Hitting isn't the same as hitting on

From where I sat on a bench with the kids eating snacks I could see the girl come running across the park. Nine or ten years old, the girl headed straight for her mother.

Mom! she yelled.

What's wrong? asked the mom.

He hit me! the girl said through her tears. She pointed back towards where she had come from. Her mother slowly pulled the story from her. She hugged her daughter and comforted her. Then she said words I couldn't believe I was hearing.

Do you know what it means that he hit you? the mother said to her beautiful daughter. He hit you because he likes you. He just didn't know how else to tell you.

I watched them walk to the other side of the park, wondering what the mom was going to say to that boy but too angry to care. I wanted to walk after them, grab the mother by the shoulders and say to her what are you thinking? I wanted to look in the girl's eyes and tell her don't listen to your mother. Hitting is not the same thing as hitting on. Ever.

I shouldn't be surprised but I was. I was surprised to see a mom teaching her daughter that it is okay for a boy to hit (and how far of a leap is it to pushing or yelling or treating you like crap) because he likes you. As if that is an excuse. As if his  inability to respectfully communicate his feelings comes second to the fact that he likes you. As if the girl should just be grateful that a boy likes her and forgive how he treats her.

Sitting on the bench I composed in my head what I would say to my girl if she came running across the park to me. That's unacceptable I would say. There is never any reason to hit someone. That behaviour is not respectful. You deserve to be treated better. Maybe that isn't the kind of kid to hang around with.

All those words I would to say to my girl, even as I hope I will never have to. But I am sure I will. Because even if I don't tell her that hitting is the same as hitting on, someone else will. And I need to be around to teach her the truth.

Brie @ Capital Mom


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