Last Tuesday my uber-delightful mom's group had a meet up at our local library (you can read about why I love my mom's group and why I hate Motherbitches here).
While we were there, our children were playing with a giant checker set. About five of our kids were taking turns sharing the giant foam checkers while building buildings (which is technically frowned upon by the librarians but come on--they are kids!) and pretending to be nesting birds.
Then another girl, similar in age, joined the group. There was no parent watching this little girl and she slowly took over all the foam checkers--stealing them left and right from our group of kids who had been sharing.
My friend's daughter was pretty bold and said, "Hey, that's not fair! You have to share!" (and to be fair, our children were trying to share but the other girl was opposed to it!).
Even after my friend's daughter said that, the little girl kept taking checkers. The other children in our group moved to the side and sort of let the "mean girl" take over.
My friend and I looked at each other. When should we step in?
I mean, we want our children to stand up for themselves and to fight injustice BUT we also want them to know that we have their back and that we'll stand up for them.
So where is the balance? Should we have stepped in and told the girl who wouldn't share that she needed to? Did we do the right thing by letting our kids handle it?
To be honest, it doesn't feel like we did the right thing because all of our children, but one, got "bullied" away from the toys and the one girl who stood resolute, lost all the checkers because she didn't have any support. She looked at her mom and I with big eyes as if to say, "Is this okay?"
What a tough lesson because sometimes the people with the worst intentions and the worst attitude and who treat people the worst--WIN!
I hate that. But at the same time, I don't want my child to be a constant tattle-tale. I want her to use her voice and her actions to stand up for herself. How do I cultivate that?
What I think is it is difficult to know when to step in and when to let kids handle a bullying/unjust situation.
When do you step in, when do you stay out, and how do you know what step to take?
Please, share your advice. My friend and I would love to know.
And P.S. BOO HISS to the parents who, by not watching their child in a public place, put my friends and I in an awkward position to have to "parent" a child we didn't know!
Thanks to Shell at Things I Can't Say for hosting my random Wednesday Rants!