Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boys Will Be Boys... and All That Crap

Hubby and I were at the park with some friends the other day, watching all of our kids play. There came a point when Volcano was pretending to be a dragon, growling at the other kids with imaginary fire while the children returned with mock fear. He was having a blast. One of his friends tackled him to the ground, and they wrestled playfully.

"That okay?" Hubby asked. Hubby didn't know all of the kids as well as I did. We both have agreed that friendly wrestling is okay as long as you know the other kid, because then everybody knows their limits.

"Yeah," I returned casually. "That's his friend Sam." The were gently rolling around on the grass, and I was actually glad to see Volcano in such active play, really being a BOY. It's just been the past year that he's become more of a rough and tumble kind of guy.

"Who's that?" Hubby asked, as another boy joined the pile.

"That's Jack," I said, barely noticing. "He's okay too."

The play continued until some random boy in a white t-shirt and camouflage pants ran up to Volcano, grabbed him by the face, and then slammed him to the ground. "HEY!" I bellowed, getting up out of my seat. "CUT THAT OUT!"

Hubby got up too. "We don't know him?"

"No!" I shouted, as Volcano came over to us, crying. He had a red hand print on his face, and he was visually upset. "Hey, you! Little boy!" I called. "Yeah, you in the white t-shirt! Come here!"

The little heathen walked over to us and stood there silently. Volcano's other friends and their parents had come over to see if he was okay, so there was a small crowd gathered.

"Uh, did you have something to say to my son?" I asked him, trying to keep from wringing his neck.

Silence. He just stood there, dumb.

"Hello?" I asked, louder, waving my hands in front of his face. "Did you want to apologize for smashing his face into the ground?"

Nothing. Then a strange woman sauntered over. "Is there a problem?" she asked.

"Yeah... uh, your kid just grabbed my son by the face and slammed him to the ground," I answered, still angry. Volcano was still crying.

The woman shrugged, dusting off the pants of her precious child. "Well, they were just playing rough," she said, and guided him away.

"What?!" I scrunched my face up in disbelief and turned to Hubby. "That's it?! No apology... nothing? They were playing rough?!"

My friend Carla chuckled and said, "I cannot believe you didn't pound her."

"I'm still in shock," I replied, shaking my head. "Did you see what happened?"

"That was the same little brat that called Cameron an idiot." My friend Jennifer chimed in. Cameron was her son. "Made him cry too."

I would've yanked that kid out of the park and at least sat him in time out -- if not taken him home and put him up in his room. At least I would've made him apologize, especially if had been an accident. But she used the old "Boys will be boys" defense. It was worded differently, I know, but it still had the same meaning. She was basically saying that I needed to get over it because they were just being boys playing rough.

What a load of crap.

Boys can be boys, unless they turn mean and inflict pain willfully on to others. Then they're not "just being boys" anymore. They're becoming future bullies.

And what are we teaching our boys when we use this excuse? Boys can play violently and harmfully, and it's okay because it is expected of them? That's sexist. And it's wrong. I understand that boys have the tendency to be rougher and more aggressive in their play, but there still has to be a limit. They still need to follow the same rules that girls -- that we as a society of people -- are expected to. And it's our job as parents to set those limits.

14 comments:

Dad Stuff said...

You're right, all boys and girls need certain boundaries and when those lines are crossed, need to be shown how to be responsible and recognize consequences to their actions.
Unfortunately, it sounds like this other little boy is getting no instruction in this regard and will eventually find, as he grows older, that he has no real friends. It doesn't sound like his mother is troubled by too many friends either.

Lanxi said...

Sorry that someone else's inability to parent had to put a damper on your fun day.

Boys may be boys, but at some point the parent needs to be a parent.

georgia said...

There is such a double standard between the "play" of boys and girls. I wonder what would have happened if this had been her daughter fighting like this?

McMommy said...

Terrible, just TERRIBLE!!! And completely inexcusable!

Heather said...

Happy POW!

I would have been livid! Congrats for not losing your cool and tackling her and rubbing her face in the ground! Even if you did think about it!

Mamasphere said...

How infuriating!

That mother should be ashamed of herself for walking away like that.

Our hearts break a million times for our children, don't they.

Carol said...

I hate when people don't parent their kids properly.

My 3 year old is currently nursing a broken arm caused by two 8 year olds playing recklessly in an enviromment for under 5's. When I alerted the parents that I was taking my child and his now banana shaped arm to the ER they pulled out the 'these things happen with kids' card. I swear I am not a violent person but on this day I very nearly was!

amanda said...

oh that is so not cool.

true boys will be boys, but that doesn't mean they can't play nice or apologize.


happy pow :)

Heather said...

Oh My Lord!!! I would have knocked her out!!! Ok, well maybe not but I would have wanted to!

Sorry she put a damper on your fun day!!!

Shannon said...

That is brutal - it would have driven me nuts!!! I hate when I see that kind of stuff when we're at the park. I can't believe you didn't smash her in the face!

McMommy said...

just me...saying Happy POW! Thanks for playing this week!

p.s. I still hate that dumb mom at the playground!!! Grrrrr!!!

4funboys said...

ahhhhhhh... Can I just tell you how much I HATE that phrase!

As a mom of 4 boys, I find it insulting... as a teacher I find it absurd!

And to the mom, you ever so graciously didn't slap (because you're a better woman than I)... I'd just like to say--

boys are little men practicing to be the gentlemen that we're supposed to be teaching them to be!

so... I'll get off my soap box, but I'm still irked that some people are still trying to use that ridiculous excuse... as if!

Megan said...

My littlest guy is pretty stout and already likes to rough house with Dad & big brother, so I know he'll be a tough kid.

But I would NEVER tolerate him picking on other kids. And I just know I'll run into one of those moms someday who doesn't discipline and I hope I do as well as you.

It will be a struggle!

The White House said...

wonder what the mom would have done if you had thrown her to the ground and used the same excuse? Happy POW!