Don’t yell at my kids

courtesy of wsj.com

courtesy of wsj.com

I am going to tell you a story, that both breaks my heart, and fills me with absolute rage if I think too much about it. Because I can’t stop thinking about it.

We had an out of town relative come to visit recently. A guy the kids know but don’t get to see much. When they DO see him, he’s generally fun and they have a great time playing with him.

Sammy was insistent on bringing his bike to show this guy how well he could ride without training wheels, and would only ride when HE was watching. That was the first day we saw him, we also had a cookout and it was overall a really nice visit. So nice in fact, we wanted to come back to see him one more time, and say goodbye before he left yesterday.

Bad Idea.

Let me just say this….. grown men, in their 30’s…. who choose to wrestle and play rough with a 5 year old, Who wrap him in blankets, put him in fake choke holds, lie on him and pretend to suffocate him on the couch….. should not be shocked if they suddenly decide to stop playing this way, but the 5 year old doesn’t catch on immediately.

When the same grown man goes to sit in another chair, and picks up my 2 year old, playing with her and holding her off the ground…and she starts saying “ow-ow”… as though she is hurt…… Sammy runs over and starts to throw some punches. Now, he is still playing, but suddenly his behavior is not acceptable and so he is SHOVED away, and screamed at-violently-by this jackass who thinks HE needs to teach my son a lesson. He is threatened with bodily injury if he “dares” touch him again. All the while, Sammy is standing quietly, wide-eyed, as this red-faced monster is screaming at him, inches from his face.

Things deteriorated quickly.

This man, who has no children of his own, who has a known history of violent outbursts and lack of impulse control, has just traumatized my child. My child who has so far been too shy and unsure of himself to defend himself against people his OWN AGE, now being attacked by someone he practically worshiped in much the same way he idolizes his older brother. He thinks these older male relatives are “so cool”, and almost swaggers when allowed to play and hang out with them.

This man does not deserve the respect, the love, the adoration he received.

Trust me, I know my children, like ALL children, can be annoying. They don’t always listen, they fight with each other, they make messes, they aren’t perfect. I know this. But I also know that I discipline my children, I am strict, they don’t run loose in the world to wreak havoc on those around them. I don’t condone them hitting, but I also see how he got caught up in the excitement of rough housing, that he got carried away. Maybe he did need to be stopped at that point.

BUT…..

These are not your children. You don’t have the right to put that fear in his eyes. You don’t have the right to shove my son. You don’t have the right to scream in his face, and threaten to hurt him.

I yell, but YOU CAN’T.

I was 10 feet away, or less. If you want him to stop, and he doesn’t listen, you come get ME. I will yell, if I need to. But he will not cower in fear from me, because he knows I love him. He knows I won’t hurt him, and he knows I won’t shove him.

And so we had a quiet ride home yesterday, followed by tears as Sammy finally talked about it, followed by random outburst today of  “Mom, he should have said ‘Sammy, please stop’.”, and “Boy, I really don’t like him”…..  and me feeling like a failure for not being able to stop that from happening, and wishing we had never gone over there in the first place.

So in this way, a relationship was destroyed. Because I can forgive anyone for what they do to me….eventually. But I don’t forgive for what you do to my children. And one day, if you ever have kids of your own- you might understand that.

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