Tuesday, March 16, 2010

P is for Protective

I've had two incidents recently where I've had to stick up for my boys. It sucks. I can't understand why people don't pay attention to what their own children are doing.

In their karate class, the boys share the Sensais with about 25 other kids. The Sensais (a man and wife and their two teenage sons) say that this karate class is the fastest growing class at the Rec center. They can't split the classes or change anything until May when the new class catalog comes out. My point being, they are a bit overwhelmed and they don't see everything.

But they know about this one kid (let's call him F). F canNOT keep himself to himself. If he's near someone, he's touching them - and not nicely. If he's standing next to them, he's stepping on their feet with his feet, if he's behind them he's touching the back of their head with his fist. Constantly. It's weird. About the third class for my boys, he was messing with T like this, then the kids had to line up at the edge of the mat for some type of drill and I saw F straight out shove T and almost knock him down. I wanted to come off the bench and take care of it but I decided to let it go for now and talk to the kid later. The Sensais catch F... sometimes. When they do, they tell him to keep his hands to himself or they make him do push-ups. The whole time I watch this kid be such a little shit to other kids, I wonder, "Where the hell are his parents and why the hell do the other parents not say anything to him when he's messing with their kids??"

The next class, I told T that if F keeps messing with him to "use his words" and tell F to stop touching him. The minute F saw T, he made a beeline for him and started messing with him - this is before class even started. T used his words and it only made F pick on him more. I told T if F didn't stop, he had my permission to pop the kid but T isn't aggressive and would never do that. So I stepped in.

I walked up to F (who's still picking on T) and said, "Hey, F, listen up." Then I called D2 over and continued, "This one's mine and this one's mine. You don't touch them, do you understand me? You keep your hands and feet to yourself. In fact, you don't even stand near them. I want at least two other students between you and them at all times. Got it? You keep away from them all together unless specifically directed otherwise by the Sensais. Am I clear?" He nodded his head yes and looked a bit scared for which I almost felt bad. I also talked to the Sensais after class and they talked to F and made him stay away from my guys.

When the Sensais were talking about people testing for their gold belts (for which F was eligible), I saw the main Sensai take F aside and tell him he wasn't ready yet and that they would let him know when he was eligible. He's actually been pretty well-contained since that little chat and I hope he continues to improve.

He's the only kid in the class whose parent just dumps him off. And the worst is that the guy doesn't even leave the building! I see them before class and the man is on his computer or on his blackberry completely ignoring F. Same after class. It makes me sad for that kid. He's obviously so starved for attention or even just basic human contact that he acts like a little jerk!

The other incident happened last month. It was an especially cold and blustery day and when I went to pick up the boys from school, I saw X, a kid in our neighborhood and his older brother B. B is about 15 and X is in 2nd grade but looks like a 4th grader. They were going to walk home so I offered them a ride. We've had problems with X in the past (he's hit T in the head twice! Once on purpose and the second, which probably was an accident but was with an aluminum baseball bat) so I don't really let the boys play with him much. But, like I said, it was freezing and we were all going to the same place so...

Anyway, B opted to walk back home and X got in the car with us. As we are driving home, T tells me that the week before, B pointed a BB gun at him! WTF??? I stayed calm and asked him to repeat what he just said. He repeated it and then X said, "Yea, he did that but he was just playing." Oh HELL no!

I drove the boys home and when we got in the house, I sat the boys down and tried to re-educate them about what happens when they see a gun at someone else's house (or when the are playing outside). They are to come straight home if it's walking distance and if it's not, they are to call me and I'll come get them.

Later that evening, I went over to X and B's house. Their stepdad answered the door and I told him I needed to talk to B and if he wanted to be a witness, that was fine. Here's what I told B...

