“That time I told my kid to hurt another child”

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“Hitting is wrong, but sometimes you need to fight back,” she said. “When no one is there to protect you, when no one is there to protect others, sometimes it is a necessary evil.”

Violence is never the answer, especially when it comes to children. But for this one mother who told her child to hit another kid, violence works—that is, within bounds.

In her Scary Mommy story, Anne Radcliffe details the reasoning behind her decision.

She described her son as “an exemplary and good-natured, wise-old-man child.” He was a terrific child, and even his teachers could not help but gush about him, about his amazing vocabulary and empathy for others.

But when her son went to a new school, things soon began to shift.

Anne’s first clues that something was awry were the dirt on his son’s collar, the grass and mud stains ground into his khakis.

When asked, he only said that his friend was tossing him around—a natural part of any boy’s childhood. Anne thought everything was all right, normal.

Then one day her son came home moody and sullen, and when he happened to look her in the eyes, Anne saw the beginnings of a bruise on his cheek.

“What happened?!” she asked.

As it turned out, her son’s “friend” had been shoving and hitting and throwing him to the ground.

“And then it escalated into something deadly: His friend started shoving foods he knew my son was allergic to into his face.”

Anne’s heart broke; all this time she thought she had been a great mom to whom her son could easily confide.

She tried calling the school, but their actions were insufficient.

“I was promised that more adults would be watching. That it wouldn’t happen again. But it did, over and over again. The only thing more vigilance did was to teach this boy how to be sneakier about his behavior.”

Anne and her son had a long conversation that night.

“Hitting is wrong, but sometimes you need to fight back,” she said. “When no one is there to protect you, when no one is there to protect others, sometimes it is a necessary evil.”

Not only that, she told him that would support him if he chose to fight back, but only if he needed to defend himself.

The next day, when the boy tried to hurt him again, Anne’s son pushed him down and fought back.

“This bully, so surprised and hurt that my son fought back, finally heard the words my son had been trying to get him to hear: ‘No, I don’t want you to do this to me.’”

Anne added:

“People may say a child isn’t capable of figuring out when it’s OK to use force and when not to. That’s why we’re here as their parents. They’re going to make mistakes, and that’s OK. Life is messy, and sometimes it’s unfair, and sometimes morality comes in shades of gray.”

READ: You don’t want this happening to your kid: bullied girl caught on video

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