The First Cut Is The Deepest

It happened already and I have no idea how I’m supposed to react to it.

My son came home from his 12th day of Junior Kindergarten with a huge scar above his eye. When I asked him what happened, he got oddly shy and replied, “I don’t know”. This response isn’t uncommon from kids but in this case, it was a frustrating experience.

I prodded him a few more times to try to get any bit of information I could get. Eventually he said that one of the other boys in the playground pushed him down and he landed on his face. How am I supposed to react here? My first thought was obviously anger. I don’t know who I was angry at though. The other boy for pushing my little guy, the school for not noticing or even my son for not saying anything after it happened.

My next revelation was that boys are usually pretty rough with each other on the playground. I mean, I used to be one and I know exactly the types of games that get played there. In fact, I’ve even stayed around after dropping him off and witnessed firsthand, the high speed games of tag and “got your hat” that they play with each other. They all seem to be smiling and happy, even as they get thrown to the ground; but you can’t help but cringe and wonder if some outside intervention is necessary.

That’s where the hard part begins. I am new at the whole “kid going to school” thing and have no idea what the proper etiquette is in these situations. Has this been going on for years and I’m the guy overreacting on the inside? Should I ask the teachers to keep a closer eye on the playground activities and stop violent games before they start? Or would that be overstepping my boundaries in the parent- teacher relationship?

My son is hardly innocent in all of this by the way. I see him running around and grabbing at kids sweaters and hats as well but once you drop them inside that gate, you are on the outside looking in. As it turns out, he was even less innocent when he later admitted that instead of being pushed, he actually ran into the other boy while they were all running and both kids went down. After confirming this story with the other child’s parents, what I am supposed to do as his father?

I had a talk with him, being careful to explain why it’s important that he not lie about things like this. As any parent of a 4 year old knows, it’s hard to judge how they are processing the information, because they are constantly looking for any place to be but immersed in a discussion about rules with their parents. I just have to hope he understands and then make sure I stay on top of it.

In the end, I most likely overreacted to the situation but that is MY little boy coming home with scars on his face. The thought of him getting hurt and for the first time and not having Mom or Dad there to make it better, leaves a little sting in my heart. With bullying being the hot topic issue it is these days, it’s hard not to jump to that conclusion immediately.

I want to know what you do when your kids come home from school with unexplained injuries. Do you have a “boys will be boys” attitude? Do you rationally attempt to get to the bottom of it; Or do you straight up freak out and call the cops?!


**This post originally appeared on the CHEO Moms&Dads Blog on October 24th**