We've all heard how sometimes there is violence in school. I got a little taste of it this week. Last Tuesday, my daughter came home with this bruised eye. A boy in her class (already notorious for his naughtiness) had hit her with a dustpan. Actually, this picture already shows some improvement to her injury. When she came home, it was so swollen, she couldn't even open her eye. After icing it, the swelling went down. She was lucky the dustpan didn't hit the inside of the eye. If not, I'm sure it would have impaired her vision.
So, how did I feel?
Anxious to give that boy a good scolding.
Motivated to do something about it.
Well, DH called up the teacher to get the boy's father's contact number. We called him up and made an appointment to meet that night. It's a good thing we had some time before meeting up with that boy's family. It gave us some time to think what we wanted to get out of that meeting. In the end, it was all good. Prompted by the spirit (and keeping in mind that we need to be good Christian examples), we went with this attitude:
Not out to seek revenge or harbour any angry feelings but rather to seek a solution.
Make friends with the family. Not treat them like the enemy.
Talk to the little guy eye-to-eye and make him realize that his actions are not acceptable. Besides hitting my girl with the dustpan, he had also previously punched her in the stomach, bend her fingers backwards, kick her legs, throw down her shoes etc.... So, you see there is a long list.
Make sure the little guy understands that there will be consequences to his actions.
I'm glad that these boy's parents were good too to let us "reprimand" him. Some parents don't like the idea of other people disciplining their children. Actually, when we stepped into the house, the first thing they said was "you can whack him." Hahahah. Lucky for that little guy we are not that kind of people. We also told the parents not to cane him as that would not solve the problem.
I must say that DH handled the matter very well. No doubt his experience as a church leader served as a good guide. Stern, yet reasonable. Just want to put in point form some of the things he did:
Seek first to understand the reason for the action.
Teach about actions and consequences.
Didn't talk down on the child, but rather highlighted his good points and potential (this boy came out 1st in class so we said how smart he was and told him how much good he can do).
Gave some practical suggestions how to overcome the problem (e.g. when he feels like hitting another person, he should put his hands in his pocket). You can't just tell them to stop and not tell them how to do it. Like a smoker trying to quit usually has candy or gum as a substitute.
Follow-up. He knows we are keeping an eye on him and will come back to check on him.
Check for understanding and get a commitment. We asked him what is the right thing to do and made him promise to do it.
So, what is the result of our little talk with this boy? My daughter said he tried to be good yesterday. Actually put his hands in his pocket but ended up being kicked by other boys instead. Today, he fought a lot. Sigh! Well, we tried our best. At least I can say one good thing came out of this -- we made new friends in the neighbourhood :)
Mama's Parenting Tips:
This is one reason why homeschooling is better. People talk about how children will lack in socialization skills if not sent to a conventional school. But getting hit by bullies is not exactly healthy socialization.
If another child has done wrong to your child, don't be afraid to meet his/her parents. But do it in the proper spirit. Don't be overbearing and put them on the defensive. Don't be to coward and say everything is all right either.
Before you meet with the other parents, decide first what kind of outcome you want.
Last of all, just want to share this quote by Brigham Young. Remember it when you discipline your children.
"If you are ever called upon to chasten a person, never chasten beyond the balm you have within you to bind up."
In other words, don't create damage you can't repair.