the best possible way to do it.

When my second was just 2 ish and he wanted to engage another child for play he'd walk up and spit raspberries on the other child. This was up to me to guide him in more socially acceptable ways of interacting with others. But was it malicious on his part?

My son also had a two year old friend that really liked him. He showed this by biting or pushing my son down at every possible turn. It was up to both of us moms to prevent it happening and if it did happen to comfort the injured and redirect the offending behaviour to more socially acceptable ways. They are now almost 3 and the two of them are best buddies.

Kids don't always make the best choices when interacting with each other. They are learning. It's up to the moms to guide acceptable behaviour.
post #5 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by PumpkinSeeds View Post
I think it's possible that 3year olds would like to engage the baby somehow, but don't always think of the best possible way to do it.

When my second was just 2 ish and he wanted to engage another child for play he'd walk up and spit raspberries on the other child. This was up to me to guide him in more socially acceptable ways of interacting with others. But was it malicious on his part?

My son also had a two year old friend that really liked him. He showed this by biting or pushing my son down at every possible turn. It was up to both of us moms to prevent it happening and if it did happen to comfort the injured and redirect the offending behaviour to more socially acceptable ways. They are now almost 3 and the two of them are best buddies.

Kids don't always make the best choices when interacting with each other. They are learning. It's up to the moms to guide acceptable behaviour.
But that seems to be the crux of the problem. The moms weren't doing anything of the sort. What do you do then?

And for the record, I think that statements such as "I'm going to cut your arms off!" and "Yeah, we're going to cut you in half!" go way beyond trying to "engage the baby somehow." That gets into some scary waters whether they're 3-year-olds or 30-year-olds.
post #6 of 79
Someday you will have a 3 year old too....

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewCrunchyDaddy View Post

(Honestly though, if I had been there and thought I could have acted without fear of reprisal, so to speak, I would have put the fear of the Everlasting God into those two bullies. : )
post #7 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by PumpkinSeeds View Post
Someday you will have a 3 year old too....
Yes I will ... and that sort of behavior will not be tolerated and will be stopped immediately, and it's the sort of behavior that if I don't see, I would appreciate someone bringing to my attention because saying something like that is not acceptable.
post #8 of 79
If it was me, in the situation the OP described, I would have said, "that's not a very nice thing to say. I don't think baby wants to play with someone who says rude things. Can you think of something nicer to say?"
post #9 of 79
I agree and I don't tolerate that sort of behaviour from my boys. But to think it will never happen or never come up is unrealistic in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewCrunchyDaddy View Post
Yes I will ... and that sort of behavior will not be tolerated and will be stopped immediately, and it's the sort of behavior that if I don't see, I would appreciate someone bringing to my attention because saying something like that is not acceptable.
post #10 of 79
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post #11 of 79
post #12 of 79
You two are on the same page, essentially, that this behavior needs to be redirected. However, I don't think it is fair to call someone naive for feeling confident that they can curb violent tendencies in a child. You said yourself that you redirect the behavior, which shows that you don't tolerate it, either. NCDaddy will not be a parent who stands by while his child bullies others or gets bullied. That's not naive, that's good parenting.

I agree with the suggestion of addressing the children directly by saying "that's not a very nice thing to say..." particularly if the child's mother doesn't intervene. I have done this more than once, spoken directly to a child who had either pushed my child or stolen his toys. "Pushing isn't very nice, so-and-so. Can you please tell me what is wrong so we can solve your problem?" or "Ooops, you took DS' toy without asking. He wasn't done with it. Will you please give it back?"

I haven't had any parents complain yet, but I sure as hell have no problem telling a parent that their child pushed mine or did something mean. I'm a mama bear when it comes to my son. And holy crap, if some kids said that to my child, I definitely would have intervened. That kind of talk is creepy. I'd like to think I'd be an adult about it, but more than likely I would have said "Woah, I don't think so!" and would have picked up my son and held him away.
post #13 of 79
I don't doubt that you or your dh are fabulous parents.

