To the mum who turned a blind eye

I saw your children playing together. You mums were chatting nearby. How sweet to see your girls getting along so well. Two good friends holding hands, taking turns, whispering together and sharing secrets.

My little girl saw them too. She didn’t know them, but they were only a bit older than her and she was so excited to find someone to play with.

She went bounding over with a huge smile on her face and made it her mission to join in with their game. I saw her copying them, trying to get their attention. Soon, they were playing a different game, one that my little girl was excluded from.

Every time she tried to join in, she was met with disdain. “No, we’re not doing that. No, we’re not playing with that. No, don’t put that there.”

Your girls clearly knew each other and had their own little ways. My little girl wasn’t part of their gang and they didn’t want her around. But she couldn’t take the hint and she just kept on trying again and again to be friends.

It was heartbreaking to watch. My other little girl was there too. I’m sure she didn’t know what was going on, but she soon went over and tried to play with her big sister. But her sister was too set on being accepted by her peers.

In the end, I pulled my little girl to one side and told her to play with somebody else because your children didn’t want to play with her.

You were close by too, but you didn’t feel the need to ask your children to play nicely and let my little girl join in. Should I have just let her keep on and on trying to join in with the game, getting knocked back every time? Maybe. But by pulling her aside, I opened up the channels of communication to talk to her about it.

Later that day, I told my little girl that your children hadn’t been very nice to her and that if someone isn’t nice, she should find somebody else to play with. We went on to talk about how it is unkind to exclude people from a game and we should be kind to everybody, because it is a horrible feeling when somebody doesn’t want to be your friend.

My little girl couldn’t understand why she shouldn’t keep trying to play with them, after all, they were a similar age to her, so why shouldn’t they be friends? But the one thing she did understand was that it doesn’t feel good when somebody is unkind to you. She told me that she would let everybody be her friend if they asked her nicely.

I don’t know whether I handled the situation correctly or whether I should have just let nature take its course. But what I do know is that it is a conversation we will have a lot over the coming years. I hope that she won’t often find that children are mean to her, but I know that she will be in situations where somebody is singled out or excluded.

I hope that if we talk about it enough, my children will be the ones to stand up to the bullies and be friends with the children who are excluded by others. I hope that you never have to watch your children being treated unkindly. But if you do, perhaps you too will ask them to think about their own actions in future.

I won’t always be there to intervene when people are mean, or to wipe her tears when things go wrong. But I will always tell her how important it is to be kind. Maybe you chat to your children about bullying, or perhaps you think that when they’re tiny, it doesn’t matter if children are unkind.

But please remember that it could just as easily be your child who isn’t accepted. I want to thank you for being the mum who turned a blind eye. Because it gave me the opportunity to teach my little girl a valuable life lesson.

A lesson that will make her a better person, someone who stops and thinks about her actions. Someone who can understand the importance of kindness. I hope that one day, your children will learn that too.

To the mum who turned a blind eye: Thank you for teaching my child a valuable life lesson

6 thoughts on “To the mum who turned a blind eye

  1. Rebecca Walton

    I absolutely love everything about this post. I think it’s so important to teach your children how to react in these situations, whatever their age. While I don’t have kids myself (yet) I would like to think I’d handle it in exactly the same way. Your daughter will grow up to be a strong and intelligent young woman.
    Rebecca Walton recently posted…Your Next Pay Cheque is Reading Your TwitterMy Profile

  2. Martyn

    I think you did exactly the right things. In a situation like this all you can see is the hurt and all you can do is try and turn it into a lesson; something I am sure she has learnt.

    Horrible that the others did this but you’re right with how it could happen to them. You’ve obviously raised a loving and friendly girl and that’s fantastic. With that she’ll always include others because she has experienced the harder side which i doubt these girls have.

    The lesson here will shape her into a generation that is more accepting and stop some of the ignorant stereotypes that are around. Good parenting through a horrible situation.
    Martyn recently posted…I’ve been left Housebound by the DVLA’s Prejudice!My Profile

  3. Debbie

    Hi Natalie, I would have done exactly what you did. There is only so long that an adult can stand back and watch a child (any child) be excluded. It’s heart breaking to watch, but it is a learning opportunity not to be missed. Sadly there will always be those who are unkind and they aren’t always children, but teaching a child to know that some people just aren’t worth the effort is an important lesson.

    On the upside, the lesson those not so nice little girls have taught your little girl is the importance of being nice and I only hope that one day the Mums of those little girls take the time to teach their girls the same.


  4. jeremy@thirstydaddy

    I came across this post once before and am surprised to see that I didn’t leave a comment. I love it. My daughter was always the one running up to older girls at the playground and trying to play with them. Sometimes I was amazed by the patience shown by these girls and sometimes I had to explain to her that she really should find somebody closer to her age to play with. Every time she was turned away it was heartbreaking to watch.
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…The Friends That LastMy Profile


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