Monday, July 21, 2008

Kids can be so mean...what should I do?

Sadie frequently pushes her sister out of the way or knocks her down if she thinks Dazee is getting too much attention. Dazee doesn't really know what's going on. If she takes a fall on her butt, she just gets back up again. But if she takes a fall on her head, she cries and an adult comes to her rescue and Sadie gets a reprimand or "time-out".
This weekend, the tables were turned on Goliath but not by David, but even bigger Goliaths. We had a big family reunion in the country - 12 adults and 6 children. Sadie was one of the youngest and got picked on by the older kids. "Get out of here, we're going to kick you in the ass!" they scream at her. They take away her toy and make her chase them to get it back, but it's impossible, they have a 3 year lead. "POOOPY HEAD!!!" they taunt. But she continues to follow them around like a lovesick puppy. I don't know if she's fully processing that they're mean to her. "SHUT UP!!!" they command her. Then they play "jail" and lock her in the closet. We had to rescue poor Sadie from her tormenters twice.
What's a parent to do? It seems hardwired for kids to pick on the smaller or younger. When do I intervene and when do I turn a blind eye? Is there a difference between bullying borne from envy versus one borne from carrying out hard-wired instructions to pick on those smaller/weaker than you?
I noticed that parents of the older kids tend to ignore more than me. I don't know if that's a result of personality differences, experience or energy level. Maybe it's a gender thing too? The boys seemed so much more active and physical than the girls. My heart just goes out to poor little Sadie when she gets picked on. It's like I'm watching Animal Planet and I know the gazelle's going to get eaten by the lion. Should the camera people intervene?!

1 comment:

farnk said...

Ihe jungle" guess the un- or under-developed human brain is as prone to the "law of the jungle" as other "animals." The stronger get their thrill from victimizing the weak. (Saydee is not immune from this either as this blogger notes. I personally saw her knock Daisy off a front walk twice with a quick rabbit punch to the torso.)But I do think that parents of the offender should react quickly and strongly to signal this behavior is not to be tolerated. Absent this, we become real hypocrites: tolerating behavior in our children that we know would be unacceptable in the adult world. Apparently a 'time out' is not a significant enough consequence to deter this kind of behavior.
This is one of Cassandra Jupiter's most thoughtful blogs.