Of bullies and bravery …

What makes a child a bully? What makes him or her bite, push, slap or kick?

This weekend’s enjoyment was marred by the behaviour of one such child. Now, although Luca is very much a rough-and-tumble little guy, he’s still a pretty soft-hearted and kind soul. He always approaches new faces gently, with a coy “Howyou?” and a sweet, toothy smile ever-present. It just so happened that the child he approached this Saturday was an evil little brat, whose parents have obviously done a shocking job of raising him so far. Or have they? This same child, at a completely different venue, last Sunday (Yeesh!, Woodmead), pushed Luca off of a mini-car on 5 or 6 separate occasions. The first time I laughed it off – thats kids, right? The second time I wondered if the child’s father was going to reprimand his son. Nothing. The third time I started to feel my cheeks flush with rage as Luca got up after being shoved over yet again and ran over to me, with a look of complete confusion spread over his gorgeous little face. After that I kept a close eye on him and tried to keep within arms reach of Luca to try to avoid it happening again. But, Luca is (a) outgoing, (b) persistent and (c) a very happy-go-lucky child, so in his mind I guess he just didn’t think that this would keep happening. But it did. Over and over. The child’s father brought his mean, blonde-haired little brat over to say sorry to us. I half-smiled and said, “Not to worry”, all the while watching to see if he disciplined his child in any way. Nothing. He instead, in fact, bought each of his boys (the older one, about 4 or 5, with long blonde hair and a VERY naughty face) a plate of flap jacks and fizzy cold drinks. Seriously? You allow your child to believe that bullying is rewarded with sweets and teeth-rotting liquids? Seriously?

Flash forward to this weekend, Saturday morning at The Secret Garden in Norscot Manor. I arrived with Luca to celebrate a special friend’s birthday, only to see that this same family – the father and his two blonde boys, along with two women – were seated just a table or two away from us. I immediately pointed them out to my friends and made a concerted effort to keep an eye on Luca. While we were having our orders taken, I turned my back for a second. And in that second, that little brat struck. I heard Luca’s cries immediately and turned to see him in tears, running toward me. I picked him up and assumed that the same thing had happened – the blonde brat had pushed him. So we ate our toast, drank our coffee and carried on. A couple of minutes later (Luca, in his persistency, had gone up to the child and said, “Howyou?”) I turned to see where Luca was and saw him trying to PULL HIS FINGER OUT OF THE DEVIL CHILD’S MOUTH. This (excuse my French) f&@king brat was BITING Luca’s finger! I ran over, pulled him away from Luca and saw that the bite had literally just short of broken through his skin. Luca was screaming and the father only then jumped out of his seat to grab his little shit of a boy. He brought him over to say sorry and I, feeling my heart beating out of my chest and the eyes of every mother within the vicinity staring at us, turned completely away from him. I ignored him and fought every instinct to lash out at them both. Seriously? Like I give a rat’s ass that your child is mimicking you, saying “sorry”? Do me a favour mister! After that, I kept Luca close. Except for a quick falling down the stairs incident, the rest of the morning was eventless.

Later that day, I had Luca sitting on a shop counter-top as I paid for something. I noticed a red mark on his upper-right arm and initially put it down to his little tumble down the stairs. I looked again, and saw this:

The first time, when I thought that evil, “Children of the Corn”, blonde-haired brat had just pushed Luca? He’d tried to take a freaking bite out of his arm!!! Seriously! If I EVER see them anywhere else, I am definitely going to confront the father. What makes children do this? Can they really be doing it just “because”? Is there not something wrong at home? Do the parents let him watch his older brother’s, possibly slightly violent, cartoons? Do the mother and father fight in front of him? He must believe that this kind of behaviour is acceptable? I just find it hard to believe that there is not some behavioural problem that needs to be sorted out there, and a half-assed “Sorry” ain’t gonna cut it.

On a more positive note, I have realised that not only is Luca soft, kind-hearted and totally open in his dealings with other kids and adults alike, he is one of the bravest little souls I have ever met … and I love this child more than air, water … more than life.

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10 thoughts on “Of bullies and bravery …

    • You know Lisa, I’m glad that I didn’t so much as react at the time. But if I do ever see them again, I WILL make a point of telling the father that my child was bitten TWICE by the little brat!

  1. I am speechless. We think we need to watch our children in case “meanie” try and kidnap them, meanwhile………
    Poor little Luca. I agree that it is best you didnt react there and then, cos if it was me, I probably would have attacked him with my bare hands, child and father……

  2. Nicki! I get furious all over again when I read your blog posting. I was facing Luca when the hand bite happened and it was like watching something so confusing happen that my mind slowed down in order to take it all in, it happened in slow motion.
    I must say, it was an insight into what’s to come for us with Ava but I’m not sure I have the self control or the decorum to behave with as much self restraint as you did.

    And seriously? I know all kids go through a phase of biting, but its up to his father to teach him that its not acceptable behavior, something which is clearly not happening!

  3. Awww poor little Luca 😦 NOT COOL!!!! I wish u had let that father have it, he sounds like a woes who can’t control his kids! Well done for being a lady Niks x x x

  4. Well my girl I wish I had been there I would have dealt with in the good old fashion way I would have kicked the fathers ass…………… that would have taught the kid a lesson. It makes me so angry……………

  5. You know the sad thing? Often the parents just don’t ‘see it’. How i’m not sure. We were out with friends yesterday, and their 17 month old little girl kept on hitting my 4 1/2 yr old on the head, plus another little girl (almost 3) on the head. And the mum & dad did NOTHING! I was furious. But also trying to keep the peace. So i took her aside and said gently, that hitting people on the head was not nice and that it hurt them. She then stopped. Simnple. I just don’t understand why the parents did nothing!

    Hope Luca has recovered. Gorgeous child you have there btw.

    • The father of the evil little brat who bit Luca twice (and pushed him out of a little toy car numerous times the week before) did absolutely NOTHING. I went to a ToddlerSense seminar 3 weeks ago, where Anne Richardson spoke. Her method is to ignore the child who has done wrong, and instead turn all of your attention on the child who has been hurt, so that the child who has done the wrong realises that it’s the victim who gets the attention and not him/her. I agree with her, but that kind of discipline has a time and a place. It was blatantly obvious that the child who pushed and bit Luca has behavioural problems. And similarly to your situation, he sat there and did NOTHING. No, I lie. He stood up and said, “No Tom, no” with not so much as an ounce of seriousness to his tone. I maintained my composure but am quite sure that I would confront him, should I bump into them again. Luca still has a mark on his arm – almost 2 weeks later. Poor monkey 😦

      Thanks Shayne – lovely blog you have πŸ˜‰

  6. Pingback: 2010 in review « Life with Luca

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