Personally, the situation described in the OP wouldn't have shocked me very much. I would have thought maybe one or the other 3yo had an older sibling or friend with which they "play fight". Do three year old's always make the best choices when trying to interact with others? No. Do I think the mother should have intervened? Yes. WOuld I have intervened? Yes. Would I have called the 3yo a bully or put the everlasting fear of G. in him? No.


Quote:
Originally Posted by alisaterry View Post
You two are on the same page, essentially, that this behavior needs to be redirected. However, I don't think it is fair to call someone naive for feeling confident that they can curb violent tendencies in a child. You said yourself that you redirect the behavior, which shows that you don't tolerate it, either. NCDaddy will not be a parent who stands by while his child bullies others or gets bullied. That's not naive, that's good parenting.
post #14 of 79
Did the LLL Leader not ask the mothers to look after their children? It is the mother's responsibility that the children behave - LLL promotes Loving Guidance so therefore I think you should have been supported by your leader. I would have a word with her about the behaviour of the 3 year olds and ask her to make an announcement at the beginning of the next meeting saying that although this is time for mothers to support each other, the mother's first responsibility is her child so that the meeting is not disrupted, I have been to meetings where I just couldn't participate because I had to 'look after' my daughter it's annoying to miss stuff but I think it is more respectful to the other mothers to make sure that my child behaves properly. Well that's what we do at our meetings. I hope that you manage to go to other meetings where the actions of the toddlers is directed in a more effective manner.
post #15 of 79
I think that when you are the new parent of a baby, and do not have older children, its very common to experience other people's older children as big, threatening and obnoxious. I know that I did.

I also think that it would have been perfectly appropriate for YOU to speak to the little boys about your discomfort. There is no reason to sit and wait for their mothers to intervene. You could have said, "He's just a little baby, and he thinks you are very big guys! Can you speak more gently to him please, so that he doesn't get scared?"

I think that calling it "bullying" is a little bit extreme. I try to be careful not to attribute big kid or adult motives/behavior to little kids! I don't really think a 3 year old being verbally innapropriate to a baby who is safetly in his mother's arms constitutes a real threat.

I don't think that their words necessarily indicate "violent tendencies." I think they must have heard something or seen something (or multiple things) that they needed to play out in order to process. Violent play is classic at age 3 --- it almost seems like there is some cognitive leap at this point in development, and they need to play out the negative things they hear about in order to move past them.

I am wondering if either of them go to sunday school, and possibly heard the story about King Solomon announcing that he was going to cut the baby in half to resolve the dispute between the two mothers? Imagine for a minute that this is where they got the idea -- if someone big jumped in and put them down very sharply for reinacting this theme, it would be very confusing for them. So I think it needs to be gently redirected in the moment, and I hope that their mother processes with them later.

Like Pumkinseeds, nothing much about this incident surprises me. The loud banging play sounds normal for 3 year olds. The inappropriate language to the baby sounds like normal 3 year old experimentation.
post #16 of 79
3 year olds are toddlers...very little kids. They do seem very big and very verbal and very loud when you have an infant....but they aren't.

I think the only suggestion I might make is to think about healing up that low self-esteem, angry place from being bullied at school, so you can negociate the rough waters of 2-5 with grace and joy.

Coloroso's The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander is a wonderful book about bullying that might help a bit.

I'm so sorry other kids hurt you growing up.
post #17 of 79
A 3 yr old saying they want to cut someone's arms doesn't seem quite normal to me.

Those other moms should have corrected their children. If you do NOTHING when your child acts like that, you are wrong.

No one is saying to beat the kids into a pulp or scream at them. But surely there is something that could have and should have been done. I have often seen moms in stores, etc, just allowing their kids to run helter skelter and just say things like, "now huuuuunnny. pleeeeeese don't ruuuuun." Or just smiling at them. It is just unreal.

Oh and I have a 9 yr old, a 7 yr old and a 1 yr old. I have BTDT. My boys have not been angels. But, if one of them had said such a horrible thing, there would have been consequences. Leaving would have most likely been the main one.

