More bullying

I write this post with a heavy heart. I’ve been writing about the Brat’s meekness for years and it just gets worse each time I post. From the first time that he was bitten in the chest by a younger child, to contemporaries bullying him, I’ve always held close the fear that he will end up being the class victim. The one people know they can bully and get away with.

Earlier we lived in a rather tony South Delhi locality and one of the advantages of that was even the maids were rather fancy (tight jeans, tattoos and fancy cellphones) but well-trained. So while kids were naughty, it was more of a pushing-shoving-hitting type of naughtiness. Anything worse and even the maids knew it was not on.

In our particular corner of Gurgaon though, we meet real middle class India. The kind who come out for walks in their nighties and dupattas. And who tell their kids to pee against the club wall instead of sending them home to use the toilet.

I sit out in the sun watching my kids play and I see the Brat climb a tree. Just then a little boy comes by and kicks him. Just like that. For no good reason. Just because he was passing by and the Brat seemed a handy target. I stay out of it and wait for the Brat to say something. The Brat doesn’t. The little boy comes by a little later and starts punching the Brat in the leg because the Brat is now up in the tree and this is the only part he can access. I lose my composure and go over and glare at him – “Why are you hitting this boy? I didn’t see him do anything to you.” He looks ashamed. I ask him where his maid is  and he points to a girl sitting in a corner and chatting away, no interest in the child. I walk up to her and ask her if its too much to ask of her to do her job and keep an eye on her ward. She rushes to get him.

Why didn’t you hit or shake that boy off, baby, I ask the Brat. He’s younger than me, shrugs my 5.5 year old.  “We shouldn’t hit people younger than us.” The child in question was probably 4.5 – which is an entire year older than the Bean and I wanted to debate the point but there is nothing much you can do to change the Brat’s basic nature.

Five minutes later I am smiling to myself as I watch the Brat pull a plastic cheetah out of his pocket and pretend play by himself. He’s making the animal run up and down the branches. The moment is lost as a stone comes whizzing out of nowhere and hits him on the hand. I look around in horror and I see three little boys with handfuls of stones pelting him. I rush to the Brat and  scream at the boys in rage as stones come flying around us.

One of them yells Kutte! (dog). And then goes on to tell his friends in Hindi – “This boy only talks about animals. I don’t like him. He is also an animal – a dog.”

By now I am inching closer to the child, ready to slap the crap out of him. I won’t put down the entire conversation but I basically asked him sternly if his parents knew he was using bad words and if that is what he learnt at home. Told him he need not play with the Brat if he doesn’t want to but if I catch him throwing stones at him anymore, I’m going to catch him and take him home to his parents and scold him in front of them. At this he confesses that the snotty kid next to him has taught him to say kutte.

I looked around for the violent child’s guardian and saw it was a big man, again, househelp or something of that sort, but not a parent. I took one look at his size, gulped in terror and finally bit the bullet. “Bhaiyya, is this little boy with you?”

Yes, didi… is there a problem?

Yes, he is pelting my son with stones, I say.

At this he grabbed the little boy and threatened to slap him while I screamed – oh, oh, don’t hit. No wonder he thinks nothing of violence.” Anyway. That was sorted out.

All this while the little snotty kid is chanting – “I don’t like you either. I will call my mother. She’ll sort you out. You’re dirty too…kutte, kutte… ” I turn and ask him where his didi is and realise that the snotty kid is the son of the maid who works for the family across our flat. I look around for his mother and I don’t see her. He’s out running wild, abusing and throwing stones and there is no control over him. And this is where someone is going to scream  – class issue – but yes, the children of the domestic help think nothing of abusing in the filthiest way possible. This is Haryana heartland. Deal with it. I take the Brat away from there and we find another corner where there are a bunch of little kids playing on bikes. I get the Brat settled there and eventually we go home.

Now the kid throwing stones is one of those kids who has ended up getting labelled. None of the other kids play with him because he is rather violent and abusive himself and now the only kids who play with him are the kids of the domestic help. All this gets into very sticky territory because while you want to stick up for your child you don’t want to be pulling rank on someone either.

I pondered over what to do about the abusive snotty kid. I realised that my going over to talk  to his mother, the maid would be unfair because she really won’t be in a position to tell me off if she feels like it. I consider telling her employer who I am not friendly with, but am acquainted with. And then I realise she is as usual travelling. A corporate biggie she is mostly abroad and this maid and her husband and child pretty much run her house for her and use it as their own. I also realise that telling her employer is not the best answer – again, it seems like pulling rank. On the other hand, I live in this complex and invest in this community. If I find a child misbehaving with mine, I have every right to complain to their guardians. I slept over it and realised this was it. Mother to mother.

And so next morning as I stuck my head out to pick up the paper, I saw the woman there, walking the employer’s dog. I cleared my throat and asked her if her son had been down to play the last evening. She nodded. So I gently mentioned that he was with a bunch of other kids who were throwing stones at my son. A little pushing and shoving on the playground is expected but abusing and throwing sharps stones is not on. My son could lose an eye.

She looked away.

I asked her who had taken the child down to play.

My sister, she said.

In that case, I said, do ask your sister to keep a stricter eye on him. They’re all only children and will naturally act up. But as parents its our job to ensure they don’t cross the line. She muttered something and rushed off as the lift arrived, saving her from having to give me a real answer.

I was silent for the rest of the day and the OA was grim. After a while he asked me – Is our son weird? Is that why other kids get after him?

I didn’t want to answer. He isn’t weird to me – he’s my pride, my joy, my life. While the Bean is a fiery little warrior, this little son of mine, quiet, self-sufficient, curious about the world around him (Mama, does the Madras Crocodile Farm have a Chinese Alligator?), fascinated by nature (Ma, did you know that a Peregrine Falcon can dive up to 200 km an hour? And Piranhas can eat up a horse in three minutes), sensitive (Don’t scare the grasshopper, we’re giants to him), generous to a fault, openly affectionate (he still kisses me all over the face in public if I ask for a single kiss) and as you can see, I can go on…

This little son of mine is weird because we’re bringing him up with our own strange ideas and perhaps doing very little to help him fit in. He speaks a mix of three languages, he doesn’t play with Ben 10 and all that jazz inspite of now finally being aware of their existence thanks to his old school’s insistence that he be introduced to “Coca-Cola and Ben 10”. On an aside, what kind of idiots would deliberately introduce kids to junk food and rubbish television?

So no, he’s not weird. He’s a dreamer, he’s a nature lover and he’s one of a dying breed. And if I have to guard him with my life, I will do it. Because we’ve seen enough of the perils of technology taking over. There is no point giving our kids iPads and then bemoaning the fact that no one cares about the tiger going extinct. Which of us is making the time to interest our kids in nature? No wonder the poor Brat is in a minority and has no one to chat with about dinosaurs and ocelots and red kneed spiders. I’ll admit that I can take no credit for his love of nature. He was born with it. All we’ve done is encourage what was already there.

Anyhow, this is how things stand. I’ll do a separate post updating you on his school progress. Proud mama moment coming up there.

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154 thoughts on “More bullying

  1. Very intresting indeed. So I dont get why the kids parent would rush away without discussing the issue. Its important to understand your kids company and more importantly bad behavior. Hitting a child only gets so far. I really dont understand how as guardians, she can turn a blind eye on something that is so obvious.
    As for Brat, I am very happy to read and follow that you encourage him and let him decide what he wants to do. Its rare.. and yes, I hide my daughter away as well from junk TV and food. There is plenty of time for all of that. There creative minds will explore when they have free time and free minds! So definitely kudos to you and Brat for not succumbing to peer pressure! I can imagine his courage!

