You Didn't Thank Me For Punching You in the Face

On a somewhat serious note today because of a conversation the other day:

I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child,  coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime.  I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”.  I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own.  I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children.  Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy.  If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.

When the fuck was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment?  And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships?  How did society become so oblivious to the fact that we were conditioning our daughters to endure abusive treatment, much less view it as romantic overtures? Is this where the phrase “hitting on girls” comes from? Well, here is a tip: Save the “it’s so cute when he gets hateful/physical with her because it means he loves her” asshattery  for your own kids, not mine. While you’re at it, keep them away from my kids until you decide to teach them respect and boundaries.

My daughter is `10 years old and has come home on more than one occasion recounting an incident at school in which she was teased or harassed by a male classmate.  There has been several times when someone that she was retelling the story to responded with the old, “that just means he likes you” line.  Wrong.  I want my daughter to know that being disrespected is NEVER acceptable.  I want my daughter to know that if someone likes her and respects her, much less LOVES her, they don’t hurt her and they don’t put her down.  I want my daughter to know that the  boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that  will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life.  I want my daughter to know how to deal with assholes she will encounter throughout her life. For now, I want my daughter to know that if someone is verbally harassing her, she should tell the teacher and if the teacher does nothing, she should  tell me.  If someone physically touches her, tell the teacher then,  if it continues, to yell, “STOP TOUCHING/PUNCHING/PUSHING ME” in the middle of class or the hallway, then tell me.  Last year, one little boy stole her silly bandz from her.  He just grabbed her and yanked a handful of them off of her wrist.  When I went to the school to address the incident, the teacher smiled and explained it away to her, in front of me, “he probably has a crush on you”. Okay, the boy walked up to my daughter, grabbed and held her by the arm  and forcibly removed her bracelets from her as she struggled and you want to convince her that she should be flattered?  Fuck off.  I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter.  If these same advice givers’ sons came home crying because another male classmate was pushing them, pulling their hair, hitting them or calling them names, I would bet dollars to donuts they would tell him to defend themselves and kick the kid’s ass, if necessary.  They sure as shit wouldn’t say, “he probably just wants a play date”.

I will teach my daughter to accept nothing less than respect.  Anyone who hurts her physically or emotionally doesn’t deserve her respect, friendship or love.  I will teach my boys the same thing as well as the fact that hitting on girls doesn’t involve hitting girls.  I can’t teach my daughter to respect herself if I am teaching her that no one else has to respect her.  I can’t raise sons that respect women, if I teach them that bullying is a valid expression of affection.

The next time that someone offers up that little “secret” to my daughter, I am going to slap the person across the face and yell, “I LOVE YOU”.


EDIT: One of my readers made a very astute critique of this post and I wanted to include his whole comment, rather than just make the edit.

Love it! Do have one small criticism
“And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships?” I think could be better rephrased as “And we have the audacity to wonder why abusers are able to keep women in abusive relationships?”

One is a line of reasoning that blames the abused women “Well, she’s the one choosing to stay, I guess she’s getting what she deserves!” The other better illustrates that society’s conditioning may have made them better targets, but someone had to come along to take advantage of that.

0 thoughts on “You Didn't Thank Me For Punching You in the Face

      • I think that the ideas here deserve to be listened to and understood. It is unfortunate that the gueenofthecouch needs foul language to help get her point across. I would have more respect for her opinions if she spoke english with out the use of expletives.

      • I have to agree with Ed above here. While slightly amusing (I understand you’re trying to engage your audience) the foul language makes this lose a bit of its pizazz. While teaching your daughter respect and to be respected, I doubt you’re using this language with her.
        As a teacher myself I would LOVE to print this and give it to my principal and fellow teachers, but I can’t distribute this kind of language.

  1. Everybody needs to read this…why would people EVER think it’s ok for kids to hit one another, no matter what lame excuse others can give?

  2. Bravo! I shared the FB post because I’ve seen a few friends say it to each other about their own kids… I remember being pushed around by the boys and people sayin “oh, they like her”, no, they didn’t. They liked that they could push me around and I didn’t fight back… and of course, I did one day… and I was the one in trouble. Go figure.

      • But you have to wonder a little if fetishes like that are partially derived by being influenced by these kinds of messages as a child.

        And this is coming from a guy who participates in Dominant/submissive situations.

  3. agree, completely and utterly.

    I have actually considered doing a class for the little girls in my world to practice the yelling part. I know we teach them about stranger danger and we teach them *to* yell, but how often do we actually practice it with them?? kudos!

    • I think that would be a great idea! I don’t think we start early enough empowering our children to speak up when their boundaries are violated. Too often, I think we go in the exact opposite direction.

      • There is a great program called KidPower which does exactly that: teaches kids to react when their boundaries are violated in any way by a child OR an adult. This is a GREAT GREAT GREAT post by the way! I am looking forward to it being all over the place by tomorrow and initiating a long overdue discussion. Thanks!

      • This totally plays into my rant about making kids give hugs. How can we expect them to make the right decisions when we send them such conflicting messages?

        I would like to say that there *can* be a place for explanation, as long as it’s not being used as an excuse. Like when you work with toddlers. They hit when they’re angry. It’s understandable AND still wrong. So, you tell the one doing the hitting that while you understand that they’re angry, that’s not the right way to express being angry. And you tell the one being hit that the other one is angry AND that’s not the right way to say you’re angry. Explaining what people are feeling helps kids with their empathy, but feelings aren’t excuses.

        Does that make sense? I feel like that particular explanation might be tainted beyond usability, but sometimes explaining to the victim why a person hurt them can help them cope with it. And working with an abuser about what they meant to say is helpful to work them through it. Especially with kids who are so rarely assholes on purpose, and only because they don’t know better.
        Again. Not knowing better isn’t an excuse for bad behaviour, it’s a call for more education.

      • JMH–good for you for being willing to make that point. I agree. I work in a domestic violence court and what is probably the hardest aspect for people to get their minds around is that abusers are people too. And it HAS to be possible to accept that while completely rejecting the choices they make. Especially when trying to understand why people (women AND men) stay with people who abuse them. Being abusive is a serious problem and a major flaw. And it is possible to still love someone who is abusive. Which makes it very difficult to walk away. It’s very hard to hold those two opposing realities in our minds at the same time, but I think it’s really key to understanding both positions and therefore to addressing the issue. Programs for people who are abusive can’t work if we don’t make that assumption–that abusers can change and are worth the effort.

      • I completely agree that we need not demonize little boys (or call them assholes) to reject violent behavior when it occurs. We must never excuse violence. We need to put a stop to it immediately and make sure the victim is alright. And then we need to *teach* the perpetrator a more effective (and socially appropriate) way of expressing his (or her) emotions. I do think that many little boys feel conflicted about the feelings generated by their first crushes, and this can sometimes lead to violent acting out. This is an explanation, not an excuse. It should be taken into account when working with both parties. It is not wrong to discuss it. It is wrong to pretend that acknowledging it is enough.

  4. I told my daughter (she was about 4 years old) that if the teacher wouldn’t intervene, she was to ball up a fist and hit the boy as hard as she could, right on the nose. Once she had this knowledge, oddly enough the boy stopped bothering her. I think she had a whole different attitude. =)

      • Even though it’s kind of embarassing to admit, I actually kind of agree with this old school advice. The real problem isn’t kids hitting each other. It’s helicopter parents intervening and depriving kids of the chance to work out their disagreements themselves.

