The Cookie Mom

This story was prompted by http://kellymuir.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/honey-badger-rules-of-parenting-or-coaching/

It is an example of an interfering (but not hovering) Mom, and it is true:

When we lived in England, and were relatively new to the neighborhood, our house backed onto a ‘closed’ graveyard – ie no new burials were taking place.  It was used as a public playground by the local children.  One day, I was inside baking cookies while my kids were out with about 6 other children playing merrily.  The windows were open and I could hear what they were saying.  To my horror, the older children were setting up a ‘boxing match’ between my son and another child, Jack (not his real name).  Both boys were only 5 years old.  Jack was bigger than my son and had a real mean streak in him.  He came from an abusive home.  More than once the police were called to his house and for days afterwards his mother would be sporting a black eye or heavily bruised cheekbones.

As a rule, I didn’t interfere in my children’s games, but this one had all the markings of a bad outcome.  I went outside and called for my kids to come in and have some cookies.  They both refused.  I then commanded them to come in.  They both refused again.  So I screamed like a maniac for them to come inside ‘at once’!  At this point, the neighbor kids scattered into the trees as my children rather sulkily stomped inside.  I ushered my kids into the video room, explained to them why I brought them in and put a video in for them to watch.  Then I went back downstairs to see what the neighbor kids were doing.  As suspected, they were slowly inching their way back to our house, mimicking me and pretending to throw things at our door.  I knew I would have to make peace with them also.

So I quickly grabbed a plate, filled it with cookies and walked outside.  The children turned to run away, but stopped when they saw me standing there with cookies and smiling.  I called them to me.  Slowly, they inched their way back.  I showed them the cookies, and said, “These are for you.  Let’s talk.” We sat in a circle with the plate in the middle.  “Do you know why I called my kids inside?”  Some shook their heads no, but the oldest – a boy I knew to be a good kid – said, “Because Jack was about to fight Hanno.” “Exactly.  Tell me do you think that would be a fair fight?” They muttered, “No.” “How old are you?’  They muttered, 9, 10, 11.  “You are supposed to look after children who are smaller than you.  You know that, don’t you?”  Most of them hung their heads in shame, but one said, “We were just having fun!”  “At whose expense?,” I replied, “Is it really fun to watch a little kid get beaten to a pulp?”  That one also gave in and hung his head.  “Look, I like you guys.  You are really good kids, but setting up younger children to fight like that is NOT cool.  I just want to ask you not to do that again, okay?” They promised me they wouldn’t.  Then I asked them general questions about school, their favorite football clubs, etc.  When the plate was empty, we all said good-bye.  We had no more trouble after that.

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About Lois Loban Stuckenbruck

Trained as a Ballerina, then completed a BA in Business Adm and English Literature at Milligan College. More recently trained to be a lay pastor (Reader) in the Church of England. Wife of a Biblical Scholar, Mother of three. I'm an American who has also lived many years in England and Germany (currently Munich). I have worked as an Editorial Assistant, Systems Manager (Xerox Stars on Ethernet Network), and several positions in higher education fundraising (Alumni and Development).
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