    • i think the woman was a little worried because she is a maid in the building and she thought i might try to get her sacked or something. which is far from what i’d ever do. maybe if it were a person who was socially or financially my equal, they’d stand their ground and fight back or even just discuss.

  2. Oh this is heartbreaking. You need to move someplace with like-minded people MM. That said, one advantage folks like the Brat have is that all this is tough on us, not on them…they don’t think too much about their “otherness” and are quite happy in their own minds.

    It used to be that with boys (And girls upto a certain age), sports was the great leveler – you could be weird in any way, but as long as you excelled at one or more sports, you were popular. Does that not apply any more in GGN? It did in Bbay a few years ago – my complete outsider kids, who know no Hindi or Marathi, nor anything about the coolth in India were welcomed into the gang at my BIL’s complex and spent most of their days happily playing downstairs.

    • you’re right. the brat as yet doesnt realise his “otherness.” and i am hoping that by the time he is old enough to understand, he will deal with it better. as yet there is no organised sport in the building for kids his age. so he just runs around playing with the rest of them.

  3. When did little kids start getting so cruel? I mean, kids are always a little cruel since they have no filter upstairs, but this is much much beyond that!

    I really think you should have a word with the parents. It might be possible that they are very unaware of what is going on, and the help will definitely not tell them.

    • thats true. many parents have no idea what the kids are up to. and i am sure i am one of them. only now i make an effort to leave work and spend a couple of afternoons just watching them.

  4. Oh MM, how heartbreaking. You are a patient mom, I don’t know what I would do if I am in that situation. Are those kids that mean? I am in denial, where did the aggressiveness come from? Poor brat, tons of hugs to him.

  5. I really feel you on this post. I grew up feeling like I was a little weird, because I was very bookish. No one physically bullied me (much) but I did deal with a lot of teasing. I really love how gentle your son is. I admire how you stand up for him but I get the sense that the bullying bothers you more than it bothers him in general. Does it? (just curious about how he deals with it) Anyway my experience was that I only stopped feeling weird after going to NIFT and realising there were tons of people flying their freak flags high and yeah I wasn’t weird, maybe different but it was ok. I guess that’s not particularly comforting since he’s just 5.
    The other thing I want to say is, why so down on technology? I love it and I don’t think using it means you become a lesser person with fewer interests.

    • it bothers me more, you’re right. because i know its wrong. children take everything in their stride. its up to us to teach them that its not on. that no one should be allowed to treat them badly. this is one of the reasons child molesters get away with abuse too. kids who are meek will let you do anything because they dont realise that they have a right to be treated better.

      🙂 not so down on technology. but i realise one reason the brat doesnt have too many kids from ‘our type’ of families playing with him is because they are busy playing videogames and watching TV when we’re down in the park. personally i believe that being stuck to a screen all the time does reduce your interests. you and i were born when there was less technology. here kids no longer look out of the window of a car because they are playing with mama’s iphone. they dont read because the TV is on. someday i wont be able to stop him, but until that day, i’d like to expose him to everything else there is before he begins to spend a lot of his time on various screens

  6. The brat sounds a lot like me. I’m a Taurus myself, and a HUGE nature lover currently in my early 20’s.
    It is hard for anyone to instigate us. Impossible. We can tolerate a lot. It will take him a while to really pull himself up, but rest be assured he is going to toughen up a lot over the years! And then NO ONE can mess with him!
    This is one sign that is extremely affectionate and loving, but once provoked to the core, then all hell breaks lose!

  7. Oh my god..I find it so hard to believe that children act like this for real. It’s shocking. Throwing stones? And calling names?! They must surely, see someone do this and learn?! I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to have witnessed that. N though I hate to say it, ya it’s not the “class” of behavior one expect from one’s own lot. Know what I mean?

    N with children, I don’t think there is any easy way out. So my sis’s son (who turned 5 just yesterday) has been getting pulled up a lot in school for being naughty. For pushing around other kids. My parents and sis and her husband are trying everything to fix the issue. Harsh words, patient explanation , the cane, tender coconut water(thats what he loves)..I mean they are doing their best, trying every trick to stop him. So my sis and jeej have now been called to school. My dad is anxious and well honestly upset. The li’l one goes to the same school that we did and my dad feels sorry that in 14 years of our schooling, he hasn’t once been called to school to hear complaints about his girls but his grandson is giving his daughter so much trouble. (Fathers can NEVER stop loving their daughters).

    I was getting increasingly worried about it, though miles away. I couldn’t imagine our son being the bully in school. I even spoke to him about it saying “kanna, why are u hitting other boys? Aren’t you a good boy? Why are you being naughty?” and he said “chitti, these boys take away my crayons and make fun of me because I like drawing. They hit me and run away. Ma’am only scolds me because she thinks I’m naughty” .

    My sis and I were talking about it and as she tries to fix him, she also knows that there has got to be some truth to what he is saying. Her son isn’t perfect, but surely the other kids must be making him do some of this? The last time he got caught he told her “amma, this time I really was not naughty.” She thinks one of the reasons for such behavior could be that he has endless energy to jump around and do physically active stuff all day long. He goes for a zillion classes… yoga, music, dance, swimming what not. But he doesn’t get tired at the end of the day. I as an aunt get so worked up about it. so, I can only imagine how much it must be bothering my sis.

    Striking a balance to ensure a child is neither a bully nor the bullied one is so important. It’s just so hard with children. All of them are God-sent, and then, what happens afterwards?! A parent’s responsibility is so huge!

    I wish you luck in figuring out how best to handle this, how you can feel confident that Brat will stand up for himself while he doesn’t hurt anyone, how he can be the person he is and yet find friends and just be a happy person! Lots of love to the mad family!

  8. I was introduced to your blog a few weeks ago, and was prompted to comment by this post. You son is clearly a very sensitive and empathetic person. As his parents, you and your husband are doing what you deem is appropriate to protect him while also encouraging him to be more assertive, which will go a long way in him protecting himself, especially when you are not around.

    Speaking from experience – I was bullied as a young child – I would suggest enrolling him in martial arts classes (Taekwondo, Karate etc – you’d have a long list to choose from these days). The training that one receives at these classes is primarily focused on self-defence, and children are taught to use their skills only when attacked (speak to the persons running the classes to ensure that they share similar philosophies as you about self-defence). Besides, regular training and physical exercise is bound to do wonders for your son’s self esteem and general confidence….it could be a win-win for all. As for me, the bullying stopped pretty quickly once I learned to defend myself and hit back and the bullies realised they weren’t going to get away with their behaviour. It works.

    • that is a great idea and i did want to enrol him for karate. but he refuses to go, saying fighting is not a good thing :-/ i am giving it a few more weeks and then i will push him to go next year. even if he doesnt use it, atleast he will have the skills at hand.

  9. Oh wow….It’s funny how fiercely protective I feel of the Brat against these hooligans – if only I was there!! Your little Brat is PERFECT – in your world, in his world.

    Arrgh….it makes me angry!