    • I’m going to teach my daughter the same thing. At a year old I’m already making sure she’s very active and used to rough(ish) play, when she finally hits the school yard those boys had better watch out.

  5. I completely agree with you that that is NOT an okay way to show affection and that girls should NOT tolerate it and we should NOT feed that line to our daughters.

    However, I do want to mention that children DO have odd ways of showing affection and I think that a lot of young boys don’t know how to act when they encounter feelings for a girl in their class. I think that parents and teachers need to do a better job at trying to listen and respond to boys, like we do with girls. I feel like there is a lot of emphasis on teaching girls to express themselves and be okay with their feelings, but we do boys a terrible disservice when we label them as “assholes” rather than modeling appropriate behavior and actually trying to have conversations with boys about how to treat others.

    I also think it is interesting to note cases like JB mentioned- I think that when girls stand up for themselves, it is a great learning lesson for the little boy. Sometimes, I think they continue the behavior because no one tells them not to and they are trying to figure out this crazy world as much as every other kid.

    • I don’t think for one second that society is better at listening and responding to girls rather than boys. I think girls get the shaft here too. I have one daughter and THREE boys. I listen to all of them. I don’t tell my boys they aren’t allowed to cry or prevent them from expressing themselves. You can’t imagine how much flack I caught from family and friends when my oldest son used to carry a purse a few years ago, as a preschooler, because, obviously, such a permission would “make him gay”. Sometimes my kids fight, sometimes they even hit. I don’t just chuckle it off and say “oh well, kids will be kids”. Yes, all children will act out at one point or another but the children of parents that do nothing but rationalize the behavior with excuses like “it’s signs he has a crush on her” are doing their child a disservice. I hate to break it to you but with four children, ten and under, I can attest to the fact that some parents have created little assholes because they refuse to show them how to respect others bodies or property. If your child hits mine, tries to break my kids’ toys and calls his mom a bitch when she laughs and gently says “can you be nice?”, (I know this kid!) you can bet your bottom dollar I am judging your parenting and I think you are bringing up a little asshole.
      The point is, YES, children will act out and children may not know how to properly express their feelings for one another. The only time, however, we chuckle off agressive behavior between children, it seems, is when it is between a boy and a girl. Too often, the little girl is told this “secret” and we have the expectation that they accept this truth and, not only, accept the behavior but to find it endearing.

      • I totally agree. I have one daughter and three sons, and it is imperative to teach all of them the right way to handle their feelings. Yes, boys tend to hit when they like a girl. But they will learn quickly not to if we handle the situation and let them know how serious it is, rather than letting it go and giving them the message that it is fully acceptable or even “cute” behavior. Ignoring it not only gives the girl in the situation the wrong message, but also doesn’t teach the boy anything about respect and how to show affection. Sometimes, letting your son get punched in the face by a girl he assaulted might be the lesson that sticks.

    • Completely agree with RR. While it is not appropriate behaviour for any boy to be abusive in any form to a girl (or boy), there can often be reasons for it beyond it being abuse for malicious reasons. That’s not to say any teacher or parent should ignore it or be flippant about it, it should be addressed properly, but it is often true that children (as this is not exclusive to boys) can be horrible to others because they don’t know how to properly deal with the emotions that they’re feeling. So yes, the abused should be protected and the abusers should be punished, but reasons should be sought and it would be wise to educate all children about how emotions can manifest themselves and the appropriate ways to handle them.

    • I agree with RR. We need to teach both sexes what is right -not just get angry and respond with an action that is just like the reason that you are angry in the first place. Then you just get a vicious angry circle!

    • As someone that:
      a) has two sisters I adore and have protected when needed…
      b) has three nieces I would die for…
      c) have committed my life to fighting for the rights of enslaved women (victims of human trafficking)…And
      d) work with children every day in my 9-5 job…

      My assessment is KIDS in general do, naturally, not understand proper ways of showing affection, or for that matter, frustration or anger.

      That’s where we, as adults, the parents, uncles/aunts, relatives, even unrelated observers, intervene and TEACH. Those ate teachable moments. We were not born with all the right relational tools, we are taught most of them. So, teach when a moment comes up, don’t just classify a child as a beast or Satan because he is not acting as annexing would. (By the way, Bobbi Brown anyone? Thank you).

      I’m all for a solid punch to a boys nose if he’s out of line, followed by mature adult guidance afterwards.

      And while you may be upset, or even angry about the subject matter (no denying you’re passionate about it)…I couldn’t help but be turned off by the way you expressed your message. Profanity isn’t necessary, especially in a post that deals with your calling for maturity from a segment of society. Any segment.

      I agree, it’s not acceptable behavior to be violent. But it’s an age that calls for those moments to be moments of teaching.

      Just my opinion.

    • i have to say i agree with you… and make note that when i was a little girl there was a boy who picked on me A LOT (hair pulling, teasing, and such)! through middle school and high school he stopped picking on me, but seemed rather indifferent to my existence. many years later, i ran into his mother… long story short, she told me that he had had a crush on me since the 1st grade. so if he LIKED me in first grade, why was he pulling my hair? and in middle and high school why was he indifferent to me? it was (according to his mother) because he was too shy and nervous to talk to me. that when we were little, he was trying to get my attention, and when we were older he couldn’t get up the nerve to talk to me at all.

      sad part is, i found out too late (i’d always had a bit of a crush on him too)… he passed away a year before i found out.

  6. Again, I completely agree with you. I am only pointing out that as a society, I think we fail our boys too. When people tell girls this “secret” it hurts boys too- it does not teach them anything and lets their behavior continue.

  7. As a recipient of this mistreatment AND the “he likes you” comment long ago (I’m 65), this was an eye-opener. Thank you for posting this. I’ve spent most of my life dealing with low self-esteem issues- this sheds some light on it.

  8. This article should not only be distributed to all parents of girls but to all parents full stop. As a man I am constantly bombarded (quite rightly) with messages about domestic abuse and violence against women being wrong (and, also rightly, as unmasculine.) This message is, however, the polar opposite of the way that young boys are taught (mainly by a lack of negative messages) to treat girls, too quickly they are excused violent behaviours because they “cannot express themselves.” Maybe, just maybe, parents of male children should teach their children not only to express their emotions (that there’s nothing wrong with FEELING,) they should also teach them something that seems to be rather lacking in our “civilisation’, something forgotten: VIOLENCE IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE

    • Thank you! I was thinking of this the whole time I read the original blog, and the comments. As a 50 year-old woman, I remember the playground misogyny in grade school in the 1960s was heavy duty – jeering, bullying, humiliation, the cruel remarks during the mandatory folk dance classes, which I dreaded… And, yes, the “it’s because he likes you” crap. It was always regarded as cute. As an adult, I have always looked back and resented that. It wasn’t cute. It was pathological.

      Next on the list, following closely on the heels of the misogyny: the state of being female used by boys as an insult. They called each other “woman” or “girl” or “sissy,” “you throw like a girl,” what have you, and it was not lost on me that this implied that being female was inferior. This continues to the present day, with drill instructors yelling “you ladies” at the male recruits, or saying “he cried like a little girl.” In this age, there are ads raising awareness regarding using “gay” as an insult, and I myself am chided by friends for calling something “retarded,” even in jest, and even when there are no mentally disabled people around to feel insulted. Yet, never, not ever, not even once, can I recall any woman ever objecting to males using femininity as an insult.

