Please Keep Your Problem Child Away From My Kid

Everybody's got issues. Some more than others. Whatever the case, everyone's got 'em.

The same goes for kids. While I like to teach my kids about tolerance and differences, sometimes things go beyond that. Sometimes my kids get put into situations where they must interact with "problem children." And when that happens, and the other parents could care less ... that's when I get ticked off.


My two boys recently signed up for tennis lessons, along with two of their friends. It's a small group of just the four of them and one instructor. Since my kids are generally allergic to anything involving exercise, my wife and I were beyond ecstatic that they wanted to play tennis. So we signed them up in a heartbeat.

The first week was great, but at the second lesson, there was a new kid in their group. The problem is, this kid definitely has some issues. Anger management being one of them. He'd get crazy frustrated if he missed a ball (which was often), and took it out on the other kids. He'd scream and make fun of my kids, as well as throw tennis balls at them.

At a break, my wife actually talked to all five kids and said something along the lines of, "We'll all go in and be nice to each other now, right?" Everyone seemed fine, went back in and the abuse simply continued.

Like I said, this kid has problems. And that's fine. I've dealt with that oodles of times already, as have my kids. Heck, my own kids can act up too, and I'm quick to dive in and make sure they apologize and behave. But in this instance, what steamed me up to no end was the kid's mother. She just sat there watching her boy. Not saying a word to us or the instructor. Clearly she knew he had issues, so why wasn't she on him to make sure he behaved?

On the one hand, I feel somewhat bad for her and the kid. He has problems and it must be real tough dealing with them. I can't imagine that kid has many playdates. Part of me wants to reach out and say it's okay, let's work together, maybe the kids can become friends, etc.

But on the other hand, I'm paying good money for these lessons. I don't need to have both my kids verbally and even physically abused by another kid, simply because his mom just wants to sit there and do nothing.

We've already spoken to the instructors and hopefully they'll be moving him to another group. But that's not the point. I still for the life of me don't understand "sideline" parents. Ones who just sit and watch their kids wreak havoc everywhere without dealing with any consequences to their actions.

If they want sympathy or compassion for what they're going through, parents of problem children need to be much more involved with their kids in public. Otherwise, by just sitting there quietly, they're trying to give off the impression that their kid is fine and it's everyone else who has the problem. And I have a problem with that.

How do you handle it when problem kids bully your child?

Photo via John Taylor/Flickr

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