Fighting my son’s battles
Do I battle the bullies myself – or teach my son to face them himself?
Raising a 5-year-old son can have challenges. You want to raise him in a way that he can stand for himself and ‘be a man’. I guess him being a man in my terms means being able to stand up for himself and not having mama fight his battles.

Where I stay there are lots of kids in the complex that my little one plays with - which is great, as an only child he needs company and must learn to interact with other kids. There are times where he’d come back crying due to some kid having hit him or someone took his toy etc, or sometimes one of the playmates has hurt his feelings.

Now I used to go out and find out what is happening, who took his toy, who hit him, and tell other kids of my zero tolerance when it comes to them acting aggressively towards my son. But I have realised that I am doing it the wrong way. I think I am not teaching him to stand for himself and with so much bullying going on, standing up for himself is one trait I would like him to posses.

Lately when he comes back in the house crying, with a stern face I tell him to go out there and sort it out himself. I have told him that I cannot fight his battles even though I am itching to go sort it out. I have also noticed a decline in the number of reports coming back about some kid not playing nice with him. I do not want to encourage an ‘eye for an eye’ attitude but he needs to know that in the real world you stand up for yourself.

Comfort versus independence

As a mother I feel that I might be failing him because as a source of comfort I am not providing that at that particular moment. At the same time I do not want to create an environment where mama sorts things out for him when things go wrong. I will not be there all the time and the real world is tough. I have been very confused at times but I cannot run outside out every time to find out who did what to him and why – he needs to care of himself.

I know of cases where mothers would get involved when kids fight and would tell each other off. ‘I don’t want you to play in that house with those kids’ is the worst thing ever because adults will keep grudges longer than kids do.

Am sure some of us remember being told not to play with a certain kid because of that particular kid’s behaviour but in a few minutes you wished you could play with them again as all was forgiven. Kids forgive each other easily, at times we get involved in an “adult’ way but kids were just being kids and can sort out their problems. As a mother I want to protect my child but also not become too over protective.

As parents are we too involved or not enough?

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