Spitting and Parent Etiquette

Now that we have dipped our toes into the extracurricular activities pool (dance and kickball) we are coming across new friends and lots of new personalities.

I am not a helicopter mom, I have always been the parent who keeps an eye on my kids, but I let them romp around playgrounds, approach new kids and live their lives without me hovering over their shoulders.  I always (heh) know where they are and what they’re doing (for now) but I am big on teaching them independence.

The other Tuesday at Dance Practice, I thought it was over so I went and peeked my head in the door to see what was going on, I popped my head in the door just in time to see Princess and another little girl sitting facing each other on the floor in front of the mirrors.  Just in time to see the other little girl spit in Princess’ face and say “I don’t even like you, I’m not your friend”

Princess paused and then got up and went about ‘freeze dancing’ with the other girls in the class.

I stood in the doorway with my heart seizing up in my throat.  I debated for a minute, asked myself what I’d want a parent to do and then I turned around and walked back into the parent’s waiting area.

I am acquainted with the little girl’s mom so I pulled her aside and whispered to her what had happened, I started it out with an apology that I hate being a tattletale but, I would want to know.  So, I calmly told her what happened and then watched her face turn bright red.  Exactly what mine would have done if the roles had been reversed.

She pushed her baby into my arms and took off.  5 minutes later her very tearful daughter came and apologized to me and then to Princess.  I was impressed.  So many parents would not have responded in that way.

She and I ended up having a long conversation afterwards and the girls just sort of wandered and played.

My take: this little girl wasn’t being vicious, I don’t even think she really knew what she was doing or understood the true implications of her actions and words… regardless of that fact though, I think that at that point I had to stand up for my daughter.

As a parent, I would want to know if my daughter (or son) ever did something so atrocious and hateful to another child.

I may not be a helicopter parent, but I am an involved parent.

On the way home Princess and I talked about what had happened, I commended her on her response.

She said to me, “Yes mom, I walked away when she was being mean just like you always tell me to, but I forgot to tell her to ‘Have a Nice Day’ before I walked away.”


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  1. I may not be a helicopter parent, but I am an involved parent….

    AMEN! I think you handled this perfectly. I would have wanted to know had I been the other mom, too. Sometimes kids just “test the waters” and copy things they’ve seen other kids do. It’s up to us as parents to reel them back in and let them know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

    p.s. That PICTURE is the cutest thing ever. 🙂

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  2. Kudos to you and the other Mom for having the aplomb to deal with it right away. I would have just freaked out in either position.

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  3. Sounds like you handled it perfectly, as did the other mom. I probably would have handled it the same way and would hope that if I were in that situation the other parent would do the same.

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  4. So glad the other mom handled it properly. It’s so hard when they don’t. I definitely don’t hover either, there’s too many of them! But man my blood boils when anyone makes one of my babies sad! And it’s so much worse in middle school 😉

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  5. I think you handled it the best way there was. And the fact that the other mom took care of the situation is also great. Good job to both of ya!

  6. Oh how did you keep it together! I was in flames just reading it. I can’t even imagine. Where do kids come up with this stuff?

    With all the bullying that goes on now it really is best to just nip it in the bud as quickly as it happens. Kudos to you and that sweet girl of yours.

  7. “have a nice day” Bless her heart!!!

    I’m not sure how my kids would have reacted. I think Emily would have been offended and told the dance teacher. Jared, I’m still thinking… Connor would have spit back two-fold (sigh…). I’m glad Princess was such a PRINCESS about the whole thing, and kudos to the mom for taking action, and to YOU for standing up for your child. THere are sometimes our kids don’t know how to stand up for themselves, and it’s certainly up to us to help give them a voice…

  8. Went through something similar the other day – but the shoe was on the other foot – and I was the parent getting talked to by the stepfather of my daughter’s friend. And to be honest, I was DOWNRIGHT mad. He hadn’t witnessed the incident and so it was she said/she said. But also, there was no spitting. No risk of physical injury. Just two young kids having what actually amounts to an asinine argument about whether to pretend their scooter was a sheep or a cow. Seriously.

    Had my daughter spit in someone’s face – HECK YEAH I’d want to know. I feel that is definitely an appropriate time for a parent to get involved. But when girls are having a petty fight – I guess I’m frustrated at the escalation of that by the parent.

    It’s hard to tell where that line is – because we want the best for our kids and want ’em to be good people. And we want them to surround themselves with good people… Le sigh. I think I’m just too wound up on this one. Still. Ugh.

    (But you totally done good, and so did your kiddo!!)

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  9. good for you for approaching the parent in the first place. Also something a lot of parents won’t do. Instead they will badmouth that “horrible child” and the parent- never attempting to understand or seek resolution…

    you are a great mom, you did good!

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  10. Don’t you hate that part of parenting?! It breaks my heart that kids can be so mean…even when they’re not trying to be mean. I’m so glad that you handled it well, and that the other mother did too. Poor Princess. She’s so adorable.

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