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"I don't know how to deal with other kids being mean to my son."

I love interacting with little people. People often suggest that I could be a teacher.

There’s no way I could do that job. Because when it’s all touchy feely and nice I’m in my element. But when it comes to discipline and maintaining order, I know for a fact that I would suck. I’d end up cowering under my desk, texting my husband to come and get me.

I just don’t know how to deal with mean kids.

You know the ones. They turn up at parties and wreak havoc by snatching toys and blowing out the birthday kid’s candles. They’re at the park shoving your child away from the slide. At school they say nasty things that makes the other children feel bad. They are rough and rude and sometimes they even inflict injury on other children.

mean kids
Who are you calling Big Lips? Image: Supplied.

The first time a bigger boy had a go at my child I froze completely. My son was nearly one and picked up a toy that was on the floor at a friends’ gathering. Along came a two year old, who roared “MINE!!!” and knocked my son over backwards.

My instincts to protect my son were so strong that it was all I could do not to hurl this child out the window. Fortunately the mother witnessed the incident and took her child away for some time out. She was as mortified as I was shocked.

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Another time, at a child’s party, some four year olds started calling my son “Big Lips”. Okay, so it’s really not that bad on the scale of verbal insults, but I wanted to cry. It breaks my heart that my lovely little boy will have to navigate this world and all its name-calling inhabitants.

Poor little Big Lips.

Of course small children don't understand what's acceptable. But there does come a point where they should know better and they're just acting nasty.

What do you do when a mean kid swoops in? Do you tell them off? Do you restrain them? Do you drag them over to their parents and dob them in for being bad? I seriously do not know what the etiquette is or what is an acceptable response when someone else's child comes out swinging at yours.

Terror on two legs. Image via iStock.

We all agree that rough behaviour is not okay but there is a wide scale of what qualifies as out of line. It’s the same when it comes to rudeness and sharing.

It turns into a minefield when you encounter parents who respond differently to the way you would. It might be glaringly obvious that they have no boundaries or guidance on controlling their emotions, but the parent will act like their child's behaviour is no big deal. Or worse, they'll be nowhere in sight.

Unless my child was at risk of imminent harm, the furthest I would go in the case of a naughty child would be to speak firmly and explain that their behaviour isn’t very nice. I'd expect the same from another parent if my child was acting up.

But I'd love to know if there is a consensus on what to do in these situations.

How do you handle mean kids? 

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