What would you do if someone deliberately stepped on your lunch box that was lovingly made by your mum?
I have always thought about how to teach Mal to handle bullying in school at the playground. Sometimes, you find parenting books that strongly disapprove the use of violence against violence. For a long time, I have thought that that is the best way, especially coming from a family and a society that believes that good kids should not fight. Tell the teacher if you want, complain to parents if you can. The big people will help solve the problem.
Being a parent now, I have come to question what I was taught. Sometimes words, reasons, complaints and non violent action just doesn’t solve the bullying problem.
Try getting a pony to do more than just carrying a pack on his back. You can kick him, you can cajole him (with a carrot?) all you want, but he is still after all a pony that can only do so much. On the other hand, if you get a horse, strong and wild, and you tame him to do your bidding, you get a stallion capable of doing much more. Do I want my son to be a tamed stallion or a pony?
What do we do when we tell our kids not to push back even after warning the belligerent party ? It is ok to be bullied ? Will they grow up to be adults that don’t know how to stand up for themselves ? Will he be suppressing his feelings to the point where he no longer know or understands what is anger ? Or what will happen one day when he does lose it and does not know how to control his anger because he has almost never been there ?
We have came to an agreement that our boy should be taught how to express his anger. If and when he does goes overboard, we can teach him how to tame it and how to manage it properly.
And when it comes to playing with his peers, the Golden Rule is, Always be nice and polite, but if other kids will to be nasty, tell them you don’t like it, if they do it again, you are allowed to fight back and if necessary, use force. Every actions has consequences and one should accept the responsibility for their actions even if it is just a kid.
A lot of parents will probably disagree with us. But in today’s world, violent crime and violence persists even in Singapore, which is probably one of, if not the safest major city in the world. We will like Malcolm to grow up being a tamed horse than a pony if a time ever comes, where he needs to defend himself or his loved ones from the realities of the world.