My heart was heavy.
My older son came home from preschool on Monday saying that one of his "friends" told him they couldn't be friends anymore. He was crushed. We talked a bit about this and ways he could respond if his feelings got hurt again. But I couldn't help but walk away from the conversation with a heavy heart.
Really? This happens in preschool? Ugh. Kids can be so mean.
Then, today I decided to drop him off at preschool as he was saying "I don't want to go to preschool anymore." So, we planned a special pre-preschool date just us and stopped for banana bread on our way. His spirits were lifted and he was in a good mood when we arrived at the school. As he kissed me goodbye I said a silent prayer "please God, let today be different." My son sauntered off to join the kids already there for story time. He approached the same "friend" and went to sit down by him. However, said friend MOVED. Yes, he got up and moved. I cowardly couldn't watch and turned with tears in my eyes to walk out.
I weighed the options. I could "rescue" him and speak with the boy's mom since we're also friendly. I could speak with the teacher. Or, I could continue to encourage my son.
I realized that I had forgotten to drop off his tuition check which was due today and since I wasn't the one picking him I dropped in as I was passing by for a work errand.
Just my luck, his teacher was standing right by the front door watching the kids have play time. I decided now was as good of a time as any to do a sort-of combination of my options:
Me: Mrs. K, I wanted to ask some advice.
Mrs K: Sure, what's going on?
Me: My son came home from school on Monday saying that one of the boys in the class (didn't name names) was being very mean and had even told him that they couldn't be friends anymore. I witnessed the same thing this morning when I dropped him off. What should I say to him to encourage him in this situation?
Mrs K: Actually, I was very proud of your son this morning. He stood up for himself and when it continued he came over to me and said "Mrs. K, (said little boy) is not being Ah-Poh-Pee-At." We had a chance to talk about that and I was able to ask the little boy how he could be appropriate? The little boy responded that he could be nicer. They've been just fine ever since. I did have to chuckle to myself though with his use of the word appropriate...not many just turned 4 year olds would know how to appropriately use that word.
Me: (BEAMING) Oh, that is such good news. Thank you!
Mrs K: Just make sure you ask him how that makes him feel and validate his feelings if he mentions it again. (which I had done :)) You have a very wonderful little boy. He's always watching out for all the kids, making sure they are behaving and doing what they are supposed to do...without tattling. He's a delight.
So, my heavy heart has lifted. I am so proud of my son at this moment. Thank you God for making today different. Thank you God for giving him the courage to stand up for himself in an appropriate way.
I have a huge smile on my face today. Not just because he stood up for himself, but because this is the same son I had wondered about having Selective Mutism just a few months ago.
Readers: Have you ever dealt with mean kids? As the parent, how do you respond?