Mariska Hargitay: Amaya Stands Up for Her Bullied Brother

09/16/2013 at 11:00 AM ET

Mariska Hargitay: Amaya Stands Up for Her Bullied Brother
Michael Loccisano/NBC

Call it Law & Order toddler edition.

During a recent trip to the park, Mariska Hargitay says her 2-year-old daughter Amaya Josephine served up some playground justice.

“My daughter is the boss of me,” Hargitay, 49, told PEOPLE at the Law & Order SVU premiere party on Thursday. “She is so strong, her independence inspires me.”

The tot’s qualities were recently put to the test when a playmate began bullying her brother, Andrew Nicolas, 2.

“Amaya went up to her and said ‘Stop it.’ She’s two years old and she goes, ‘Stop it. No!'” says Hargitay, who adopted Amaya and Andrew in 2011.

According to the proud mama, Amaya’s good deed didn’t stop there. “Then, the little girl pushed her and she didn’t push her back! It was so simple, but so beautiful to me,” says the actress. “My kids are my teachers.”

In a chilling premiere episode, Hargitay returns as detective Olivia Benson on the 15th season of Law & Order: SVU, airing Sept. 25 on NBC. Her character is abducted and abused in gruesome scenes that Hargitay says took real life courage to shoot.

“It was brutal,” she recalls of filming the heavy material. “Definitely the hardest, most challenging work I’ve ever done. It called on me to be brave.”

Lucky for her, bravery runs in the family.

— Janine Rayford Rubenstein

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Showing 48 comments

Tee Tee on

What a cute story! Way to go, Amaya!

Tiff on

Go Amaya!!! Just like your mama!!! ❤

Toro on

Cute…Amaya tried to lay down the law like her mama.

meghan on

So now kids can’t misbehave in the sandbox without calling it bullying? Good grief.

Alex on

I love Mariska and family.

Catz Rule on

Can’t believe how big the kids are getting. it seems like yesterday I was reading articles about the adoptions and what not. How time flies!!!!!!!!!

Catz Rule on

How cute is that?????? The kids are too much!!!

Anonymous on

meghan- How do you know what went on? Mariska didn’t give any specifics!

Anonymous on

While I love this story, it was truly great to see her Stan up for her brother….bad headline. Nowhere did Mariska say her child was bullied. Bullied is a very strong and overused word and the child was not bullied. These are very small children and they pick on each other.

Meghan, totally agree.

Carolina on

I love her. She has such a big heart and it sounds like she’s raising her kids right. Even though she was the child of famous parents, she didn’t grow up acting entitled and I don’t think her children will either.

Nannyto1 on

Go Amaya!! And bullying is what this incident was… doesn’t matter the age. Picking on someone is bullying them! My five year old granddaughter was bullied by a little boy in her class three times during her first three days of school. She only mentioned one incident to her mother, but the teacher called about them anyway. Apparently, he told her he was going to kill her tomorrow in addition to some aggressive physical behaviour. So sad…

Nannyto1 on

Bulling… the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively to impose domination over others.

Anonymous on

She was brave to play a PART? Oh my God. She better hope this tv show never ends because her career is over.

Mira on

Totally agree with Meghan!

Anonymous on

She is a great, great actress and a great, great mom!

Noneya on

Good for Amaya! Even if the incident was not “bullying” (and we don’t know because we WEREN’T there) she stuck up for her brother! Love this family!!

ttolar on

I thought her son’s name was August??

Mina on

She is so offensive to me. She plays a part on a TV show. It’s playing pretend. This is the second article where she has elevated herself a little too high, IMO. She isn’t a real cop and doesn’t know what brave really means. Walk a mile in their shoes for a fraction of the pay and the she will know what bravery really is.

Anonymous on

Go Amaya!! And bullying is what this incident was… doesn’t matter the age. Picking on someone is bullying them! My five year old granddaughter was bullied by a little boy in her class three times during her first three days of school. She only mentioned one incident to her mother, but the teacher called about them anyway. Apparently, he told her he was going to kill her tomorrow in addition to some aggressive physical behaviour. So sad…

This incident is not bullying….your incident is bullying. You are right, age doesn’t matter. Picking on someone is not bullying…if so, we would all be bullies. The definition you pulled is from wikepedia. From the Stop Bullying organization, the behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. The key here is bullying is REPEATED behavior. This incident was a one time incident in the park. If every time he came to the park this child attacked him, it would be bullying. A one time incident, like this, is not bullying.

fan of boardwalk empire on

I adore Mariska and am always happy to read her family stories. She sounds like she has such a great family life and I am very delighted for her.

