Son A came home one day without his eraser.
He told me his friend got it from him and didn’t return it. He didn’t seem to feel he was pushed around as a result of his classmate neglecting to return his eraser or anything but it bothered me nonetheless.
I got mad at him for not standing up for himself and demanding his eraser back. I kept telling him how he should defend himself if someone wants to get his stuff and he should stand his ground.
He kept saying sorry and he promised not to do it again through a hint of tears.
With the perfect 20/20 vision of hindsight, I realized I over-reacted… and not just a little bit…
I immediately started regretting my reaction. I suspect I’m letting my personal experience with years of bullying affect the way I view what may just be typical interaction between children. The bullying I experienced as a child has made me hyper-sensitive towards anything remotely like my own bullying experience. Even though it really was nothing like it at all.
My son came home that day unbothered. He didn’t seem to feel he was being victimized. He wasn’t even worried about the eraser at all. I was more affected than he was.
I realized that I may have made a mistake of projecting my own fears onto him.
I do want my son to be tough. I don’t want him to be a pushover like I was when faced by bullies. However, I don’t want him to be so defensive either because there really is no need for him to be. He has a gift of charming people and for all I know, he may never even be bullied at all.
Right now, A is a loving, trusting and accepting little boy. I really don’t want to taint his life experiences prematurely.
I will just have to try harder to view his experiences in life without the shadow of my personal experiences clouding my judgment.
I feel TERRIBLE for making him feel bad about his day. I was the cause, not anyone else.
There’s so much to learn and so many ways to make mistakes as a parent. I just hope I didn’t do any permanent damage.