Okay, no one likes bullies. Obviously. But I loathe them to the point where I will step in and take action, even if I'm not supposed to. Even if I don't know the victim, or the perpetrator.
I just won't put up with any such bullshit.
Especially when it comes to kids.
Since I became a parent, my hatred of bullies has deepened. I think about the future, and what if my kids had to deal with bullying. And, worse, what if I wasn't there to protect them?
Growing up, I was pretty lucky - I wasn't bullied, and I wasn't a bully. In fact, I'm not sure I even witnessed bullying (I attended a very small girls' school in rural England), until I was older - when I saw glimpses of it: through other people's stories, in the workplace, in relationships.
Of course, with adults, bullying is much more subtle - sometimes barely perceptible. Adult bullies have had ample time to hone their skills, after all.
After I had my first son, I noticed a new side of my personality developing: I was fiercely over-protective. Even during our first trips to the park, if another kid so much as shot a vaguely menacing look toward my toddler, I was at the ready. The Mommyguard.
And, now that my son is a pre-schooler, though I try to give him space to play independently and interact with other kids, I still feel an overwhelming urge to step in and protect him from everyone and everything.
As is evident from our trip to the playground last weekend. As I watched Matthew running across platforms and darting up and down the steps of the climbing frame, I noticed an older kid (he looked 5, maybe 6) trying to block his path by standing in front of him. Whichever way Matthew tried to go, the kid blocked him.
It was a very small incident, of which Matthew had no understanding, yet it caused the over-protective guardian in me to rise up to the surface, ready to defend.
A few minutes later I caught the kid
I know, at some point, I will have to take a step back and learn to let my kids fend for themselves. Learning to stand up for oneself is an important part of growing up. I know this. But right now they're still babies to me. But maybe they always will be...
So when do I take a step back? And how?
How did you learn to loosen the reigns and let your kids learn to stand up for themselves?