What happens when a kid, hits your kid?


Washington, DC – Quick questions for all the parents and caregivers? What do you do when another kid, hits your kid? Unprovoked, stranger, out of the blue, walks up and hits your child. How do you respond? What do you say?

This morning I took my 16th month old son to story time at the local library. We had never been to this branch so we took a seat towards the back of the room. My son was a bit timid initially but towards the end of the program, he had gravitated towards the middle of the room with the other babies and toddlers. All the children were singing and dancing when a slightly older boy, possibly 4 or 5 walks towards the group of children. He walked directly up to my son and violently shoved him to the ground.

Shocked, I jumped up and ran to grab my son who is now lying on the ground having hit his head. I scooped him up from the floor and carried him towards the back of the room as he begins screaming in pain and shock. At this point, having realized what just happened, I’m LIVID. I look back and the mother of the older boy has also grabbed her son.

As I’m checking to see the extent of my son’s injuries, the mother and her son, come towards us. She apologizes and asks if my son is okay. I glare, fuming inside, and find a way to nod, while comforting my whimpering child. Nudging her son, he whispers an apology also. I control my irritation and smile coarsely toward the mother. They walk away. I stand in disbelief at the entire ordeal then gather our belongings.

Walking towards the car, several mothers approach and ask if my son is okay after hitting his head. I nodded, still not quite able to speak. After getting to the car, checking on him, I realized I’m physically shaking and my heart is racing. I’m PISSED.

But what could I do now? The mother and her son apologized almost immediately. Although sore, my son seemed fine. Thirty minutes had passed and I still found myself upset. A stranger, walked up to my sweet baby boy and hurt him, all while I was nearby but not fast enough to react.

So, what would you do in this situation? How would you react? You can’t hit people’s kids, plus his mother apologized. The adult thing to do was walk away, which I did. But then why do I still feel so irritated?

Partially because this was the first time at story time and while he was exploring, he was attacked by some random kid. Partially because I feel like I let him down. While he was walking toward the other kids, I encouraged him to go play. I told him everything would be all right and it wasn’t.

So what do you do when you let your kid down? When you encourage them to do something and it doesn’t work out the way you expected?

As a new mom, I find myself asking more questions than I do answering them. Guess that’s part of the joys of motherhood.

*the above shot is from a few hours after the incident, clearly I was more traumatized than he was!

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