Please Keep Your Problem Child Away From My Kid

Rant 22

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

behavior, bullies

22 Comments

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fleur... fleurdelys3110

Agreed! I believe this comes from the parents of problem children thinking that their kids are perfect angels and that their abusive behavior is normal. Either that or the parents are simply in denial or have given up trying to curb their children's problem. Regardless of the cause, none of this bodes well for society when the kids grows up without having his problems solved first.

nonmember avatar Kristi

I think that people need to be less quick to judge. In the case of the kid being fine but then flipping out when he missed a ball, okay, she should have stepped in. My child has ADD, sensory issues and delayed speech, all for apparently no reason other then bad genetics. We work with specialists, he does OT, he's in a special pre-school to help. Despite all this in unfamiliar situations his behavior is less then stellar and chances are if there's a kid being difficult it's ours. Yes we step in and deal with it as best we can but that doesn't stop people from making snide comments about how we're lazy parents and if we just did this or that his behavior would be better. You never know what you're looking at when there's negative behavior and instead of judging really offer a helping hand, or at least don't stare and make the parents feel like they're being judged more then we already do. Yes, my child may not have great behavior but it's hard enough already to deal with his moods/tendency's without also excluding him from every group/event/sport on top of it.

Sleep... SleepingBeautee

Well... you just described my sister and her sons. The boys are bullies and my sister is in denial. She is a teacher and is always very quick to judge other kids but is completely oblivious in those behaviors in her own kids. We limit time with them to protect our kids. It is very sad and hard for our whole family.

Joanna N Josh Bickle

Unfortunately most parents think the sun rises and sets on their darling offspring. Sounds like this lady was in total denial about her son.

nonmember avatar Sarah.S.

I took my son out to a social situation and he was having a great time. Then this girl, easily two years older, came up and started taking the toys from him. He is 2 and pretty laid back, but he started to get upset so I looked to her mom to see if she was going to step in. She sat there with this inane smile on her face watching her child snatch things out of my sons hands.

Finally I asked her, very gently, to please stop taking his toys and offered her another toy.

She started screetching at the top of her lungs that she wanted the toys.

The mom finally stepped in and said to her 'it's okay, not everyone is a nice person'

Then stepped back as her daughter continued to grab toys from my son, even following us when I tried to move to a new area.

Finally I list my patience and asked get to please leave my son alone.

Again she freaked out, kicking screaming etc. The mom walked up, picked her up and started to drag her away. Just before she left she turns around and shouts 'don't worry honey, she's just a b*tch' in front of a room full of small children.

It really makes me angry when parents refuse to parent their children and then insist in taking them out in public. FYI, my son has had his moments, but I always step in and never allow him to behave like that.

The crazy thing is, is she allowed her daughter back in five minutes later and she proceeded to smack another little girl who wouldn't give up a toy!

nonmember avatar Anonymous

I'm guessing the Mom is exhausted from dealing with the kid all the time and is just relieved she doesn't have to deal with it at the lessons-there are other adults around. She's ignoring it because she's overladed. Or she's just so used to that type of behavior from her kid that it seems normal to her. Just normal kid stuff. (but it's not)

ImaSo... ImaSoulMom

In this case I am sure someone has at some point said the same thing about all of our children. One of my children behaves better than the other. I am looking into whether he has adhd or possibly a behavioral disorder. My other child is very patient which does give the opportunity to focus on my older child. Everyone has a different personality. If the parent is truly inattentive, they will pay for it when their child is older and lacks skills imperative in later life.

nonmember avatar Sarah.S.

I am sorry, but a child being verbally and physically abusive to other children is NOT acceptable. At that point it doesn't matter what disorder a child has. If he is throwing things at other children and screaming things at then then he has no right to be there.

Doing things like play dates, sports or other social activities are not a right, they are a privilege and if your child is ruining the experience for others then they don't get to be there and experience it.

As a parent, sure you are.probably worn down, but it doesn't give you the right to inflict your child on to other people.

I am not talking about parents who step in and speak to their children and/or take them out of the situation. I am talking about the parents who think their children have tge right to these social situations and don't have to monitor or control their child's behavior. In the process they ruin the social situation for all the other children and adults and possibly put other children in danger of being hurt by physically abusive behavior.

nonmember avatar Littlefrogs

My son is easily frustrated and has meltdowns. But you know what... he has reasons and we are working on it.

However, there are lots of "problem children" out there who look perfect in the eyes of some... kids who obsess over possessions, kids who put down others, kids who manipulate and lie. Those are also problem children.. they just aren't as obvious.

In fact, I think we are all problem children so I guess you better just lock your kid up at home and insulate him from the world.

nonmember avatar zizzler

Never be polite to a rude child. That's like tucking your tail in. These little monsters are trying to be top dog, but it only takes a snarl or nip to send them yapping off in the other direction. Forget the "please leave me alone" BS, keep your voice dark, low, and creepy, look them right in the eye and tell them to GTFO. No way am I going to be bullied or bossed by a child!

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