When Is It Okay to Teach My Child to Defend Himself?Mari Hernandez-Tuten
In what circumstances, if any, do we teach our kids to fight back?
Is there a difference between defending myself and protecting myself?
Do I really want to intervene every time another kid hurts my child?
These were the questions going through my mind as my son came in crying because the younger neighbor hit him for the 30th time in the past two weeks. My son is 9, but he is not a violent or aggressive kid. The younger neighbor kid has hurt him countless times: throwing rocks at his face, tripping him…
This week I’ve about had it when my son came in crying because the neighbor kid knocked him off his bike onto the concrete floor. Then it was that the neighbor kid took a giant rock and smashed his fingers.
This is what I have taught my son:
- Don’t fight.
- You use your words.
- Tell him what he’s doing is not okay and he needs to stop.
- Look at him in the eye and with a stern voice tell him, “It’s not okay to hit me.”
- Go tell his mother so she is aware of the situation. Or tell another adult.
- Violence is not the answer.
- Remove yourself from the situation.
- Work it out.
I’ve tried to equip him with tools so that he can handle the situation himself and so he doesn’t expect me to make things better especially since he’s nine years old, he really needs to learn how to do this.
But none of my handy dandy tools are working and the younger neighbor kid keeps hurting him.
Where is this child’s mom? Good question.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you go into a daydream and you’re imagining yourself telling your child something that good parents don’t say to their kids but then you quickly wake up before it really comes out of your mouth? That’s how I felt today when my son came in crying because the kid smashed his fingers with a rock bigger than my hand. I just about had it. I kept my cool as we walked over to talk to his mom. My son shared and then I said a few things. The boys mom called him in. He totally ignored her and she stood in the driveway texting.
I called my son in, so I could talk to him about the situation and I almost did say out loud, ” Next time he hits you, knock him out.” Don’t worry, I didn’t say that but I did tell him that it’s important to protect himself when someone doesn’t take a hint, that you’re not their punching bag.
When is it okay to teach my child to protect himself? How long does he have to put up with being someones punching bag before he can protect himself?
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