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This Happened Today…

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I am so embarrassed to write these next words…  I almost punched a teenager in the face today at the pool.

Seriously. I was so close.

Today we went to the pool, which we have been doing several times a week all summer long.  There were these girls in their early teens that kept making fun of Patrick and Hannah in the bathroom each time they went in. Hannah had to go in with Patrick (he doesn’t like going in the men’s room) and when she told them to cool it, they started in on Hannah, calling her fat. I told the kids to try to ignore it, but it went on all afternoon and then it happened to me to when I went in later to pee.  The same girls were in there and I heard one call me a fat ass.

WTF.

I turned around and  they got quiet.  I don’t think they expected me to confront them.  I asked them why they were picking on my kids.  They of course said they would never do that.  But the girls were the ones that Hannah had pointed out to me.  I looked at the lead girl and said in a calm voice, “You know life is funny.  Someday when you are older your ass might grow wider and your thighs might touch and some young girl might say the same thing to you. I hope when that happens you remember this day.” As an after thought I added that it wasn’t very “Christian” of her to pick on other kids. (She of course might not be, but at that town and that pool it was a safe bet.)

The next thing I know, Hannah is walking toward me, crying, and trailed by a very angry older teenager who marched over and started screaming in my face right over a sleeping Henry.  I told her we were going to talk away from my baby and she followed me…  Continuing to scream in my face.  She was extremely aggressive.  She kept screaming that her little sister was an angel and a sweetheart and would never make fun of anyone and that my kids were liars. I find it very interesting that her angelic little sister knew exactly which kid she did not make fun of. And how dare I call her fat, etc.

I told her what I had actually said, which caught her off guard, (because it wasn’t what she’d heard) but she regrouped and started screaming some more.  I’m embarrassed to say I yelled right back. I wouldn’t back down, I wanted to walk away but felt stuck because if I went back to my kids she might follow me and if I left the pool area that would leave an opening for her to go yell at Hannah again. I was flustered but trying not to show it.  After a few minutes the manager guy showed up and broke us up.

I should have handled it differently. I wish I had stayed calm, or been able to hold my tongue in the first place…. but my mama bear came out when my daughter was crying and I kind of lost it.

Not my finest moment, for sure.

 

18 Responses to This Happened Today…

  1. I’m glad you stood up for your kids, not all parents do! Those girls should be ashamed of themselves and I hope I remember your witty comment when I have kids! :) Have a great night!!! :)

  2. Wow. I can’t even imagine what I would have done had I been in your position–angry teenage girls are a whole different animal! And don’t feel so embarrassed about wanting to punch one in the face–you were defending your children and she had no business screaming and acting like that towards an adult, ESPECIALLY knowing that she probably just wanted to egg you on. From what I’ve seen, if you report inappropriate or bullying behavior to the pool desk, they’re usually pretty good about suspending kids from the facilities for a day or two.
    Don’t mess with the mama bears!!!

  3. HOLY CRAP! where are these girls parents?? I would have flipped out! how dare they?! Some kids these days have no manners or respect for anyone anymore. I would have done the same thing, you don’t ever wanna mess with a mama bear!

  4. I’m afraid my mama tiger would have sprung out and showed her claws too! Sometimes you have to just to show others if they mess with your kids, they mess with you. There are some people who don’t respond ot anything other than full confrontation.

    As for the fat comment, I’ve always told my daughter if anyone calls her fat her comeback should be “Well, I may be fat but you’re not very pretty and I can diet!” That soon shuts them up 😀

  5. I was also made fun of for being chunky, but when I look back and I see the beautiful girl hiding under big clothes, glasses and long hair I just want to hold her close and hand her a bikini and tell her how absolutely gorgeous she is. I remember walking home and wishing one day their children would be picked on. silly but I regret those thoughts and now I just hope I can influence children around me differently. I hear ya on the momma bear and I hope you feel better in the morning and I hope the children think twice before saying hateful things. Love.

  6. I think it’s awesome that your mother bear did come out. Some kids need to be put in their place and you were there to do it. I think she will remember what you said too when she is older. My parents never took up for me when I was growing up, I always had to fight my own battles. I think it’s great that you showed your kids you have their back… I think at times they need to see it. Good job. I think overall you handled the situation beautifully.

