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The Kid Down the Street

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I have a problem. The little kid down the street keeps hurting my children.

A few weeks ago he punched and kicked my son. It didn’t lead to a fight because my son is almost eight and is very tall this other kid just turned five and is a little guy. My son apparently does actually listen to us sometimes and didn’t fight back.

Of course, the scrappy little thing hurt him.

Yesterday this same kid hit my daughter with a stick. He hit her pretty hard. I was angry. My knee jerk reaction, you know, the one you have when you can hear the screaming outside from inside your house, the reaction you have when you first realize that your child is hurt because some other little punk hit her with a sharp stick was to bring all of my children inside and say “Every time we play with Alex somebody gets hurt, so we aren’t going to play with Alex anymore.”

I don’t think that is a bad plan, except he is a neighborhood kid. Reason would lead my children to understand that if they are out in the neighborhood playing with their friends and Alex and his sister show up, my kids would have to come home and that just doesn’t seem fair.

Deep down I don’t really think he is a bad kid. I just think he is under-supervised for his age and has a bunch of pent up aggression. Maybe he needs more physical activity, maybe he has bad reactions to artificial coloring, or maybe he needs a punching bag. I don’t know. None of it is really my place to suggest. I don’t really know his parents. I’ve met his Au Pair a few times. He just shows up in my yard every once in a while. Is he an aspiring bully or just a little kid with a short fuse and a Napoleon complex? I’m not sure.

This is a tricky thing.

I want to protect my kids. I want them to be able to defend themselves. I don’t want them beating up on kindergarteners.

My accountant (she is also my friend, it just makes me feel important to say ‘my accountant’ so I ran with it) says she taught her kids the three times rule. If a kid comes at you once, you do nothing. Twice, you hold your ground. The third time you are allowed to hit back. She promised her sons that if they followed the three times rule she would always back them up.

Of course she had to amend it to “The three times but no hitting girls ever rule.”

I have a daughter, so I figure if she plays by the three times rule she can hit boys or girls. I am going to have to decide what to tell my son.

In a perfect world nobody would be hitting anybody regardless of gender or grade level, but this world is imperfect. Parenting isn’t an exact science. I don’t know what is right. I know hitting is wrong and I know that standing up for yourself is right and sometimes you can’t do both of those things at the same time.

How do you handle it when other kids become physically aggressive with your children?

 

 

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Read more from me on Sarah and the Goon Squad and Draft Day Suit
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More of me on That’s Right. You Heard Me:
I Told My Kids I was Santa
Sure Breast is Best, but Take it Easy
80s Movie Lines I Use on My Kids

 

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