Part one of this post is here.
I became a father sooner than most of the guys in my circle of good friends. As a result I have often found myself being used a resource that the other guys sometimes use for consultation on parenting issues.
Most of the time they are relatively simple questions dealing with issues that we have worked through already. During the course of these conversations I have been asked if I am worried about pedophiles or rapists. I always respond by saying yes, but I am not seriously bothered by it.
It is not that I don't think that it can happen, but that it is not as common as other issues. The bullying is an excellent example of something that happens with more frequency. And it is a great example of the pain/frustration/anguish of parenting because no matter what you do you cannot insulate your child from the world. And the great fear is that somehow your child will be harmed because you failed.
But the reality is that you cannot view life through a black and white prism of success versus failure. There may be times when it is clear that your child was hurt because you failed, but more often than not you are not going to be blame. Things happen that are beyond your control.
Still, this doesn't lessen the pain of watching tears stream down your child's face because they are hurt. So you have to come up with a plan and we did. It is relatively simple and now we will see if it works.
The mothers had a discussion about the situation and it was made clear to the mother of this other boy that there is an issue. She in turn had her son call mine to apologize. During the conversation my son clearly expressed why he was angry and told the other boy that this cannot continue or there will be consequences.
I told my son that if things happen again he is to tell the other boy to stop, twice. If he doesn't listen then I told him he is to defend himself. Furthermore I told him that if he hits him I expect him not to hold back. Hit him hard and then hit him again.
You see, the bullying wasn't limited to words. This other boy smacked my son and pinned him down. So I haven't any problem telling him that it is ok to hit him.
I hope that it doesn't come to that point, but there are lines and limits that you cannot cross. The physical is one of them. We'll see what happens, hopefully this is the end of it.
Still, I am sorry to see one more piece of his innocence taken away from him. Childhood ends far too quickly, no need to rush it.