Advice Column

Dear Martha:

My eight-year-old son got sent home early from school. Supposedly he pulled a girl’s ponytail so hard it made her cry. I don’t believe it. My son’s a kind-hearted kid.

He says the girl waves her hair in his face. That it touches his desk and gets in his way. All he was doing was moving it.

I’m angry that she didn’t get punished. It’s not fair. What can I do?

Angry Mother

 

Dear Angry Mother:

Imagine your son old enough to drive. He’s traveling close enough to the woman’s car in front of him that he can read all the stickers on her bumper. Suddenly she stops, without giving, what he thinks, is proper warning, so he smashes into her car, hurting her and damaging the car. Whose fault is that?

Instead of being angry at the girl in your son’s class and seeking to place blame elsewhere, teach your son to maintain a respectful distance, even when the hair is touching his desk.

He needs to learn alternative actions to hurting someone. For example, could he have said something to the teacher or asked to switch seats? Instead he pulled her hair which only got him in trouble.

Excusing an individual’s behavior, even at such a young age, can lead to a lifetime of excuses.

Martha

 

About Terry Connelly

Terry Connelly is a retired high school English teacher. She earned her BA and Single Subject Teaching credential from California State University of the East Bay, in Hayward, California. She taught for 18 years at Newark Memorial High School in Newark, California. She was gifted to work with both College Prep students and those with learning disabilities.
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