JenC on

bullying? by 2 year olds? seriously…..

American Mom on

I’m sorry but while it’s great that her daughter stood up her brother, why on earth is it considered laudable that she didn’t defend herself when physically pushed? This garbage taught to kids today telling them not to defend themselves is total crap! If my kids get physically attacked, they know to defend themselves. It’s not wrong to defend yourself or others.

Allison on

I love Mariska! Not only is she on one of my favorite television shows of all time, she is obviously raising some great children! Way to go Amaya!

Alex on

Love Mariska. Great actress, beautiful and talented. And great human figure. She is a positive person and adjusted. This is reflected in his beautiful family. May God bless you always.

Alex on

” She was brave to play a PART? Oh my God. She better hope this tv show never ends because her career is over. ”

You thinking. She is beautiful and talented. She goes wherever.

Ana on

Loved the story. Mariska seems to be a great mother. Surely it is creating healthy children, loving, well educated. She is a woman of great class.

Meena on

Everything is not bullying, sorry. That word is thrown around too lightly these days. In addition, I am from the school of “if someone pushes you, you push them back.” Sometimes, you have to show people what you are made of and what you will and will not take. I understand these are 2 year old kids, so the situation doesn’t apply quite yet, but we definitely need to teach our school aged children this. Bullies focus on those they know will take their abuse.

Patricia Foil on

Nice to see a well mannered child doing the right thing. Mom has taught her well! Kudos to Amaya for behaving well beyond her years and Kudos to Mariska Hargitay for being a great example for her children and teaching them how to handle it right!

jwoge on

My lord, it was two little kids not getting along. Not bullying. When we were kids you would get into it with each other and that was that. I have never seen kids coddled as much as I have seen in this last generation or two. Is it the kids or the parents today that have become wimps?

Callie on

By 3 the toddler will be a rocket scientist!! Give me a break. Bullying, really???? So ridiculous

Meena on

The word bullying is used too lightly these days.

American Mom on

Why is it considered a good thing that her daughter allowed herself to be pushed and did not defend herself? I think that teaching your child to not fight back is terrible. My kids know that they should always defend themselves if they are physically assaulted or attacked. Granted, this was just a playground but her attitude that it was “beautiful” to see her child just take it is just crazy to me & teaches a terrible lesson that will have far reaching consequences later.

AM68 on

For those of you who think this isn’t considered bullying I highly suggest you invest in a dictionary.

Bullying: verb
gerund or present participle: bullying
use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
“a local man was bullied into helping them”

This is the ACTUAL definition of bullying. So if a kid is pushing around another kid on a playground- regardless of the age. Yup, that’s called bullying. Plain and simple.

American Mom on

And calling herself brave for playing a role? I think that’s a real insult to the actual police officers out there fighting real criminal every single day, 24/7. Fighting monsters doing sick things you and I couldn’t even contemplate. And an insult to the victims who survive, who really ARE brave- who live through the unimaginable and keep going, and even help others. This woman plays a part on TV and gets paid millions of dollars to do so. That’s not brave, give me a break. How self-congratulatory these Hollywood types can be make me sick.

Anonymous on

Am68, this small child did not use “superior strength” or “influence.” I am involved in our local Stop Bullying group, after my friends daughter killed herself after being bullied. Children…rather infants and toddlers who push each other once or twice are not bullying. They are acting their age and acting out and have no concept being their actions. They don’t understand what bullying is, whereas an older school aged child does understand the concept.

DEL on

I agree with the attitude of Mariska in praising the fact that Amaya does not have retaliated. Violence begets violence. I think Mariska is creating wonderfully their children. She is a person so realistic, so kind, always so polite. In the photos, in their statements, it is clear the love she has for her children. In his discuso of thanks from Muse award, she cited her daughter Amaya in tears. He said he wanted to be an example to his beloved daughter.

And because so much matter around the word “bullying”. Probably was a force of expression that she used. She just wanted to tell you about the positive attitude of his daughter before an assault without major consequences.
Love this family. And children are lucky to have parents like Mariska and Peter.

