Note: All photos were taken months ago
I’ve never had a kid be actually mean or hurtful to my child yet. He’s only 15 months old and usually kids are pretty kind to him. Of course there are other toddlers that will maybe smack my kid and such because they don’t know what they’re doing, but I’m not talking about that.
Tonight we went to the library and a little 4 year old girl kicked my son. She tried to hit him several times, glared at him, swatted at him, yelled at him-all completely unprovoked by him. He was just sitting with the trains and playing and she kept attacking him. She would then turn and look to see my reaction.
Of course my initial reaction was KID GET OFF OF MY BABY! But I didn’t say anything I sat and watched (she wasn’t hurting him yet) to see why or what she would do next, all the while glaring at her. Every time she turned around I would glare at her to stop and she would stare back, daring me to do something about it. She didn’t have any parents around and it was just the 3 of us in the kid corner of the library. She finally went to swat him again and I said sternly but sweeter than I had planned, “Don’t touch him.” She wasn’t really fazed by this too much and I could see the wheels turning in her head of what she would do next.
So in this moment I am thinking, “what kind of child does this?” “why is she hurting a little baby boy?” and then I thought, “no child just decides to be mean to a baby..there is a reason for why she is acting this way.”
So I said a quick prayer in my heart to help me handle this situation the best way I could.
I want you to know that I am telling you this story because I feel like I learned a very important lesson tonight and it could possibly help someone else in a similar situation.
I felt like I should be kind to her; talk to her, encourage her to be kind, and no longer glare at this 4 year old blonde haired punk.
I said, “Do you like trains?” as she played with the trains on the track near my son. She happily told me yes. I asked her what her favorite one was and she said Thomas. I kindly replied that was my son’s favorite too and tried to be as cheery as possible. It was quite a stark contrast to just 1 minute before.
However she soon tried again to be mean to my son, so I asked her, “Why don’t you try to be nice to him? Maybe he would like that?” She had a puppet in her hand and kept trying to make him get scared, and it was working. I was trying not to get mad at this girl because as I watched her I began to see her actions as just a desperate plea for attention. She said no that she didn’t want to be nice and wanted to make him cry. I told her that makes him sad and that makes me sad and then I asked her if she liked to be happy?
She said no. I could tell she was just trying to get a reaction out of me so I didn’t react at all. I asked her if she was a pretty fairy and could do a pretty dance? I was trying to get her mind off of bullying my child.
She got a dog puppet and attacked my face with it and then Peter started to cry out of fear. Then she went and lunged at him and tried to make him even more scared as I held him as he cried in fear again.
This time, an adult came up and was in shock of what she was doing and scolded her and told her to leave him alone. It was her Grandma. She wouldn’t leave him alone so I kindly asked her, “wouldn’t it be fun to make him smile?” I said “I like to smile it would make me happy if you made him happy.”
Something switched in her mind and she dropped the puppet and immediately put on a smile and said, “can he play trains with me?” She smiled and played the trains with him, showed him the big train you could climb into, tickled and hugged him and danced around and showed me she was a ballerina.
I was shocked that she just up and pulled a 180 like that but I realized that all she wanted was attention and she was willing to do anything to get it.
The Grandma told me she watches over her with her boyfriend and 4 other grandkids. She said that the little girl was the bulldog of the pack and the hardest of them all.
I started to wonder if she felt like she was unnoticed or if the parenting in the home consisted of constant negative commands and if this was perhaps the only way this girl got any recognition for anything she did.
I don’t know her situation. I don’t blame anyone because I don’t know what is going on at home. But I am grateful that the Lord softened my heart and led me to see this different side of this girl. I honestly wanted to yell at her. Scold her for hurting my child and walk away with him to protect my son. But once she was kind to him he loved her and she even invited us over to play at her house, several times.
I, like many of us, look to be offended first and understand the person second.
I didn’t first think of how to help this little girl, but just to make sure she stopped hurting my kid. Now if she had shoved him down and really hurt him ya that would be a different story. But all her little jabs at him were small and he didn’t really notice but she would always look right at me-not out of fear, but looking to get a reaction.
I realized that in my life when people are mean or rude or whatever I immediately want to be mean and rude back. I want to show them I’ll fight back too. I want to show them not to walk all over me and hurt me, just like this little girl, I imagine might do in her house.
I guess tonight I learned that it is so much better to be patient, be prayerful and try to understand. The outcome was truly amazing. She lit up when she was happy and helpful to my son. I know not every situation will probably end up as happy as ours did but I am so happy it did.
Before they left while the Grandma was checking out books I told the little girl that she will always feel good when she makes someone happy. That even if someone is mean to us, it doesn’t mean we should be mean back. I told her to make people smile and she will smile too, and then they left.
The more I think about it, the more I realize every bully, every rude person, every bad guy, probably has a sad and hurtful past.
And sometimes, if we try to see the best in them, we can help them see the best in themselves.