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Should I or shouldn't I? (sorry, REALLY long)


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I have a 12 year old son who's big for his age (wears a size 11 shoe and is 5'6", 125 lbs). Basically, yesterday, he and a group of kids (ages 10-12) were having a snowball fight. One of the kids (10 or 11, but just as big as mine) started throwing ice at him so he threw a pretty big snowball at the kid. The kid proceeded to try and tackle him, my son blocked him so the kid tried to punch him. At that point, my son came home. Today, the same group of kids is having another snowball fight. The kid starts making fun of my son's voice (it's changing so it's cracking TERRIBLY so my son goes to tackle him. My son misses, but the kid turns around and tries to tackle my son, who puts him in a head lock. The kid trips my son so he's now sitting on his stomach punching him (in the stomach). My son takes a swing to get the kid off of him and connects with his cheekbone. Of course, I get a call from the kid's irate mom who tells me a totally different story and says that 5 of the kids are telling her the same story and that MY son gave HER son the worst black eye she's ever seen. She tells me that she's heard A LOT of stories of my son and how he always bullies the younger kids. So, I talk to a parent who isn't involved (who has told me negative things before so I feel like I could trust her to tell me the truth) and she tells me that she has heard nothing but good about my son and that he's in no way a bully. Then, I talk to one of his friends who backs up his story for both days. THEN, my son tells me that during the fight, the kid was taunting him and after he punched him, asked him if he was okay, then started to leave so it didn't go any farther, he followed my son saying "Oh. You had enough? Can't take being beat up by a 5th grader?" I also verified this with my son's friend (who hasn't talked to my son since this happened so I know they couldn't have "gotten their stories together").


Here's my dilemma....knowing what I do now, do I call the mom and tell her I talked to my son and his friend and I believe what they're telling me, but that I did talk to my son and explained that him trying to tackle the kid today was wrong so I think we should just try to let it go and move on and I will keep my son on "my side" of the subdivision? Or, do I call with the additional information I got from both kids about the things her son was saying? Or, just let it go and do nothing? We live in a rather gossipy community and I know this woman is going to be spreading stories about my son being a bully and I a) don't want it to come down on him because I really don't think he did anything wrong and b) don't want this kid to take it out on either of my younger sons (who go to the same school and ride the same bus.)


I can understand the mom being mad, I would be too, but I don't want a little neighborhood fight between the kids to get blown out of proportion.

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The question is, were you there when all this was happening? If not, it's highly possible that both stories are somewhat etched to make the other look like the worse party. It happens, you weren't there so you can't automatically assume your son was in the right. I know as a parent it's easy to quickly jump to conclusion that your child would never do such a thing and ALWAYS tells the truth, but the truth is.. They're kids, they're going to lie about things and unless an adult was there to say "hey, this is what happened and this is who was involved" I dont think there is much you can do about it but to make sure your son and the other kid stay away from each other.

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Your son hit another child, there are no words that warrant that. He needs to learn to control himself.


If you've know these kids were causing trouble for him in the past, why have you not stepped in and done something? I doubt this is the first time there has been trouble with this group of boys. You need to keep him away from them, if that means being more restrictive, so be it. His actions could get you taken to court for civil repercussions or him sent to juvenile hall.

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I have three sons myself. Guess what? You cannot fight their battles...and you also can't be there every second hovering over them to make sure they aren't picked on. Your son sounds like my oldest...he had trouble controlling himself at times. I enrolled him in Ken-Po Karate'. He learned to defend himself..(not to beat someone to a pulp...but to deflect blows and protect himself without hurting others) He also learned self-control...(The very FIRST thing they learn in karate'!) They learn how NOT to fight.


Besides, when word gets around your son is taking Karate', the other boys will probably not be as likely to pick on him if they have any inkling that they could be put in to a really embarrassing submission hold.

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Mythical_Suicide, trust me, I'm not one of those parents who thinks their child is perfect. When my son first told me what happened, I asked him "what did you do to him first?" I live in a town full of the "my kid can do no wrong" parents and they drive me batty. If it was just my son telling the story, I'd be skeptical (and was when he first told me what happened), but as I said his friend told me almost the same story and they hadn't talked (his friend stayed after my son left.) And, like you said, my son hadn't told me the whole truth (he didn't lie, he just omitted some stuff) but he admitted it (and added a few things) when I told him what his friend had told me.