  10. I wish we could be neighbors. Gentle KB can play with Brat all day long talking about dinosaurs and copper butterflies and endangered animals. And yes Ben 10 too since the last one week – completely got hooked on it when a friend introduced him to it. But am sure they will have a great time together. Wishes wishes! By the time they get to meet they will be in college! I feel for what you are going through. It is amazing to me that parents leave their children out there like that w/out knowing what they are up to. For me, it seems just astounding. What if the child was abused – how will they know?! The caretaker was ready to hit the kid? I should read the post again. Anyway – Brat’s nature won’t change – and you are right in doing everything to protect him when he needs it – he will survive in his own way. I have faith…

    • well this is the joy of blogging. we find kindred spirits far across the world and connect. someday the brat will do the same.

      and yes, this is why so many kids get beaten or abused by caretakers. no one ever gets to know because the kids are too scared to tell.

  11. This is really sad! You have an adorable boy & am so glad to see u nurture the rare qualities in him. But I so hope no one hurts him…..when u r not around to intervene 😦

  12. It made me sad how kids can be so rough, and it made me want to hold brat closer to me, never let him get hurt. I wish there was a way to time travel to future and see that the baby grew up to be wonderful with no bad feelings from his childhood, only beautiful memories of a lovely family and friends. Then we would all be assured and just go about doing as you did today(you did great).

    It must be really tough on you MM, but I love you little one. Someday I shall have one myself and it would be so difficult to see a piece of my heart so vulnerable so young. Love to both.

  13. This post has me in tears. MM, I am coming to Gurgaon to teach those kids a lesson. I know they are children and someone’s kids but how dare they pelt Brat. I don’t know any of you but I have always felt very protective of Brat. When you tuck him in tonight give him an extra hug for me.

  14. MM-
    Long time reader and occasional commenter here.
    All I can say is: don’t worry. You cannot change his basic nature. But he WILL learn hos to defend himself. It’s part of growing up.
    I was that gentle kid once upon a time. Ages 0 to 17 I think. Now nobody would dare mess with me. Or any of my family/friends.
    Let life take its own course. It’ll come to him naturally. But yes, until then you do need to step in if kids are hitting him with stones. My parents had to, even when I was a teenager. Then I moved out to a different city and everything changed. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

      • For one, college happened. I’d never met so many like-minded people in the same zipcode. And I realized *I* wasn’t the weird one all along. (I grew up around the same nightgown-with-chunni crowd and their kids.)

        At some level it gave me more confidence. I don’t know if I ever acknowledged it as a kid – either to myself or to my parents – but I did feel *different* and left out and like I didn’t belong there, every.single.day. of those first 17 years. It was sort of an ‘aha!’ moment for me when I realized that *I* wasn’t “wrong” (to use simplistic terms) all that time, they were. And I was glad I didn’t let my parents try to change me in any way. You’re already doing a great job standing up for the Brat. Please continue to do so. My parents didn’t. After a while I think they’d had enough of it too and didn’t know how to deal with it so they just went with – YOU are the one who needs to change. Woh loge to aise hi hain, SAARI DUNIYA hi aisi hai.

        Now I know that’s not true. I know there are all kinds of people in the world. And I can choose to surround myself with those who’re not insecure weaklings on power trips. Though if I do run into them and they do try their act on me, I also know how to fight back. So to answer your question (finally) – the confidence from knowing I wasn’t “wrong” to not be like them made me fight back to defend myself when needed.

        In retrospect, I was all along a much loved and YET much unhappy child. And it was all so unnecessary. I mean yeah it must have taught me something but I’m sure there were easier, less painful ways of learning whatever the heck I learned and I’m sure they didn’t take 17 years either. I wish my parents had given it a thought and made an effort to….I don’t know, MOVE?!! To a nicer neighborhood, with like-minded people and kids. But they had a similar problem as yours: kids of parents with similar socio-economic levels weren’t going to good schools or thinking beyond sitting at their dad’s kiryane-ki-dukaan in their free time. And my parents couldn’t afford a place where parents of those “other” kids lived.

        Even now I feel the pangs sometimes when people talk of their amazing childhood and their childhood friends that they still keep in touch with. For me, life started at 17. Anything before that? Only if it involved my parents/brother/dog etc. Everything else isn’t worth remembering to me.

        It’s something I feel *very* strongly about and if/when I have kids, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure they feel like they belong, wherever they grow up and however different-from-the-norm they are.

        • sigh. you said it. on the other hand, i was at another gathering with the kids today and the kids there play ‘soccer’ and eat muffins and have two maids per child. which is not to say i dont bake muffins or to sound all reverse snobbish. but i am seriously wondering where it is that i’d move if we could!

          • You’re right. Nowhere to go! Pen-friends, maybe, to start with? I’d love for my kids to be pen pals with yours (once they’re born, that is)!

            It’s only as adults that we start seeing different as cool. As kids we never wanted to feel left out. Maybe a letter once in a while would make it a little better.

        • Wow.. wow just wow.. (very insightful comment here)

          MM.. I found my BFF when I was 24. My life almost started only then. Well, I was not bullied as a kid, but mostly everyone would treat me as an outsider. As the commenter here said, I was a much loved, much much loved by my parents but a much unhappy kid, used to feel that I didnt belong wherever I was. Parents never understood where all my angst came from. I wouldnt blame them. They just belonged to another world altogether and all these were way beyond their simple minds (I guess it holds true for most of the parents of 80s). And I endured 6 more years of college feeling left out and not belonging.

          A job and a set of ppl who were as ‘weird’ or atleast thats how we thought ourselves to be, helped me restore my confidence back. Looking back I dont know what I expected my parents to do. But as the commenter above said I wish I had grown up with a different set of people.

          Reading from what u had written about Brat, I dont think or may be I dont know if it bothers the child. May be he might start feeling it when he is 10 or 12 and moving into his pre teens. I hope he has more on this plate to do.. like go on nature walks.. work with destitute animals and much more school work and extra curriculars, than have time to sit and worry abt not fitting in.

          I wanted to say I hope he doesnt lose his gentleness.. but he will someday.. thats what life does to us. To all of us.. It disproves the things that we believe in, shows the world in its naked form and put us through the litmus tests and slowly but surely make us hard and soft as required..

          Much love to the dear child..

  15. Ok – that broke my heart in a million pieces. So I don’t know how you are piecing yours together.

    I have a timid one too, and her prize certificates get stolen from her bag routinely [3 in a row now], craft gets taken and destroyed, but we don’t know who does it. She has some really good friends too, so I am not worried about that aspect – but it’s so sad to think that age 6 can bring on so much jealousy that the intent to harm is so strong in some kids. With girls, its verbal/mental, which is so much more caustic.

    My only suggestion is to keep looking for those few kids that have a similar nature and then do supervised play dates so that the kids can build bonds in a “control” environment. I know, it sounds orchestrated, but hey, it works. I bake with the kids and their friends and do craft or something for a little bit of time and then let them do their own thing, and it seriously helps.

    Big hugs to you. I know exactly how you feel.

    • i’m doing exactly what you suggest, babe. i am setting up playdates because all said and done there are some like minded kids in the building. they all stay away from the general rough and tumble. the brat is building bonds with them and i am glad that its slowly working.

      • This is the best way I think MM. Once the friendships (of moms and kids) have strengthened, then maybe its easier for them to stand up to bullying? Maybe you can form some kinda informal group, one mom always with these likeminded kids to keep them safe from the bullies?

  16. The poor Brat 😦 MM when you are around pls dont let others bully him. Some kids take more advantage if someone doesnt tell them off. My friends nephew used to go everyday to his park to play and would get bullied by an older boy. His parents are working and he used to go with the maid who used to take really good care of him. She scolded the older boy once or twice and then just stopped as he used to bully others too and no one complained. One day the older kid just pushed this boy from the top of the slide. My friends nephew hurt his arm very badly as it came out of the socket. Even after 3 years he cant use his right hand. So pls be careful. Hugs to the Brat!

