Accept It or Retaliate?

~ Posted on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 8:45 AM ~

It was my turn to bring Ben to his Sunday school recently (hubby and I took turns so that at least one of us get to hear the sermon) as the Sunday schools are conducted in a separate building from the main church hall.

Anyway, when it was time for snacks, I brought Ben to wash his hands and when we came back to the room, I let Ben played with this particular alphabet caterpillar toy while waiting for the other toddlers to come back from their hand washing routine.

(Image taken from Google search)

After a while, this mother and her son (younger than Ben) came and sat next to us and her son immediately grabbed the toy that Ben was playing with. At first Ben was quiet about it as his hands were still holding onto the string attached to the toy. Suddenly the younger boy yanked it off Ben's hands and decided to play with the toy himself.

And that's when Ben started crying.

I immediately tried to console Ben to share the toy (I read in an article that children under the age of 3 do not understand the concept of sharing) but I  still tried that, well anything I can think of to divert his attention from the toy.

Ben actually paused his crying for a while when he heard me saying the word 'share' and then he tried to touch the toy (he really just wanted to touch the toy) but the younger boy pulled the toy further away from Ben.

And all this happened while the younger boy's mother just looked on and did NOTHING.

I thought of taking back the toy from the younger boy but I don't want to have a younger boy wailing over my actions.  I don't want to take Ben away to a new spot as I feel we have done nothing wrong and we should be the one staying put! Ben's cries got louder as the younger boy continued playing with the toy and suddenly the younger boy's mother rudely pushes back the toy to us (as if we're the one trying to hog the toy!).

Ben ignored the toy that was now in front of us (maybe because he sensed it was not returned sincerely or without any apology? Who knows huh?) and continued crying.

I kept on telling Ben 'It's OK, let the younger boy have the toy. Mummy get you other toys or books OK?' And that's when Ben stop his crying.

Personally, I am not the person who likes to fight back over something. You might think I'm weak for allowing myself (or in this case, my son) to be bullied. Read: 1 Peter 3:14 (NIV), Romans 12:19 (NIV)

I don't want to raise my son to fight over everything and worse, to be a bully. But then, I also don't want my son to grow up being bullied or being walked over by others for the rest of his life.

(Image taken from Google search)

Now, my question is:

If you are in my shoes, will you accept the situation (let the younger boy play with the toy) or retaliate (taking back the toy or talk to the younger boy's mother about her son's action)?

What do you suggest I should do?

Comments (21) -


well, usually i will ask the other kid to ask nicely before he takes the toy. of course if my boy say no, then he/she kenot have it... Gotto take turn. but if the other kid is rude or can't seem to accept what I have to say, Then i will bring my boys away, let them play with other toys or divert their attention. Then I will take the opportunity to relate the incident to them as in when they take away other ppl toy without asking, they could make other people sad.
Of course it's owaz easier said than done. But if other kids usually will listen if stranger talked to them. Those that kenot listen to stranger and continue act naughty, I usually shy away, cause i really dun wan to have anything to do with it...its the parent's call to bring up the child

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hey Lynette!

Unluckily the boy is much much younger than Ben and doesn't seem to understand what people said as the moment Ben stopped crying and forgot about the incident, the younger boy made a much younger girl cried (she was sitting right opposite us) - I only saw the girl crying and clutching this piece of biscuit in her hand. Didn't know what happened that cause the girl crying - except that the younger boy's mother keep telling him to give to the girl.

Sigh... will try to be stronger to defend my boy next time when such things happen... Thanks for sharing your thoughts btw!

Miki Chua

wow.. tough situation but i think i'll most probably bring my boy to other corner and play with other things. but u're rite, this will let him be in the "being bullied" position... yaiks.. tough tough

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hey Miki!

I don't want to take Ben away to a new spot as I feel we have done nothing wrong and we should be the one staying put! And yes like you mentioned, taking him away will let him be in the 'being bullied' position, and sort of like we're the one with the problem! Frown

Aspiring Millionaire

I am a defensive mother and would not have let the child take the toy off my child. If a child takes a toy off my kid and the parent doesn't do anything I say to the child "I'm sorry darling, but xxxxx was playing with that and if you want to play with it you need to ask nicely", then I give it back to my child.

I also explain to my children we need to share. I know my approach is not acceptable in all situations, so sometimes I just remove my children from the situation.

Where I live and the culture my husband is from it is very acceptable to reprimand other children for doing something like that and child rearing is considered more a community thing rather than just you as a parent, so it is different.

That said, it really depends on the situation.