  9. Whilst I agree that this type of behaviour is totally unacceptable, I do also agree with the poster above that says this behaviour often IS a way of trying to make contact, get attention, make a connection, etc. The important part is that it is an unacceptable way to do so …. AND that all children need to learn alternatives.
    Boys (and girls, who sometimes make a ‘snide comment’ as a way of making contact, and that is also abusive … or either/both/anyone for that matter) need to learn to say “Hurting me is not OK, please say ‘Hi!’ when you want to get my attention” “I felt you were crowding me when you grabbed me like that, please wave / say before you hug me / whatever … to say hello!” “I really like it when you call my name before you hug me” etc.
    I’ve been working on this with my 6 year old autistic son, because the girls at school are leading a hug revolution, but are then offended when he grabs them unexpectedly … or doesn’t let go quickly enough … or – to an adult – he seems to be pulling them around … yet he feels he is responding to their behaviours … if they run away he chases after them because HE loves to chase …
    Sometimes there is behaviour which is totally accepted between the girls but considered abusive as soon as a boy joins in … Ok, the boys are often a little more rough, but EVERYBODY needs to learn about personal boundaries and respect.

  10. Great read, parents do need to teach their children about abusive behavior, however, there is so much that can be done, kids are kids and they do not really have a value of what is happening nor are fully aware. Assholes are everywhere and you really get to know them when they are children. Next would be to teach your daughter to kick their balls when they touch her.

      • Thank you for saying that. While I temper my language in public and at the office, when in my own home, blog, Twitter, whatever, I feel that as an adult I should be able to cuss as much as I please without fear of chastisement.

        As for the article… fantastic! It makes me think of the beginning of the movie He’s Just Not That Into You and it makes you realize how damaging this kind of thing can be throughout a woman’s life. It also makes me more proud of my now 17 yo daughter for punching the boy in grade school who wouldn’t stop pushing her around. She STILL doesn’t let them push her around, though these days the pushing is pressure to use drugs or alcohol, and to have sex.

      • As mother of two sons, I banned Disney from the house when they were about 8 and 10. I had them read the original stories that Disney messed up. I also taught them to be respectful of women, and had to help my oldest son deal with an aggressive girl who was running her hand up his leg at youth group.As an adult, I also witnessed a junior high girl being sexually harassed at a school bus stop right out in the open and am ashamed to say I did nothing about it. The boys were grabbing her breast and laughing as she tried to fend them off. I bet she never told anyone. And she was much smaller than the group of boys, so probably would have been hurt badly if she tried to fight back. Having experienced similar behavior myself as a young woman, I wanted to help her, but even as an adult was afraid. Please, please, if you see this happening, step in and protect the child! I so wish I would have done so!

    • Awesome tone policing, Jane. And an awesome example, too, of how women are conditioned to be nice and sweet all the time when telling people who hurt us to back the fuck off our asses, check themselves, and shut the fucking god damned hell up.

  11. Whilst I agree with everything you’ve said I must say, the ‘chuckle off’ does apply to boys also.
    When my eldest son was 8 he was on the receiving end of unwanted attention by a group of six girls. He didn’t like it, was embarrassed about it and the public & aggressive nature of the attention (to the point of approaching me to tell me how much each of them ‘loved’ him & wanted him to be their boyfriend) made him very uncomfortable. When I approached his teacher it was laughed off and I was told he will be wanting that type of attention when he’s a teenager. Well he wasn’t a teenager, he was a innocent 8 year old child who didn’t understand (nor did he want to) why he was getting this type of attention. He had no interest whatsoever in girls in that way (and nor should he have) and I was infuriated by the lack of empathy for him. I had to remind the teacher that if the roles were reversed, and 6 boys were making 1 girl uncomfortable with unwanted attention then I was sure the school would do something about it before the matter was taken a little more seriously.
    Regardless of gender, we need to teach ALL of our children to respect one another and not to encourage them growing up so quickly.

      • I did also feel it was fairly one-sided, although I tried to avoid that in my initial response. As a man who, as an elementary aged child whonwas extremely shy, I received pretty harsh attention from girls. It’s not just boys doing it. And don’t forget, at that age girls are oftentimes just as big/strong as boys.

        I appreciate you acknowledging it’s not just boys behaving poorly. As a man in this current culture of male-bashing/neutering, I am not afraid to speak my mind and defend men, even 7 year old “pre-men.”. :)

  12. Whilst I agree with what you’re saying, it’s a shame this article comes across as a gender specific thing. Girls at that age act exactly the same as boys do and as a boy I was told “It just means she likes you”.

    • You know, you are right and this has been mentioned in several comments. I didn’t mean to make it seem as though this only happens to girls because that isn’t true. I’m working on a follow up to this post to address that point. I don’t want to glaze over the fact that it can and does happen to boys too.

      • I don’t think you glazed over anything. You were just pointing out the dangers of letting our daughters believe that abuse of any kind equals love. And while I’m not surprised that it goes the other way, I’d bet that this behavior is a hell of a lot more prevalent with boys->girls than it is with girls->boys.

        And perhaps girls do it because they’ve had it done TO them and have been told that this is how you show affection. Whatever the case, it needs to stop, for all of our children’s sakes.

      • And right there – you rock. You’re not compromising or apologizing for what you said up there was nothing wrong with it but you considered feedback. Thanks

      • I’m glad you are going to address that, the same thing came to my mind. As a girl, I remember more incidents personally happening the other way around (girls would tease the boys they liked, etc.) when I was growing up & I admit I felt a little defensive on my sons’ behalves reading this. Thanks for acknowledging it can go the other way around, the stereotype that abuse is boy->girl has always bothered me.

      • While I completely agree with this post I want to point out that as a girl I acting out this kind of behavior to boys much more than it was done to me. As a child it was fun and for me at least was about expressing my feelings. As an adult I obviously know this is completely inappropriate and wrong behavior no matter the gender. All in all, I disagree that it happens more to girls than boys based in my experiences as a child and now that I have my own child too.

  13. Admittedly, sometimes when boys do this, it is because they’re interested in a girl and just have no idea how to relate to said girl or deal with those feeling. However, that doesn’t mean it should be endorsed or overlooked. Maybe that is the reason some boys pick on girls, but you’re absolutely right in that the girl should not have to endure the situation just because adults can’t be arsed to do something about it.

    As a victim of schoolyard bullying (and for the curious, I’m not talking “schoolyard bullying” as in I was teased a little and people would poke me with pencils occasionally; I mean I had my head smacked against a brick wall, rocks thrown at me, and my ass grabbed on more than one occasion, all before I was 10 years old), I applaud this post! And I love that there are people like you out there who think this way and will stand up so that this sort of attitude can’t and won’t reach every level of society! Bravo!

  14. It’s not okay for boys to do it, yet its okay for girls to do it?
    Seems a little bias.
    Besides preventing all kids from inflicting physical violence against each other is probably not a great idea.
    Thousands of years of progress has shown that letting them run around like that worked, we just don’t have enough data to say that preventing them from fulfilling their more animalistic urges is a good thing.
    But I agree, violence shouldn’t be a way of showing affection, try and take a less offensive viewpoint next time.