    • gosh. that is AWFUL. brat had a weak arm that kept popping out of the socket if he played rough. we knew how to fit it back. that said, you are right. i dont let anyone get away with bullying him when i am around. some kids need to know that they cant get away with it. they are the ones who grow up to be bullies too.

  17. It really breaks my heart to read this MM !! Brat is such a gentle kid and has such passion for nature …. and for no fault of his, seems to be inviting trouble from insensitive kids.
    As much as I would encourage Brat to continue his passion, I would also help him find like minded friend … its very important that he enjoys playing with friends.
    Just curious, Brat being just 5.5, how does he learn all fun facts about nature ?? I much as I like to think he reads books, I think it has got to do with a lot of reading and explaining by the parents !!!

    I think Brat would love to read National Geographic Kids version … if you haven’t already subscribed, I think you should. A lovely gift to a lovely kid !

  18. Not that you asked for it but IMO you did the right thing on all counts. I try to stay away from N and things happeneing at the play area for as long as possible, but if things tend to go beyond my threshold of good behaviour then I do stand up for my beliefs. N is still a toddler – he’s 2. But he has been on both sides of a bully-or-being-bullied experience. Both times I have explained to the guilty parties about what is acceptable and what is not. But I guess things don’t change drastically with one tough talk. So we’ll have to repeat this everytime s’thing happens.

    • oh no.. you’re very right. it started at age 2 and i foolishly didnt interfere. now i am a very proactive mother. i know the bean can fight and i know the brat wont. as a parent i feel its my job to fill the gaps just as i would with healthy meals and vitamin supplements.

  19. Oh….thank you….my son doesn’t play Ben 10 either…I thought I was the only crazy mom. Phew!

    It’s hard to be different and stand out from the crowd, MM. But, they get more resilient with our help, and yeah we need to stand up for them and take their guardians to task when the child is in danger.

    Been thinking a lot recently abt this technology business…and had to deal with daughter’s friend issues over the last month. Am exhausted. This bullying stuff, whether verbal or physical wears you down. 😦

  20. I usually do not comment but read and agree/disagree in my head. This one though touched a chord. My soon 7 year old is not a fiery warrior either and I have fought meeker wars on her behalf.
    However as she and her friends go older, I see a huge diff in their behavior. They are much more mature, play well together and one of her friends who was a mild bully last year is now her almost best friend.

    None of them used bad words or such though, there was just the pushing-shoving kind of thing.

    I do hope these kids in your neighborhood, grow more mature & learn better behavior in their growing years and learn to become better friends.
    Till then involve them in a game when you are at the park and try monitoring their behavior. Often kids with too much energy no not how to spend it and inflict bad behavior on others.

    BTW, I also enrolled mine in a Taekwondo so that she learns the importance of self-defense.

    • thats an idea. involve them in a game, huh? i suppose that is the mature thing to do. i get so mad that i just take the brat away and try to avoid having anything to do with the badly behaved ones. i guess they too need time and attention. but in all this i am also a working mother and my time is so limited that i am going mad trying to get it all done.

      • I was in a similar situation as BongMom with my 4 yr old daughter. The Bullying she received from another girl of her own age wasnt’ physical but emotional. The I-am-not-talking-to-you types and going and telling all the others to do the same. Surprisingly all the other girls would listen to the bully and this would keep happening in turns..one day my daughter and then another some other girl. When my daughter was not at the receiving end, she would happily be part of the bullys clique and subject someone else to the same trauma. The bullys mom turned a total blind eye to the happening and whenever anyone confronted her, she would always talk as if she has been talking to her child about it and very much helpess. Like BongMom suggested, to avoid all the crying I would then involve them all in a game. However the moment I stepped away, things would be back to square-one. Finally another mom and I decided to just have play dates at either of our places. Did this for almost a year and now the bully who did not have anyone to play with for a while , is a better behaved girl. My daughter has also learned to handle this and stand for others too.

        • u know this I am not talking to u bussiness and ganging up business this is so scary, my son goes to a montessori and is 3 yr old, last week he came back home and told me mumma A is not my friend anymore (and she used to be his BF before that) I asked him why? and he says that she said that if u are my friend u stop talking to another boy C… now my son he just doesnt get all this and he continued playing with everyone including C and A came and told him u are not my friend anymore and is not talking to him, this kind of politics from kids who are between 3-4????

          totally shocks me

  21. A similar incident happened with my 4 yr old. niece and when I asked her,”why didn’t you hit her back?”

    “She is small, smaller than me. I won’t hit small kids” was the reply.

    Mean kids are everywhere and apathetic parents come in the package. It’s a hard enough job to raise your own kids the way you are raising without having to get parents like them to see, acknowledge and correct what their little monster is doing out there.

    Hugs MM. I really don’t know what to say, except that I feel how hard this must be for you. I hope the bean sort of hovers along when the brat plays,because I cant think of a superior protection for him.

    • she is so much smaller that right now she cant hit back. she’s sooo tiny, SAB – each wrist is fragile and delicate. she might scream at others but there are two things- one, i am afraid that if they hit her she will get seriously hurt. and two – i am afraid it will make them think the brat is a wimp who can be bullied further since only his little sister fights for him.

      • I agree with you, MM.

        But in this instance, I just think the Brat’s tolerance for things like these is superior. There’s a difference between kids(like me, when I was three, I simply thought every one hates and bullies me ‘coz *I* am weird) and between kids like brat who simply don’t like fighting. It’s not like they have confidence issues. Now if he were a kid that didn’t want a confrontation, im sure he would have stood back even when the bean was getting hurt(from an old rakhi post where the bean said ‘no, my brother hit him for me”). But he didn’t.

        I just think he has a large heart and that’s how the little monsters are getting away with it. I know that’s not a solution, all I’m trying to say is that I feel the Brat is def. capable of dealing with this in his own terms. But I also understand how worried you must be. aargh. those stone pelters must be worrying instead of us sitting with a heart ache.bloody unfair.

  22. Have moved to a new society recently and dealing with misbehaved kids, accompanied by mothers who are blissfully gossiping away with other mothers. Here is where we discovered that Ben10, Power rangers and others exist, chips, cocacola and other junk food can be had at any time of the day even 7 or 8 pm in the evenings. But thankfully the novelty of it lasted for just a week or so and we are back at playing games, reading books, coloring and painting. When taunted with a new ben10 or other such toy there is a momentary interest shown, but then we are back to what we love again. I hope this lasts.
    There is a particular child who is violent and abusive even when his parents, grandparents are around, talks back to the grandparents, who choose not to utter a word back to this child.

  23. This is really, really, sad. Lets just say, in the long run, we’ll all see Brat is the super-beneficiary of good manners.

    My husband teaches my daughter to hit right back if she’s ever pushed/ bullied. I tell her to sort it out herself or just not play with that kid anymore. She’s not as soft natured as the Brat, though.

    Maybe Bean should keep the Brat company for sometime 🙂

    Bring on the ‘proud moment’ post I say!

    • 🙂 thank you. i will bring it on soon. and the bean is often with the brat and keeps telling me – i’ll PUNCH anyone who touches him, in the nose. which is comforting, but i keep wishing he’d punch them himself!!

  24. Oh MM, how can children have such a mean streak!! Can you put the brat in taekwondo or like classes? Not to make an equal maar pit bully but just to give him the tools to gently put these wanna be goondas in their place? He is such a sweetheart!! Hugs dear, I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for u to watch 😦

  25. Hi MM,

    This was indeed touching. I’m 5 months pregnant and feel I have already learnt so much (in theory at least) about parenting! Please tell the OA not to worry – he has a lovely son!

