The “Downside” of Standing Up For Someone Else’s Kid

Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: I received this letter from a Mom a few weeks ago. It tackled an issue that affects all of us: When do we jump in to protect someone else’s kid? Or, when should we just mind our own business? Many times, when you do try to right a wrong, it bites you — like the situation presented below. However, I come from the “Jump In Anyway” Camp. It kills me to see someone’s kid bullied or have their feelings hurt. My thoughts here: Mom, you did the right thing. 

By Anonymous Mom

I received an email from one of my son’s friend’s moms the other day regarding one of the boys in their “group.”  They are all in 6th grade and are in the habit of hanging out as a group after school. Sometimes they go in pairs — but this time there were about 5 or 6 boys together. One of the boys left his cell phone at home and asked all of the boys if he could borrow one of theirs to make a call. This particular boy is a sensitive but good kid, and when they all said NO — he began to cry …

Eventually, the boys all said he could use one of theirs, but by then I believe the damage had already been done. The boy said no, and left the group, and ultimately started to walk home in the cold rain by himself. No one went after him. Luckily the mom who sent the email was driving and noticed him walking alone and crying. She stopped, picked him up, and drove him home.

She sent an email about the “situation” shortly thereafter. I was so sad and cringed at the thought of “what if it were my son” — who was also there, and part of the group. I was quick to voice my opinion that night as my son had a basketball game later, but was surprised that two of the moms (whose sons were also part of that group) seemed pretty annoyed at the whole thing, and didn’t think their kids did anything wrong.

After the game I talked with my son and relayed my disappointment. I explained that I expected him to do the right thing and stick up for his friend but he didn’t.

I also explained to my son that he can’t have it BOTH ways, by going over to this friend’s house all of the time and then not be there when his friend really needed him — even if it was just about a cell phone. It really was about so much more.

It was a brief conversation that night, continuing the next day along with my ex-husband. We were both concerned. The next step I took is what is truly haunting me … I decided to send an email blast to the “moms” and instead of writing in a warm and fuzzy tone, I sounded downright condescending and self-righteous. Hence, the DOWNSIDE of communicating via email. The replies, texts and voicemails were horrible and gave me the wake-up call I guess I needed to stay out of it.

I have since apologized for creating such a mess and have asked for forgiveness — I have received only one reply. I expressed to all of them that I know we all parent differently and that my main concern regarding this situation was the “bullying” aspect of what had happened. I was also asking for their help so we can talk as a group to work on remedying the situation. I know that won’t happen now, and I am okay with that but do I have a moral obligation here to anyone other than my son? He has reached out to his friend to apologize — but I’m not sure if that is enough?

LB:  This Mom is clearly looking to GW readers for advice. Hey GIRLillas  — what could she have done differently in order to make an impact? (Would love your feedback in the Comments Section below).


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