Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
A few days ago, I arrived home from work to find that my son had been bitten by another child. And no, that child was not a toddler from his daycare going through a somewhat common, but frustrating, biting stage. My son is seven. The biter is eight or nine. This happened on the bus as he was coming home from school.
My first reaction was obviously concern for my son, and whether the finger on which this bite occurred was badly injured. When he showed it to me, all I could see was a scratch and no broken skin, although the finger did look a bit swollen.
My second instinct was anger. Once identifying that my child was safe, the Momma Bear in me came out, and I saw red. How dare some punk kid harm my child! Lemme at ’em!
Along with that anger, there were also feelings of confusion and incredulity. How does a child of that age think it is OK to bite another child? Especially my son, who was nowhere near him on the bus. The biter summoned my kid over to his seat, apparently for the sole purpose of biting him. How is this possible? What were his parents teaching him?
My husband, who was working from home that day, had apparently already waded into this mess prior to my arrival home and assured me that he initially had the same angry reaction. He explained, however, that he had already called the parents to talk to them, assuming he was going to have to yell and demand retribution and generally express his extreme displeasure in this situation and in their son. But what he found on the other side of that phone line was unexpected.
He told me that the mom seemed horrified and deeply concerned about what her son had done. He said that her reaction completely threw him off of his game. He was initially prepared to rail against her son’s actions, but she pretty much beat him to the punch. She said that she would discuss this with her son and come up with a course of action to address it. She would call him back later that evening to share what they planned to do.
My husband left that conversation both surprised and relieved. At first, like me, he had also seen red, as his Daddy Bear instincts emerged. But the mom’s extreme reasonableness and understanding of the gravity of her son’s actions, along with her willingness to take action, completely disarmed and assuaged his anger.