Today, my sons had a play date with a very sweet, and super adorable little girl. We all went to a local duck pond and playground. It was a pretty popular spot today, and the kids were having a great time. Right before we left, I caught my son hitting another child. I was horrified, as anyone would be, and went over to him (as the kid was running to her mother to tell on him), grabbed him, and marched him over to her to make sure she was okay and to apologize to her. He did, and tried to hug her, and the entire time she glared at him. Since this is not his usual behavior, I suspected he was provoked, but still, I can't allow him to hit another kid.
On the way home, I told him "I'm not happy about what happened on the playground. Why did you hit that little girl?" And, he confirmed my suspicion, and said "She hit me so many times, over and over again, so then I hit her." I wanted to tell him, "Fine, defend yourself. Don't let someone smack you around.", but I suppose I can't let him just hit someone. After all, other folks saw him hit her, and they probably didn't see what happened just before that, so if I ignore it I look like a bad parent. When, I really wanted to tell him "Good for you. Don't take shit from a little punk like that."
I did continue with taking the "grown up" route, and told him that, while I understood why he chose to hit her, he should have instead told her not to hit him, and let me know what was going on. And I was honest with him, and told him other people saw him hit her and they might think he's a bad kid. I didn't think he wanted others to think he was bad, and he told me he did not want that. So, he agreed to tell me next time, instead.
This reminds me of the other week at the library. We were looking through the children's book section, and this little girl came up to my son and shoved him. She then proceeded to growl at him, and then was hissing at him, and then tried to push him to the ground. He was grabbing onto me, and I got him in front of me. Then I bent down to the little girl's level, gave her a big, warm smile, and promptly growled at her and then walked away. She didn't say a word, but she left him alone the rest of the time we were there. I saw her bully other kids, but not him after that. The next time we went to the library he asked "what if that little girl is there and growls at me?" I said "Well, we will growl back at her." Then, he said "Well, how about we just ask her not to growl at me, first. THEN we can growl at her if she does it again." A few minutes later he said "Maybe we first ask her not to growl. Then, if she does it again, we shout "NO! Do NOT do that!" Then, if she does it again we growl. Let's give her a chance, Mom." I think he might be a better person that I am. I haven't told him about growling at her already. I still stand by my choice. It worked, and no harm no foul!
And a little bonus side note: My son was telling my husband all about the "No soliciting" sign I had made for the front door. He said "This says 'No Solicitin' ' , so when people come up to the door and see this, they will run away. If they knock on the door, Mommy will come outside and beat them." So, my husband explained that there was no way Mommy would do such a thing. She would never beat someone. She'd stick 'em, instead.