When a mom learned her son punched a classmate at school, she took him out for ice cream. And no it’s not because she believes violence is the answer, but because she believes he had the right to stand up for himself and for the underdog.
In a now-viral Facebook post, Katie Bryant wrote about the day she went to pick her “middle son up from a drop-off kindergarten science class.”
When she arrived in the classroom, Bryant saw “a crying child, holding his face and looking embarrassed” and “on the other side of the room my child, my Enneagram 8 if I’ve ever met one, arms folded across his chest, eyebrows touching in the middle, a teacher squatting down trying to talk to him. I didn’t even wonder what had happened.”
While accessing the situation, the volunteer assistant in her son’s class walked up to the mom. She explained there was an “incident” and Bryant replied, “I can see that, let’s go figure it out.” The mom continued:
“His face relaxed a little when he saw me, I like to think he knew I’d have his back. The teacher was asking him what I felt like were the wrong questions, “Did you hit him?” It’s important to me not to undermine a teacher, especially in front of a child so I asked if I could help her sort it out, she looked relieved. I can’t imagine she woke up expecting to deal with a brawl in the K-1 class that day.”
And that when Bryant asked her son, “What happened?” Pointing out that “it’s important to look for the “why,” not just the “why not.”
That’s when her son explained that he couldn’t just stand by and watch his classmate be bullied by another classmate double his size.
“‘Mommy, they sent us to the bathroom.’ The teacher interjected that they send the kids in groups of three to the bathroom for safety. ‘Right, so they sent us in there when that big kid over there (gesturing to the snibbling boy in the corner who now looked deeply guilty) starting pushing the little kid.’ Looking at the kids he was pointing to, I could see ‘the big kid’ was easily a head and a half taller than my child and easily outweighed the smallest kid by 30 pounds. ‘He pushed him again and again and I told him to stop! I couldn’t go get a teacher and leave the little boy to get hurt. So I punched him, hard.'”
Bryant said she could see the expression on her son’s teacher’s face change as her son explained what happened. Bryant said she believes the teacher originally thought it was her son being the bully, not the other way around.
The mom said as her son began to explain what happened, “the big kid’s” parents also walked in. When they asked their son if that story was true, the child tearfully told his parents that it was.
Mom Refuses to Punish Son Who Punched a Classmate
“Apparently something had happened during the class he was upset about and he used the secluded area of the bathroom to get some revenge. Watching the way they dealt with the situation I started to see why he felt this was a sensible course of action.”
After all of that was said and done, Bryant grabbed her children and they “went for ice cream.”
“I am aware I am going to get a slew of hate for this but let’s be honest, the internet makes people too comfortable with dishing out hate through a veil of anonymity and not getting punched in the face for it. My child has full permission to rock your kid’s world if they are bullying them or someone else.”
Bryant continued, “I don’t teach solving problems with fists and I believe in alerting an adult if possible. However, sometimes it’s not possible. In that case, if they feel like they or someone is being harmed it’s ok to stand for what’s right. It’s honorable to fight for the underdog. I do not apologize for teaching them to stand up for someone else. This broken world needs more people to stand for the oppressed.”
The mom said her son might be “strong and fierce,” but he’s also one of the kindest people she’s ever met. “He would drop everything and give the same kid he just decked a hug if he felt he needed it.” Bryant wrote:
“These are the kids who grow up to defend the silenced. These are the kids who say something when they see your daughter being harassed at a college party. These are the kids who step in when your kid gets bullied in a locker room. These are the kids who grow up to walk their co-worker through the dark parking garage late at night.”
And while parenting him may “drain the red” from Bryant’s hair, she knows “without a doubt that this child will move mountains for human rights. It is my job as his parent not to stomp out his fire but to teach him to use it for good.”
Bryant reiterated in an interview with the Today Show that she never wants her 6-year-old son actively looking for trouble, “but if somebody has made it physical and they have no better options I don’t want them to just stand there and take it or watch somebody else get hurt.”
And many other parents applauded Bryant for teaching and allowing her son to advocate for himself and for others.
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