When I picked up Jay from school today, I asked him one of my typical questions, “Tell me something good that happened today.” He said, “Well, N__ wasn’t that bad to me today.” Jay has been complaining about this classmate N for a few months. N has some behavioral issues that, unfortunately for all, have become well-known among the families and earned him a label as a “hitter.” I previously posted that I feel bad for him and his parents because I can empathize with being the parent who has to stay behind at pick-up to hear about all the sad choices your kid made that day. Mae set us up for many such conversations, and the potential lurks on a daily basis.
I told Jay that N not treating him so bad today isn’t really a good thing and he can measure his day by things not having to do with N. He told me in a reassuring voice that he thinks about other things too. So, I asked him to tell me another something good that happened.
“Well, N__ didn’t push me too hard with his block.”
Huh? I asked, “What’s good about that?”
“What was good about it was that it didn’t actually hurt.”
This is one post I hope Hubby doesn’t read. I’m surely not going to tell him voluntarily about this conversation. He and Jay talked earlier this week about N. Hubby told Jay to hit N back. I can’t co-sign that, not at this age. I disagree for a number of reasons, all of which Hubby and I talked through later that night. Hubby made some good points; he just wants his son to stand up for himself. I want the same thing, and think Jay can do it in a different, more effective and empowering way. I also want N to learn better social skills almost as much as I wanted the same for Mae at that age three or four years ago. I want Jay to tell N how to be a better friend, and model this behavior for him. I want him to walk away if N becomes mean or hurtful and play with other kids and tell the teacher. I want Jay to withhold his friendship from N until N earns it.
I took another shot with Jay.
“What else was good about today?”
He said, “S[__] was the line leader and she’s good at it.”
See, this is one of the things I love about this boy. He has a good heart. He genuinely and consistently thinks of others and their happiness.
Still, I wanted to see if I could get him to focus on himself. I asked if there was anything else he liked about the day.
“We got to play in the sandbox today.”
“Cool. So, you had fun in the sandbox?”
“Well, I didn’t play in it. I played on the slide.”
And, this gets to why I didn’t press Hubby about the wisdom or lack of wisdom in telling Jay to hit N back. He’s a good kid and he cares deeply about others. He’ll forgive and help before he hurts.
Just yesterday, as a follow-up to the conversation that Hubby and I had, I called Jay’s preschool teacher to try to gain insight on how she and the staff are handling N’s behavior. Jay had told me the day before how N threw a Lego at him that landed on his cheek. Jay said that N’s mom had to pick him up early because of this. I told Ms. M — and I sincerely believe — that I trust she and the staff are working with N to help him learn to make better choices in the same way that they worked with Mae. I also offered myself as a resource for N’s mom and asked Ms. M to feel free to give her my number. I know from my own experience that it is frustrating and lonesome to be That Mom. Maybe she’ll call, maybe she won’t. In either case, I hope she seeks and receives the support she and N need.
In the long run, I think Jay will be fine. I have seen him stand up for himself repeatedly with his sister, and she’s no joke. While I dislike how N treats Jay and no doubt other classmates, I believe that N will grow and improve. I also believe that Jay will become more discerning and give less attention to N.
In the meantime, I pray that Mae never sees or even hears about N mistreating Jay. I could see her excusing herself from 2nd grade recess and going to hem N up.