DEL on

@ American Mom

You did not understand what she meant. It was difficult for her emotionally to live a woman who is brutalized, maybe even raped. I do not know if you know that Mariska founded organizaçção effective helping victims of sexual abuse. She knows better than anyone how difficult it is to go through such traumatic experiences. Was what she said. And Mariska, deservedly earns millions. She works on average almost 16 hours per day. If there is someone who deserves to win, is Mariska Hargitay.

Sun on

Way to go Amaya! Keep standing up for your brother and everyone around you!

Anonymous on

ttolar- August is her older son. 🙂

Anonymous on

Okay, Mariska never said how old the child being mean to Andrew was. Without knowing that, and without having been there to see just what the incident consisted of, we can’t possibly know whether this was bullying or not.

If the child was two like Andrew and Amaya, then no, it wasn’t bullying. Kids that age are still very self-centered and are just starting to develop empathy. They don’t realize that if, for example, they bite another child, the bite hurts the other child. Therefore, they are incapable of bullying, since bullying is, at it’s most basic definition, hurting someone on purpose because you want to hurt them.

Two year olds who act out are doing so out of frustration, not because they actually want to make their playmate cry.

If, however, the child was over three, then it very well may have been bullying.

Anna on

I see it this way. Haters are going to hate. Whether it be that they don’t like Mariska because of how much money she makes or that she adopted an interracial child into an all white family. But here’s how I look at it.

1.) She’s putting herself in the shoes of victims and as an actress you have to change colors a lot. She plays a cop who not only once was sexually assaulted but now she is being tortured, kidnapped, and brutalized. A fact that all FEMALES have in common if they are sexually assaulted, raped, or anything else.

2.) She’s calling herself brave for doing this episode because it’s hard for her to have to watch her character go through this process. You play a straight arrow character for fourteen years and then all of a sudden a major turn is thrown at you and it’s stomach churning and also brave.

3.) Those who hate Mariska now are probably fans who left the show when Christopher Meloni did and are p*ssed off because she didn’t join him! News Flash, Mariska has her own family to support and care for. Chris left because he had enough of the show. Mariska didn’t.

As for not retaliating when Amaya was pushed, shows just how great a parent Mariska and Peter is to their children. Standing up for ones self doesn’t always mean violence! I don’t care if you’re a baby, toddler, child, teenager, or an adult. Violence is violence and if you don’t stop it, it’s a circle that will never end.

Anonymous on

Del, Mariska didn’t say it was bullying, People did.

Anonymous, thoughts would be the child is the same age, since the article says it is a “playmate” and they are both 2. But, of course the child could be older. My guess would still be non school age, since school is in session and her older son wasn’t present.

It is very hard when people call everything bullying because then when those trully are bullied, they may not be taken seriously or believed. It happens everyday.

DEL on

@ Anna

Congratulations for your comment. Really when I see someone criticize Mariska, clearly realize that feelings are motivated by frustration, the anger. IRRATIONAL are fans who do not accept the departure of Meloni. Output that occurred spontaneously. Mariska and Warren Leight has nothing to do with the fact.

What about the story here told Mariska did not speak in bullyng. Who cited the name bullyng was the author of the article.

I find it interesting Meloni some fans say that after the end of the series will be finished Mariska. They forget that she is beautiful and talented. For such people there is always a chance.

meghan on

Anna stop kissing Mariska’s ass. She’s an actor and you are going on like she is some sort of goddess.

RachelB-MD on

she is a wonderful woman! her mom would be so proud of her!

Crystal on

I LOVE Mariska Hargitay! She is AWESOME!!!! Law&Order SVU is one of my favorite shows. That being said, something she said irks me. When she said “my daughter is the boss of me.” I may be reading too much into the quote, but it seems Mariska acts as if her “black child” is much more forward and intimidating than her “white children.” I could be extra sensitive to the issue. Angelina said the same thing about Zahara. She mentioned how she “runs the family and bosses everyone around.” I don’t understand it. I don’t know if it’s a “cultural” thing or how society feels we act as people of color. IDK? I’m just voicing my frustration at the comments. I feel they are insensitive. I know that is not at all how they are to be perceived by fans and readers. It’s how I perceived it. Thoughts?

Anonymous on

Crystal, I don’t look at her children as different races. Quite honestly, forgot they were and I am positive she doesn’t look at that way either. I am sure Angelina does the same.

solari on

Bullying in the sandbox is how it starts in the sandbox and ends in the classroom with a handgun..way to go little one..anyone who thinks it’s misbehaving and not bullying is a moron..