WWYD? Re: hitting and self defense

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WWYD? Re: hitting and self defense
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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 4:52pm
Jordan got in trouble at school today for hitting back at another student who hit him first, instead of telling the teacher. I totally agree with this policy of telling instead of retaliating, especially at this young age. DH disagrees. He thinks that it's better to not be thought of as a punching bag who won't do anything. I know exactly why he feels this way -- his elementary school was in a very rough neighborhood, and he was assaulted frequently. He also told the teacher when someone hurt him, but it didn't do any good. He finally fought back when he was about 11, the kid who attacked him ended up with a broken leg, and DH was pretty much left alone after that.

I personally think this was an extreme situation. It was a different area, in a different time. I just don't think Jordan's school is like that. What do you think? Do you think most schools have changed for the better, and I shouldn't have to worry about our kids dealing with what DH dealt with? What do you think about the hitting back issue? Am I naive in thinking he's too young to be worrying about whether other kids think of him as a wimp? Is developing a reputation as a *tattle tale* worse than getting in trouble for fighting?

Rebecca, Jordan (6) and Michaela (4)

Rebecca

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 5:13pm
You're right. It is a different time and "most" schools are much more concerned with their accountability when a child gets hurt.

I don't think you (DH) should encourage Jordan to fight back. I would tell him that if he is hit/assulted by another student, he should yell as loud as he can, "leave me alone!". This should get the teacher's attention and s/he should find out what the problem is.

On the other hand, if he is not on school property and this was to happen, I would say he should defend himself.

Unfortunately, Christian can sometimes be the agressor. He used to jump, pinch, etc. DD ALL THE TIME. Until, one day, he jumped on a kid at school and the kid scratched him in the face. He has calmed down A LOT since then.

Good luck with your decision.

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:40pm
We've had the same issue here with a neighbor. Tre had been getting picked on by him (nothing serious, just bigger boy crap) and finally Tre had it and hit the boy with a bat. UG!! I had a talk with Tre about that. He told me that this boy wasn't listening to him, and that he was protecting his body. I said, "I'm glad you are protecting your body, Tre. Let's go talk to him about how you feel and then we'll talk about other ways to protect yourself." We went in to talk to the older kid and I had Tre go up to him with me standing there to tell him, "I don't like it when you don't listen to my words!" Ii encourage him to be strong with his words and facial expressions. I tell him if he says it like he means it, they will listen more to him than if he smiles or is soft about it. Anyway, the boy's mom watched and said, "I can't make him apologize. He can be a real bully." She is a sweetie, really, so I didn't take offense to that. In fact, I told her I'd rather he NOT pologize if he's not sorry. Patronizing is not the way to go.

When we got home, I had a talk with Tre about protecting his body. We talked about playing and how important it is to stay in control when he plays, because other children will behave the way he does. We also talked about when children are out of control, it's dangerous. I told him that the most important way of protecting his body is to think about his situation, and if it's not safe, to make a choice right there to leave it. I told him his brain has more power than any bat, and he can use IT to keep himself safe, too. I told him words are very powerful, and for him to tell other kids when they are out of control to stop, or he (or they) will have to go home. He was upset, because he didn't want that to happen. I told him, I would rather see you lose some play time with some children than have to bring someone to the hospital because you all were out of control and someone got hurt. After he has tried these things, or if he is in trouble right away, he has to do what he can to get away and get help. The important thing I tell him is to get help after he got away. If not, it looks like he was trying to hurt someone instead of trying to get away.

I am big on choices with Tre. I want him to know that everything is a choice, and that he has the power to maipulate his environment with his choices. It can be good or bad, but it's HIS CHOICE. No one forces you to think, feel or act any certain way. I think if he learns that early, he will have less to worry about later on. I know for me it was hard to think of me making choices for myself. I was always taught to feel guilty if I said or did something someone else didn't like. When I didn't say anything, I got in trouble for that, too. So, that's one area I want Tre to learn about NOW. Everything is a choice, and opportunity to make a difference. I want him to FEEL his power to manipulate his situation.

So.......off my box, LOL! I wouldn't tell him not to defend himself, I would just offer even MORE ways of doing it so he has a choice when he finds himself in a compromising situation. Sometimes it's best to look ahead and see hwere this might lead. That's enough for them to say "Nope! Not for me!"

We went to the pool here and there were kids scooping up pool water and spitting it at each other. I watched Tre because I was thinking if he follows them I'm gonna be irate! Well, he looked at the first boy who did it and stayed around them all to play. When another child did it, he yelled, "That's not safe," and went over to another group of children who were playing with cards. I was so proud! It was a moment in which he decided to leave the situation before it got ugly. I'm trying to encourage that kind of decision making and critical thinking.