CarnelianButterfly, this is the first fight he's EVER been in and he has NEVER hit anyone before so it's not a matter of him having to learn to control himself. However, I do not expect him to just sit there when someone's sitting on top of him beating him up. This kid hit him 8-10 times and my son only swung once.


fnlyfrei, he has taken karate so he knows about self-control and to only use it in self-defense, which is what he did this time. He said he didn't mean to hit him in the face, he was trying to sweep him off (he hit him with the side of his hand). I usually make the kids figure it out and don't get involved, but I'm not going to just sit back and let this other mom make my son out to be a bully. I've always had parents tell me how good he was with younger kids and that he's even told other kids his age to "be nice" to the smaller ones. He's always been bigger than his peers and we've pounded into his head the importance of him playing a bit more carefully with younger & smaller kids (my middle son has add and does have a control problem and he's never gotten physical with him). He always plays nicely (well, he gets a little bossy, but what kid doesn't?) with his younger brothers and their friends so I'm not sure what the issue is with this particular boy. I did tell him to stay away from this kid after the incident the day before (when the kid tried to punch him) and he was leaving yesterday after the other kids started throwing ice again. We did talk about what he did wrong (trying to tackle the other kid and not leaving immediately when the other kid showed up) and he has been punished for it (grounded) and he has promised to just leave if this other kid comes around (and if he doesn't, he'll be grounded for another week).


I've already gotten a call (well, a voice mail) this morning from the mom of a friend of my middle son asking me what happened because she saw the kid's eye and heard the story from the other kid's mom at basketball and couldn't believe it. I'm not going to call her back, but if she calls and asks again (which I'm sure she will), I'm not sure what to say. IMO, this was just a typical snowball fight that got out of control (as they tend to do) and the other kid got the short end of the stick. I'm sure this is only the beginning

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first, everybody needs to calm down, or you and this mother will be in a punching contest...


mothers can be quite defensive of their children, and you are both bristling over protecting your own kid.


i do think you can understand why another mother would be quite upset if her kid came home with a huge black eye, as you would have been had your son, so let the other mother calm down a bit and don't inflame the situation if you can avoid it.


what you do if anyone brings it up is just quietly tell your version of the story without bashing the other kid or mother, and tell them that the other mother thinks to the contrary as there were differing versions of what happened (and neither of you were there)...


if 20 people watch an incident like this, there could also be 20 different versions of the story, so you have to take everything everyone says with a grain of salt and assume the truth is somewhere in the middle of all of it...


so if the mother approaches her again, you should say you're sorry that her son got a black eye, and that both of you AS PARENTS should work to make sure the kids don't do things to start fights (like throwing ice) or participate in fights (like punching a kid in the eye)...


these kind of things usually are big excitement for a week or so, but eventually pipe down if you refuse to escalate it or get drawn into the histronics...

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I see what you're saying, and you're right, I would be upset, but I'm not sure this mom is going to just let it drop. (But, I wouldn't get into a punching contest, she's twice my size ) Rumor has it (and yes, my town is so small, it's already going around) that she's thinking of suing me. I've decided not to call her and if she calls me, I'm just going to say "Your son's friends back his story up and my son's friends back his story up so I'm sure the truth is somewhere in the middle. It was unfortunate that it turned out the way it did, but there's nothing we can do about it now except keep the boys apart." I'm sure it will probably be "big news" for quite a while as our little subdivision is full of a bunch of women with nothing better to do than call each other and gossip (which is why I don't really have any "friends" here). That on top of the fact that I don't think this black eye is going to go away quickly. I got another call from one of my son's friend's mom (different mom) asking me about it because someone else told her about it and according to her, the other mom doesn't think her son did anything wrong so he's not being punished


I hope all of my talking to my son got through to him. Like I said before, I don't condone him fighting (and like I said, he IS being punished for it), but I also don't expect him to just sit there when someone else is on top of him hitting him. I did suggest he just try to roll the kid off if it ever happens again (which I doubt it will) and run if he has to.


Oh, and I have to see this woman in 2 weeks for our monthly bowling league....I definitely won't be drinking that night because I'm not sure I could control myself if she said anything to me if I were drinking.

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the other mom doesn't think her son did anything wrong so he's not being punished



Which is exactly what you say you're trying to avoid "hear-say" gossip.. You don't know for sure whether this kid is being punished or not, just because someone else says so doesn't mean anything.. I say avoid anything that involves this other mother for awhile and it will die down. She's just as upset as you are, after all her son has the marks to remind her that some other kid was beating on her kid (whether it was self defense or not). They're kids, it's going to happen. The best thing you can do is be the bigger person here and let it go. I know easier said than done but really, what else can you do that won't stir up even more nonsense?

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