For the most part, my oldest is a pretty good kid. He’s a rule nerd at school and on that one day in
This issue started way back on the mean streets of day care, then followed him to preschool, and on and on to the ripe old age of almost 7. I thought we might have licked it. There had been no reports for almost six months, but then, last week I learned I was wrong.
Here’s how it usually plays out – since he inherited his mother’s bossy tendencies, he lays out thegame, he gives characters, rules and boundaries. His friends go along until they get tired of being bossed around by a guy that is significantly shorter than them with an abnormally high voice and fierce eyebrows. Eventually, they get tired of him and they rebel and finally tell him “no.” His half-breed Turk/Irish temper flares aaaannnd he jacks them.
Sometimes, if the victim is brave enough, they narc him off in the moment, but most of his friends are easily intimidated by his Turk ways and hold it in until they get home. That’s when I hear about it from the parents. That sucks. There is just no way not to look like an asshole when someone tells you that your kid decked theirs.
Over the years I’ve read and Googled and tried just about every parent and teacher trick around to put an end to this. Nothing worked. My little Dirty Harry simply cannot be contained. My Irish Catholic soul knows that the only way this is really going to end is when someone finally jacks him in return, yet somehow, this is yet to happen. I find this odd, I mean, I mentioned that he’s usually the runt of the pack right? What is wrong with boys today? If a midget jacks you, jack him back I say! But I'm old and spent a lot of years in Philly. It seems that’s not how these things work here in modern day middle America.
Thankfully, this last time around the victim was one of his closest neighborhood buds with a laid back mom. As she told me what had happened in her classy British accent, my face once again turned red with an embarrassment and rage combo. She then added, “We told him just to hit him back, but he seems to think that’s not the right thing to do. So I thought I’d better tell you.” Indeed.
So after the necessary ‘talk-it-out’ between the boys and the ‘apologize without being snarky’ and the ‘accept the apology’ moments, we sent the victim off and I busted out my best Mom- talk. You know the one, we’ve all either given or received at least once, “I’m so disappointed in you.” “I didn’t raise a bully.” “How would you like it if someone treated you this way?” You know the drill. There were tears but they seemed forced and I didn’t really feel they were sincere so I wound up and socked him with the big finale. “I guess this time I’m going to tell your father so he can take care of this,” which resulted in a meltdown of epic proportions. Desired effect achieved.
I never usually break out the Turk as the final boundary in the punishment realm, not for fear of him going all Midnight Express on the kids, but because he really, really sucks at punishment. He’s the biggest pushover ever. He sees one tear and wusses out. He might be the one who was a commando in the Turkish army, but I’m the bad ass.
In an attempt to build tension and prep the Turk, I held the great ‘talking-to’ off until right before bedtime. The poor kid was a hot mess. So as I got the little one to bed, I sent the Turk in, armed with sentences to regurgitate, ideas to expand upon and a few options for consequences. Then, as any good mother does, I eavesdropped.
“We need to talk.”
“Ok Baba.” Tears bubbling in the corner of his eyes.
“Do not hit to your friends.”
“Ok Baba.” Voice shaky.
“They will not be friends to you if you do.”
“Ok Baba.” Nervous and waiting for the bomb.
“If you want to hit someone, hit your not friend.”
“Ok Baba?” Confused and alarmed.
“Just do not get caught. You are Turk. Turks do not get caught.”
“Ok Baba.” Understanding that he is totally getting off the hook.
“Go brush teeth. Go to bed.”
And that was it. That WAS IT! I probably should’ve seen it coming but I had hopes.
So the battle rages on and until somebody stoops down and jacks the Midget, I don’t know how it’s going to end. As for the Turk, I’ve got my work cut out for me. This next one isn’t even two yet and I’m going to need real back up with him. We turned his college fund into a bail fund around the time he hit 18 months!