Tuesday, 28 June 2011

I am Mother, Hear me whisper

Yes I know it’s supposed to be Hear ME Roar but in this case there is no roaring. I am just whispering.  As a mother when one of my children are threatened my my first instinct is to protect them.  Fairly standard I think.  But what happens when your child needs protecting from another child and that child’s parents are standing there doing nothing?

What do you do when you have seen that child lash out at their parent and adult’s response is “Mate don’t do that”? Or when that child lashes out at their  sibling and the parent does nothing at all?

This is the dilemma I currently have.

There is a child at school who is gets away with all sorts of things name calling, kicking, hitting, swearing you name it it’s probably been done.  why is this an issue for me? Well,  a few days a week this child often hangs around in the same area  after school with as we do.

This child (let’s call him P) has problems relating to others.  Not just other children, adults as well.  Recently  P has teased Girl Child and called her names, pushed her off the play equipment so she banged her head and dug his fingernails into her so that there were red marks left on her skin under her shirt.

P’s parents do nothing. When P hits their profoundly disabled sibling there is generally no response from the parents.  When P hurts other children there is no response. Only occasionally is there a response.  Generally that happens  when P is hitting a parent and swearing at them and that’s when the comment “Mate, don’t do that” is trotted out.

There are a few of us who don’t know what to do.  Our children are being hurt by another child in full view of the parents and there is no response from them at all. P doesn’t get asked to clam down or stop hurting or hitting or whatever. How would you deal with this?

It seems most people are afraid to say something because P’s sibling M is disabled. Because P’s parents have M who is unable to do basically anything themself. I have chatted to P and M’s parents so I know that M’s needs take up a lot of time. But I’m concerned that P’s issues are being ignored and therefore other children, my child is getting hurt and teased. I find the longer this goes on the less I want to interact with P’s parents.

Would you approach the parent of an unruly child? Would you change that approach if you know the parents are worn down from caring for their other child?

I want to say something to P’s parents. I want to say I don’t like P’s behaviour. I don't like it when P hurts Girl Child and you ignore it.  Ignoring P’s bad behaviour is not making this situation better.

I want to say: Telling M that people won’t like M because of P’s behaviour is not appropriate either. Nobody has an issue with M.  P’s behaviour doesn’t reflect on M, it reflects on you as the parent!

Please help me.  Someone needs to say something.  There are at least 3 parents who watch this child hurting others and nobody does anything.  I am just as guilty as the rest. Prior to now I have been worried about ruining the relationship I was building with P’s mother.  Right now I don't care about that. My child has just as much right to play safely after school as everyone else does.

Is there any tactful way of saying “Your child is a brat. Please stop P hurting my child”?


Janelle said...

That really is a dilemma, and while I haven't yet experienced this as a parent as my daughter is only 1, I bet there are SO many parents out there with a similar problem.
It sounds like maybe P is lashing out because, as you say, M's needs take up a lot of time, and this could be P's way of asking for some attention.
I really can't relate to your situation, so all I can say to you is what I THINK I would do if it were me. I think you do need to bring it up with P's parents / mother, maybe starting out by saying that P has hurt your child on a number of occasions lately, that it can't continue, and that you hope it can be resolved because you would like it if the children could get along?

Leanne said...

Now that is tricky. I have no answer. Too many variables. Too many pairs of other people's shoes to walk in. Who knows what is going on. But as a parent to your own children, if they are in danger then it would be prudent to have a quiet chat to the other parents - perhaps in a nice understanding way - and voice your concerns and ask what you might all be able to do to prevent it from continuing. And then if that doesn't work, or gets a less than welcoming response, then pull out some bigger guns ... and if that doesn't work then ... get the SWAT team in ...
Clearly I have no real answer.


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