    • Where did I say it was okay for girls to behave this way, pray tell? Nowhere.

      Honestly, your entire statement is almost gibberish.”Thousands of years of progress has shown that letting them run around like that worked?” What progress has shown this? Is it the rates of domestic violence against women? Is it rape statistics? Is it how in cases of domestic violence and rape, society often blames the victim?

      If you find my viewpoint offensive, you are free to leave my blog. I stand by every word.

      • Nice parenting advice coming from someone whose photo is of her all dolled up holding a gift packaged bottle of Jack. Where’s your daughter? At home crying for mommy who’s out getting drunk and finding her next abusive boyfriend? Great job

      • Moms are not allowed to drink or wear makeup, even when the kids aren’t around (of course, they’re probably not allowed to be away from their kids either — hiring a sitter is practically child abuse). Got it.

      • i disagree with his approach. and i disagree that you said girls were free to behave that way. but, as a mother of sons, i can relate to the frustration a bit. having heard the message of the natural evil of boys so many times it begins to be omnipresent.

        you included the line that you would teach your boys to accept nothing less than respect and i commend you for that – truly. but i know for myself that i came to this blog by way of a friend posting ‘teach your girls not to take this crap and teach your boys not to do this crap’ and then one of her friends passed it on this same way.

        the idea that boys are little assholes that girls need to be protected from is so pervasive. the assumption that everyone already does treat them with respect is also pervasive. conversely that little girls are innocent of these kinds of things. one of the other commenters even pointed out that her daughter is being bullied by another little girl.

        i was watching my son very closely at 3 and 4 as there was a little girl in his preschool who every day told him what to do. “sit here, draw this etc” and he did it every time. and everyone said the same thing – aw she likes him. he came home one day and told me this girl informed him that he was to be her wife. i didn’t get upset with it because mostly it was cute and all indications were that he was willingly participating BUT i had to keep my eye that he wasn’t being bullied. after all, at 3 and 4 there isn’t exactly a physical advantage is there. imagine now that a little boy starts bossing a little girl around like that – even if she was willing i can’t imagine us saying it was cute

        i’m really not busting your stones; at all. i don’t think any of that was your intention. i think you were just responding to a particular thing and i agree with you. when i was a kid that went both ways – i remember hitting a boy because i liked him and because i was a tomboy. and yes, i was taught it was inappropriate.

        i respect what you’ve said and i hope that comes through; i just wish we could expand the message. i don’t think this idea that a lot of people seem to have (again, not blaming you) that boys are naturally abhorrent is helpful. respect for others starts with self respect. we have to teach this to our girls and our boys.

        oh, and disney is not fricking helpful in this regard.

  15. Really lady? Get over it. When I teased a girl in school, it WAS because I liked her. Does that mean I abused her when I got older and beat the piss out of her? No! At that age, most boys think girls are “Eewwwy”. Does that mean they will turn out to be gay? No. In some cases, yes boys can be overly cruel, but not all the time. That was a part of growing up. I am about to have a daughter for the first time and guess what, I’m going to give her that same ‘line of crap’ as you so delicately put it. Now, if she comes home saying a boy punched her or physically did harm, then yes I will have words with his

    • parents, but it’s also up to the parents to decide when it’s appropriate to intervene. I’m not going to have my daughter be one of those girls who has to have mommy or daddy constantly fight her battles for her. Sounds like YOU need to learn about being a better parent. I have an assignment for you: why don’t you go around the nation a ask EVERY single woman you come across if they were teased by boys growing up and if they wound up in an abusive relationship. Until then, SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU WHINEY LITTLE BITCH!

      • You showed me. You sound completely stable and level headed, not at all like an abusive ass. Of course, with an email handle like “Beefcake Travis”, I wouldn’t expect any less. I am sorry for your daughter that you don’t feel it is your role to be her advocate and that you are going to teach her to endure abusive behavior.
        If you don’t like the musings of this whiny little bitch, feel free to close the page on your browser. (learn to spell—shit, you’re on a computer, learn to use spell check) Now, run along and take your meds.

      • In response to Queenofthecouch’s response: (It wouldn’t let me reply directly.)

        You know your a liberal feminist when you bitch and moan about society and then when someone argues with you rationally, your response is… Well if you don’t like my opinions, close your browser window, you mean old testosterone ball.

        So your saying that if everyone who posts doesn’t emphatically agree with you, that they have no business commenting? Sure sounds like it.

        I, for one, am not a feminist. My 13 year old daughter had a boy at school making fun of her and she CAN take care of herself. I don’t think that making fun of or even hair pulling will turn someone into a wife beater. But that’s my opinion. And as a woman, my conservative opinion doesn’t add up to yours. I’m not saying that its “right” to explain it away to your children the way its done. But its not something mean as malevolently as you try to make it.

      • @Jewess: On what planet are the words “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU WHINEY LITTLE BITCH!” the closing line of a rational argument? Particularly when said ‘rational’-arguer is explaining how he used to tease girls but now he’s such a classy, stand-up guy.

    • John – maybe its time we stop teaching boys and girls to view each other as “ewwwy”. My 6 yo hass never uttered anything remotely like that. He may resonate with boys more but he still has the ability to understand tha girls are not “ewwwy” – they’re people. That could go a long way in a lot of areas

  16. Abso-freakin-lutely.

    This is the way I was raised in school — someone hits you, HIT BACK!

    I never even told my parents about any of this bullying and the boys weren’t about to run to the teachers to rat that a little girl was fighting back.

    And my parents would have never said: “He likes you because he hits you”

  17. LOVE this. Kids really need to taught better than “if he punches you in the throat and cuts your braid off, it’s because he likes you”. That’s kinda…weird.

  18. I think the operative comment for John Doe was “I am ABOUT to have a daughter for the first time”. He’ll change his tune when he holds that baby girl in his arms.

  19. Beefcake, we haven’t all ended up with husbands who punched us, but I guarantee that 100% of us would say that we’ve been confronted with disrespectful, intimidating behavior from men. ALL of us have, and how we deal with it depends entirely on whether we have been conditioned to accept it or reject it.

    • First off, let me clear this up. The email is an email I created over 15 years ago. Now I use it for spam and other bullshit that I don’t want flooding my normal email. Secondly, ‘whiney’ can’t be spelled either with an E or without. Check the dictionary, uneducated pompous, self-righteous bitch. I’m not going to let my daughter have to come have mommy and daddy fix all her problems. For one, I WILL teach her to fight back when necessary. I’m not going to hinder her confidence by doing everything for her which includes fighting her battles. Kids need to learn to do things on their own with a few guidances from their parents. You, on the other hand, are saying it’s ok to reward violence with violence by basically saying if the teaser’s parents give you the excuse that ‘it just means he likes her’, then you’re going to assault them? Go ahead. If a parent came up to me and the same thing, I’d have them arrested for assault and battery. What a role model you are.

      • queenofthecouch, I really like your article, the issue is an important one to raise. However, the way you are dealing with John Doe’s comments by implying he is either mentally ill or has learning difficulties and then mocking this is really offensive to me. It seems a shame to write such a great article and then use unpleasant prejudice in your comments. Just wanted to put that out there to consider. People with mental health problems can be thoughtful considerate parents too.