    I have a recommendation for your little animal lover! There’s this book by Delhi based journalist and author, Geetanjali Krishna. It’s caled Whispers From the Wild – beautiful stories (and breath-taking illustrations) about wildlife species on the verge of existence. You might have visited her stall at Dastakar. Do check it out..I’m sure the brat will love it! 🙂

    • i’ve seen her book. its lovely but a little expensive. but its on my list of must-buys and i will get it for him for sure. all the best to you and the little baby on the way. i am sure you will be an awesome mom.

      • Thanks a ton! Dying to read some of your earlier posts! Keep them coming please!

        P.S. Sorry, in my earlier comment, I meant *on the verge of extinction*

  26. You may be writing this post about A and the politics that goes on in the playground downstairs or at school. It’s eerily familiar. But with A we have a different dimension to it. She has a fiery temper, and of late she has been indulging in it when bullied. Which makes things worse in a way. Because now the kids realise that she is rising to their bait, and ribbing her all the more. Sometimes I’m at my wits end, and don’t want to convey to her that it’s OK to hit. Have been telling her that she needs to ignore such behaviour, and not get physical. As of now she is listening to me, but it is too much to expect her to ignore it all the time at the age of 9! I am usually around, but even that does not deter the kids, and I’ve spoken to their mothers. Who come up with- this will happen among kids, and A just has to find a way to deal with it!

    Sorry for the rant, couldn’t help it.

    • i’m at that stage where i’m mentally cheering A on hitting back. i know one shouldnt rise to bait, but i’m so sick of the world of bullies. as parents its hard to draw the line and say – take the high road, ignore…

    • I think those mothers are the problem, sandhya. Putting all the burden of dealing with bullies on a child, and probably silently encouraging their brats and bratettes while at it.

      And true, sometimes giving back gives the bullies just what they want, a reaction and attention.

  27. My cousin was similar… nature lover and loved geography.. at 4 he knew the capitals of all the countries and their agricultural produce!!! He knew what a red snapper was at 4.5. Sadly not many kids were like him He is twenty one today and a total recluse.Even today his interests are different..he is totally into carantic music and sings like a dream but his peers are into Rock and these snooty peers look down upon him. Although his parents never forced him to be like the other kids I feel(at the risk of being judgemental) they never really gave him the confidence he needed..the assurance that he was a fine boy .That has really made him an extremely introverted person.I really applaud you for making sure that your son doesn’t feel left out or “weird”!!

  28. Hi,
    Been around for a while and finally decided to delurk. your post really stirred up memories. I was an army brat, so growing up, we moved around a lot. And i really mean A LOT (11 schools for 12 yrs?!). And i really get when you say ‘This little son of mine is weird because we’re bringing him up with our own strange ideas’. I basically grew up in every little village in North India and if you come from a well educated family where even your mom can speak English (gasp!) – you’re an outcast.And we’re taking about remote cantonments about 15-20 years ago. I’m sure you get the picture. Needless to say, i usually achieved Undesirable status in about a month. Then the parents took a stand and sent me to a really fancy shmancy boarding school. Unfortunately by that time I’d imbibed enough small town by then. you can see where I’m going with this right?! The point of the ramble is that those who travel a path different from the rest of the lemmings usually have a really rough time. My heart goes out to your son though. Its going to be a long journey to finally being able to say ‘you don’t like me? that’s on you’ and actually mean it.

  29. Its sad that people automatically make fun of whats different. Its awesome that the brat is so unique and you are so supportive but perhaps he should stand up more for himself. Harsh as it sounds, the world is a tough place

  30. I am constantly living in a situation very similar to urs, ojas is very soft and will get and hit and pushed by other kids say nothing and come back home

    i wrote abt it here http://sinamontales.wordpress.com/friday-feast/

    and I really dont want to teach him to hit back it will be like asking him to be something he is not… but offlate I am teaching him to answer back in words… Tell the other kid clearly… “Dont hit me”, “Dont push me”…

    till now he says that only in the house which practice… I am hoping a day will come when he will go out and say the same…

    I will be watching this post for more advice

  31. God bless Brat! Being one of his kinds in my early years, I can so much relate to him. You know when i was in school, my relatives used to think my parents were too harsh on me and may be that’s why I was so meek, quiet and reserved. Poor parents, now I think of it and shudder how they must have felt, esp when they were so gentle and understanding. I think it’s just a matter of time until Brat finds like-minded friends and understands his true worth, rather than waiting for others approval. With parents like you, trust me, he’ll manage it extremely well. My wishes with him, and you.

  32. How about teaching Brat to say No loudly and firmly with his hand stretched out? Thats how they teach kids here at the day care. My toddler does it anytime some one pushes him or pinches him instead of retaliating and it seems to work.I ve seen the older kids(8-9 yrs) use that too effectively with the younger kids. At the least it works to shame the parents into reacting.

    • the brat knows that. you know at the daycares there, the kids being told no also know what it means. in this case, a child who is hitting is not in the least bit intimidated by a child saying no.

  33. Oh, no, don’t let the Brat change. He gives us hope!

    MM, have you tried finding out if there are nature clubs or workshops or something nearby? He might enjoy that and find kids – or even older people – with similar interests.

  34. I think I know how you are feeling, never had any personal experience. But i have been reading your blog for long and know how much this hurts you.

    And believe me it hurts me every time i read it, but there is only so much we can do. Its his basic nature and he will deal with it better than what we can guide him.

    Heres a tight hug to you dear

  35. It is difficult to teach children good manners and then ask them to do the exact opposite when required. We are giving them conflicting messages, right? Big hug to the darling brat for what he is. And another big hug for you. Take care.

  36. You go brat! Be a dreamer, a poet, a wanderer, a nature lover, coz there aren’t many like you left.
    MM, Please do everything to preserve the near-extinct species of your brat. Mine is like that too, and i wrote about it in one of my recent posts and there was this really interesting comment by a lady called yasmin which put so much in perspective.
    But i would have the brat or my own Re any day than those Ben Ten-obsessed, coke- slurping, chip-chomping pains in the butts who think aggression is cool and being kind to animals is not. If our kids are weird, I think weird is cool

    Here is a link to the comments, if anyone would like
    http://mommygolightly.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/being-a-man-and-other-things/

    • thanks! i read the comment and your post of course. she makes some good points. nothing i havent thought of in so many years of being his mother, but i still have no answers. 😦

  37. my blood really boils at this post. how can tiny little children speak such a language? and Brat is definitely from a minority community. he is one of those kids whom people want to babysit, who makes everyone yearn for kids. please let him be what he is, a sweetheart and i am positive that he will turn the world in his favor by his politeness and wonderful heart. as for other kids, well God bless them and help them grow better.

  38. MM, there this book by William Pollack, called ‘Real Boys’…altho it’s a good deal mroe American in context, what it said about The Boy Code that society imposes on boys scared me…it’s being done to all our sons…if you lived here…I’d lend it to you.

    Boys like the Brat really get beat up on, literally and subtly too…the pressure to change and conform to the crowd is intense…you just keep standing there by his side…I can see Brat being the guy who opens a Sea World or a really fabulous interactive Nature Park in India.

