I was talking to a co-worker recently and the topic of kids fighting came up. The conversation started with my concerns about my middle daughter going to middle school next year. My co-worker mentioned that her niece had begun taking a switchblade to school because she HAD TO for protection. I mentioned that I had never been in a fight as a child, which struck her as odd. She then relayed the story of how she had once come home crying and her father said to her that she had to go back out and kick the ass of whoever had made her cry or that he would kick her ass. And so she fought.
I’ve never had that conversation and I don’t plan to. I can almost understand the logic (show & prove, do it this one time and then people won’t mess with you) but I don’t like the message that it sends – that there must be fighting, whether at home or away. With so much violence in the world, and so much of it directed at us, I just don’t feel comfortable encouraging more of it. I’ve always thought of home as a place away from the stress of the world, and encouraged my kids to feel the same way. My parents were there to protect & support me, not beat me for feeling hurt or angry or confused.
My sister and I were not allowed to fight each other at home. My mom’s mantra – a house divided against itself cannot stand. And so there was no fighting. My kids are not allowed to hit each other. They are not close in age (15, 10 and 3) so it doesn’t come up too often but they know that it is not cool.
What are your thoughts? Did you get the “kick their ass or I’ll kick yours speech”? Would you allow your child to carry a weapon to school?
If your child is being bullied at school, please check out http://stopbullyingnow.com/
Andrea is a mom of 3 (son is 15, daughters are 10 and 3), and a serial entrepreneur. She is currently working as a clinical informatics consultant, and couldn’t do it without the help of her mom who is her nanny while she’s out of town Mon – Thurs. She is a great believer in personal responsibility, good grammar and the power of ice cream. She is an omnivore who loves to cook, is trying to eat healthier and give her kids fewer chemicals. She needs to exercise consistently and drink more water. She’s in the process of getting divorced from a nice guy.
6 thoughts on “Five for Fighting”
I totally understand why you wouldn’t have that particular conversation with your child. I was raised by my grandmother between the ages of 4 and 10, and she gave me that exact speech on a particular occasion. I know she was doing what she thought was best, but in my mind at the time, I now had two aggressors; the giant at my school who hit me during recess, and my grandmother who insisted I “beat up di gyal or don’t come back home”. I didn’t end up fighting that particular girl again, but it did make me less apt to accept the idea that another child could hit me. I also felt that I had the approval to “wallow” if it came down to it, and that, in hindsight, gave me way more decision-making power than someone that age could have handled.
For my own daughters, we don’t want them to accept being hit or bullied in any way. However, they are CHILDREN, and we don’t want them taking matters into their own immature hands; that’s why they have adult guides, eg. parents. We instruct our daughters to let an adult know if they are being made uncomfortable by another child. We also tell them to insist on calling either one of us if they feel the teacher isn’t remedying the situation. That part is controversial, but it’s where we’re comfortable. We don’t tell them NEVER to hit someone though, as we know that teachers will not always be available/apt to step it. Their first course of action should be to inform an adult, but yes, we do affirm that if it isn’t being handled, then handle it.
As for a switchblade for protection, um…I think it’s time for the parents of your friend’s niece to call their local real estate agent and start looking to move to a safer area…that is ridiculously scary, and the niece herself could get into so much trouble if caught with that!
I never got into fights when I was in Elementary, Middle or High School. I was the girl who kept to herself, my head was in the books and I didn’t let what anybody said bother me. I was able to ignore and “shake off” cruel comments. I had haters but, I didn’t let them get to me. I think eventually when they figured out they were wasting energy and that I wasn’t moved by their efforts it declined! I was never told to fight, I was told to go to a teacher or principal if I ever had an issue. I never had a problem with defending myself if it ever came down to that!
I have a teenage daughter (14), tween daughter (10), tween son (12) and toddler son (2) My oldest daughter is in a Magnet Art School grades 6 – 12 and she’s had her issues with other children in school whether it be bullying, gossiping, peer pressure you name it! Being a teenager is a very odd stage and not all children are built the same as far as emotions and knowing how to deal with certain situations. My daughter was in a altercation earlier this year, and I didn’t get upset at her because she was defending herself. A girl got in her face and backed her up against the school lockers and she pushed her off of her and followed up with hitting her. They were both suspended for a few days but I can’t say I was mad at my daughter at all. She’s been bullied and last year she was slapped in the face and didn’t do anything. She has taken so much that now, she’s not going to let anyone get away with putting their hands on her, and I can’t say I’m mad at that. She is not anyone’s punching bag for verbal or physical abuse.
