I just read that October is anti-bullying month. And you know that in reality, every month is anti-bullying month. But here is my dilemma. The other day my sickie asked if would go get her a shake from Sonic. So I agreed. As I was pulling out of Sonic, I look across the street to the park, and I see some boys rough-housing. Normal, right? But what I see is one boy on the ground and one boy holding him down and two boys watching. I don't know for sure what to think. So I go around the block and pull into the park and watch. What I see as I pull in is another boy charging, grabbing, picking up and throwing another boy on the ground. Next, while he's on top of this boy, another boy is getting ready to start kicking the boy who is down. Then they see me walking over. So no kicking happens. I ask what is happening. They say, "rough-housing".... "and some tackling." What I ask is this: is everyone okay with this? Are you all treating each other with respect? They say yes. There is one boy standing off to the side, he isn't really participating but he looks like he's in control, and he looks a little older. I tell him he should be a good example and show the other boys how to rough-house and treat each other with respect. I acknowledge that I know the younger boy was about to kick the one who was down and that I know that wouldn't be respectful. I ask them if they can treat each other with respect. They say yes. I tell them I will be driving back by in a few minutes to make sure they are not hurt anyone.
So... was this out of line? First of all, I know that there is some sort of testosterone-driven pecking order that boys have to do. So maybe it's "normal"? I guess I want to know. And then, I also know that when we mind our own business kids get hurt and that the boy that seemed to me to be the subject of the bullying was not going to speak out in that situation. I also know that there very well could have been one instigator, the boy who was older and standing off to the side. None of those other boys were going to stand up to him. I do know that. This is all "normal" in America today. Maybe for longer than we know. But when do we step in? What does that do to a child? To be bullied, to think they will just "survive" childhood? I can say that the things I just "survived" as a kid shaped me and are part of me today and not really in a good way.
Please weigh in. I'd love to know what you would have done. When is it time to step in to a bullying incident? And when is it normal kid stuff and none of my business?