  39. Oh and could we please have your fella influencing mine? Animals and Nature leave him cold, altho’ he does like dolphins n whales. But I’m trying real hard, we do most outings, vacations and parties in green places, read him books, show him videos from Discovery n Nat’l Geo …it’s beginning to work, and he really liked The Bad Tempered Ladybird (Eric Carle recently. How else can I speed it up…he definitely wasn’t born with an interest in animals!!

    • 🙂 well you’re the last person i expected to say this to, but then.. don’t? 🙂 i think as parents its our job to expose them to everything and leave them to choose. if he likes trucks and fire engines – more power to him. i only feel bad for kids whose parents only expose them to cartoon network! the rest of the kids -well with parents like you, they cant go wrong, can they?

  40. this is that same kid we saw the other day Na????
    You should have called me…. the parents also need to know… then at least some ground rules can be laid out to the help….class issues or no class issues…

    • no – this is another one. and a maid’s son. maid lives across my place. you weren’t home anyway 😦
      plus i think i’m as much of a scaredy cat as my son. this is turning me into a stronger parent. thanks anyway babe.

  41. I can see that though you are very proud of your son, you worry about him too. And thats natural. The world out there is nasty, nasty. And you dont want to send him out there, all sensitive and gentle, do you ? So its time to take a bitter pill of reality and advise your son to give it back as he gets.

    • I don’t agree, faeriee…a boy can continue to stay gentle and sensitive, and still learn to be firm and stick up for his rights and safety. We don’t need to teach our kids to give it back, they need to learn different strategies to deal with it without hitting back or being nasty back.

        • Well, it’s definitely not ‘give it back as he gets’ which would be throwing another stone, na? Or calling the other kid kutte? I’m still figuring it out, MM, my kids keep bringing new challenges up everytime we’ve got the previous one figured out!! You WILL figure out the strategies because you know your son and yourself and what’s okay and what’s not.

          5 year olds need to start recognizing bullying, and realizing they don’t need to put up with it or stay silent, they’ll be able to use any strategies only after they get that. It seems to be especially a problem with lil’ boys that they don’t complain and think being thwacked is some sort of male bonding 🙄 Girls will holler and complain every 2 minutes, at least that’s what I see downstairs and in school too…boys think they have to deal with it maybe, and asking for help is a sign of weakness?

          I had to tell off 3 little girls in our building who were dragging and shoving Dhruv and his friend every day in a cops n robbers pretend play…I asked D privately and he said he didn’t like it, but he didn’t tell the girls to stop. Finally one day, he shoved back after one girl dragged him by the collar, of course she screamed the place down…and all the mummies were standing around watching their daughters proudly…I gave the girls a dressing down in front of them. And vowed to not wait so late to step in next time.

          Dhruv was slapped y’d by a 7 yr old girl at their daycare and I was relieved to hear he went and complained to the staff…he used to be the bully last year, and has now gone all the way over to being the bullied occasionally 😦

          Strategies? He needs to yell back at them? Threaten them? and yes karate will at least build in some self-confidence that he can defend himself if he needs to, his body language will make that clear! Div used to be such a victim, but she’s grown in confidence and walks with this swagger that really shouts, “Don’t mess with me” 🙂

          • I dont know starry in fundamental I agree but darn its tough to see your son getting hit and being bullied almost everyday… when we are around we stand for them but the fear that what will happen if we are not there almost wants me to teach him to hit back… want him to tell a stone for a stone…

            but just like MM’s brat ojas is just a person to hit back and clueless how to handle this

            • Hugs Monika, I’ve been there, and continue to get dragged back there. But chin up, it works in the long run, even tho’ at that moment when our child is hurting, we want to go shake the other kid and his mom. Div has learnt the hard way and she can take care of herself now, something I was in despair over 4 years ago.

    • faerie – i’ve taken that pill of reality many days back and while i never did believe in giving back as good as you get, i am in agreement with you now. because children who dont understand No have to be shown that they cant bully. sadly, my son is not the sort who will hit another child so i’m up against a wall.

      • Me back again. Just to clarify that bullying is NOT acceptable and one can find methods other than hitting back.

        Firts comes the awareness : we can teach our kids to recognize that being bullied is NOT ok.

        Next come the methods.

        Learning self defence, as someone mentioned up there is definitely on.

        Also, instead of being alone and vulnerable, they can find other kids (who are not bullying) and make a kind of force which would at least discourage the bullies.

        Or maybe they can learn to immediately look out for someone in authority (like someone’s mom or a maid) who could exert.

  42. my heart goes out to your little fellow. a big warm hug and kiss to him.

    he reminds me a of how i was as a child. i read a lot. i was considered the poet, the intellectual. i was different. but looking back i see was scared, unloved and felt inadequate. i didn’t feel comfortable or secure in company, and would retreat behind books.

    was it because of having a younger *superior* sibling take away my moma’s love from me too soon? was it because i felt unloved at home? i know it was.

    today i realise that boys need mama’s love far more than girls. they are indeed the weaker gender. they have greater emotional problems being left by their mama in the nursery for e.g. and a greater emotional need to feel her love.

    your little one is crying for your time and patience. please don’t take his pain to mean that he is somehow superior to his peers. his escape route should not be mistaken for a greater interest.

    he feels left out. alone. he is crying for love.

    • you’re right, boys need mamma’s love a lot more than girls do. in fact i focus so much on the brat that at times i wonder if the bean is feeling left out. there is only so much time for home, work and two children…

      i must say here that the brat gets a lot of time and patience from me. and no i dont think he is superior to his peers but i do believe his interests are different. what we need to do is find like minded children. it is not impossible, but its not easy either.

      as for love – 🙂 i dont know a more loved child than the brat. seriously. thank you for sharing with us.

  43. Oh Gosh! I can just imagine how upset you must feel. I had a similar problem when my son was 4 years old and he was being bullied in school by a couple of his own classmates who were bigger. After much thought I decided to mention it to his teacher. She apologised and said that the boys in question had already been hauled up…anyway, the issue finally got sorted out.

    As a parent, we get caught in the middle – should we interfere or should we let our child take care of the situation himself? I think we should let him handle it till there is actual physical violence. kicking or throwing stones is a definite such instance!

    While its great that you appreciate the Brat’s individuality and let him be and not try and mold him to fit a “typical 5 year old description”, (and I seriously applaud you for not teaching him to retaliate with violence) just remember to keep talking to him to ensure that all this bullying doesn’t leave any long term psychological marks on him!

    Hugs!

    Why don’t you move to the South? Kids here are generally much less violent.

    • with the brat this is a regular thing
      :-/ half the time i dont bother to post about it. i do talk to him to but its so dicey – how does one know what will leave a long term scar?

      hugs back. as to moving. sigh. we moved to gurgaon for his schooling. if we have to move for his temperament, i think the OA and I will lose any semblance of life we have here. 🙂 we did live in Madras for a year but it somehow wasn’t right for us. i blogged abt it long ago and faced a lot of flak so will not bring it up again 🙂

    • Ok let the brick bats start but I hate the last sentence u made rupa…. the reasons are multiple and many… I will not go into mentioning all of them (specially this north south thing) and take the discussion totally away from what the post is but I am currently staying in Bangalore and been here for 9.5yrs now, been raising a child since 3 and I dont think what u said is true… there are voilent kids here too very voilent and there are peaceful kids in north too like here…

  44. MM – unrelated – I did get NG kids mag for KB but I was disappointed – somehow it didn’t seem that great. There is another one called ranger rick – which I don’t know if they mail to India – but that one is really good and for Brat’s level of knowledge and interest that would be perfect.

