I saw something in the grocery store this morning that upset me. A little boy was there with his dad, and his dad was teasing him, stepping in front of him everywhere the boy wanted to go. The boy kept saying, "Don't! Stop!" and trying to walk around him, but the dad just grinned and kept stepping in front of him, even as the boy's frustration increased.
Admittedly, this was not particularly malicious or mean, but it still upset me. For one thing, I know that feeling when people are not listening to you, not taking your protests seriously. In fact, I have dreams of being in situations like this boy's, and they are some of my worst dreams -- I wake up in an absolute fury and take an hour sometimes to shake it off.
But I'm most upset at the unspoken message this teaches this boy. I tell my girls over and over that if they are teasing their sister, and she tells them to stop, they are to stop immediately. It doesn't matter if she's laughing while she says it, or if they think that she's really enjoying herself, or if they think that she's just being too sensitive . . . stop means stop. No means no. Every. Single. Time. No exceptions. End of story.
As important as I think this is to teach my girls, however, I hope even more that the boys my girls will ultimately be associating with have parents who are teaching them the same things. Stop means STOP! No means NO! Period! Don't you dare take it upon yourself to decide what she "really" means by that. What she means is . . . NO!!!!
I'm sure such thoughts never crossed the mind of this father with his little boy in the grocery store. But maybe they should. Cuz the first thought that crossed my mind watching the whole episode was, "You keep that boy away from my daughter . . ."