HUGS, Rebecca! It's hard raising boys. Everything tells them to be so hard and bold, when we want them safe and sound. It's even harder when they're in school. We, as parents have so little control over their experiences. You're a good mom, Rebecca! I'm sure he'll be just fine!! We all learn from our experiences.

love and support,

Janet =)


Edited 4/10/2003 12:22:36 PM ET by cl-i.wuv.dem.dimples

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:51pm
What I just told Nathan recently about this kind of situation is this: If someone is threatening you (which is what caused the discussion, someone WAS saying he was going to beat Nate up) to tell his teacher or another adult. I think most schools have an anti-bullying policy now, and should be addressed. If someone is trying to hurt you, try to walk away, and again tell an adult. If you are unable to walk away, do what you have to to protect yourself, but try your best not to hurt the other kid.

I agree with you, times are different, bullying is taken much more seriously, and really the best thing is to walk away if you can.

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Thu, 04-10-2003 - 7:04am
I'm kind of "in between" on this one. It doesn't appear that "tattletales" get a "rep" at my DS's preschool, but then again I'm sure there can be a lot of difference between preschool and K, or K and 1st. (Yelling "Hey, don't you hit me again!" can be a very effective way both of avoiding becoming an easy victim AND of avoiding the "tattletale" problem.) If he managed to deal with the situation without pasting the other kid, the school ought to be praising him. I would hope that whatever "punishment" Jordan got at school wasn't much more than a reminder that it's the teacher's job to handle it if someone hits. We have told our DS that the teachers are there to handle it, but in preschool last year, after he had been attacked by a boy with the worst impulse control I have ever seen for absolutely no fault of his own (the teachers saw it) my DH authorized him to take that other boy down no questions asked if it ever happened again (I'm not talking about a push or a bump from this boy, I'm talking about a deliberate full-out punch.) I'd have to say I'm ok with that too. If the teachers talking to the aggressor doesn't work the first time, I'm all for letting DS handle it any way he sees fit - it didn't happen again, but I bet the boy would have had a lot more motivation to think twice before hitting, and a LOT of DS's classmates would have cheered that, LOL!

HTH.

Donna

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Registered: 03-28-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 10:40am
I support your decision to have your son learn to get help from adults. I think "tattletales" become an issue as children get older around 3rd grade and up. By that age they are able to use other strategies like Janet described.

The problem I have with boys being taught to "defend themselves" is what happens as they get older. It's no longer preschoolers pushing, hitting...it's jr. high kids with weapons. We may like to think that the "bully" will change if we stand up to him. Sometimes that's true...and sometimes he finds another way to retaliate and may find others to help him. In my city this week, an innocent 15 yr. old boy was beaten to death by a group because he was mistakenly identified as a boy who had been in a fight with another student. The group "jumped" him after school. So if we teach them to defend themselves when they're 5, are we prepared to "unteach" this when they're older? I've got to go with Janet on this one. They need to learn to use their brains to solve disputes. Good luck to us all, JoAnn

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Thu, 04-10-2003 - 12:29pm
I reread your post today while I'm not half asleep, LOL! I wanted to add, that I think schools are lots different than before. I think MOST of them are stricter with this kind of thing. Like I said, I talk to Tre about making decisions just in case he gets into a sticky situation. I know what you mean about the tattle tail vs fighting back rep, too. I think they're considered a tattle tail more so if they just run away crying, rather than defending and getting help. KWIM? I try to impress upon Tre to get the help after he's stood his ground with his words of choice to move away from the trouble. That way it's back up rather than tattling. Does that make sense?

HUGS!

Janet =)

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Thu, 04-10-2003 - 1:13pm
My DS's preschool has two bullies and telling the teacher has been totally ineffective. It's the biggest beef I have with the school--and I've talked with the teachers several times about it. Heck, I see these two boys knocking over and stepping on other kids all the time, even with the teachers there. They kept telling the 'victims' that they should tell the teacher when they are hit. Then they told ME that my DS was a 'drama queen' because he was 'always complaining' about being hit.

Finally, I told DS that he should yell "STOP HITTING ME!" or "DON'T HIT ME" next time. That finally put an end to him being hit every day. I also told them that if they knock him down and try to stomp on him, then push them away and not let it happen.

I told the teachers if they can't or won't react to the boys' roughness, then they can't expect the other kids to be little punching bags...and did they ever think of talking to the boys' parents about all this hitting, kicking and pushing their two boys were doing?

It only helps to tell the teachers if the teachers will actually do something. If they only punish the child who complains, it is totally useless. Worse, it will teach the kids that going to an authority figure will only get them in trouble.

~ Limute

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