Thursday, March 14, 2013

A lesson in aggression and property rights

...taught* at the park.

A couple of days ago I took my daughter to the park.  It was really too cold and windy, but she wanted to go, and since I am such a wonderful dad... but, never mind...

Anyway, as she was running around and playing I noticed a group of kids.  There was one who was probably 9 or 10 years old, and three who were in their mid-teens or so.  One of the older kids was the young one's older brother.

I had heard the older one threatening to break the younger one's bike, and generally being a bully- in front of his friends.  The younger one was protesting and finally went back to sit on his bike, and I thought he was going to leave, when the older one came over and held him in place.

The older brother ("OB") began demanding to ride the younger brother's bike.  The younger brother ("YB") was saying "no", and giving the reasons as "you broke my other one" and "I promised her that only I would ride it".

OB was getting pushier and pushier, and holding YB closer until he was holding his arms to his side, talking right into his ear, and still demanding to ride the bike.  At this point I decided the line had been crossed and I'd had enough.

As I approached them (neither had noticed me yet as they were facing the other direction) YB began crying and holding his ear.  OB just pulled him in tighter and was muttering something in his ear.

My adrenaline was flowing and I was either really angry or a little scared.  Not sure which.

I stopped, without getting too close, and told OB that it was time to back off and "stop messing with" YB.  He turned and looked at me.

He said "I'm not messing with him".

I said "Yes, you are.  Now stop."

YB was really bawling by now and still holding his ear.  He said OB hit him.  OB denied doing so, and I couldn't really see exactly what was going on as I walked over to them, since OB was wrapped around YB so closely before I intervened.

OB finally admitted hitting YB and claimed it was accidental, and said that YB "over-exaggerates everything".  I said that I had seen him getting rough and that was enough for me.

So OB changed tactics.  He said that he only wanted to ride the bike.  I told him that YB had told him "no", and that was that.  OB said that he bought the bike for YB.  I asked "Did you give it to him?"  He said he had.  So I told him that means the bike is YB's property and he doesn't have to let anyone else ride it if he doesn't want to.  OB just kept complaining that he only wanted to ride it.  I said "not unless he wants you to".

So OB turned to YB and gave him dirty looks and started in with "see what you started?" and that sort of thing.  No personal responsibility for his own actions.

OB went back to his friends and YB followed at a safe distance.  OB kept scolding and lecturing him, and crowding him, while still looking to see if I was watching.  Finally YB said he was going home.  OB asked why, and YB said "To get away from you".

I stayed at the park for quite a while, and OB and friends kept looking over at me, and later I heard them (I think) making fun of me.  I suppose the bruised ego needed some help healing.  Social standing needed to be recovered.  I'm fine with that.

(* I should say "offered" since I doubt anything was learned)