A boy punched my stepdaughter. Here we go.
We were in the middle of a road trip when she broke the news to us a day after it happened. Apparently some kid at her bus stop drew a line in the dirt and told all the kids not to cross the line or they’d get punched. My kid didn’t know this was happening so she walked past the line on the way to the bus. So the fourth-grader punched my second-grader in the stomach and told her not to talk to him ever again.
So there we were – my wife and I – listening to our kid tell the story on a Friday night knowing we couldn’t say or do anything to the fourth-grader until Monday morning. I was actually calm at first. Maybe the incident didn’t really sink in to me. Maybe I was sleepy. Who knows? My wife, though, reacted immediately.
“Nobody is going to hit MY child!” she started. A few moments later: “and if his parents have a problem I’ll handle them too!”
My step-daughter has seen a bit of man-on-woman violence in her life so it was important for us to explain to her how wrong the fourth-grader was and how it’s never okay to hit a girl. She seemed to understand and my wife had finally calmed down. The hard part was still to come.
My wife teaches and has to be out of the house by 6:30 in the morning – so it’s just me, my stepdaughter and the newborn. This means that I would have to be the one to confront this boy about what he did to my kid. Usually I stand at the door when my stepdaughter leaves and watch her walk off with her friends. But today, I had to bundle the baby up and take that walk to the bus stop.
I can’t lie. I was nervous. I’m not exactly sure why I was nervous about it. So many scenarios were dancing around in my head. Would he try to hit me? Would I need to scream at him? What if his parents are jerks? Do I get into a fight with his dad in front of these kids? What happens if my kid sees me punch a guy in the face because his son hit her? All of these worries floated through my brain as I walked over to the stop.
Then fate took over.
As we walked over to the stop, I saw a van let out two blonde-haired, blue-eyed boys. My kid let me know that one of the boys was the one who hit her. I managed to flag the van down and walk over to the mother inside. After introductions, I explained the situation.
I could tell the mother was getting more furious by the sentence. Wait, is she mad at me? Suddenly, she stopped me mid-story. “My son did all this?” She started. “I’m gonna handle this right now.”
She immediately put the van in reverse and didn’t stop until she got to the corner. The mother called the boy to the car, and I’m not sure I’ll ever forget what I saw.
You think it’s okay to hit a girl?!
Okay, not a bad start. I wouldn’t do this at the bus stop in front of the kids, but okay.
Give me your hand! SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!
Okay, a little spanking. He learned his lesson for now. Just wait until he gets home.
You hit a girl again, I’m gonna kick your a$$! You need ta get ya a$$ kicked!
Are you laughing at me?! You think this is funny?! Bring ya little a$$ here!
At this point, she opened the door, grabbed her son by the collar and proceeded to hit him all over his side and butt. All 15 kids at the bus stop were watching and hearing it now.
When your dad gets home, he’s going to kick your a$$, too! Sit ya a$$ down and don’t move until the bus comes!
As the mother drove away, she apologized to me again for what had happened and said to tell her if we had any more issues.
I was shocked. Of all of the scenarios in my head, it never crossed my mind that the mother would go haywire on her son like that. I just couldn’t help but feel bad for the boy. I’m not parenting expert (as evident by the things I write here), but it seems like the son might be violent towards women because he has such a contentious relationship with his mother. Maybe not… But I’m not sure if what I saw was the best way to handle that situation.
As for my kid? I don’t think she’s ever quite processed what she saw. We talked about it later and I told her that I’d never use those words when I talked to her and it’s probably not the best to hit her like that, especially in public in front of other kids. I couldn’t help but feel even more worried for my kid the next time she took the bus to school.
Maybe I’m overreacting – granted, I don’t know how I’d react if I found out my son had hit a girl or woman – but the anger the mother exhibited didn’t seem conducive to a healthy relationship with women going forward. You tell me. How would you react?
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