Whatever you did was right. Nothing wrong with that. As long as you are there for Ben and you have taught him right from wrong. I have been in this situation many times too. Most of the time, I would do what you did. I only recalled once I spoke to another person's child nicely that what she did was wrong but that's because I couldn't stand it anymore.

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Aspiring Millionaire!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I need to learn to be more defensive like you!

Hey Carolyn!
Thanks for your feedback, I'm comforted with what you said that I taught Ben right from wrong. But I do feel I need to be more defensive and vocal about standing up for our rights. Guess I need to toughen up now!


Hi Jenny!!

I actually have talked to the child if the parent does nothing.  Just a general "Sophie was playing with that.  When she'd finished, would you like a turn?" and see what happens.  Sometimes then the parent intervenes and repeats what I said to their child.  I've also had to do this with my child!?!!

I've found that with Sophie the phrase "taking turns" works really well.  They get a turn, and then the other child takes a turn, and so on.  Sharing is a concept that toddlers can grasp, I think it's all in the wording.

Good for you for helping Ben work through it - and maybe (??) the other mom got some great parenting tips!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hey Aurie!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. I'll try your suggestion if this happens again. Smile


i'll do the same like what you have done PLUS telling the boy that he should not snatch people's thing! wahahahaha!!!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi chinnee,
Unfortunately the boy is very young and doesn't seem to understand what people said (refer my comment to Lynette above) thanks for sharing your thoughts though! Smile


Wow. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not partial to unchecked bad behavior because I experience it repeatedly from other children towards mine, but the first thing I'll do is make it clear to my child that they have done nothing wrong. Next thing I'll do is remove my child from the situation completely. If the mother is not active in teaching her child, no matter how young, chances are taking the toy back or confronting the mom will only escalate the situation (I've had my share of run-ins with parents like that!)

Now, granted the child is younger than yours, that does not mean that the mother should allow her child to "bully" others. There were a number of things she could do, for instance give the toy back and distract/encourage her child with another toy. She could even engage in play with her own child.

Like I said, I've experienced this situation quite a few times and have little to no patience for parents who don't at least attempt to stop the "bullying".

That being said, Thanks for being the first to link up on my Breast feeding directory! I'm following you back Smile


Just stopping by to  follow you from the blog hop. Hope you'll come visit me, too!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Hannah!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts & experience on this! And glad to be linking up to your BF directory!

Hi Tamara!
Thanks for the follow, I've returned the favor, looking forward to seeing you back here sometime!

ms. burrito

Hi, I am  your youngest and newest follower  from the bloghop, hope you can follow the  <a href="">little blog</a> of a newbie like me, thanks in advance!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Ms. Burrito!
Thanks for the follow! I've returned the favor!

Catheryn  @ Pink Bibs

Hey Jenny!

Oh, Isabelle has been bullied that way many times too.  Sad thing is, like your case, it happened in Sunday School.  Some moms really just do nothing when their child grabs toys from other kids.  Yes, no matter what age the child is, the parent should do something, at least a 'sorry'??

And yes, I usually did what you did.  I would not move but I would tell Isabelle 'It is ok and we should learn to share and have the right manners.'  I would say it loud and clear hoping the mom or dad would hear me.

Of course, how they bring up their child is beyond anyone's control and is none of my business but what they allowed their child to do is only a reflection of their own manners. tsk tsk.


I had experience this many-many times bcos my son is very timid. What I have learnt to do when the other adult don't act like one is to "talk" to my son. I would say it LOUDLY ... "Honey, what that XXX did is very wrong. It shows that he/she has no manners and obviously a bully. Now, we must be the bigger person bcos that's what god wants. God will deal with him/her when he sees them!" After this, I will look the other adult directly in the eyes and smile and walk away!

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hey Catheryn & Tricia!

Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts on this! I'll try to be more vocal if it happens again!


unfortunately i have experienced my child snatching other kid's toys more. Sure I don't like it when other kids snatch my child's toys, if parents not around, i will give that kid a scolding haha. But if the kid is too young like in your case, I'd ask my child to give it to him, but since your kid was crying badly, in that situation I'd remove my child and distract him immediately, I don't think that makes it like he's being bullied ,coz later I'd explain to him that in this world, nothing is ours, everything belongs to God. We shouldn't get upset coz sometimes God takes things away from us too, but there are many other things that God will provide for us. Not just one thing is nice to play.

Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Leona!

Thank you so much for your visit to my humble blog! I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experience on this matter.

I agree with what you said on "I'd explain to him that in this world, nothing is ours, everything belongs to God. We shouldn't get upset coz sometimes God takes things away from us too, but there are many other things that God will provide for us." So meaningful and true!

Have a blessed weekend! Smile

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