Bullies, it seems, are a part of a child’s life — but how about adult bullies?
It’s bad enough that parents have to face the parents of children being mean to their own, but what if it was an adult, a very public figure at that, who targeted meanness toward a child?
People are lauding sports star Tom Brady for his response when he found himself and his family in that situation with a radio talk show host who called his five-year old daughter an “annoying little pissant.”
According to a report on Yahoo Lifestyle, Alex Reimer, an employee of Boston sports radio station WEEI, where Tom also has a weekly segment, made the comment last week in reaction to the first episode of Brady’s Facebook documentart Tom vs. Time, which featured him and his family.
Reimer said, “I thought it was fine. It was OK…alright, I thought the first scene was so staged where Brady’s like, in the kitchen, his kid’s being an annoying little pissant…”
The New England Patriots quarterback then called into his radio segment to address the mean-spirited comment toward Vivian, his daughter with model Gisele Bündchen.
“I’ve tried to come on this show for many years and showed you guys a lot of respect,” Brady said. “I’ve always tried and come on and do a good job for you guys. It’s very disappointing when you hear [the comments about my daughter], certainly. My daughter, or any child, certainly don’t deserve that.”
“I really don’t have much to say this morning,” Brady added before ending the call. “Maybe I’ll speak with you guys some other time.”
Reimer has since been suspended indefinitely.
Aside from Vivian, Tom and Gisele shares 8-year-old Benjamin and a 10-year-old John from Brady’s former relationship with actress Bridget Moynahan.
According to Sharon Silver, creator of Proactive Parenting, Tom’s response was a ‘appropriate’ as instead of resorting to anger, the football star had a ‘measured, focused’ response.
“Ultimately, this was about an adult bullying a child, which can cause particular harm, because, at age 5, kids often believe that who they are in any given moment is who they will always be,” she said.
In similar situations where a child is the target of unsolicited criticism, Silver said while it may be tempting to yell and insult the other adult, try to address them with a calm “Excuse me?” which will usually cause the other person to reflect on their words and at least offer explanation for their disdain toward the child.
But if your child was there when the remark was made, Silver says to follow it up with a conversation.
“Ask him or her, what they heard and took away from the remark. That way, you’ll know where the work lies in regard to building the child’s self-esteem.”
But Deborah Gilboa, M.D, a parenting and youth development expert also tells Yahoo Lifestyle that it’s important to examine if your child’s behavior really is problematic, so that you are not excusing it.
As an example, Gilboa cited the common grocery store situation of your kid running around and being rambunctious.
“If someone at the grocery store says your kid is too loud, say something like, ‘I understand this looks like a bad moment, but I trust that my kid can calm himself down when he’s ready,’” she said.
While that may be too much of a stretch, the top tip of behaviorists for adults is that you remain calm yourself so as to allow the situation to not boil over further.