Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In Self Defense

We have a rule in our house, courtesy of local parenting columnist/author Sandy McDaniel: You hit, you sit.

Meaning, if Sawyer or Sage hit me, David, each other or the dogs, the offender has to sit immediately in time out. No warnings.

But now that Sawyer is 4 1/2, and, being a social little creature, is frequently playing with other kids, I am starting to wonder about that rule.

Because it seems to me that there are times he should be able to whack someone. Okay. There. I said it.

If someone hits him, at some point, he's going to have to hit them back or risk getting the bejeezus beat out of him by some idiot bully. Problem is, how do you explain this?

"See, it's okay to hit if the other boy is being an fuckwad and he hits you first, because you have to defend yourself. However, make sure you don't get caught, because usually the teacher/parent/coach only sees the retaliatory shot. Oh, and it's never okay to hit your sister, or a smaller kid, even if they are being a colossal pain in the ass."


I have told Sawyer that if someone hits him, he needs to walk away and tell me. Today we met a friend of mine and her two kids at the Beach Club. Her son, N, is 3 1/2, and her daughter, O, is 17 months. I think the kids were getting a bit grumpy by the time we left, and Sawyer and N started to squabble. And N kept poking/hitting at Sawyer.

To his credit, Sawyer told him to stop, but N didn't listen. So Sawyer walked away. Completely appropriate behavior. But there was a little part of me that wanted to see him swat the kid. I know, I know. It's just that sometimes I want to see a little fire in my boy.

He used to be so startled, as a young toddler, when a bigger kid would push him or grab his shovel or knock him over the head with a truck. He never fought back and I was worried about his easy-going temperment. At some point, I wondered if he would snap.

He never did. That is not to say that he doesn't engage in some toy-grabbing (especially from his sister) and other "physical" behavior now. He absolutely does.

The other day at the beach my friend's usually mild-mannered guy decided that Sawyer was talking too much and so he kicked him. Hard. Now, I know how that kid feels, because there are times when I desperately need Sawyer to SHUT UP. Still. Sawyer actually was hurt. And my poor friend was mortified.

She apologized again later, hoping none of us would think her child was a brute. We don't. He's a great little kid.

Nobody wants their child to be a bully, or to grow into some chest-thumping he-man who talks with his fists. But it did make me wonder when we might need to bend the rules. For self defense, and defense of Self.


Jen C said...

I totally get what you're saying. It is a fine line we walk. Do we teach our children to be pacifist at the sake of getting their arses kicked? Or do we teach them that violence is okay sometimes? Say, like in V for Vendetta. (sorry that was on last night and so it's my timely reference)

Nothing's easy with this whole being responsible for the outcome of another human being is it?

Mely said...

I had lived that with Zoulanche. She has been always WAY to polite and she was getting bullied by kids at the park or I had to step in and tell her that it's not OK to start a fight, push, grab or hit BUT if someone else started it THEN it is OK to defend yourself. That she wont ever get in trouble if she didn't start it I mean you can't let you kid be a bullied for the rest of her life. They need to learn to be respected by others....those are my 2 cents!

Cheryl said...

Sigh. I know. Can you believe we're allowed to just have kids and then raise them? Craziness!! lol

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