For once, our kid isn't on the "aggressor" end of a school incident report. Earlier this week, we were notified that one of the other children in Alex's class had bitten him while they were sitting in circle. The teachers let us know that Alex did nothing to provoke the incident but they were proud of how he handled it.
Rather than hitting the child back, Alex immediately jumped up and shouted "No biting!" before moving to an empty seat on the other side of the circle. So he alerted the teachers and removed himself from the situation, which is exactly what we would want him to do.
He wasn't hurt. I would guess that the biter mostly got a mouthful of his sleeve.
But it's put me in a position I haven't really been in before: the parent whose kid could have been hurt by the aggressive acts of another child. As I mentioned before, I'm usually on the other side of the equation.
It's left me wondering. Does the child bite his/her parents or siblings at home? Is this a surprise to them? Was she acting out a routine or was this intended to gain attention or an attempt to deal with some sensory issue?
Where most parents jump on the warpath when their child is hurt, I think I have more compassion. I understand how even the best intentioned and careful parents can be helpless to entirely prevent these behaviours. This isn't a malicious attack or a case of bullying or even neglectful parenting. I'm sure it's something they are working on and I'm sure they feel just as horribly guilty as I always felt when Alex hurt someone else.
Parenting isn't a guaranteed success. It's not like cross-stitch or knitting where if one pays attention and puts in the work, the result is as promised on the front of the box. Sometimes we can be doing everything humanly possible and a few things which aren't and still it will not be enough.
I've faced the screaming parents accusing me of being a monster, raising a monster and all the variations within. As if I deliberately chose for their child to be hurt. I've blocked the ones who tried to inflict a little eye-for-an-eye on Alex. And I've lost my temper and hurled a few accusations of my own. It did nothing to help the situation but it did show Alex that I believe he is worth protecting, even if he has done something wrong. It shows him that he is not abandoned because of his actions. I'm his mother and nothing will ever change that, no matter how horrible I feel about any harm he has inflicted.