What to do if a boy hits a girl in fun

prettyndsweet12 asks: I recently had an encounter with a boy slapping me in the face. I did hit him back and just assumed he was just playing. I told my mom about only to find out that she told my grandma and my dad. I told my mom as a way to bond with her and let her know I’m trying to be more open with her and it was only supposed to between her and me. How do I explain this to my mom nicely and how do I tell my dad I don’t want to talk about it with him?

Hi prettyndsweet12 –

You’re dealing here with two problems.  One is with your actual relationship with the boy.  The other is about how different people see certain actions.

With the boy, it sounds like you’re feeling okay about what happened.  I’ll allow that, though I will say that I get a bit concerned about a boy who thinks it’s “just playing” to hit a girl.  When I play with other dogs, it’s very rough, as you can probably guess.   But we have some very specific rules.  One is that if one of us yelps, the other pulls back right away.  Another is that, if one of our humans tells us to stop, we have to stop (at least for a second!).  The problem I’m having is that most boys have a similar rule, to never hit a girl.  So the fact that he slapped you, even in play, means he’s playing by a different set of rules.  And I don’t know what they are.  I certainly don’t want to see a wonderful girl like you in a relationship where it’s considered “okay” for you two to be hitting each other (eventually it wouldn’t be fair to you, just by the nature of the way boys’ arms and shoulders are built).  So I’d really like you to feel like you could talk to him about it – maybe to say “That was okay, and I made it even, but don’t ever hit me again – it won’t be okay next time.”  Something like that.  If you do that, and he respects what you say, all is fine.  (And if he doesn’t, I hereby give you the right to get your friends together to pound him!)

Now, about your parents:  It’s impossible for a kid or a dog to understand the way our parents/humans look at us.  The value they put on us.  The desperate need they have to know that we’re okay.  Handsome has no trouble seeing dogs overpower me in a park, to get me to stop bothering them.  But the last time a dog ever really attacked me, he jumped right in and lifted that dog into the air, over his head, to stop it.  If  person tried to hurt me (and I don’t mean a small slap “no,” but a real hit or kick), I can’t even imagine what he’d do to them.  It could put him in jail, I imagine!  He cares about me way more than I care about myself, and he lives in the knowledge that there are people out there who do terrible things to dogs.  So he worries, and he will, if necessary, erupt.

Similarly, the parent of a teenage daughter is likely to not be able to tolerate, at ALL, a boy hitting her.  Even in play.  Parents have heard too many horrible stories.  And for your mom, or maybe even more so your dad, that boy slapping you is like someone kicking me with metal-tipped shoes is to Handsome.  Incomprehensible, and Intolerable.  The slap hurt your face a tiny bit, but to them, he might as well have broken your nose.  They simply can’t take it.  That makes them totally normal parents!!!

I think it would be absolutely great for you to have a talk with your mom, about your desire to bond with her, and to have certain things that are just between you two.  And while I don’t know her at all, I’m guessing that she’ll feel that there are many many issues that could work that way: a crush you have, even talk about sex or liquor or something.  But someone slapped her baby.  And that’s just not going to be one of those subjects.

With your dad, I’d say to tell him what I suggested above.  That you’re going to set a boundary with that boy.  And that if that boy breaks that boundary by hitting you in any way, you’ll cut him out of your life at once.  My guess is that that will satisfy your dad, and he’ll understand and respect your desire to not talk about it anymore after that.

But you have to grant your parents the right to be who they are.  And they are people who, at their core, care about you more than anything in the world.  It’s that crazy love that made them put up with your screaming all night when you were teething, and your obnoxious backtalking when you were two.  It’s that love that has kept a roof over your head and fed you at night, and taken you to the doctor when they had lots more fun things to do.  And that same love is going to be completely intolerant of hearing that someone’s hurt their daughter.

In fact, if you want to see REAL intolerance, just let someone try to hurt Handsome when I’m around!  If you think I’m mean to squirrels…!!!

Thanks again!


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