A word to the wise...you really should refrain from putting your hands on any children other than your own; unless the situation is dangerous, of course. I went to pick up Mr. President #1 from aftercare the other day, and as we walked into his classroom to grab his backpack, he noticed the Peanut Free sign posted on the classroom door and pointed it out to me. That sign obviously caused a thought to come to mind, because he quickly turned to me and said, "Mommy, did you know I can't have peanut butter here?" I answered him by saying, "Of course not. Too many friends could have a peanut allergy, and since peanut butter is made from peanuts, you aren't able to bring peanut butter here." I could just tell there was another thought brewing in that amazing, precious mind of his, so I patiently waited to hear what revelation was next in line.
As Mr. President #1 grabbed his backpack and we began to make our way out to the parking lot, I noticed his shoe was untied; as I bent down to tie his shoe lace, one of two things was happening again: 1.) he really had to pee, or 2.) the thoughts were beginning to flow again. "Mommy, do you remember that time you let me have peanut butter, and apples, and crackers for breakfast," to which I replied, "yes." And Mr. President #1 went on to say, "when I told my friend I had peanut butter for breakfast, his mom grabbed me on the arm and it really hurt!" As Mr. President #1 stood in front of me holding his wrist, to demonstrate how this devil of a mother grabbed him, I quietly began to turn into SHE-ZILLA, and grow horns from the top of my head. This whole long thought process Mr. President #1 had just gone though was a clear indication that he really wasn't too sure about breaking this news to me. It had LITERALLY been MONTHS since he last had apples and peanut butter for breakfast, so he obviously knows me all too well.
Let me tell you something though...the grace of God is really a miraculous thing, isn't it? I mean...the grace of God kept this woman out of sight and unknown to me because, who knows what would have happened? If I had been in the presence of that mother when Mr. President #1 delivered this news to me, I am almost certain there would have been some rather "choice" words exchanged. I mean...was she serious? What in God's name possessed this woman to grab my child by the arm because he shared with a friend of his [who I am assuming was allergic to peanuts] that he had peanut butter and apples for breakfast? Nothing about that situation sat well with me, but I quickly pulled myself together and said to Mr. President #1, "We should never bring peanut butter to school, [which we did not], but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy it at home. And just so you know...it's never okay to put your hands on anyone at any time." I was pretty sure my little guy got the message, but he mumbled, "okay," and ran off to the car in his usual, six-year-old style.
Now that I've gotten all of my frustration out, let me put SHE-ZILLA back in her cage. I digress...where were we anyway, haha? Oh...When I arrived at the car and I managed to calmly get the boys strapped in, I sat in my seat and just took a deep breath. I'll admit it! I had a little "Come to Jesus" right at that moment. I really tried to give the other mother the benefit of the doubt, so I replayed the whole situation in my head. I'm sure she just heard the word peanut coming from Mr. President #1's mouth, freaked out, and just grabbed his arm to move him away from her child. What mother wouldn't have turned into a superhero to save her child from a life-threatening situation? I would not have grabbed anyone [child or not] to the point where my grasp was painful, but I am certain I would have reacted as well. In my opinion, the best resolution would have been for the mother to grab and remove her OWN child from the group [rather than touch someone else's] just in case there were peanuts around somewhere. Do you agree with me?
Just to note: I take allergies and school policies very seriously. I know that food allergies can often be dangerous, and even deadly, so I try to always be mindful of what Mr. President #1 has packed in his lunch.
This whole situation begs the better question though: Is it ever okay for you to verbally or physically reprimand someone else's child? I honestly have to say that it is never appropriate for you to touch a child other than your own unless your child and another are in danger. As previously stated, in this particular set of circumstances, the appropriate reaction would have been for the mother to remove her own child as opposed to someone else's. The same thing applies to tricky situations at the playground or during a playgroup. My advice would be this: If you see another child misbehaving or hitting your child, give it 60 seconds before responding to allow the other child an opportunity to stop misbehaving (if the other child is going absolutely nuts, remove your child immediately). If the behavior continues after 90 seconds, remove your child from the situation, and keep your thoughts to yourself. I know the latter part is a bit difficult, as I would probably say something to the other parent about his or her child acting out, but avoiding any further confrontation is probably best. And depending on the situation, even though some experts say, "hold your tongue," sometimes the obvious needs to be said.
Now to that other mother who decided she was going to grab my child--YOU ARE A JERK! Yes...I said it! It better not happen again. But in all seriousness, if I see her at some point, I will be sure to address the situation in an appropriate manner. I just can't let this one roll off of my back, and I'm ready to give her a piece of my mind, so I will be sure to let her know that her behavior actually caused pain to my child. Parents, listen up! We need to seriously act better and be accountable for our own behavior. Too many excuses are being tossed around. At this point, you have brought a life into the world, so grow up and act like an adult. You know who you are! Our children are looking up to us, so it's up to us to set a good example for them. Okay, that's it!!! Any advice on handling the situation from you? Please share!