The coach that won’t play her, the teacher that is rude to her in class, the friend that spreads a false rumor (okay the last one hasn’t happened to my kids just yet but the fact is)…life is not fair.
As a parent it is difficult because our gut tells us to protect our children. When someone hurts my child my initial reaction is, “Let’s take them out in the parking lot!” Just kidding, it isn’t quite that intense but I do feel that, especially if it is a adult, or someone in a position of authority, they should have to deal with me not someone who can’t really fight back. But then I have to step back and assess the situation.
There are a few things I consider before I get involved. First and foremost I speak to my kid. I let them know that I always have their back and that sometimes life is unfair and that they have to learn how to deal with those situations. I then ask them if they WANT me to get involved. This is important. I want my kids to know that they can count on me but I don’t want to put them in a bad situation. Many times they know if it is worth us getting involved or if it is better to let it ride. Sometimes when a parent gets involved it only takes the power away from the child and the situation gets worse. Listen to them.
In these situations I also try to be objective. I try to put myself in the other person’s position as if the child were not mine. Is my child being disrespectful, are they not listening are they not maybe playing as well as other players in the game, etc. There have been times where I know my child has a part in what is happening. It may not excuse the adults behavior, but this is a learning opportunity for them. They can only control there actions and sometimes they have to clean it up a bit. They also have to learn to take accountability in their part of situations as there always two sides to every story.
There was one after school care counselor who was always very nice to me. For 3 years my daughter would come into the car crying because she had done something to her. I would hear her out and ask, “Do you want me to do something about this?” She would say no that she could handle it. Finally one day after 3 years she got into my car (again crying) and said, “Okay mom, I want you to do something about it.” She knew that if I stepped in, it would escalate. I went straight to her boss. I made my case and how it had been going on for 3 years and how I had spoke to my daughter to accept her part and watch her behavior (mainly her mouth, she is very sarcastic) and that had not worked. I was sure if it had gone on for this long my daughter was not the only one. Needless to say, she no longer is in a position dealing directly with the kids.
Though I got involved this time, my kids will tell you that 9 out of 10 times they complain of unfairness I try to walk them through the situation and how to deal with it vs. getting involved. I also try to have them see if they have any part of it or if there is any way they can control the situation or the outcome. If the coach benches them, practice. Practice so hard and be so good they have no choice but to play you without looking the fool. However the fact is that no matter what they or I do, life is sometimes unfair and we just have to suck it up.