        • I am not making any judgments against parents struggling with mental health issues. I know of plenty of wonderful, capable and loving parents with mental health disorders and I am in no way stereotyping. I am referring to Beefcake’s obvious hostility and anger, resulting from my blog post and his need to lash out at me and call me names. Beefcake claims to have a daughter on the way and says he will expect her to subjugate to playground bullying and abuse. Nothing about his irrational ranting screams “sane” to me.

      • Wow, cranky bully is a cranky bully.

        That said, don’t feed this troll. He’s getting off on calling you names and in general acting like a whiny/whiney bitch. He’s tiresome, used up, and a sad little man. I’d say more, but I’m bored of him now.

        • His novelty wore off with me, as well. Some of his friends stopped by too, I just stopped approving the posts that were limited to “shut up fukin bich” or “ur a psyycho-go take care of ur kidz bitch”. I am interested in those that want to make relevant contributions.

      • QOTC:
        To quote from The Bloggess:
        “When your wrong, your wrong.”

        And John “troll” Doe is wrong. (And yes, folks, I get the irony of the quote I used. IT pains me to type it that way.)

        I have a 10 y.o, daughter, and I JUST CAUGHT MYSELF replying, “Well, he probably likes you” when she told me of a boy teasing her. I shall sit her down tonight and have a discussion to clear this up.

        Thank you , you cursing Queen of the Couch. We’re (nearly) all grown-ups here and (mostly) can handle your uncensored thoughts. This is a really good conversation (mostly).

  20. I used to be quite cynical about reading peoples opinions on random things.


    this is the best thing I’ve read on the internet in a while. People are assholes, and hitting people is a moral low for anyone,

    ” Well, when I was kid. My father was a missionary. I spent the first 10 years of my life in China. There, I learned how to fight as you could imagine. I remember going to my martial arts teacher, He said, “Why you come to me?” and I say, “Ah, to learn how to fight.” And he’s like, “Oh, so you wanna hurt people, but you wanna be great.?” I say, “Yeah, I wanna be great. “Then first learn how to heal people to be great, to hurt people is easy”

    very fitting quote, if a little on a tangent.

    • Men are already told to fight back when someone pushes them around. Unless you mean men should read this so they will teach their boys not to act like assholes. And if that’s what you meant, thank you, but you’re hopelessly naive. SOME men will be inspired to teach their sons better. MOST men will get on her case for SWEARING, or will go “oh, what’s the big deal anyway” and go on about their lives as if nothing happened.

      Because IT’S NOT LIKE WE DON’T TELL MEN AND BOYS THAT THIS IS NOT OKAY. So why do we still have to have discussions like this one?

    • @dana – so i actually came back here to agree with your point that complaining about someone’s language is code for not being able to argue the point.

      but to the idea that men are already taught to fight back. bullcookies. especially if the aggressor is female. and in younger grades there is very little physical difference.

      does it somehow lose power for women/girls if we teach boys/men to treat themselves with respect too? not power – i didn’t say power – i said respect. i say no. in fact, if you want someone to act respectful the only way for that to happen is if that person respects him or her self.

    • @Dana: Your response implies that men are only fathers to boys. Rex McLess is just saying everyone should read this so both mothers and fathers will not say “he did it because he likes you.”

    • Dana, I think what Rex meant to say is that there are men out there raising daughters as well.
      And to be honest, I am raising a boy, and I still think it’s an important message to teach to him. Respect others, no matter their gender, size, age, skin colour, parents’ profession or what have you. And don’t let others disrespect you.

  21. As a father of 1 boy and 2 girls I soundly agree. However, I would go so far as to say, it is the failing of the parents of the boys who use abuse and mistreatment as affection. Let us not lay it on the boys, but on their parents. If they taught their young men how to be just that, young men, and not only respect women, but learn to control their own behaviors, we would take a LARGE step forward as a society. I am not the perfect father by any means, but I do all that I can to teach my children that every action you make is by personal CHOICE! There is no force on this planet that makes you do anything, any action you take cannot be blamed any further than your own mind. Anyone who tried to excuse poor behavior off on any reason, is silently encouraging said behavior as an accepted modicum of communication. Parents, raise your children right, if you would like to see the next generation of our society grow up with the gumption to face and overcome the challenges of this ever-changing world. Otherwise, accept the fact that things will take even longer to change, because you didn’t have what it took the be the parent your child NEEDED, not the one they wanted. Remember back to when we were kids, and although you may not have liked your parents each day, you loved and respected them, and after you matured you realized that they were right in nearly every action they took, because those actions made you a better person. If you think I am wrong, and that your parents were mean, evil, cruel, vindictive people, there is a chance you might be right, or…you may still need to grow up a tad, and change your perspective some.

  22. …and when I or my kids are fed up and call them out – the other kids parent/s (like John FUCKING Doe above) try to turn it around like it is somehow my/our fault. Your kid was an asshole to mine and the fact that you are a family of mother fuckers isn’t my fault. You assault us and think we are jerks for being pissed off and calling you out on it? FUCK YOU!!!

  23. I think the hardest thing for me was that all the abuse I received was verbal. Snide remarks made over and over for 4 years of my life (4th-8th grade was the worse). And unlike bruises, words leave less evidence. But even then I was told by my mom, “Oh, he just likes you.” or “Oh, he is just intimidated by you.”

  24. As others have said, boys have difficulty relating to girls, sometimes the affection they feel translates into outwardly hostile actions. It is important to educate thour children that it is not the affection that is bad but the way they display it. We need to teach our kids alternative ways of expression and that doesn’t just mean to teaching the boys either. There were several times when I was a kid where I was physically attacked by girls who would grab my penis until I agreed to be their “boyfriend”.

    Also while I understand your feelings on the matter, threatening physical violence against someone is not acceptable for you to do either.

      • I understand fully that you would want to defend your child from harm, But I was referring to your comment in the original post about you threatening to hurt someone who offered up the advice you disagree with.

  25. Not condoning the violence. As a matter of fact my 9 yr old daughter ( ) wouldn’t take it either, shed kick his ass.

    We all go through emotionally confusing times in our lives though and little boys don’t know wtf to do with those feelings. It’s important we don’t condemn the child for lack of coping skills, there are plenty of adults who don’t have them either. It needs to be carefully addressed, the proper way to handle the feelings shown to the child and then we all move forward. Judging by the passion with which you addressed the topic I’d say you or someone close to you have/has/are experienced/experiencing this type of thing at a more grown up level, that’s a whole other can of worms. While not excusable childhood hair pulling can be addressed and should be forgiven, a man putting a fist in someone’s face should not.

    Emotional confusion happens, look at how many men and women claim;
    Oh I only cheated on you and slept with X because I was confused.
    Oh I only slept with X because I thought we were in love.
    Oh I only dated X for years because I just wasn’t sure.

    Are the above emotional scars any less. No, they are not, their origin is simply less violent.

    It could also be viewed as having this violence against one’s daughter is the best time to make sure this teaching opportunity doesn’t go unused, and a ponytail tug is a lot easier to deal with than some jackass who slaps or punches your daughter as a teen. It helps you to show her there need to be boundaries and explain how stringently these need to be enforced.

  26. While I agree with much of what you say here, I think you should consider that most of the points you make are not contradicted by the claim: “that means he likes you”. It may well be (I don’t actually know whether it IS or not but I can imagine it might be) that the kind of abuse you describe *does* actually signify some kind of affection. This doesn’t make it any more acceptable and we shouldn’t teach our daughters to accept it, but it may still be true.

