A School Yard Fight
Updated: Oct 21, 2021
My oldest son got in a fight at recess this week.
Awesome. Right? It's all a very long, convoluted story - so bare with me while I attempt to explain. Keep in mind these are 5th graders. It started on Tuesday when a girl, who he is sort of friends with, not really - but she is friends with all of his guy friends, dared him to slap another kid in the butt. This girl is often getting into trouble and causing drama, and this isn't the first time she has caused problems for him. But, he did it.
So, he slapped the boy - whom he doesn't know well. The boy got mad, embarrassed even, whatever - and he retaliated by chasing Brayden around the playground. They laughed, it seemed fine by the time they went back into school. Brayden seemed to think the matter was settled that day. The boy who was slapped held a grudge and came after Brayden the next day on the playground. He jumped him from behind, yanked on his neck, scratched his face and tackled him. Brayden came home from school and told me he fell at recess, but in reality, this boy attacked him. The boy also kicked two of his friends.
So - two issues. He started this fight on Tuesday. And then he lied to me.
He ended up going to the principals office and it was all dealt with, and it seems to be over now. My biggest complaint was that he lied to me. He said he was scared of getting into trouble and that we would be disappointed in him. He was worried that telling us would make it a bigger deal than it was. He was also nervous that we would find out he swore at the other boy.
Another issue here for me is that he gave into peer pressure and he slapped the boy in the first place, when he knew it was wrong. He admitted to me later that he felt he had to, because everyone was watching him when the girl dared him. He felt provoked, like he couldn't say no. This scares me. I worry about him being tempted to drink one day, get in the car with people who have been drinking, or what if someone pressures him to try drugs. I think back on all the times in high school when I did all of the above, and I knew it was wrong.
I also know how it feels to want to belong. To want to be accepted. To want to fit in. To want to be part of the group. To want to be understood. For my friends to like me. It breaks my heart that he experienced this and that he didn't feel safe enough to tell me the truth.
In terms of my sobriety, I know the feeling of not wanting to stop drinking simply because I didn't think my friends would accept me. We are clan people. We want to be part of the group. We don't want to be thought of as different. Brayden did what he thought wouldn't set him apart from the group at recess.
I need to figure out more how to show my kids that it's okay to stand apart, if it's what is right. It's okay to stand up for the truth and do what you know is best for you, even if you are worried what people may think. It was hard to stop drinking for me. And - it is hard for a 5th grade boy to do that too, but I can only continue to be the best role model myself for my kids. I know I am doing that everyday by being sober. I hope that one day they may be able to reflect on it all as they get older and understand it better. But for now... This parenting stuff is tough... so here is a pretty picture to focus on :)