I need opinions please. My twin sister & I were at the club pool today with all of our kids. Some other kids had water guns and started squirting everyone. Our kids thought it would be fun, so they all played together. The other kid's father told his son do not squirt anyone in the face, but he continued to do so. All of a sudden I see the father grab my nephew -- not his kid, I remind you, my nephew -- and man-handle his arm and pull him up to his face and scold him. I (mama bear) immediately called my sister's name, and she didn't get up as fast as me. I went in the pool and got in the man's face and said, "What do you think you're doing? You have no right to grab him like that." He says, "Yes ma'am, you're right, but he squirted my son with the water gun." I said, "Water guns shouldn't even be in the pool. Don't you dare grab him like that. If you touch him or any of my kids I am calling the police."
Okay, Barbara, did I do the right thing? What the hell was this man thinking? Could I have called the police? He did apologize but that was not good enough for me. Please help.
From: Mandy, Slidell, LA
I think you over-reacted, but I wasn't there and it's hard to know for sure.
He was defending his son -- is that really any different from what you were doing? He shouldn't have grabbed your nephew -- and he admitted that. Why couldn't you accept his apology?
One thing for sure: Your nephew will remember his auntie coming to his rescue and this story will probably become part of family lore. Whether it's a positive memory will depend on how he read the situation ("I could have taken care of myself, why did you butt in?" vs. "The man was scary, you really saved me.") How old were these boys? You don't say.
There's a bigger issue for me here. I always wish parents would model for their children to resolve conflict peacefully. I wish that was in every parent's head, world-wide, because that is what the future of our world depends on.
You can still do that.
Once the man released your nephew and apologized, he was trying to cool off the situation and you heated it back up. At that point, your behavior was nothing to admire. I wish you would tell the kids that you regret not accepting the apology. The man was wrong to grab your nephew, but is your nephew blame-free here? Was he squirting in the other boy's face? Did the man shout at him to stop and he didn't?
Here's what else you could do to turn this into a great learning experience:
Have a conversation with your sister and all the kids about how dangerous squirt guns can be in a pool and guide that to a decision to write a family letter to the club asking them to make a new rule: No squirt gun play in the pool.
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