    This, of course, begs questions as to what we should be teaching our sons.

    • The point wasn’t whether or not children expressed themselves this way, due to not knowing another way, but more about the fact that the behavior is often ignored and universally accepted. Rather than talking with the child about how to more effectively convey their feelings, we just expect the receiver of the treatment to accept it and to be flattered by it.

      • See I was always told that as a way to explain why they acted that way not to explain away their behavior… it’s much like how a toddler will bite to get a toy, acceptable, no… understandable, yes… and they need to be taught not to do that…

    • No one’s saying the actions of the kindergartner or the ten-year-old are the same as those of an abusive adult — but condoning the sometimes physically violent ways kids act in the name of affection can set a very dangerous precedent for them later in life. The simple message is that it’s important to communicate with our kids from an early age about how we relate to and treat others.

      And blogging about problems doesn’t tend to solve, well, ANY problems. Not directly. But that’s not why blogs exist. They’re for ranting, discussion, and other expression.

  27. Well said. I don’t have children, but I heartily agree with you 100%. My mom was actually ahead of her time, back in the 70s. She got called to the school because I punched a boy who had punched me first and was furious that I was in trouble when I had just defended myself. I don’t think the principal was very impressed with my mother, but I was!

  28. That’s so hilarious, I was literally just talking about this with my husband. When I was little, I had a boy dangling rubber rat toys in my face and when I told my mom, “sounds like he just likes you!” Needless to say he did not actually like me, I was just being picked on. But my husband, although he was raised never to hit girls, he was still the little boy who tried to gross girls out. Not to be mean, he said, but it was cute when they got grossed out and he did like them. He never hit girls, but he would eat bugs in front of them or show them worms. Hahaha. I think even if its gross, that’s sorta cute. As long as nobody is getting hurt. But little boys love doing that to mom too. They love to creep girls out.

  29. First time reading your blog.
    Couldn’t agree more with the sentiment that boys need to be taught how to express themselves so that they won’t be little assholes – or later on BIG ones.
    But I find your multiple variations on “I’ll use force on you if you say X or if your kid does Y” to be wholly unacceptable. It’s not funny nor acceptable for any man to threaten, hit or abuse a woman EVER – nor is it acceptable the other way around.
    Not funny. Not acceptable.

    Also, maybe you’ve already discovered that your children *will* say and do some pretty awful things in the process of growing up, regardless of how good you are as a parent – the experiential part of growing up and putting socialization into actual practice takes quite awhile and frequently some lessons must be repeated until they sink in.

    That doesn’t make them assholes, it makes them ignorant of how to do it in an acceptable manner. We, as parents, aunts/uncles/grandparents must teach them by example, explanation, and when necessary by correction.

    • Again, people need to recognize the difference between what is meant literally and what is not. For the record, the comments like “I will slap you across the face and yell ‘I LOVE YOU'” are intended to be ironic, to demonstrate how ridiculous it is to tell a child that he/she should accept being verbally or physically mistreated as a sign of affection. Now, with that said, when it comes to my children, I wouldn’t hesitate to, literally, become physically violent in the name of protecting any one of them.

      • And now you’ve lost me. Father of three boys. Try really hard to raise them right and violence is NEVER ok in our house (or anywhere else for that matter). But for you to say you will become physically violent in defence of your children? Not ok. If you hit my kid, or me, I will press charges. My kids are good boys, but they screw up sometimes because they are still learning. You are a grown up and should damn well know better.

        There are avenues to deal with this so that children can learn from what is happening and learn to process what is going on inside of them and deal with it in such a way that they know how to respond next time. Hitting them doesn’t help. It’s abuse no matter who it comes from or why.

        I agreed with most of the article. But you aren’t allowed to hang out with my kids.

        • Violence doesn’t solve everything, but it does solve some things. Some boys seem to think it’s ok to resort to violence and hit girls, so why should girls be prevented from responding in kind?

          Oh that’s right, girls are meant to be ladylike and just cop the abuse “because he likes her”


      • Satire is a dangerous business, isn’t it? People are always bound to miss where the line is between your serious point and your satirical overstatements. I did it here, too, and was really upset about how you turned around and seemed to advocate violence in the name of standing up against ignorance about bullying behavior. Now after reading all your responses, I have a better idea of what you really meant!

        One thing that I think causes some confusion is that we’re talking about a whole wide range of behaviors and offenses here. When there’s a pattern of verbal attacks or physical affronts, then yeah — that’s a problem and a reason for someone to defend herself and teach the kid a lesson (and of course for adults to step in with strong action too). But some commenters here seem to be diving off the deep end: one young kid giving a single tug on another one’s hair, or teasing verbally, is a far cry from a pattern of physical or psychological attacks. It’s an opportunity to end the behavior before it becomes more of a problem! I hope we’re all willing to let the “perpetrators” learn from their mistakes and grow to be responsible adults. Hitting and punching doesn’t really teach that (though it can be an effective defense when things really get out of hand). Thinking of a kid (a kid!) as a “little asshole” defeats the whole purpose of teaching and raising our kids, even when they behave poorly or ignorantly. Even though I think you would claim to have used that language satirically, I was dismayed that you even thought of using that characterization for a child!

      • @woodsthroughthetrees – I think there is a very clear distinction between violence and self defense ( or defense of those that can’t defend themselves). The law agrees with me

  30. Thanks for this–my daughter is only three so she hasn’t come up against this yet, but I bet it will happen. And I’m not going to let it go if anyone pulls that crap on her. I had an older boy bully me when I was eight or nine–I’ve always been extremely tall, and this boy was older than I but I was taller. I think that was part of the issue. One day he decided to run me down with his bike when I was skateboarding. He knocked me down, then laughed, so I picked up my hard plastic skateboard and whacked him with it. I hit him in the shoulder area; as a veteran of fights with my siblings, I knew how to hurt without inflicting serious damage. He went and got his dad, who rode over to my parents house on a kid’s mountain bike. He was a fat guy and looked totally ridiculous. He went yell at my mom, with that “my son was just fooling around, he probably ‘likes’ your daughter…” but my mom totally ripped him a new one about how his son was a bully targeting a younger *girl* and had started it and he should be a better parent, etc., while I tried to look young and fragile in the background, totally failing, I’m sure, as I was a tall and sturdy kid. The guy slunk off home, looking like a clown on his little bike. I was very proud of my mom, although she did tell me not to hit people with my skateboard anymore as I could really hurt someone.

    • Having read through the entire post and most of the comments, yours most closely relates to how I feel. I am the mom of 3 boys. And say whatever you want about it, but boys are very different animals than girls and some of it has not a damn thing to do with how we raise them, but more with how they are wired. I think all kids go through an awkward stage where expressing themselves is difficult at best. I think automatically condemning them based on one act is crazy and inappropriate. Just as crazy and inappropriate as the behaviors queen is pissed off about.

      @queen, I was teased and bullied, and I remember even back then knowing the difference between the one who was awkward and trying to get my attention, and the one who was just plain mean. I followed the proper channels with the school back then and in jr high it wound up with me taking it to the school board because of two boys who would not leave me alone. The schools response had been that I must have been egging it on and that boys will be boys….The final response from all of them was to tell my mom I needed counseling. I have never wound up in an abusive relationship, my husband and I have been married for 10 years and as I said earlier have 3 boys, but we wrestle with them, and play with them and yes we tease them….and we are extremely playful with each other…so if my young son were to tell a girl he thinks she is as cute as his lizard, he isn;t being mean, he is paying her a high compliment in his book, and its a shame when you aren’t bright enough to tell the difference and instead respond that he is just being an asshole.

