Fucking Grown-Ups

ETA AT THE BOTTOM WITH INSANITY!
To set the stage:
On Tuesdays I watch SB, NJ and AG. NJ has soccer (today was the last day–thank God). NJ’s coach is a tall, brash guy who communicates to the kids mainly by yelling at them. I’ve always thought he was a jackass–in fact, let’s call him Coach Jackass–but today he Went Too Far.
The kids playing soccer are divided into 4 groups with 2 playing at any given time.
So.
The kids who aren’t playing–remember we are taking about 6 year olds here–usually come off the part of the field where Coach Jackass holds his practice and play with their friends. Since they are six, some of this includes wrestling.
So at one point this afternoon I looked over to see SB (who doesn’t play soccer) sitting on another kid, L. He and L. are good buddies and also SIX, so I didn’t think anything of it. (SIX!) also: L was not supposed to be on the field at that time.
In the span of just a few seconds, I saw Coach Jackass say something like “he’s sitting on my player” and then he went over and yelled at SB. Really yelled, and given that he’s tall, it was scary! I think he said “HEY! GET OFF MY PLAYER!”
Well. I couldn’t believe he would do that, and SB was devastated. His parents are not big yellers, and I’m not, and his teachers haven’t been, and the poor kid. He was really upset. I asked him if he’d like me to talk to Coach Jackass. I was actually a little nervous myself, but I went over and said excuse me? SB would like me to ask you if next time you could ask him nicely. He said, “who’s SB?” and when I pointed, he immediately started stalking off, yelling again. He wasn’t yelling as loudly as he had been at SB, but it was nasty. He said something along these lines: “NO. He was on top of my player! NO. Sorry, I’m just not that nice.”
I said “then you shouldnt be working with kids” but he didn’t hear me.
Poor SB was really, really upset. He sat on my lap for a long time and I told him–over and over–that he had done nothing wrong, that he and L. were just playing, that it’s not OK for grownups to yell at kids they don’t even know. I said–very firmly-that the fact that Coach Jackass had yelled at him made me VERY ANGRY, which I think helped SB. Because I was really furious and it was clearly coming across in my voice. I did my very best to make it clear that SB had done NOTHING wrong and that it was completely unacceptable for Coach Jackass to yell at him.
Eventually, we all went home, and after I dropped off NJ and AG I took SB home and we waited for his mom. I explained that his mom was not going to be upset with him but that I felt it was important for her to know. So I told her the story, with some assistance from SB, and she was furious. And flabbergasted. She thanked me for standing up for SB, which was nice, and said she had to mull it over. She told SB also that he had done nothing wrong and that it was completely unacceptable for Coach Jackass to have yelled at him.
Then she said–and I think this is what got me the most about the whole thing–“just because you’re a child doesn’t make it okay.”
And she is SO RIGHT. I fucking hate adults thinking that they have the right to yell at kids just because kids are less powerful. SERIOUSLY NOT OKAY. Especially a child that you have NO responsibility for, a kid you don’t know, a kid who isn’t doing anything.
I understand that if you see a child doing something dangerous–running into the street, punching another kid–then that’s different, and you need to react fast. But this was NOT that circumstance.
So I am still furious. I do believe that it takes a village to raise a child–I really do–but this is NOT how a village should behave.

ETA: Coach Jackass called NJ’s mom. Eager to hear what the fuck he said–she just left me a message. Watch this space…
ETA2: So SB’s dad called Coach Jackass to say, basically, that they’d come home to a very upset 6 year old and an upset babysitter and they wanted to get his perspective. Apparently Coach Jackass mostly just talked. Then at some point, SB’s dad said something about how, if you have a problem with a child, TALK to the child or the caregiver. Coach Jackass was claiming that he had told SB to get off L. four times already, and also that L. was upset. Both of these are patently false. I know this because I WAS WATCHING.
Now here’s my favorite part! After SB’s dad said this, Coach Jackass apparently announced that I was NOT WATCHING THE CHILDREN. Yes, that’s right. Coach Jackass accused me of being a bad caregiver.
Now that pisses me off.
I am very, very good at what I do. I spend a lot of time thinking about these kids and what is going on with them and how I can help them. In my head I repeat things I’ve read in “How to Talk So That Kids Can Listen” and try to respond to them, always, in a way that is respectful, calm, firm if needed, and gentle. You can bet your ass I was watching those kids, because that’s what I do: I WATCH THEM.
And part of taking care of kids is standing up for them.
Seriously, this makes me quite furious. Admit you shouldn’t have yelled at a kid YOU DON’T KNOW AND HAVE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHO IS DOING NOTHING WRONG and don’t blame the kid’s babysitter.
Sigh. Fucking grown-ups.

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