Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Your child is about to get hurt - would you step in?

I have a question for you. When is it okay to step in and stop another child from hurting yours? Is it at the first sign of trouble? Or is it when you have given the other parent a decent enough chance to take control and you can stand it no longer? Or is it not at all?
I ask because I was faced with just such a dilemma last week at one of our regular playgroups. Actually, it was only after the event that I did any of the above soul searching because, as it turns out, when I saw the little man was about to be set upon, I got stuck in in a heartbeat. And it rather took me by surprise.
So here is what happened. I was watching the little man sitting happily on the floor beating out some notes on a xylophone. In fact, I was hovering close by as he had muscled in on the instrument while another boy was playing it and I was ready to intervene if there were any tears. Surprisingly the other boy had generously given up half his toy to my son and they were rather touchingly making music together. As I looked on, a third tiny fella came up behind the little man with a cymbal in each hand, raised them aloft and was in the process of crashing them down onto his head when, seeing what was about to happen, I threw myself forward and caught him by both arms.
It stopped the assault and the little man carried on making music with his new buddy completely oblivious to the danger I had just diverted but I was left a bit shocked. What would his mother think?
I immediately let go - I was in the middle of a large circle of other mums and dads and I dread to think what they thought - and my first reaction was to look for her. She was quickly on the scene (although being heavily pregnant she wasn't as quick as me) and far from being annoyed, she was actually relieved I had stepped in. Her son is a bit of tearaway at times and I could see she was tiring of chasing him around trying to head off disaster. In fact, she wished more parents would do the same. "I think they would let him run in front of a car rather than stop him" she told me.
While it felt right to stop my child from getting hurt, I did worry what others thought and I certainly wouldn't dream of disciplining anyone other than my own (besides a gentle, "it's nice to share" or, "perhaps wait until it's your turn" and even then I would do it in a whisper so no adults could hear).
So was I in the right? Would you do the same? I'd love to know.


  1. I know l can go on a bit, on peoples Blogs, with my comments....
    This will be short and sweet....You were, and acted, as far as l'm concerned, in the correct manner.....Absolutely....! Well Done...!
    He's your flesh and blood, you'd die for him. My daughter is 36 now.....AND.....I'd still die for her....!
    It's Family....

    1. Thank you for that. The protective bond you have with your children is pretty powerful isn't it?!

    2. Yes! The bond is very powerful....And, still is...!
      I don't think raising children has changed that much,
      over the years. Maybe when they reach their teens, and,
      experience other things in life, then of course, problems
      can arise...!
      Bringing up 'Baby' so to speak, is truly wonderful, l did
      it on my own for 14yrs, would'nt have missed it for the world.
      Perhaps, should have had more...But, after that, the house was
      always full of kids....Especially Saturdays, 6,8,10, of us would
      jump in the car, and head off somewhere....Brilliant...Loved it...
      Miss it...HeHe! :0).

  2. Oh it's a tricky one, and as my child seems to be more of the like of the tearaway child I quite welcome anyone stopping from hurting someone else, within reason, much like what you just explained. I'd much rather be having words with him about not doing something after he'd be been stopped than the embarrassing moment he hurts someone and all eyes go on me!

    1. Thanks for your comment. It is interesting getting all perspectives, and I'm sure the little man will no doubt be with the one being pulled away from a scuffle at some point! really enjoying getting feedbakc on this one so thanks.x

  3. I'd definitely have stepped in as you did. The hard part is knowing when to step in. Another child did hurt Pip at a play area a while ago, and I spent too long observing, feeling out the situation and then couldn't get to him quickly enough. Dealing with your child when they've actually been hurt by another is awful. Especially when they're young, and they don't understand why.

    I think you did the right thing and I'm very glad to hear that the other parent was so sensible about it too.

  4. I would e definitely have stepped in too - you did the right thing - and you were vindicated by the mother - she was relieved that you did. If my Little One was ever about to harm another child, and I wasn't nearby, and another parent stepped in, I don't think I would mind - children need to have it mirrored from other adults, not just their parents, that we don't cause harm, hit etc.

    1. Mirroring is such an important part of bringing up kids isn't it? Leading by example all the time. It is really nice getting some positive comments so thank you. it is difficult questioning yourself as a parent and always wondering if you are doing the right thing. I love having this group of support online don't you?!

  5. TOTALLY the right thing to do. I help run a preschool, and have been around tiny people for a while now, so it's not big deal for me to intervene, because we are clearly supposed to! However, when I am out with other people's little ones (mine are now older, Youngest is 8, Eldest is 23, and two more in between!) if I see a 'situation' lurking then I hover, and intervene if necessary. I don't think that I would ever discipline another person's child, but I will always remove the danger element. I CANNOT STAND it when well meaning parents start telling my child to say thank you, or eat nicely, or stop making that noise. It SO enrages me, as it is none of their business, and only when you have a really good heart connection with someone else's child can you even begin to start thinking of disciplining them. And then only with the blessing of the parents. SO tricky! But you clearly did the right thing... interesting to see what everyone thinks. It seems we all feel the same. Hooray! xx

    1. Yes, great that there seems to be general agreement - makes me feel better about it! Thanks for commenting. Four kiddies? You are a pro!