The third grade is having a hard time getting their groove. The boys are punching to play, but then the punches hurt too. Some of the kids are feeling bullied, and some parents were surprised to find that their kids were the ones hitting too hard.

It’s crushing to think your child has been hit. My son was kicked by a little girl playing with him. He was kicked repeatedly, and then he hit back. I had to talk to him, and tell him that he’s not allowed to hit a girl, even in self defense. His only defense from a girl is to hold his hand out so she can’t reach him. That is all.

Really, what I wanted to be able to tell my son is, “good grief just kick her back, teach her a lesson. Don’t let anyone hurt you.”

But I couldn’t do that. Because that wouldn’t be right.

And then I had to talk to him about not playing too rough. That not all kids will tell you when you’re hurting them so you can’t be pulling on people’s arms, or punching for fun. I think he was mystified, but accepting. It’s a lot for an eight year old to understand.

It was a lot for me to discuss, and it made me cry. These are good kids, they don’t want to hurt each other, but they’re just not aware of the world outside of themselves. All of them. They’re growing and changing, and we’re entering a new phase of childhood. Frankly, it’s terrifying.

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