The family went to a soccer game today; TechnoBoy is on the team and we all went to watch him play. Naturally the younger boys drifted away, about halfway through, and played in a tree just behind us with some other boys and girls. At the end of the game, they ran over and told my mother-in-law that another boy had said some mean things to them. Those mean things included “Your dad is weak” and “Your dad is stupid.”
The boys were naturally rattled. We were in the middle of packing up and clearing out, so we walked them to the car. The mother of the trash-talker was nearby but I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything.
Later, Hubby talked to our boys, reminding them that what they’d been told wasn’t nice. More importantly, he emphasized that they shouldn’t retaliate in kind. We suggested that if the boy says mean things again, (this isn’t the first time he’s been challenging, just the first time he was mean), that they tell him it’s not nice and to stop or that they’ll tell on him.
So do I tell the mother what her boy said? I’ve only talked to her a couple of times, and I don’t know her very well. Do you just walk up to someone and announce, “Your kid says my husband is weak and stupid?” How would you work that into a casual conversation game-side?
Or do we stick with the course we’re already on: say nothing and wait to see what happens? Assuming we do that, what if he says that kind of thing again? What if he says more?
Neither Hubby or I really care about the verbal antics of a 7 year-old boy; insults from him just don’t make any difference personally. That’s not true for our sons though. They care very much, and we’re concerned that they’d get into a one-upmanship situation (what boy wouldn’t?) and start saying mean things back.
Maybe they already have said some inappropriate things to him. Would there be wisdom in asking her that first?
When the older boys were little, any and all squabbles were between them and the neighbor. It was easy to walk down and talk to my neighbor about any problems that cropped up. This situation is less clear.
What would you do?
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Photo graciously provided by cheetah100, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved