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The Kids Are Watching

Many years ago I was a preschool teacher at a daycare center. There was this one kid in the class for the two year-olds, and I just happened to notice that whenever his dad came to pick him up he wasn't very friendly. He always looked sort of angry, and his son never used to look happy to see him.

Whenever the mom would come to pick up the kid, she was very reserved & she always seemed a little sad. She also wore sunglasses often. One time she came to pick him up, and she looked really pretty that day. I could tell she'd just had her hair done. She was dressed nicely and was wearing shades again. I said to her, "Check you out! You've got your hair done with your shades on, looking like a movie star!" She gave a hint of a smile, put her head down, and said "thank you" barely above a whisper. I thought maybe she was just shy, or perhaps she wasn't used to getting compliments.

So as the days passed, I started to notice some really odd behavior with her son. He didn't fight the little boys in his class, but sometimes he would randomly slap one of the little girls across the face or push them down onto the floor. It always came out of nowhere, and he would do it so quickly before anyone had a chance to stop him. I also noticed that he would almost immediately give a hug to whichever little girl he'd assaulted. It was the strangest thing.

Then one day it clicked, and I remember thinking to myself that he must've been seeing his dad do that to his mom. Kids do tend to do what they see at home, and abusers do tend to be very apologetic... until the "next" time they strike.

Of course I have no proof that that is what was going on with this kid, but I think it's a reasonable assumption. I still think about them sometimes. I wonder if my assumption was correct. I hope that if there was abuse in the home, that the mom found the courage to leave. I also wish that the little boy is safe, and that he has since learned that what he was doing is not ok.