|Hard to see the wood for the trees on the doorstep|
I’ve never seen a chapter in a parenting book called: How to handle an irate parent on your doorstep.
Not one. And I’ve never seen a blog post or an article about what to do when your child has been accused (and convicted) of a crime against another – and that other’s parent is standing crossly ringing your doorbell.
But this very thing happened last night.
Boy Two had come home from school as usual and was setting about redressing his E-number deficit before I could find him a healthy snack.
The doorbell rang. I was greeted by a mother (who I vaguely know and don’t like much) and her red-eyed sniveling daughter – a year or so younger than 10-year-old Boy Two.
“There was an incident on the bus with your son,” she began.
“Boy Two hit Her in the face with a shoe on the bus.”
“Oh. That looks nasty.” Sure enough the child did have a red mark on the bridge of her nose.
Stalling and feeling outnumbered I called Boy Two.
“What happened?” I asked him.
He began a flustered explanation about how She had hit him in the face first another day with her lunch box. Then again with her gym bag.
“But she didn’t have her lunch box,” the mother was triumphant.
“I did on Monday,” the daughter seemed embarrassed.
“And you didn’t have your gym bag.”
“I did,” she whispered.
“It wasn’t just me,” said Boy Two.
“It was. Everyone on the bus said so.” claimed the mother.
“Everyone?” I asked.
“Yes. Everyone who got off.”
I asked her daughter to tell me what happened. And she said that yes my boy did hit her with the shoe, but she might have been “annoying” him.
This felt like a victory, so I decided to wrap things up while I could still keep my temper.
“I think apologise are what we need.”
“I’m sorry,” said Boy Two.
“It’s OK,” said the girl, very quickly, clearly as keen as I was to get the encounter over with – although not keen enough to apologise herself.
“We’d better go and put some ice on that,” said the mother looking at the already fading red mark.
I restrained myself from yelling: “Don’t you think you should have put ice on her face first before you hauled her out to have a go at my boy at what was clearly a case of a playground spat and a mis-aimed gymshoe.”
And after she’d flounced off. “You won’t do that again, will you Boy Two?”
I hate confrontation almost as much as I hate false accusation and decisions made without considering all the facts.
What would you have done?