Thursday, July 31, 2008

Violence in School

We've all heard how sometimes there is violence in school. I got a little taste of it this week. Last Tuesday, my daughter came home with this bruised eye. A boy in her class (already notorious for his naughtiness) had hit her with a dustpan. Actually, this picture already shows some improvement to her injury. When she came home, it was so swollen, she couldn't even open her eye. After icing it, the swelling went down. She was lucky the dustpan didn't hit the inside of the eye. If not, I'm sure it would have impaired her vision.

So, how did I feel?
Anxious to give that boy a good scolding.
Motivated to do something about it.

Well, DH called up the teacher to get the boy's father's contact number. We called him up and made an appointment to meet that night. It's a good thing we had some time before meeting up with that boy's family. It gave us some time to think what we wanted to get out of that meeting. In the end, it was all good. Prompted by the spirit (and keeping in mind that we need to be good Christian examples), we went with this attitude:
  1. Not out to seek revenge or harbour any angry feelings but rather to seek a solution.
  2. Make friends with the family. Not treat them like the enemy.
  3. Talk to the little guy eye-to-eye and make him realize that his actions are not acceptable. Besides hitting my girl with the dustpan, he had also previously punched her in the stomach, bend her fingers backwards, kick her legs, throw down her shoes etc.... So, you see there is a long list.
  4. Make sure the little guy understands that there will be consequences to his actions.
I'm glad that these boy's parents were good too to let us "reprimand" him. Some parents don't like the idea of other people disciplining their children. Actually, when we stepped into the house, the first thing they said was "you can whack him." Hahahah. Lucky for that little guy we are not that kind of people. We also told the parents not to cane him as that would not solve the problem.
I must say that DH handled the matter very well. No doubt his experience as a church leader served as a good guide. Stern, yet reasonable. Just want to put in point form some of the things he did:
  • Seek first to understand the reason for the action.
  • Teach about actions and consequences.
  • Didn't talk down on the child, but rather highlighted his good points and potential (this boy came out 1st in class so we said how smart he was and told him how much good he can do).
  • Gave some practical suggestions how to overcome the problem (e.g. when he feels like hitting another person, he should put his hands in his pocket). You can't just tell them to stop and not tell them how to do it. Like a smoker trying to quit usually has candy or gum as a substitute.
  • Follow-up. He knows we are keeping an eye on him and will come back to check on him.
  • Check for understanding and get a commitment. We asked him what is the right thing to do and made him promise to do it.
So, what is the result of our little talk with this boy? My daughter said he tried to be good yesterday. Actually put his hands in his pocket but ended up being kicked by other boys instead. Today, he fought a lot. Sigh! Well, we tried our best. At least I can say one good thing came out of this -- we made new friends in the neighbourhood :)

Mama's Parenting Tips:
  • This is one reason why homeschooling is better. People talk about how children will lack in socialization skills if not sent to a conventional school. But getting hit by bullies is not exactly healthy socialization.
  • If another child has done wrong to your child, don't be afraid to meet his/her parents. But do it in the proper spirit. Don't be overbearing and put them on the defensive. Don't be to coward and say everything is all right either.
  • Before you meet with the other parents, decide first what kind of outcome you want.
Last of all, just want to share this quote by Brigham Young. Remember it when you discipline your children.
"If you are ever called upon to chasten a person, never chasten beyond the balm you have within you to bind up."
In other words, don't create damage you can't repair.


  1. Oh gosh what a swollen eye. Hope she recover now. It's lucky that in my whole schooling years I never saw those violence incident. For those notty kids, the coorporate between parents and teachers are important to guide them to good way.

  2. If any of these were to happen to any of my kids, I wonder if I will be able to stay calm to solve the problem like you. Even reading what your dd has gone through, make me furious about the boy. But thanks for the tips. Will always keep that in mind just in case this happen to me in future..but hope not.

  3. Oh my...... I am so sad... Her eye looked bad. I do hope her eyesight is not affected. I am very awe with both, your hubby and you for the way both of you had handled this matter. If its for me, I really do not know how to handle it. I will be very angry at the boy. I will definitely learn from you on this matter. Thanks.

  4. poor girl ....
    I think i will get very furious and scold the boy ... but what u share here was good to b practice when thing happen to us .. hmmm.... nowsday kids can b very violence ...

  5. It is worrying who children that young can be so violent. Maybe this boy's parents are showing him the violence. Is he an abused child? He was also beaten up by other schoolmates? My goodness... I went to a school with "gangster school" reputation and didn't get that!

  6. Wow Ai Lian! Praises to both you and your Hubby for handling the matter in such a calm manner. I would probly have gone berserk if it happened to me. I do hope Karina gets well soon and big hugs to her!

  7. This is real bad. Can't imagine if it's happen to my kiddos, i think i will get mad and scold the boy upside down but now after reading your tips here, i will remind myself to stay calm in handling all these

  8. today's kids' world is pretty... beyond us, i would said.

    yeah... in a way, homeschooling is good.

    anyway, hope karina is better now :).

    thanks for the advice again... [but then again, if happen to my girl, she will sure fight back~ :p].

  9. wow...that looks really bad ler.luckily your girl is alright!

  10. i will remember this post if it happens to my daughter.....

  11. Aiyo mummy heart pain pain. Yet mummy daddy so cooool in handling this case. Got personality! Hats off to you two!

  12. Thank you for sharing Ai Lian. I sure hope your daughter recover fast and her inner world will be made whole again. You and your husband are wonderful parents. Redaing this blog entry set me thinking about another violent episode that happened to Sun Fu--Voience on the Street. Well we hope this young boy will be given proper guidance so there will be one less violent person on the street when he's grown.

  13. Oh goodness...
    Hope she is fine now... ya its very important to teach these bullies a lesson but for that the parents,teachers have to be really cautious. and i also feel that we should teach our children how to handle these bullies...

  14. Hi Lian,
    How's K doing? Hope that she is not disturbed by such terrible experience. I like your DH approach. Mine wld somehow do the same but if I were to do it, am afraid will let emotion controls the situation.. sigh..!
    Hugs to your girl.

  15. Oh dear, thats scary. I must say you all handled it very well indeed. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Zara also got bullied by her classmate. The boy stepped on her fingers whenever she didn't want to partner him or passed him something he wanted. Until Zara didn't want to go to school.

    Hubby went there and lecture the boy. And also got the teacher to do the same thing as well as speak to the parents.

    The parents bought everybody in class McD kids meal as an apology. Ha.

    But your girl's case teruk.

    Btw, I tagged you.

  17. BTW, Lian, I forgot to mention this and am thick faced enough to ask. Hehe. Would you be kind enough to drop by my blog to share your views with me about Chinese schools vs National Schools? Thanks a lot.

  18. I was amazed as how patient you (& HB) in handling the case. I would have freak. Wow, the boy came out 1st in class but still so notorious? That is unbelieveable. Looks like your girl has been his target bully for quite sometime. Poor girl. Which reminds me to check on my girl too incase there is any bruise. *dem kiasu*

  19. Reading your post makes me worried that my girls will be bullied in school in future. You and your hubs handled the matter very well. Now, I know what to do in future if ever my kids get bullied... keeping my fingers crossed they will never!

  20. Hullo! I blog surfed over here via another mummy's blog, and the ending to this post made me smile -- where the boy went back to fighting the next day.

    Really good tips on how to stay cool though. I have anger management problems myself, so maybe I need to put my hands in my pockets sometimes. :)


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