What do you do when other kids are mean to your kid? It makes me sad to see Anna bullied, bossed, yelled at, toys taken, to the point that she finally walks away from the group of kids and chooses to play by herself, a sad look on her face. This feels like a repeated scenario to me lately. There is one child in particular that is a playmate of Anna's that keeps being mean to her. That child's parent is often right there 'watching' but not parenting, not teaching their child appropriate behavior. The behaviors are normal 3 year old behaviors, but not acceptable behaviors. The sort of behavior that if it is not checked can become a serious issue down the road. Anna is not perfect either, she has her moments. I don't expect her friends to be perfect. But it bothers me when I see a parent not teaching their child appropriate behaviors or correcting inappropriate ones and then watching that effect my child.
In general Anna shares really well with her friends and plays kindly. She's not a follower, she marches to the beat of her own drum. This playmate gets mad at her because this child wants to be able to boss Anna around and have her do everything she tells her to. This child doesn't share well. If she's played with something recently but has since moved on to another toy she is still extremely possesive of the toy and will scream and cry and grab it away from my daughter if Anna tries to pick it up to play with it (and the toy doesn't even belong to her). She's not just mean to my daughter, you can witness this kind of behavior often towards whatever child she has decided she doesn't want to play with or share with. I get so angry! And they're only 3!
I'm never quite sure what my response should be when I see this child being so mean. There are times that I do intervene if she is doing something that could hurt another child, grabbing a toy from my daughter, or if her words are particularly mean. I tell her that is not appropriate behavior and that she can't treat my daughter or another child in that way. But I feel really awkward saying it because the parents are right there and they should be the ones saying it, they should be correcting their child and teaching appropriate behavior, enforcing appropriate consequences.
How should I approach this whole situation with Anna? I know it doesn't do Anna any favors to rescue her from this child. She is going to be faced with people like that her whole life. I want to teach her how to deal with it in healthy, kind, nonjudgemental, socially appropriate ways. I tell her she can just walk away, I tell her she doesn't have to let herself be bullied and bossed around but can choose to play however she wants to play with a particular toy or in a particular game. We've been talking about how people make unkind choices sometimes but that she can still choose to be kind. But sometimes I feel at a loss. I do want to protect my daughter. It is hard as a mother to watch your daughter have to deal with the harder side of life.