If my daughter wasn’t defending herself I would foresee an issue. I don’t condone fighting but, if your back is against the wall and you fear for your life or anyone putting their hands on you, I say do what you gotta do! If there’s something brewing I say get an adult involved so that maybe the issue can be resolved before it gets out of hand. Teenagers now a days are different from when I was being brought up. This is a new breed and we must adjust with the times. Methods that worked Fifteen years ago may not be so effective now. You have MySpace, Facebook, Bebo Etc. These kids go hard on each other!Now we have to worry about cyber bullying! Something that starts on line gets dealt with at school. It’s crazy!
Thanks for your comments ladies! So far I haven’t had to deal with the fighting issue, hopefully we can maintain that. I certainly want my kids to feel comfortable defending themselves, so I have never said to them that all hitting is banned. My son thinks of himself as a defender of his sisters, which I kinda like 🙂
The swtichblade thing is totally out of bounds. I couldn’t offer any comment when she said that, just a *side eye*
This is a grea topic.
I am raising a son and I just saw Karate Kid, so excuse my thoughts LOL
I wouldnt want my son or daughter to be punked. Straight up, no being punekd in our home. With that said, I don’t want them to be bullies either. I want them to be able to defend themselves appropriately in the face of real physical danger.
I am not a fan of spanking, so I dont think me threatening to kick their asses would happen. Thats just not something I do. However, I know that if I hear about a fight, I expect to hear how they got a few good slugs thrown in LOL. I’m being really real here.
My son’s father says he is putting him in martial arts around 5 or 6. I support that. I want him to be mentally and physically disciplined to handle altercations. No weapons other than his mind. I am not advocating that he do anything illegal.
My brother and I were a year apart, and we were NEVER allowed to fight each other. As far as fighting others – I actually think we got mixed messages. My parents never told us we had to fight or they would beat us, but we were told to defend ourselves. But on the other hand, once my brother was suspended from school, and even though I explained to them that he was not the instigator in the fight and really never threw many punches and just defended himself, he got double spankings – one from each parent – because he got suspended. So it was like damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
I was bullied, both on my block and at school. And they were such horrible experiences, making me scared and unwilling to go outside to play or to go to school. And I felt like I couldn’t go to my parents, for reasons that I really don’t know, or can’t articulate. I think I did for the girl on the block who was bullying me, and my mom did try to handle it, but sometimes you find that the parents of the bully are so nonchalant, and this mother just didn’t take it seriously. For the bully at school, I don’t think I said anything. That girl left school after that year, but it was a hellish year, and looking back, teachers knew she was bullying me, and did nothing.
For my own children, even now I’m teaching my four-year-old to stand up for himself, to not run away when an aggressive child comes his way. I do tell him that he can come to me when he feels attacked, and I will handle it, but I try as I’m doing it to model how he should handle it to. And when it comes the time that he is bullied, I will tell him and his sister both to stand up to the bully. I wish I would have just stood up to her. Just said leave me alone, stop talking about me, stop passing notes about me, why am I the center of your world?
The switchblade sounds like a scene out of Lean on Me…
I must have had all of your fights coming up. My parents didn’t threaten me with ass beatings if I lost a fight or refused to fight, but that was due in part to my never refusing to fight. Fortunately, as I got older, I’d managed to keep myself out of certain situations, but truth be told, if pushed far enough even at this age, someone would probably get served. I don’t see it as a flaw or an asset. Just part of me.
Like my parents, I discourage my kids from fighting, and I preach to them the dangers of how fighting can escalate, particularly in this day and age. Their first instruction is to get out of the situation. If they’re not allowed to, they need to locate an authority figure. I’m not fan of snitching, but I’m a fan of having to take off work even less, so work it out. Then, if all that fails, they apparently REALLY want to be served, so you do what you have to do, and we’ll discuss it later. I stress the importance of not holding out details when there are altercations, because if I’m going to bat for you at school, I don’t appreciate being made to look like a moron. (This mainly goes for my son. That little humbuggish girl of mine is almost always the instigator. She’s a midget of indignation and fury.)