Childrearing

Anonymous Mom: I Owe The Parents Of The Kid Who Bit My Son An Apology

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Later that evening, we received a call. My husband answered the phone and found himself speaking to the father of the biter boy. The father proposed two different courses of action and left it to us to decide how we would like their son to proceed: either a letter of apology or an in-person apology.

They were willing to bring their son to our home so that he could personally apologize to my son that evening. However, the dad did advise that they were planning to take the boy to his therapist first for an emergency session, and that a spoken apology might be difficult at that moment since their son was having trouble even breathing. Speaking might be a problem. But he still offered to bring the boy over later that evening if we wanted a personal apology. Obviously, we opted for the written apology, feeling that would suffice.

The dad then continued to explain that, unfortunately, this was not the first incident that had occurred with their son, as apparently he has been going through “some things at home.” He didn’t get into the details, and obviously we didn’t ask, but we are thinking possibly a divorce or some other traumatic event that is affecting this child’s behavior.

So now, instead of anger and suspicion as to the lack of parenting skills involved here, all I feel for this boy and his family is sadness. Whatever is happening in his home is something that has caused him to act out in such a way that seems completely adverse to the parents’ guidance and instruction.

Although I only had brief contact with them, they seem like they care about their son, that they discipline when necessary, and that this is something that truly concerned them. All of those traits are the sign of good and decent parents in my book. Nobody is perfect, and nobody has perfect children, but if you care enough about your son to get him help when he needs it and are concerned enough about his actions to instill punishment — to show that there are consequences for bad actions — you are doing the best you can for your child.

How quick I was to think that since their child was “bad” then they were obviously lacking in their parenting skills. What a judgmental asshole I was. And how easy it was to blame the parents for a child’s isolated incident of misbehaving.

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