No one needs a butt kickin’
It was a beautiful day yesterday. It seems (knock on wood) that the Cleveland weather is finally changing over to Spring and it’s safe to leave your house in a short-sleeve shirt without fear of the temperature dropping below freezing before you get home.
Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to do what all great fathers do on beautiful sunny days: mow the lawn. I also kicked the kids outside and instructed them to play.
While I walked around in circles for two hours, the kids dutifully played outside. I’m so glad they are finally at the age where I don’t have to continually break them apart, or chase them down, etc… I can actually leave them outside by themselves and not have to constantly be on top of them.
Well, usually anyway.
Our back yard connects to other back yards of the houses around us. There’s a boy, a year older than my son, who lives in one of the houses our yard connects to. This boy is the youngest in his family (with multiple older brothers and sisters) and is very, let’s say, “mature” for his age. I mean, this kid is 8 and he’s outside running the lawnmower; unsupervised.
Due to (my opinion anyway) the “maturity” disparity between the two boys, I’ve found my son’s interactions with the neighbor have been less than desirable. There is definitely a lot more rough-housing and, in the past, Chris had always seemed to be on the receiving end. After a few past incidents, we asked Chris to keep his distance from this boy (just like we did here). But, kids will be kids, and it’s been months since Chris has actually spent any real time with this neighbor so I was willing to give it a chance again.
For the most part, things were fine. I’d see them all playing in the neighbors yard, on the swing set, running around, etc… Then, about an hour and a half in, Sam comes running to me telling me that Chris is trying to chase her and get her. I tell her to stay away from Chris and the neighbor if she doesn’t want them to chase her (of course, telling my daughter to stay away from my son is a sure way to make sure they are right on top of one another – sigh).
I eventually finish mowing the lawn and go inside to warm up dinner, allowing the kids to stay outside a little longer while I get things ready. I’m not inside more than five minutes when Samantha comes running inside, crying, yelling that Chris kicked her in the butt and it hurt.
As any parent of siblings knows, this type of complaint is a common occurrence.
I have Sam wash her hands and sit at the kitchen table and we wait for Chris to arrive.
When Chris arrives I ask him if he did anything to Sam that he wasn’t supposed to do. He immediately says he kicked her in the butt “because he wanted to.” Grrrrr. I then have a five minute discussion with my son about how you don’t hit your sister (or anyone) and that she is your family and you should be protecting her, not hurting her, etc…
Then it comes to mind that this might not necessarily have been all Chris’ doing. There may have been some “coercion”.
“Did you think you would be cool if you hurt your sister? Or that the neighbor would be friends with you if you picked on your sister?”
Chris: “He (the neighbor) wanted to kick her”
Needless to say, I had another discussion with Chris regarding the people he surrounds himself with, how he shouldn’t be hitting/hurting anyone, he should protect his sister and tell anyone that wants to hurt him or his sister to stay away and remove himself from the situation.
I’m trying to provide guidance but I also don’t want him continually exposed to these situations.
Am I just being over-protective?