Sunday, October 26, 2008

Handling a bully moment.

We had our first incident this evening and, surprisingly, my husband and I viewed it differently. We headed up to Frederick for a birthday party. My cousin's youngest son was turning 3. I'm not at all close with the family on my mom's side as we spent most of my life moving with the Navy. I have two uncles and one aunt on her side. The aunt is insane and, after abusing my grandmother for years, is now persona non grada and none of us really are quite sure where she is. One uncle passed away a few years ago and this cousin is his daughter. I have another uncle who has four kids. Anyway, like I said, none of us are really very close. I have one cousin that I really dig, but never get to see.

Ah! Sorry, back to the story.

So, we haven't seen any of these people since January. We got there and actually had a nice time. Ethan and B, the 3 year old, started off sort of feeling each other out. They were like dogs vying for the alpha spot. B pushed Ethan away from a chair and Ethan, not being a pushover, pushed him back. They played well for the next hour or so, which was nice. When B was ready to open presents, I tried to keep the kids back because I know how it is when you're a kid. You want to open your presents and don't want anyone else helping. Normal kid stuff! When he was done, though, Ethan went over to see one of the gifts that was laying on the floor. B wasn't playing with it. But, being the normal little boy, he didn't want Ethan playing with it, either. Again, totally normal stuff. Well, B tried to take it from Ethan and Ethan sort of grabbed his shirt to push him away. B took the toy and clocked Ethan upside the head, really hard. The boys were separated, with B being taken into a back room to be talked to by an adult and Ethan being scooped up by grandma. He cried for a few minutes, but got over it quickly and B came back in to apologize and give Ethan a hug. It was over and done with and I was satisfied with the outcome. After all, as I explained to the adults (all family), Ethan provoked B. Then I overheard a conversation. Apparently, B is having some issues with his temper and they were called to preschool on Friday because he punched a kid in the face. So, he does this to everyone for no real reasons except someone pissed him off. Is this normal 3 year old behavior? I mean, Figgy and the Professor are pretty rambunctious with EACH OTHER, but don't really get out of hand with other kids. As I saw this evening, Ethan is not one to back down from a bully (pushing B back, at the beginning of the evening). But, he has never raised his fist or a toy at another child. He did go through a quick phase where he hit his sister, but that's it.

In the car on the way home, my husband asked me about it and how I felt. Seeing as how I know him, and know he would gear his answer to mine, I asked him to tell me first. I was surprised to hear him express his anger towards the situation. He was, of course, aware that Ethan had started it, but felt a great deal of protection for his little boy in regards to the reaction from B. We talked about it and I explained that you really have to look at the age. B *just* turned 3. He is, for all intents and purposes, a 2 year old as far as mentality goes. He doesn't have a younger sibling, so he's not really accustomed to sharing toys with a younger child. He's grown up with an older brother and has had to fend for himself in that regard. So, my reaction wasn't quite as quick as his was. But, it has left me feeling like I may have handled it in the wrong way. Am I cold for not quickly jumping to defend Ethan and scoop him up the way my mom did? Am I wrong for explaining to him (as his grandma is comforting him) that we do not push and get angry about a toy?

No comments: