Yesterday the mama bear in me came out. I had to keep myself restrained, but I really wanted to explode. My girls and I were at the park, which was practically empty due to the high heat. They were giggling and running through a tunnel under a large wooden ship with a few friends. Along came three teenage boys on bikes. One was carrying a large garbage bag. He went into the tunnel and sat down, lighting a cigarette (which I didn’t see because he entered from the other side).
One of the girls, who was at least ten years younger than him, innocently said, “Smoking is bad.” That’s when things got weird. He yelled at them and said some very sexually explicit words. My girls immediately said they were going to tell and ran to me. I told them to stay away from him and watched him leave the tunnel. His friends were mounting their bikes to leave, obviously knowing this kid would get himself in trouble. Yet he was there, staring, not leaving.
My mama gut didn’t like the situation at all. Who was he to say that nasty stuff to my kids? I yelled to him and told him to leave. He muttered some other expletives and left. I watched to make sure he was actually gone, phone in hand if I needed to take further action.
As we left the park, I talked to my girls about the situation and reminded them that if a situation feels odd, don’t enter it. A man in a van, creepy…don’t get close. A grownup in a kids’ bathroom…pick a different bathroom down another hall. An almost grown kid purposely going to smoke where six-year-old girls are playing…also off, play elsewhere. They understood, and I was glad it ended the way it had.
Here’s where the whole thing gets weird and frustrating. I felt that I wanted to share the story with other local moms. I went on a local social media group and shared the story saying that I was doing so if other kids were planning a trip to the park. They could be a little more aware of who was there. As I hit send, I was almost immediately bombarded with comments. Some asking questions, others thanking me for sharing or telling me I did the right thing.
However, two different people called me a helicopter mom and said I was making a huge deal out of nothing. One man went as far as to call the post stupid and a waste of time. This man, who I do not know at all, and who does not know anything about me, also called me some choice names. He said, “boys will be boys,” and commented that nothing was wrong with what happened. Nothing wrong? He said it was a public park, and free speech protected those boys. Some other people (mostly men) agreed with him. What?!
Am I going crazy, or is it completely wrong for almost grown-up teenage boys to speak to kindergarten girls sexually? I was dumbfounded. What ever happened to common sense?
Yes, you can say anything you want, but does that mean you should?
The words that the boy let roll out of his mouth were disturbing (and I am not a prude). My kids have heard curses, but they haven’t ever been spoken to about “private parts” in a disgusting and explicit way. We have to teach our children to go back to a society where people show common courtesy and respect to others. Long gone is the time when children were respectful and didn’t speak in such ways, I guess. Etiquette and manners have become a lost art, and it saddens me.
Luckily, a bunch of awesome residents in the social media group jumped to my rescue. They defended my position, telling the most offensive of the posters against me that there is no room for “boys will be boys” in this situation. Comments were flying back and forth, and many were not pleasant. With over 100 comments in a few hours, the administrators in the group deleted the post. The post may be gone, but my mind is still reeling over it.
Others must have felt the same way because people from the group began messaging me privately to continue the conversation. The whole situation stunk. It was wrong. My girls and the others at the park with them were wronged. Boys shouldn’t talk to girls that way. Nobody should talk to anyone else that way. AND even though my post was removed, I will continue to post and call out things that I see are wrong because the mama bear in me will always do what I have to do to keep my kids and others safe and happy.
And to the less than stellar gentleman who made such rude comments to me and told me I was making a big “stupid” deal out of nothing, nope. I wasn’t. If you don’t think what I am posting is worth your time, please scroll on by and leave your negativity off my computer screen.
Please, teach your kids to be better than that. Do not condone or ignore inappropriate behavior. Do not cover it with a poor band-aid of an excuse like, “they’re just kids.” For if you do, your kid may grow up to be like that troll of a poster who thinks nothing of calling other people names, belittling them over the internet, and dismissing wrongdoing.
Thanks for hearing me out, amazing mamas! Sometimes we all need to vent. However, if you ever find your child in a less than appropriate situation, always trust your gut. You are their best advocate. Say something, stick up for them even if someone else dismisses you.