Family Life, Parenting

Fourth Grade Fight Club

I’ve learned that when it comes to being a parent, nothing is ever the same each day. While we think we are teaching them what to do to be a good friend or family member, sometimes it may have repercussions that never even crossed our minds. I also learned a long time ago that every story has two, maybe three sides, so make sure you have all the facts before going all momma bear on someone. By the way, I really suck at that part, but I am working on it.

A little “4th grade fight club,” as some of us moms are calling this incident, happened while I was out of town and did not have access to my children to get the full stories. I had my phone blowing up with so many different versions of what happened, but ultimately, I did not have all of the facts. I was ready to go all momma bear when my husband told me to take a step back and see what happens in the morning, since this happened during the last 30 minutes of school at recess. I am glad I did, even though it really had me rattled. The administration handled the situation in a way I didn’t understand. Why was my child getting in trouble for going to the aid of his friend who was being bullied? We teach our children to help the ones being bullied and stand up for what is right, but I wasn’t prepared for when he did, that he would be in trouble, too. And if my child ever is the bully, they will have much worse consequences at home.

What I learned from this experience, or “incident,” as it’s being called, is that the school is teaching them differently. I understand what they are trying to teach our children, but our children do not understand what they are trying to do. They are expected to go find an adult to deescalate the situation rather than step in and try to help themselves. To these kids, that is considered snitching, and you know the saying, because they haven’t stopped saying it: “snitches get stitches.” I think we as parents should really sit down and explain the difference between snitching and reaching out when help is needed. I believe that if our children better understand the difference between snitching or needing help, we won’t have the recess brawls, and the kids who are in actual need of help, get the help they need. I think it’s best explained by its actual definition: snitching is to secretly tell someone in authority that someone else has done something bad, often in order to cause trouble. We’ve got to break the stigma of telling an adult if there is a problem versus trying to get someone in trouble. They are totally opposite, yet treated the same.

Moms, dads, teachers, and any other caregiver who may read this, this is just another example of how society changes and we have to adapt and teach our kids another thing. We live in a society where people pull out their phones and record instead of helping a person in trouble. Yes, there is always a fine line we have to cross, but I have served that up to simply being a parent.

PS: This is why we use our words and communicate… After talking with the school administrators, they have planned to talk to the children about the situation and discuss how it should have been handled. This is a great teaching experience, and I look forward to our carpool talk when that day comes. This is yet another reason why I love my children’s school so much; the lines of communication are always open.

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