    • Agree Noon. I dont think NG Kids is terribly brilliant either – too many ads and too watered down content.
      The ‘real’ NG mag is great for kids too from my experience btw.

  45. MM, this post made me so sad. It reminded me of my cousin when he was the Brat’s age (and incidentally, my cousin was also a Taurean). The poor kid got bullied and left out because he was different – he had a cleft lip so he looked different, and he was a heart patient who had undergone multiple heart surgeries so he couldn’t run and play with them. So you can imagine the cruelty he had to face from the other kids at 4-5 years. And because he couldn’t play, he read a lot, and grew very curious about the world around him, and his interests were very different from those of other kids around him – and so the boy never had friends, and was always an ‘outsider’, in school, and even in college. It wasn’t until he started his master’s that he made like-minded friends, and now, he has more friends than I can count.

    All along, I used to hurt for me, but it never really bothered him. Sure, there were times when he used to feel hurt by what some other kid said or did to him, but nothing really had a lasting impact. Kids like the Brat and my cousin are like that – they are strong in their own silent way, and don’t even realise how different they are, and aren’t affected by it. Another thing that helped my cousin was that he had a lot of cousins his age, and a close, loving and supportive family, so he never really missed out on having friends – and the Brat too has that support system.

    I’m telling you all this just to day, don’t worry, I think the Brat will be alright. He’s a wonderful child, and he’s strong and resilient, and won’t be as effected by all this bullying and teasing as you and I would be. I think he’ll do just fine, and grow up to be a wonderful young man, and will in time make friends like him.

    At the same time, the physical aspect of bullying is scary, so you should continue to watch out and keep an eye on him. As for karate and his refusing to go for it, maybe you could sell it to him as a way of ‘protecting’ himself and others rather than as ‘fighting’. Maybe that would appeal more to him?

    Man, your last few posts, and the comments, make parenting seem so intimidating. It’s like putting a big piece of your out there and watch it get trampled and walked upon!

    Now, waiting for the proud mommy post!

  46. My tuppence, for what it is worth. Your little dreamer boy is a smart fellow, MM. Way, way smarter than the 5 year olds I see (and I see quite a few around, so don’t dismiss me as an indulgent aunt). No one talks of fighter jets and Komdor birds and knows the length of the neck of vultures at this age. Its perhaps this, that puts other little boys off him – you know what I mean? These boys have little in common with the Brat. And that in turn might also be why the Brat doesn’t want to play with these kids – he doesn’t relate to them. The Brat is not weird – one meeting may be too little to judge him, but he is as much of a social, happy, boisterous boy as the next 5 year old. If he enjoys playing at home/ going over to the homes of like- minded friends and playing with them, would that be a better option? Does he enjoy playing with older kids? Anytime he needs to go out in the lawns and play, you could go with him. Like one of the commenter’s said, this might just be a phase and as the kids grow older, the dynamics might change and he will make his own friends.
    And the Bean will be his best bet – but like you say, maybe not right now, though.
    What does the Brat think of this? You haven’t mentioned anything specific, so thought I should ask.
    Hugs, MM. I hope this mess sorts itself out – what a bunch of idiot kids. Lots of love to the Brat.

  47. My heart goes out to little Brat. I wish the world had more gentle, peaceful peace loving kids like him.
    ANd in tune with your last post on bullying, seems like most kids end up with their maids, who couldnt care less. And the parents who spend most amount of time with their kids end up having to put up with bullying rowdy unruly behaviour.

  48. Doesn’t brattiness show up in the kids while they’re at home? Or are most parents too busy with their phony lives? Un-$%@#$-ing believable. Who lets their kids do that? There are people like us around to defend the brat’s grounded nature! Keep it real!

  49. You forget he is a Taurean. Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray … he shares a birthday with the writer-musician Amit Chaudhuri (Have you read about his experiences in school?!; or think of Tagore’s “Chhotobela”.) We’ll just let Brat be. We are all so proud of him. I love you sweetheart!

    • Oops, I meant Tagore’s “Amar Chhelebela” of course. Stupid slip there!
      Our Brat is a dreamer. The rarest child.

  50. You know how much I love the Brat and how this absolutely breaks my heart. 😦

    He’s such a little kid and it’s so worrying that children can be this cruel and unfeeling and surely even a 4-year-old knows that throwing stones is not on.

    I just hope the Brat, like i told you once, gets more assertive and stand up for himself with his words and not his hands at least.

    Or maybe you could tell him, if someone’s being mean to him, he should just walk away and not stand there and take their abuse.

  51. i share your trepidations coz my 6 year old is also somewhat timid. we constantly find ourselves giving him lessons on how to stand up to bullies. the good thing about his school and many schools now is that they talk about bullying and kids are taught how to manage it.
    you have a beautiful, loving son- continue what you are doing as a parent.
    have you tried talking to the kids’ mom or dad, i mean directly with the parents instead of the maid? i think they should be made aware of their behavior as well. the maid and her family may be running the household but they can only do so much.

    give a big hug to Brat for me.

    its amazing how uninvolved parents can be at times and how much they rely on domestic help.

    • you know, many working parents dont have options and maids are hard to find. a few days ago a friend saw a maid eating the child’s sandwich in the park. so she quietly let the parent know that the maid is eating up the little 3 year old’s food. the maid later told the mother that she was merely chewing gum. now that is a lie. my friend saw her sitting there calmly eating an entire sandwich from the child’s box. the mother just didnt want to listen to my friend because she’d rather not go through the headache of sacking this maid and getting another, even though it means her own child is being deprived of food.

      so… THAT is how uninvolved parents can be.

      • i so want to believe that this cannot happen. want to believe that a mom will always do what’s right for her child.
        we are short changing our little ones. the ones bullying and the ones being bullied are both victims, and both are suffering.

        a big hug to your sensitive little boy. and to you. as mom’s we have so many worries and so little control…

      • You know, initially I had hired a nanny for Risha and I made my home very comfortable for the lady because I believe that providing a good working environment will only help her take better care of my child. I even ordered Indian channels on cable TV for her to watch when Risha is asleep and she is done with work. And you know what? My kid fell off from the bed and she did not even tell me. My sister was at home and noticed a couple of other things discreetly. It was really hard letting go of a nanny who cooks and cleans and takes care of the child and send my child to a daycare where she will cry everyday atleast for a month – but I did it. And Risha is so much happier now for it because it is a truly awesome daycare with really loving teachers.

        My evenings now are even harder because me and K together have to bathe Risha, cook, clean, get set for the next day in a span of 3 hours and still manage to play with our daughter, but we suck it up and do it.

        • And oh…btw…forgot..take the dog for a walk and feed him and interact with him too in the middle of all this craziness. Yup, but we do it.

          Parenting is not always easy. It was not meant to be.

  52. You know your son.. so I shoud’nt be advising you.. still doing so coz I ended up doing the same thing with my son..

    Ask OA to spend sometime with him and teach him about boxing and kicking. Tell the kid that these are games (which they are)..

    You will see the difference.. you do not have to tell Brat to use it.. it just comes naturally.. he will one day use it.

    My son is very friendly.. he just does not know that there is any bad thing in the world.. and even when he was being pushed/hit at typical Indian gatherings here in US (from kids as little as 4 years old), he would still smile and try to ‘play’ with them. I would always ‘protect’ him.. but it would always hurt me more than him. Then I decided to teach him little bit of boxing/kicking.. it worked.. not that he would kick or punch.. but he would surely shove back if he got one.

