Today we had a visitor to our neighborhood, a very large boy with a very bad reputation. I first saw him as a neighbor yelled at him out her window. My son was standing around with other children and I called him away from there and told him that when an adult is screaming at a child, and that child is not him, he needs to vacate the area and find a safer place to play.
He helped me with laundry for a minute, and I let him play. I was doing things here and there, in and out of the house and yard.
I passed by another neighbor, who is never away from her front door and she informed me that she was there to watch this boy who had come back, armed with a huge Nerf gun. She said he was viciously mean and she wanted me to stay and watch the kids with her. I did, for quite some time, until mine were away and her husband came to stand watch in her place.
This boy was threatening or talking mean to our kids, and our kids all sat together and seemed to oppose him, though not in a mean or inappropriate way. They just stuck together and disagreed with what he said, or corrected him.
My friend had joined us, and we had been commenting on how nice it was to see our kids sticking together and standing up for what was right. I mentioned how last summer when they all starting fighting I tried to remind them of how much fun they had had together and how much more they could have if they worked together and got past their issues.
This is where my friend said: ¨Well, you can have your kids do that, but mine is going to stay by herself, thank you very much.¨ I wasn´t sure what she meant, I am not good with negative comments and it always throws me for a loop. But the mother who had been standing watch said ¨What? Well thank you very much, that is not a nice thing to say.¨ My friend then commented ¨Well, YOUR kids have never been in a fistfight with mine.¨ I puzzled over that one for a bit, I couldn´t figure out what she was referencing and then I realized to my shame that she was talking about my children.
Two weeks ago my son was playing keep away football with two older boys, aged ten. He was getting frustrated because he is just turned seven and these boys are much bigger. He was getting creamed and it was hurting instead of being fun. He left the game and they begged him to come back in. I said I would rather have him stay out, so they all negotiated and modified the rules so that it was not so violent.
Then my friend´s daughter joined in, who is thirteen. She was knocking my son down and kicking at him, telling him ¨You can´t do this to me, but I can do it to you.¨ Because she is recovering from a concussion and she is female. My son got angry, because it was not part of the game, he did not have the ball, and she would not listen to him when he tried to explain it to her. So he said to her ¨If you can do that, I can do this!¨ and he punched her in the neck. She came and got me immediately and I pulled him inside and kept him there. He said sorry, even though he was mad. I think he was hurt, because he thought she was his friend and it did not seem as though she was acting like it. No matter what, he is not allowed to hit girls, and he is not allowed to hit at all. So he was wrong. I did tell the girl I was sorry this had happened to her, and I was glad she had come to get me. I am lucky she was not injured from this, as she was already concussed. My friend would have filed a police report. She filed one for the concussion her daughter got last year, when a six year old threw a plastic sword up in the air and it knocked her daughter out on the way down.
I had watched them when they changed the rules for a bit and everything seemed okay. I trusted my kid to leave the game again when he needed to, as he had done it before. I really thought he was learning control. So I did not see the violence after she joined in.
But really this is my fault. I need to stand there and supervise him. I should never water plants or go back in the house or anything. I have to watch-close enough to hear. I am so embarrassed, now, to know that my friend thinks of us as people her daughter is not safe with. No wonder we have not seen her lately. She is a lovely girl, and I have missed her.
Every time I think my kids are doing well and I am parenting properly I find myself mistaken.
I talked to my son about it again today and he insisted he had the right to defend himself. I tried my best to explain it again, that girls cannot be hit and one must run and tell an adult when one is being hurt- not fight back, even if the perpetrator is wrong or bigger. He says he understands but I don´t think he does. I keep explaining that when he is big he will be able to break bones by hitting and that he has to act now like he is the big man he is going to be, by refraining from using his strength in such ways. I tried to explain that women have different bone structures and there are good physical reasons for this rule in our culture. I went over bullying, too. Again.
When does he get it? This is what the psychologist told me to track. She wants him on those antipsychotics. I am so depressed.