Wedding Woes

Classic: Should I have pressed charges?

My 10-year-old son recently came home in tears because a man on our street slapped him across the back. When I got the full story out of him, it transpired that he and a couple of other friends had been ringing people’s door bells and running away. I checked his back and there wasn’t even a red mark—he was crying out of embarrassment and shock and was clearly not physically harmed. I took him to the neighbor’s home and made my son apologize for being a nuisance. The neighbor was also deeply apologetic and said he went too far. He said he was at home receiving medical treatment and this wasn’t the first time he was disturbed by young pranksters. I gave him my number and said if he ever found my son doing this again, he could call me and I would ensure there was a proper punishment. The neighbor also said sorry to my boy. The rest of the family, however, is  furious. They say I handled it the wrong way and I should press charges against the neighbor. We have been arguing over this nonstop. Was I wrong?

Re: Classic: Should I have pressed charges?

  • I think the LW may have been a bit lenient on the neighbor but not every altercation needs pressing charges either.  

    You can be angry at BOTH people here.  The kid was entirely in the wrong and a grown ass man needs to control his behavior.  Based on the lack of the mark I would be clear, "I need you to call me if something like this happens again and my child is out of line.  I trust this issue has ended and if you ever place your hands on him my reaction will be to the authorities."

    Despite this neighbor being horrible I also don't know that it required pressing charges.
  • I agree with you @banana468.

    Also, taking this a step further...would you give your kid 'additional' punishment beyond getting a massive lesson in not messing around on people's property and the shock of being hit by someone?  I feel like this is the kind of event you have to tread a massive line because he has to understand how he was wrong, but also this *is* 'kid shit' that the neighbor overreacted to and was honestly, more wrong since he is an adult and laid hands on a kid. 

    Furthermore, events like this going unchecked can become internalized shame that can be destructive and end up with him looping or spiraling.  I don't think it's therapy worthy right away, but I definitely think helping your kid out with processing it is imperative and needs to be handled in a timely manner to head off lingering problems if possible. 
  • mrsconn23 said:
    I agree with you @banana468.

    Also, taking this a step further...would you give your kid 'additional' punishment beyond getting a massive lesson in not messing around on people's property and the shock of being hit by someone?  I feel like this is the kind of event you have to tread a massive line because he has to understand how he was wrong, but also this *is* 'kid shit' that the neighbor overreacted to and was honestly, more wrong since he is an adult and laid hands on a kid. 

    Furthermore, events like this going unchecked can become internalized shame that can be destructive and end up with him looping or spiraling.  I don't think it's therapy worthy right away, but I definitely think helping your kid out with processing it is imperative and needs to be handled in a timely manner to head off lingering problems if possible. 
    Agreed.  As the mom to a kid not much older I would be outraged if a mother did that to Chiquita.  So there would need to be some serious discussions with the kiddo about what is and isn't OK but at no time is it OK for anyone to put hands on her.  
  • This totally would have been a post on my “nextdoor” app

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