    Common Kid, being a UPite, you should know that ‘Haath khulna jaroori hota hai’

  53. Dear MadMomma,

    Your firt born son is so much like mine. I feel the same trepidation when observing my son’s sensitivity, compassion, caring…how will he survive as these qualities so cherished by us are but signs of weakness for most of the world? My son loves dinosaurs btw – and he values living creatures as much. Your son is a very intelligent boy – hence his personality. You’re right to call the people who key up their kids on junk food and junk TV as ‘idiots’. Dont even try explaining your perspective to them – they wouldnt get it.

  54. Just wanted to say that you are not alone in feeling this way. Also agree with Arun’s comment. I’m gg to tell my son to get tough or at least enroll him in a martial arts class or something.

  55. The Brat is not weird at all, he is a sweet child, he reminds me of my own daughter, she is just like him, generous to the core and very loving child. She gets picked on too, I have told her to stop offering her other cheek and retaliate in the same mean manner to those bullies who trouble her. I am done with her being nice to these bullies who take great pleasure in troubling her. Last week, a boy in her class pushed her on the ground and kicked her on her head, all because she wasn’t interested in playing catch, she wanted to play with puzzles. He did this twice, I went over yesterday and gave him and his teacher an earful in front of his mother, I also told his mother that if her son ever did this again to my daughter, I will make sure that he will get kicked out of the school. Bullying is dealt very strictly here in the US. Sorry for the long comment, my blood boils everytime a sweet child is made a target of bullying.

    • in india its very different. instead of teaching bullies that bullying is wrong, society trains victims to get violent too. an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

      in the last school i made a complaint against a bully and the principal said that we parents were ganging up against him and ostracising a four year old. fair enough. on the other hand, what were they doing to prevent him from bullying?

  56. This is absolutely sad. I so feel for you. But the brat is a gem. I think that ‘mother to mother’ thing you did was great… you’re a great mom and between you and the OA.. the brat’ll be fine. I so hope he never changes. Hugs to both of you.

  57. The Brat is such a gentle soul! His resilient nature which will help him in today’s world. It is horrible to see such behavior of the bullying kids. Don’t worry, he will be fine :). It is so important to react in the right way as a parent. I admire the way you handle such situations.

  58. This is really sad. I read your previous post too, and seems that your son never reacts either by complaining to you, or crying, or hitting back (or any other way). Have you thought about this? Do you talk to him afterward about what he felt and why?

      • There are times when you are around and see other kids bothering him … what about the times you are not around MM, say in school?
        Does Brat atleast keep you informed if he is subjected to rudeness at school? (I am only hoping he has not such problems at school)

  59. Been there done that babe.
    BUT it will be fine, saying this from experience. Trust yourself – you guys are such a fab parents, just have faith.

  60. I agree with Arun. I help teaching kids in my martial arts school. Most of the kids are around 5 years old and when they join they are usually very shy and absolutely not interested in even hitting a punching bag. But we try to teach each concept by playing some games and this actually improves the kids interest in martial arts.

    Sorry about this long ad for martial arts, but martial arts helped a great deal in define who I am today. I used to be bullied sometimes till I was 8. My parents put me in karate class and after 4 years I changed completely. Some injuries (not due to martial arts) stopped me from training, but I have started doing kungfu for the past 5 years. I still HATE fighting (even in tournaments), but I know I can defend myself in almost any situation.

    Also because of Brats inherent pacifist ways he would never misuse martial arts and only use it to defend him. A saying in our school goes – Only a warrior chooses pacifism, others are condemned to it. So Brat is already a warrior 🙂

  61. He hee..arre after reading so much of comments here, I had a funny thought, Brat will grow up and say ‘Ma really so much of talk going on about me :-O’ 😛

    Chalo abhi lets have the next post soon na..I will feel better in an instant then 🙂

  62. I can’t believe kids can be so cruel and parents so callous.
    All around me I see adults strutting around believing from the bottom of their hearts that money can indeed buy everything for them, including the right to misbehave and children learn the same.
    It is so obvious that from early on we teach kids that being nice is being weak.

  63. MM, I was a part of a Nature Club as a kid. I was made to join it initially cuz my mom’s friend was one a founder. I started enjoying it once I got into the groove though. I don’t know if such clubs are around now, but if there are maybe you couldn enrolle the Brat in it to meet other like-minded ppl? Or maybe once’s he is a little older.

  64. I have not been blogging for 8 months, but I have continued to faithfully follow a few of my favorite blogs, such as yours. I know you have motherly pride in the Brat, but even as an outsider who has never met the Brat, I can tell he is not weird, he is an intelligent kid who will be miles ahead of his peers. Its sad that kids today are brought up to behave the way they are. There is no excuse for their behaviour and their parents are responsible for it. Sometimes, those little monsters really do need a swift kick in the back (or is it their parents who need the kick in the back side?). The brat is a wonderful child and he will grow up to be a wonderful adult. He has peace in his heart and even in the violent world we live in, people like him will ultimately end up as winners.

  65. MM,my bro was somewhat similar to Brat when he was a kid..he is 3 years elder to me and I often saw guys in school and in the school bus bully him…I would go and fight for him and there are times when I have been called to the principal’s room since those guys (who were my bro’s age!) would complain about me! Brat will be perfectly alright dont you worry! my bro is super fine now and no one can bully him anymore, because he doesnt care anymore…Brat will turn out to be like..ask OA not to worry about him exploding out..it wont happen because Brat cares for others and will never take out his anger on anyone :)..its great that in todays world of playstations and nintendos we have a guy who loves nature and protects grasshoppers…I so love this kid :):)

  66. HUGS to dear brat. Nothing wierd with the lil boy, you are one of the lucky mothers to have a son like the brat. Yes, they are indeed a vanishing breed. May his tribe increase 🙂

    o! BTW on martail arts..not to dampen your sprits i started sending my son to Takwando classes and the only 2 people he uses it on are his brother and father 🙂

    I am sure when the brat grows up he will know when to stand up for his rights.

  67. Ragging and Bullying have the same effect. In India, the word ‘ragging’ is used for college and ‘bullying’ for school.

    Though awareness is being made about ragging, bullying is being ignored.

  68. Dear MM,

    I have been a pretty regular reader of your blog (mostly lurking). I love your little kids. As a new mum to a little boy, who is three months old, I want to raise him to be like your Brat- sensitive, gentle, thoughtful and affectionate.
    So no, I don’t think the Brat is weird. He is an amazingly unique individual and quite the role model, to me, to raise my baby.

  69. Hi again,
    Just read this although I know you posted it back in December.
    (So well-written, but that’s beside the point!)
    I love reading your posts because it’s so culturally different where you live, from where I live…and yet it’s also the same in some important ways too. Parenting can break your heart in two no matter where you live. If the answer to your question, “is our son weird?” is “Yes” – well, I remember over-hearing a boy from my high school telling someone that I was “weird back in high school.” And I was mortified. I told my husband and he said the most useful thing – he said, “Well, would you want to be like the guy who said this comment?” And I said no, that I never wanted anything to do with him or his crowd. So my husband said: “Then you see – it’s a compliment then. If he thought you were weird, thank God for that.”

    Also, it’s always the solitary boys who speak three languages and are off playing imaginary games with cheetahs up in trees – and not hitting meanies back – these are the ones who grow up to become rich in character, remarkable, these are the ones the grown-up girls will fall in love with and want to marry, once they’re past the college frat-boy stage (I don’t think you have fraternities in India but you’ve probably seen Animal House.)
    (-:
    What a great post – thanks…
    – A.

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