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Should I punish my 5 year old son for hitting a boy back in self defense?
With bullying being so prevalent in the news now, many schools are adopting new rules for it. My problem is that my 38 pound 5 year old son has been hit twice in the last week. He hit back, defending himself, and got in trouble for it. I really don't want to punish him for defending himself, as he is a little guy and will probably have to learn how to defend himself. What would you do?
Heck no. It's not ok for anyone to start fights, but if you have to finish them, you finish them.
That's a tough dilemma - you should let it go unaddressed, but punishment might add to the problem. I'd go to school officials, and maybe even the other child's parents to see if you can keep the problem betwwen the two from escalating.
Teach him some effective self-defense strategies. Maybe get him into karate, not for sled-defense, but for self-confidence and as a waybto help him know about responsible use of force.
Try to let him understand when it is okay when to fight back. But you should get him in a self defense area so he learns the right side of defense. He should not have gotten in trouble and you should let him know that if it is in defense he is good for doing so. Make sure he knows right from wrong. But also tell him that it is important to try to not to fight. That physically fighting is his last resort.
Since he has already been bullied, he will definately be bullied again. Bullies focus on a personality type to attack, and he has a common one that bullies focus on. So no matter what you do (put him in another school, talk to the teachers, talk with the other childs parents, etc), he will be bullied again. Try to get him in Judo or Thai Boxing.
Do not put him in martial arts that will not be used in common fighting, like Taekwondo. When students are put in Taekwondo they focus more on the belts and who is better than them instead of defense against others.
I would talk to my son, but not punish him AND i would definitely call the other kid's parents.
He needs to learn that what the other child did is wrong and that you should not hit others. However if he hits back in self defence then in a short time he may not have to do it again as the other children will realize that he will not take it lying down.
Don't punish him for defending himself. Especially not with a smack as that would make him think it is OK to hit people. You should try and talk things through with him even though he is only 5 you will be able to get him to understand that hitting is wrong but that he should not let others hit or bully him.
As a teacher, I have seen many cases in which bullies hit their victims for no reason at all. Many times, especially in the primary levels, a boy/girl will approach the teacher saying he/she has been hit by a classmate. I observed that most of the victims are those that come across as weak and shy. What your 5-year-old son did is right. He has to learn to fight back and show to everyone in class that no one can or has the right to bully him. Never, ever punish him if he hits back because it will undermine his self-confidence.
I agree with xethonxq. Talking to him about fighting and when it's ok to defend himself is important, but in today's world we have to worry about perception. He could be completely justified in knocking the other kid out, IF, another credible person saw it. If not, it is his word against the other kid and he could get in trouble anyway. Maybe even juvenile. A few years ago, the school threatened to suspend and press charges against my son after another child choked him. He punched the kid, but no adult saw it from the beginning and the other kid was bleeding. My son didn't have a mark on him, so it made it difficult to defend.
I wouldn't punish him for defending himself. I believe more people should stand up to bullies. I would however, make sure I explain to him that in a matter of self-defense it's ok to hit back if necessary, but make sure he knows that just hitting people for no reason is not acceptable. He must know where to draw the line in situations:) And I would certainly contact the other child's parents and explain the situation and try to work it out between the two.
I had the same problem a few years back. My son and this other boy in his class just didn't get on and they were forever fighting; each saying the other one started it. There didn't seem to be a solution because neither I nor the parents were there when it happened. The staff at the school however were there and knew what was going on.
The only solution I could see was to make the staff at school responsible for keeping the boys apart in lessons and activities - it was only a question not sititng them side by side in lessons (should be easy with 29 other kids) and when doing group activities keeping each of them in sperate groups.
I mentioned this to the other childs parents and together we went to the head of the school with our plan. He agreed and we had a trouble free few moths untill the staff started putting the boys together again. Again the other childs parents and I went to the head of the school and insisted they were seperated. we havent had any trouble since. ;-)
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