The dad reflected on whether he should punish his daughter after he got a call from her school about her being involved in an altercation with a classmate.
Trigger warning: This article contains themes of suicide and mental health issues that some readers may find distressing.
We all have heard stories of children getting punished by their parents for misbehaving with other kids in school. But a Reddit user, u/throwaway467545689, shared a story titled, "My daughter punched a boy at school today," in which they explained why they wouldn't be taking any action against their child for the same.
They began the story with, "My daughter (16F) is the last person you would expect to resort to violence. She is the most non-confrontational person I know, which makes this incident even more surprising. This semester has been extremely hard for her and today must have been her breaking point. In January, she lost full hearing in one of her ears, tried taking her life as a result, and was in a psych ward for two weeks, all within two months. She is doing a lot better and has been making significant strides with her therapist, but she feels a little self-conscious, which my wife and I totally understand."
OP added, "She has black hair, but last month asked us if she could dye some of it blonde and we agreed and we can tell it helped boost her self-esteem. Ever since she went back to school, a boy in her class has been making fun of her for losing her hearing and spending time in the hospital. My daughter knows better than to engage with him and even told a teacher who had a talk with the boy and my daughter said his insults have decreased. My daughter has never been bullied to my knowledge and everyone in the school enjoys being around her, so we thought it would be the end of it."
Then one day, "around noon, I got a call from the school saying my daughter was in an altercation with the boy. I drove to the school and walked into the assistant principal's office and saw my daughter sitting there with a small smirk on her face. I sat down and the AP said my daughter punched the boy after he told her that dyeing her hair will not solve her problems and she's still a mentally ill deaf girl. He then pulled on the dyed strands of her hair and my daughter punched him twice in the chin as a result and he fell to the ground."
She tried her best to ignore him, but the boy kept bullying her and this "boy pulled on her hair she felt this intense feeling of anger and turned around and hit him. I asked why the boy was never told to stop and the AP gave us a weak PR answer saying my daughter told a teacher and they had a conversation. They believed the situation would solve itself. Obviously, it didn't."
They added, "My daughter was suspended for three days and the boy was suspended for one day and given two days detention. I don't think it's a fair punishment, but I don't expect the school administration to take altercations properly at this point. We grounded her for two weeks and she agreed to spend time with my brother, who is a carpenter and help him repair an apartment this weekend."
But then the parent decided not to ground their daughter. "I am going to throw out the two weeks of grounding for her," they wrote. "She did exactly what we told her to do when confronted and we punished her for it. Tomorrow we are going to apologize and say how proud we are of her. If she wants to spend time with her uncle this weekend, that is her decision. Knowing she will stand up for herself and not take any insults makes me a proud father."
Being a parent is not easy and there are no simple and right answers in these situations but teaching one's kid to stand up for themselves is a great step!