  7. Joni, your experience makes me think that the screaming big sister is, in her own self-inflicted way, as much a victim here as you and your kids were. How many times does little sister come crying to big sister with an altered version of what happened? How often does big sis end up making an ass of herself defending the conniving little sister? Because in the end, the little sister was safely insulated from your further wrath (having already been shut down and her antics put paid to) while making her big sister fight her battles for her and facing you on her own. I say this because I have a friend whose son does the same thing to people when he doesn’t get his way, often pitting his parents against each other and his siblings. He’s even tried doing it to me once. Your description fits this mold to a T. Do I disagree with your handling of the situation? No, not one bit. Big sis was obviously fighting outside of her league and not ready to find herself facing down a tiger defending her young, especially not an articulate tiger who wasn’t going to back down in the face of sheer volume. But my ire comes to the scheming little sister more than the big sister (though she deserves what she got, because she keeps making the same choice over and over again) because she keeps using her big sis as a buffer and a weapon, something no person should do. Her karma for abusing her sister’s protective instincts is going to be especially sweet to see, though I hope you get to see it from a safe distance outside the blast radius.

    What sucks even more is that these girls are victimizing other girls in order to fit in with a nearly impossible to meet standard. No woman should be basing her self worth on her appearance alone, nor should she be judged by it.

  8. I think it would have been very difficult to not react defensively when you were being attacked aggressively, the best that can probably come from this situation now is for you to share with your kids what happened, and what you wish you did differently. That way they can see that it’s okay to make mistakes which will make it easier for them to tell you when they do, and they’ll learn from you describing it, what might have been a better way to handle the situation. I would even go as far to say that if you see that teen in the pool next time that you apologize to her, also share how her attack made you feel (scared, anxious ) but that you regret the things you did. It may be the one of the rare times she’s had an example of an adult who is something other than a bully. Obviously all the kids are just practising being an adult from the role models they’ve seen.

  9. Sometimes I’ve found that the best way to diffuse an angry kid/adult is simply to say. “I can see you’re really angry about this”. Then continue listening. I just realized this might work for the stupid fat comments too. Maybe something like “I can see my weight really concerns you, I don’t see anything I can do about that at the moment, is there something we can do to help you deal with your obvious feelings on the matter?” Or maybe the snark is too apparent in that! : )

  10. Don’t pick yourself apart over this. Sometimes people need to be handed their same behavior, especially teens who are ballsy enough to go screaming at an adult. If she has no respect (duh, look what they’re saying to your kids!), then sometimes she’ll meet her match in this world. Clearly, she thinks she’s woman enough to take it. Life is also funny that way. 😉

  11. You and your children were emotionally and verbally attacked at a public place. You did NOTHING wrong. In fact, I feel that if you hadn’t reacted the way you did, you would have shown weakness to your children. BRAVO to you for standing your ground and remaining calm. I too, would have been very hard pressed not to punch her in the face as well.

  12. You were attacked, your children were attacked. Those teens needed to be put in their place and be reminded of manners and not to bully/harass. You were NOT wrong!

    I applaud you for standing your ground. I wouldn’t have been keeping my temper either btw. You’re not alone in that one. Many parents don’t teach their kids proper manners and respect anymore or discipline them well enough to teach them to respect their elders and to be kind and not judge others.

    Take care, and know you were in the right.

  13. It looks to me like they asked for it.

    “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” – Dr. Bruce Banner, Marvel Comics. (aka – The Hulk).

  14. Seriously? I hope the manager said something to the teenager about harassing parents. I think you were very nice considering I probably would have went and found someone immediately after my kid calling her fat.

  15. Everyone blows up on occasion. As a former NCO I can tell you that sometimes it even NEEDS to happen in order to get thru someone’s barrier.

    I see the writer in the phrasing: “I am so embarrassed to write these next words”. It’s the writer’s lot to ponder the meaning, to seek betterment in our focus; and since you blog about life and family, that focus is (duh) life and family.

    You may feel badly over having blown up; it’s not what we all seek. Still, take the experience for what it is, listen and absorb and evolve for the next time.

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