Playground bullies

Yesterday was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm, one of the first in while that really inspired to spend some time out. And we did just that. We googled a new playground and went there. We had a cool time. The kids loved exploring something new, playing together but also making contact with other kids. We already voted for awesome time spent, when 3 small boys kind of spoilt it for my son. They were the same age, approx. 3–4 years old, friends obviously as they travelled in a pack. They came into Erik’s “tower” and trying to get rid of him, telling him to leave, calling him a baby, dumb, weak and other things. They were pretty persistent and wouldn’t stop.

And though Erik can be a wild kid that loves a rough fight with Daddy at home, he is not the kind of kid, that is pushing other kids around. He told them to leave him alone, but they ignored that. I usually let my kids fight their own battles, but when even my daughter Emma, 8 years old, couldn’t make them stop, I intervened. They stopped for a moment, but when I turned my back, they just continued, and I had to talk to them again. Only when I said, that maybe it is acceptable to talk like this to other people in your family, but surely not in ours, they finally gave up and went somewhere else. Soon after, we left, but we were talking about it all the way home. I can tell how much it effects my kids, when a topic keeps on popping up and it really hurts my heart to see my boy being bullied around by kids in a pack, at the age of 3!

Where do they learn that? What kind of examples do they see in their everyday life to be so brave in a group? What kind of values do their parents and caregivers teach them? Do they even ask themselves the question, what values they want their kids to have? It surely kept me / us busy and it was a good occasion to talk with Emma and Erik about values, empathy, kindness, the power of words, bullies and asking for help. But sometimes I just wish, that we can have just a beautiful day without other kids’ problems affecting us.