"T told me that last week you pointed a BB gun at him. Don't try denying it because D2 and X corroborated it. Look, I grew up with guns and I have no problem with guns or with people having them. What I have a huge problem with is how people treat guns. X said you were just playing and I know it's just a BB gun but the thing is, a gun is not a toy. It's never a toy and if you ever point a gun at my kids again, you are going to have a huge problem. I'm going to call the cops on you and if they don't do anything about it, I will."

His stepdad didn't do much. He rebuked the kid for being stupid and they went back into their house. But again, I don't expect much to change for these kids. The first week we lived here, X came over at 9p at night knocking on our door to see if the boys could come out and play. Really? Jeez, kid, why are you out that late?? On a school night no less. They are both out at all hours and seem to have no real supervision. And again, it just makes me sad.

I've always felt that there are no bad dogs, just lazy irresponsible owners. The same goes for kids, only multiply times 100.

Feeling like the mean Mother Bear, Ruth!


Heide said...

I agree with you 99% of the time. I work as a para with "special-ed" first and second graders. Out of all of the students I've worked with during the past three years only 3 of them have had true disabilities. The others (including most of them this year) are there because they have crappy parents and/or homelives. The stuff some of them have been through at 6 and 7 I wouldn't wish on an adult, let alone a child. OTOH, I've seen two children who exhibited true psychopathic tendencies (no remorse, seeking out others to torture, etc.) who have "normal" parents. The majority of the kids though are just spoiled and ignored (often together).

Yarnhog said...

That is sad, but inevitable. Not all parents are good parents. Not all parents even try to be good parents. So it's your job to protect your kids if someone else fails to control theirs. You did the right thing in both cases. Yeah, it sucks. But you're a good mom.

Marissa said...

I echo Heidi's sentiment. You are doing the job you are supposed to do; letting the kids try to handle it on their own, and stepping in before it gets ugly.I used to think I could support the neglected kid by giving him extra attention- that didn't work, in fact, it made the situation worse. I believe you did the right thing. Hopefully the karate class won't be soured for your boys, it's a great discipline.

k said...

How freaking weird. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up when I read this.
I hope the step-dad sets the kid straight on gun rules. It sounds like none of them are really bad, just needing a little tending to.
Don't other parents say anything about these things?

Anonymous said...

What Heidi said. My RN husband works on an adolescent psychiatric ward. Very few of the kids are actually *crazy*, most just have crazy/weird/abusive/overbearing/downright mean parents.

Mother Bears are essential. You go, ma'm!

早餐 said...
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Barbara said...

I'm sorry to disagree with everyone here, and I don't know what was up with the one family you mentioned, but your general point is a pretty ugly one. Some kids have behavior problems, even if the parents do their very best to control it. I have 2 sons, who are 6 years apart in age. The older one has ADHD and caused a lot of trouble (bothering other kids constantly, disrupting class, driving his teachers nuts) when he was younger. The younger one has no such behavior issues. My husband and I got a lot of really nasty and hurtful and judgemental comments from people who were angry about my older son's behavior, even though we were taking him to psychologists and pediatricians and doing positive reinforcement behavior programs and everything you can imagine to mitigate the problem. On the other hand, people who only knew my younger son seemed to think I was a great mom. But I'm the same mom! When I read things like "There are no bad kids, only bad parents" I want to say "You know, there aren't that many bad parents either!" Most people really, really love their kids and are doing everything they can think of to raise them right. Haven't your kids ever done anything that embarrassed you? Can we please try for a little more compassion here, a little less judgement?

5elementknitr said...

First off, thanks for stopping by! You are right, I stand corrected that there are no bad kids, juust lazy parents. I'm sorry for the things you've been through and I'm completely compassionate and understanding of parents who make the effort.

The kids I'm talking about... there's no visible effort. I am judgmental of parents who dump their kids in a class then sit in the hall with their laptops ignoring things. F shoved my chiild and was constantly picking on him so I stepped in. His dad is appears to be a lazy, bad ignoring parent.

And the other kid with the BB gun? Absolutely can't stand his parents who let those kids roam around at all hours and armed.