We have many firsts as parents, first time to change a nappy, first time to be puked on, first time shopping for school uniforms…. the list is as long as it is varied. Well today I had a first. I probably won’t forget it in a hurry but not for the same warm fuzzy feelings that other ‘first’ memories bring to that corner of my tummy. Today I had my first, I suppose the only word for it is, altercation, with a fellow parent over one of my children.
A knock came to the door and I was greeted with a very irate man wanting to know why his daughter was upset over something that I had said to her. Yes me! Not my son but me, a grown middle-aged woman had upset a young child. Not one of my finer moments I can admit without hesitation.
Now I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty of the conversation because I would be extremely tempted to fill in my part of the conversation with many phrases and quick-witted remarks that I wish I had said, as opposed to what actually occurred. I will expect plenty of private mails looking for the finer details. What I will say is that I did speak to the children and tell them to play nicely with one another and asked them not to exclude my son.
In hindsight maybe having words with other people’s children is not a great idea…. lesson learned. This upset the child and in turn upset her father and a conversation followed where we both defended our own as you do and parted agreeing to speak to the children about their behaviours towards each other.
Of course for the rest of the evening my mind was flooded with thoughts of what had happened. My role in the events and my son’s role and how could I have behaved better and how do I help him improve his behavior towards others?
Do I stand by my son and defend him to the death….
My child would never do such a thing!
When I see a parent approaching my door do I turn my head and automatically assume his guilt regardless of the circumstances?
What did you do?
It’s one of the first times in a long time that I really felt like a single parent. I had no one to bounce the situation off of. No one to help me rationalise. No one to debrief after the big scary man came up and gave out to me. No one to have my back. No one to calm me when I swore blind that the children would never see the light of day again and no one to hug me when I felt extremely vulnerable.
The conclusion I came to was that I couldn’t come to a conclusion. I couldn’t wrap this up in a little bow and tidy it away. I realised that I don’t want to be a naive parent and pretend that I don’t think that my child is capable of being mean to others. Of course he is. Along with every other child on the planet. They are all horrible to one another at some stage. I also feel like I want to defend him to the death because he’s my cub and I’m a mama bear and if I won’t defend him who will?
I did learn that I won’t be talking to other children about their behaviors. It’s a modern approach to parenting because in my childhood days if any adult spoke to you, you did what you were told and if you complained to your mother you were told where to go. I’m not sure that it’s a great parenting development but it’s here and it’s not going anywhere. I’m also going to shift my focus. I can’t control how other people treat my son but I can help shape how he responds.
I’m off to have a vodka because this scummy mummy has had enough for one day. Can’t say I’m looking forward to the summer. I may pull the curtains and pretend I’m not here!