I am shocked at the defending of the 3 yr olds and their mothers, quite frankly. And at the insinuation that the parents who think this is terrible are somehow naive.
post #18 of 79
Well, I have seen this sort of behavior..at LLL and other misc. parenting groups. I do think that the moms should say/do something to guide their children appropriately..but if they don't/won't, then you should gently step in.. (maybe they would step in then?). Not as an excuse, but I think that sometimes these moms are just so exausted and happy/thankful to be around other adults/moms that they just sort of "forget" about the discipline issues. It can be rough though. I would just try to set a good example in how you approach things and maybe the other moms will follow suit.. or, if it makes you really, really uncomfortable you could talk to the leader about your concerns so she can make a verbal reminder at the start of the meeting. I have 4 children.. 7,6, and 17 month old girls and 1 very loving but occasionally rambuctious 3 and 1/2 yr old boy. I have noticed that my boy is more rough and tumble..but he can be sweet and loving too. I have watched other 3/4 yr olds play and some of it gets a lil rough..so, best to keep a watchful eye on 'em.. but generally, it is just playful stuff. I just redirect and try to explain more appropriate behavior. I get a lil worried about some of the other rough behavior or words I see in other little boys but I just keep my eyes open in case other parents aren't, for safety reasons.
post #19 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaduck View Post
I think that when you are the new parent of a baby, and do not have older children, its very common to experience other people's older children as big, threatening and obnoxious. I know that I did.

I also think that it would have been perfectly appropriate for YOU to speak to the little boys about your discomfort. There is no reason to sit and wait for their mothers to intervene. You could have said, "He's just a little baby, and he thinks you are very big guys! Can you speak more gently to him please, so that he doesn't get scared?"

I think that calling it "bullying" is a little bit extreme. I try to be careful not to attribute big kid or adult motives/behavior to little kids! I don't really think a 3 year old being verbally inappropriate to a baby who is safely in his mother's arms constitutes a real threat.

I don't think that their words necessarily indicate "violent tendencies." I think they must have heard something or seen something (or multiple things) that they needed to play out in order to process. Violent play is classic at age 3 --- it almost seems like there is some cognitive leap at this point in development, and they need to play out the negative things they hear about in order to move past them.

I am wondering if either of them go to sunday school, and possibly heard the story about King Solomon announcing that he was going to cut the baby in half to resolve the dispute between the two mothers? Imagine for a minute that this is where they got the idea -- if someone big jumped in and put them down very sharply for reinacting this theme, it would be very confusing for them. So I think it needs to be gently redirected in the moment, and I hope that their mother processes with them later.

Like Pumkinseeds, nothing much about this incident surprises me. The loud banging play sounds normal for 3 year olds. The inappropriate language to the baby sounds like normal 3 year old experimentation.
: Mamaduck you said it well. A 3 yr old is still very young a toddler. They should have been redirected gently. You would be surprised what can come out of perfectly normal 3 yr olds. My nephew who is now 15 took great delight one day when he was 3 to go into great detail how I was going to be eating by a monster, complete with blood and skin peeling off explanations. When I asked him if he would save me he said no he would laugh. My nephew was not allowed to play with guns knives or watch even pg shows. He was not exposed to violence in the home. At 15 he is a very caring compassionate young man. He just thought it was funny for me to be eaten by a monster and delighted in telling me all the details he could think of. That said, Yes the boys should have been redirected. But to call them bullies is too extreme.
I think that it is a very good idea to speak with the LLL leader about the noise level so she can address the group. Sometimes as a mama you can be deaf to you own child's loudness and rambunctious activities. I think they were behaving pretty normal for 3 yr olds.
post #20 of 79
I have witnessed similair scenarious when at work (worked at a daycare). Often times it seems the parents are unsure of embarrassed about the situation and don't know what to say. Sometimes giving them words to use is helpful...ie "that loud voice is scary to a baby. talk quieter."

It is fustrating and nerve wracking to have to watch another parent "do nothing" but often times it isn't becuase they don't want to do anything but rather, they don't know how.
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