My husband mentioned to me that another child on the bus had hit my daughter, on more than one occasion. The Mama-bear in me came out. Husband said he told Munchkin to "slap the crap out of her."
I'm not opposed to self-defense. I want Munchkin to feel okay about defending herself and fighting back if the situation warrants. On the other hand, I want her to have other options too. And I don't relish the thought of dealing with suspensions for fighting on the school bus, although I would if I had too.
I talked with Munchkin. I suggested that Becca stand up and yell "DO NOT HIT ME" and then walk forward to sit near the bus driver. Munchkin told me she couldn't yell on the bus or get up and move seats. I was trying to explain that she sure could - this was an exception to the rule. She started getting upset so I dropped the subject.
Husband called the school and talked to them about the situation. Munchkin said that the bus driver moved Becca. So hopefully that takes care of the immediate incident. However, it concerned me that Munchkin got so upset about standing up for herself.
So last night in the car on the way to cheerleading I was talking to her about it more. And playing "pretend" - what if someone hits her? touches her privates? Steals her book? I discussed yelling "NO" and "STOP THAT." Munchkin kept saying, "but we can't yell on the bus. Or move around."
At one point I got a real fierce voice and said "Munchkin, it is NOT okay for someone to hurt you. That makes me mad. I'd want to hurt them. You are my baby girl and NO ONE hurts you."
She said "really Mama? What would you do?"
I said "well I'd want to kill them or beat them up. No one hurts you and I will do whatever it takes to protect you."
She was silent and I think it made an impression.
I went over again things she can do to protect herself - yelling, screaming, moving, whatever. And that most of all, she needs to tell me or another adult - over and over until the problem is solved.
The whole conversation made me think about how we teach kids, consciously and subconsciously. Sure she needs to follow the rules of the bus. But on the other hand, there are always exceptions to rules in emergencies. I think that Husband and I are going to try some "practice" sessions with Munchkin where we pretend she is in a situation where she needs to react and see what she thinks she might do. I sure want her to be prepared. Any of you other parents have ideas?