Yesterday at the playground, Ryann was bullied. By seven year old’s. A boy and a girl. Ryann is 17 months old. A bold statement? Indeed. But true.
Ryann bent down to crawl into a fort like space under one of the big slides, I was right behind her, JPW on the other side waiting for her to pass through. She was blocked by boy child and girl child. She was told no repeatedly. She was blocked and the entrance was guarded. I glared at JPW, and my heart sank.
JPW spoke up, and threw out words like sharing, allowed, and dictator. The bullies snapped back. Ryann finally made it through the crawl space. A few short moments later, she worked diligently at climbing the stairs, again her fun was thwarted. More words were exchanged, more back talking and more bullying.
I kept looking at the mom’s, were they aware of what their sweet children were doing? Was this acceptable to them? Unfortunately they had no idea, they were engaged in their own conversations, paying no attention to their children or listening to their words.
This is how bullying starts. This is why as parents and caregivers we need to be proactive at the playground, engaging and focused on our children. Ryann was non the wiser that she was being harassed about her playground equipment choices or that she was told to go to another playground, and I’m thankful for that much.
As we walked back to the car I told JPW that I hope we teach our children to stand up for themselves and those around them. Instead of being the child who refuses to let others join, I hope that Ryann will invite children to play with her. I know one day JPW and I won’t be there to help her or speak those words she doesn’t know yet BUT I hope that we’ll have taught her well enough to stand up to a bully and help those who can’t yet.