Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Tonight at church Mason II was subjected to teasing for what I believe to be the first time. It was certainly the first time I was a witness to it. From across the parish hall, I saw my son standing in front of two older boys. From my vantage point, it looked as if he was trying to grab something the boys were offering to him and then pulling it away from him. This continued for several minutes. I thought surely they would give in and offer him the toy. Surprisingly they didn’t. Not only that, they let him come to tears over it.

When I finally scurried through the crowd to the table of teenagers to comfort him, I asked, “Was someone being mean to you?” Several girls at the table immediately piped up, “YES!” Between that answer and the tears, I knew I had let it go on too long. I scooped him up for a quick hug and he quickly recovered and was off and running.

Here are some of my thoughts:
• Why would two teenage boys pick on an 18-month old boy to the point of making him cry?
• Why did the young women at the table, who obviously knew the boys were being too mean, let it continue?
• Why is this bothering me so much?

I can only speculate, but here are some of my answers.
• I can only hope the boys didn’t realize it would upset him that much. However, part of me thinks the boys just didn’t care and were just trying to see how far they could push him.
• Did the boys intimidate the young women as well? Do they not have the assertiveness to speak up and tell them to chill, why pick on a little guy?
• I am pretty sure it is bothering me for two reasons:
o Watching my son cry as I walked across the room quickly brought me back to fifth grade and Mario O. who used to call me four-eyes and teacher’s pet. I remember my mother saying, “Tell him sticks and stones will break your bones, but name will never hurt you.” Wow, was she wrong. The mean things he said to me in elementary school still haunt me.
o This won’t be the last time someone hurts his feelings on purpose. There are many more days ahead when I will need to comfort my son because someone in the world just felt like being mean. How do parents explain it? What do you say to your crying child when another child teases or bullies them?

Tonight was easy, because handing him the ball he wanted and giving him a kiss on the cheek made it all better. But what about next time, when he won’t be so easily distracted? Will I find myself telling him the story of the sticks and stones? Is there a better way?

1 comment:

  1. That is so bizarre.Especially at church. WTF?? Maybe they have no idea how to play with a toddler??

    I would have said something to their parents personally.