  31. Reblogged this on The Social Sciences & Me and commented:
    This raises some interesting questions around how this behaviour became to be accepted in society, and how it may impact adult lives. Is there a link between these kind of childhood experiences and living with, or accepting domestic abuse in later life? Is it simply a contributor or less still as genuinely ‘harmless’ as many make it out to be?
    *some adult language*

  32. What a chippy, self-indulged individual you are, and what a thoroughly arrogant and obnoxious piece you’ve written here. I don’t know what world you inhabit, but I don’t seriously think this is as common an issue as you’d have us believe. In fact, I think it’s utter fantasy, crap even.

    My advice, is to get over yourself, and quickly.

  33. Thank you! I was harrassed by idiot boys in school and I knew it wasn’t because they liked me even though that’s what people told me. My son, who is now 2.5 and my sweet little snuggley kid, knows that love is gentle, even though he’s a boisterous little monkey. Of course, the same goes in reverse, anyone pestering / punching / hurting / playing mind games with him is not showing affection – s/he is a little shit.

  34. I’m sympathetic to wanting to protect your children from any and all harm, and to the notion of instilling self-worth and a sense of self-respect in kids, but I don’t agree with the way the blogger is suggesting it’s a smooth and slippery slope from kids teasing each other to individual or societal tolerance for abusive relationships. Obviously there’s a spectrum and at the far end lies kids who should be in special classrooms for compulsive violent behavior, but to lump together all childhood squabbling and pathologize it just kind of misses out on the fact that children are young animals, and just like other young animals they engage in play behavior as a part of the socializing process, play which can sometime lead to someone getting a scraped up knee and/or ego. Zero tolerance policies, whether for drugs, petty theft or childhood bullying are often well intentioned but are really just ways to avoid responsibility for making judgment calls based on the individual subtleties of a given situation and result in people getting labeled as deviant (or imprisoned for 25 years for stealing cookies in one three-strikes case). Childhood is messy, life is messy, attempts to sanitize it and compartmentalize it into a series of easy to follow pathways will inevitably fail because they’re not based on the reality of the facts on the (play)ground.

    • You missed the point, almost completely. I didn’t say it was a “smooth and slippery slope” from point A to point B. I said that we unwittingly condition our daughters to be accepting of certain treatments from early childhood and then we ask why women stay in abusive relationships. I didn’t say ALL GIRLS THAT ARE PICKED ON WILL END UP IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP AND WILL NEVER LEAVE. I didn’t say ALL BOYS THAT PICK ON GIRLS WILL END UP BEING WOMAN BEATERS. There are obvious variables that lead to either outcome, to many to list, but to believe that these seemingly benign interactions and responses in our childhoods don’t have the potential to have profound affects on our childrens’ psyche is naive, to say the least.

    • I see your slippery slope [fallacy] and raise you a straw man [fallacy].

      Straw man: when instead of making a valid criticism to an argument, you distort that argument, and then attack the distortion. Your comment reeks of it.

  35. Same thing happened to me growing up. Except I’m male and there was smacking, verbal abuse and scratching that drew blood. This cuts both ways and boys need to be taught that this isn’t acceptable when inflicted on them. Period.

    • What gets me, on the flip side, is how I can watch a woman hit on a man, slap one or knee him in the crotch, and the immediate response is he probably deserved it and him being in the position of hitting her back being wrong because she’s a ‘girl’. Man, it isn’t right to hit people. Period.

      I wouldn’t immediately say, either, that it is necessarily horrible if a little boy smacks a little girl because he likes her and isn’t sure what to do, it’s when this begins to happen and nobody does anything to educate them or CHANGE it. I imagine that was where this was all going anyway; teach your kids to be respectful. They ought to know that hitting people doesn’t make friends, I thought we taught them that normally, but the double standard or blow off is silly. Does it matter that it’s because he likes her? I was picked on a LOT by boys and, sadly, it was because they didn’t like me. I know people would say otherwise to make me feel better, but no. It was because I was overweight, wore glasses, introverted, and anti-social. They picked on me for fun and to laugh with friends.

      This definitely isn’t a disagreement with any of what you have said though, more an amen from here, but then just because a rant doesn’t include All Options Ever, obviously, it doesn’t invalidate everything else. That’s just silly.

      And to the two or three guys here having shitfits over this, you might want to fucking relax a bit. You aren’t making yourself look good throwing an enormous tantrum, seriously. Nobody will take anything a raving jackass says seriously, even if they have a point, because they are being a raving jack while saying it.

  36. I very clearly remember a boy doing this to me at church youth group in junior high. My dad was the leader. He warned the kid, “If you keep doing that, she’s going to punch you.” And I did. Right in the jaw. My dad? Said, “I told you so.”

  37. This post just made me a follower of your blog. I have a five and a half month old daughter and when I was a kid I heard this all the time too. The boys who did this didn’t do it because they liked me or any other little girl, it was done because they wanted to make us miserable and they enjoyed bullying and causing pain.

    I’m not going to teach my daughter that if a boy does this it’s because he likes her and I will teach her to stand up for herself and so will her father. I love this post, you deserve not just a drink but a whole damn round! You rock!

  38. Preach it, woman! Snaps, UP!

    As the parent of a little boy, I am teaching him that when he likes someone he should speak politely and treat them kindly, with respect. Fortunately, he has a father who models these behaviours every day.

    Abuse and insults have *nothing* to do with romance!

    • Amen again! When i worked as a conflict resolution expert for our school district (superintendent’s representative was the title) dealing with discipline inequity, i must have called the central office 100 times after a case to report, “let’s just give the kid a new name and ‘lost records’ and start him/her in a different school with some good remedial relationship training — but can we arrest the parents?!?” They co-facilitated and made excuses for so much evil and then put down their kids they supposedly were defending. I once had to order a parent NOT to call his own son a son-of-a-bitch anymore in my hearing room. And how many times did i see a kid who was acting out being the adult when their dysfunctional parent was in the room? I think all parents should be required to pass tests and renew their license every year… just ‘cuz ya got gonads doesn’t mean you should be allowed to raise your poor offspring.

  39. For some reason, over the past hundred and fifty years or so, it has been the norm in much of US culture for boys under the age of puberty to band together, even if they are otherwise fairly solitary introverts, in expressing a common distaste for girls. Girls have “cooties”. This is little more than organized misogyny disguised as early male bonding, but because it is manifest in children, who were extremely marginalized during the Victorian era when this behavioral trend began, and otherwise regarded as ‘cute’ and ‘harmless’, it was left unaddressed. Victorian moralists who might have noticed the trend were less concerned by the disrespect shown by this behavior and more impressed by how it seemed to discourage ‘inappropriate’ interaction between boys and girls.

    Boys dare not express affection for girl classmates; to do so invites ridicule, even into the beginning of puberty. Even the mere implication that some boy might harbor feelings of friendship toward a girl can result in behavior among the other (jealous?) boys approaching hazing of the boy. Thus, the boy must ‘prove his solidarity’ with the others by showing them just how much he does not at all have any affection for the girl, by engaging in the proto-violent behavior discussed in your article.

