Friday, August 8, 2008

Good Friends, Old Times and Non-Violence

When we were in Florida, there was an incident with my son and another child we did not know where my child got punched in the chest. The children were playing football and apparently the child that hit mine took the game rather seriously. Once he was hit, my child burst into tears and ran to tell me and his uncle who we were visiting at the time.

The incident spawned a big discussion about how you teach a 7-year-old to respond appropriately in contentious situations. I have always preached non-violence, and his uncle tried to explain that sometimes non-violence works, while other times you need to react. I thought we handled the situation well, particularly since he gave the child much more insight into manhood than I could.

Fast forward two months and a child calls my son a "Bobblehead" at school. What does my son do? He hauls off and hits the offender. I think there may have been some memory of the incident from the summer, I most definitely think that there was some repressed anger toward his father, and I think he had just had enough of this particular child.

The teacher saw the incident and called me. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on what I should have done, and then I'll share what I did do. Here is some background you may want to know before you give me your opinion:

1. My son's birthday was the day before the incident. His father did not call or acknowledge the child's 8th birthday in anyway.

2. My son's initial reaction to everything is to cry. He got that from his mom. In this instance he did not cry until his teacher told him she had to call me.

3. He is the oldest of three children, the girls are 5 and 6.

4. The incident happened near the end of the school day.

5. One week earlier, the same child that called my son a bobblehead also told him that he should not support Barack Obama because Barack is proposing to put a $100 tax on toys for children.

The last one was irrelevant to hitting issue, but I couldn't help but mention it. :)
What would you do?

1 comment:

Christie@tisbutaseason said...

wow. hmmmm...

i think i would - as i'm sure you did - explain that hitting someone is not an effective way of dealing with a verbal "attack". one thing i've learned in my short 10 yrs of parenting is that my child's perception is his reality and i can't change that but i must remember it. i am SURE that he felt attacked - & rightfully so - however, violence isn't the answer. (that sounds sooo cliche')

he has had A LOT to digest over the last 9 mo's. he is the man of the house now and i can see how he could carry that role into his school day. i am sure it is hard (if not impossible) for him to discern where one aspect of his life begins and ends.

all of that being said, i would have still punished him (within the confines of your typical discipline procedures). my personal opinion would be that allowing him to believe that he is somehow "excused" from his behavior because of the extenuating circumstances would be dangerous. jmho