I knew it had to happen eventually, but I wasn’t ready for it yet. My daughter encountered her first bully, a boy not too much older than herself. At first it was mostly cruel teasing and she weathered it like a champ. We talked about it and she seemed secure in the fact that he was being unkind to her because he was sad about something else and not because she was some how flawed or inadequate.

Of course being my kid she just plain out told him off when she had enough. “You’re just being a bully because you’re sad! I’m a nice girl, and I’m important!” she yelled. Which was clearly presumptuous and probably not the greatest way in the world to handle her antagonist but I was proud of her for standing up for herself, even at the tender age of five.

She didn’t have any problems out of this kid for several weeks; then out of the blue she ran to me with a welt on her cheek. He punched her square in the jaw and I was livid. I took Little by the hand and we walked over to the play room where I calmly, but with Mama Bear Rage clearly visible on my face, asked what happened.

Immediately her assailant started clamoring around that he “never hit her” and “she was lying” this that and the other. I pointed out the welt on her face, which changed his tune immediately to “but she kicked me!” At that point, I scooped Little up and had to walk away. She was upset from being assaulted both verbally and physically by this kid and then she thought she was in trouble.

She started wailing as we walked away and it took me a few minutes to calm her down before asking her what happened again. I asked her if she kicked him and she replied: “Well, yeah. But he hit me first. I fell down, and he wouldn’t let me up so I kicked him in the head!”

With that, I had to smile, and gave her a giant hug. We talked about the difference between hitting for the hell of it and self defense and came up with an action plan for her to follow the next time she found herself in a position like that.

She’s going to try her best to walk away and find her teacher/me/an adult to help, but she knows that if she has to fight back she won’t get in trouble. At least with me. Teaching my kid to fight was never in my plans, but I’ll be damned if she’s continually victimized due to her lovable, kind nature, and gentle soul.