Najika's picture

Is this good parenting?

Today we had Thanksgiving at my parents house. In attendence were my cousin, her boyfriend and her 8 year old son. Her son and my other cousin's children briefly went outside to play with the 8 year old child of my parent's next-door neighbor. A few minutes later they came back in and reported that the neighbor's child had tried to hit my cousin's son in the back of the head after losing a game. The other children stopped him and the boy went back to his own house. When the kids told us my cousin and her boyfriend became very angry not at the neighbor child but at her own son for not fighting back! The boyfriend pulled him aside and gave him a quiet lecture no one else could hear. Then my cousin told her son that the next time anyone tried to hit him he needed to "punch him in the face until he fell down!" The boyfriend later bragged that when he was a kid if he lost a fight with another child his father "whupped" him. Later in the evening my cousin scolded her son again and reminded him to fight back next time.  Now, I was the only non-parent adult in attendence and I didn't feel comfortable offering my opinion, both because it isn't my right to tell someone else how to raise their kid and because in my experiance parents don't listen to people who don't have kids themselves. So my question to parents out there is: Was this good parenting? Is this how you would have handled it?



SnglDad's picture

The term "good parenting" is right up there with the word "normal". There are as many definitions as there are people who would chose to use those words. Whether we view this as good or bad parenting, it is their choice to raise their child this way. Personally, I agree that whenever a threat is presented, I expect my children to protect themselves first. As long as my child was defending himself, I will back him all the way. Schools these days often expect a child to take a beating, and then go tattle.

tamz's picture

fighting back is not always the answer.

Just like all adults are different, so are children. If a child is not a fighter, why encourge them to fight? The example of Jesus was not to hit people, but he certainly did stand for what he believed. I believe kids can learn to do the same.

I feel sorry for the kids who's parents punish them for not participating in violence. It's a personal choice if you want to be violent or not. We should teach children different ways of addressing conflict and if the kid does not want to hit someone, he should not be forced to.

My son has been taking Karate now for a few years. What I like about Karate is that he learns how to protect himself and others, should he be forced to, but he first learns how to manage conflict without violence.

Yes, parents teach their own children what they think is true and right. I personally would not force my child to engage in violence.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I've always told my kids to defend themselves. If someone hits them, yes they shld tell the teacher, parent or guardian. They shld also hit back if necessary. Why shld they let other kids push them around? I believe if children don't stand up for themselves, often they get picked on by other kids.
So to answer your question, I think teaching your child to fight back is not bad parenting. However, telling a child to punch another kid in the face until he falls down is not acceptable by any means.