    By that reasoning, then, it is probably true in a very tortured and roundabout way that a boy who treats a girl poorly might actually be making a public display of compensation for having been seen by his peers as liking her.

    It doesn’t excuse the behavior. But it does explain the thinking behind the common use of the explanation by others *as* an excuse.

  40. I’m guilty of making excuses for others, bulling my girls. Never once did I look at as I was teaching them to be accepting of being abused. Thank you a million times over for these enlightening words. You have changed me what a glorious day.

    • Your girls are lucky for having an open minded mother. I am far from a perfect mother. I have made countless mistakes and I will make a bazillion more but being willing to consider other perspectives and learn from our mistakes is what is most important. When we know better, we do better.

  41. The sentiment that girls shouldn’t put up with physical abuse is, of course, a valid one. That said, I fail to see how saying “He’s just doing that because he likes you” is the same as saying “Just accept it.” You can tell your child that the boy is doing it because he likes her (which may indeed be true) AND tell her that this is unacceptable behavior. So while well-meaning, I feel like you’re a little off the mark with your ire.

    • The problem is that you’re implicitly telling her that it’s normal behavior for males who have romantic feelings. And that’s wrong. I can definitely see how that leads to abused women who say “he hits me, but it’s because he gets angry because he loves me so much…” Bullshit.

      • I think “Close, but..”‘s point is to explicitly deny that this is normative or acceptable behavior. He’s saying you can preserve the explanation (“Oh s/he probably likes you”) and still communicate that no one should put up with that kind of treatment (“But what they’re doing is not ok, here’s how to effect change…”).

        • Good observation! I’ve seen many women disagree with either the post or other commenters and they aren’t insulting and freaking out. *nod*

        • There’s a good reason Brits consider us N Americans “irony-impaired”, sarcasm-incompetents and Olympic level Masters of the Obvious. If you don’t spell things out and point out the point that you made (like the good Methodist sermon that tells you what i’m going to tell you, makes those 3 points and then tells you what i told you), people miss it.

  42. I loved this. I don’t have a daughter myself, but I am a teacher and I also am a woman with Asperger’s, a type of autism. I know bullying well. I especially know the kind of bullying boys heap on girls, and I know that it does not mean they “usually” like a girl. It usually means the boy is fearful and insecure about his social standing (usually among other boys) and is looking for someone to bullying and demean to make him feel more powerful.

    This is not isolated behavior–it is a PATTERN of behavior that, if not addressed, will continue and be cyclic. Kids who bully as kids and never face serious consequences for their bullying do in fact become bullies as adults, and if they have kids, will pass it on to their kids. I see it all the time as a teacher. I even lost a good teaching jobs because I wouldn’t let a parent bully me when I punished his kid for bullying. My principal was someone who bowed to bullies, both children and adult ones, so she refused to back me. So I lost my job.

    I understand kids who bully need intervention. But tolerating or excusing bullying behavior in anyway is unacceptable. Bullying wounds its victim. There’s no reason for us as adults to stand around and let kids get hurt, to let them feel vulnerable, violated, unprotected and powerless, just because we don’t to be too harsh towards bullies. That makes the victims of bullying double the victim–first by the bully, and then by our own rationalizations, willful ignorance and inaction.

    And while it is true girls can be bullies too, I know from experience both as a girl who was bullied by boys and as a teacher who tries to intervene when I can, that boys are not held to the same standards as girls. Bullying by girls is seen as “unladylike” and thus offensive and unacceptable, while bullying by boys is often excused away or intentionally overlooked. I frequently see boy bullies cuddled and protected, even indirectly encouraged, by teachers, schools administrators and parents–some of these adults may even think on some level that bullying is advantageous for a boy, as it will help them later in life! Meanwhile, I’ve seen girl bullies get excessively punished and even openly shamed, thus making them resentful and feeling like they’ve been treated unfairly (because usually they have been), which can perpetuate their bullying, but for very different psychological reasons than with boys. Kids aren’t stupid–they know when they are getting a sweet break, and they know when they’re getting a raw deal. And both of these adult mistakes only adds to the problem of bullying. So I think it is important to acknowledge a serious gender bias here.

    • Very true. I wasn’t a bully ( in fact I was teased a lot – read that as a huge understatement). But I was a tomboy and I was tough as nails and when I got picked on I reacted how boys reacted and I beat them up; which I def needed to be taught not to do but it was not handled the same way it was with boys. Conversely, since rough housing was affection in my house (like i think it is for many boys ) I would hit a boy I liked Which, again, I definitely needed to be taught not to do. But unlike the way boys were taught this – they assumed I must have actual mental problems.

  43. Yes. Yes. A million times yes! I have two young boys and they know better than to pull those games. You show people you like them by doing things for them not to them. This applies to boys and girls of all ages. Yes, boys may actually like the girl they are picking on and vice versa but that means they have not learned to communicate appropriately. It is not cute.

  44. My dad once told me a story about my older sister. When she was little (2nd grade or about that age) a little boy in her class was constantly teasing her and pulling up her skirt to embarrass her. When she told my dad this, he asked if she’d told him to stop (which she of course had, and he already knew that). Then, he told her the next time he does it, punch him in the stomach as hard as you can. There was none of this “he has a crush on you” BS.

    The next day, the little boy tried it again. Five seconds later, he was laying on the ground after getting hit by a girl so hard that it doubled him over. Needless to say, he didn’t try that shit again.

    And before someone lectures me on how violence isn’t the answer and what a bad parent my dad is, he didn’t tell us to go solving all our problems by hitting people. But sometimes, a person just has to stand up for them self.

    • When I was 20, I was walking through a club with one of my friends and, as we were walking, a guy slid his hand up the back of my shorts. I grabbed his hand and pulled it off my ass and I punched him in the face. If I could go back, I would do the exact same thing.

      • I was a cocktail waitress, and managed to throw a 6’4″, 210 lb. guy up against a wall and hold him there when he tried that with me. I would do the same thing today, though I think I also would have told the bartender. He was so mad when he found out, he turned purple and jumped across the bar. It probably would have been fun to set him loose on the jerk.

      • I was walking through a bar on my birthday when I was in my twenties, and I felt a guy behind me grabbing my bum. I threw an elbow straight into his chest before I even turned around, and when I did turn, I saw it was actually one of my best guy friends gasping for air. He was in pain, but actually proud of me for doing that and apologized for sneaking up on me. I would do it again if I ever needed to. :)

  45. HERE HERE! I, too, have been dealing with less than intelligent teachers for my first grade daughter! She has been getting bullied for two years by the same girl and they think they can stroke my ego or better yet, even have gone so far as to blame my kid for it! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! These schools are ridiculous! Love you post on this!

    • “You have negated your entire point, which is, I think, how to be a better parent on this issue, with your foul language.”

      Why? Why is the entire argument negated by F-bombs? There’s no reasoning whatever given for it, I just keep seeing people state it as simple fact that Swearing is the Worst and We Shouldn’t Listen to You if You Use It!

      In any case, the OP didn’t write this article for the consumption of your PTA, she wrote it for her own blog, where tones tend to be less formal, so those of us inclined to swear often do so. Because it’s still essentially our personal space. And I think good writers (as diverse, elusive, and subjective a category as that may be), linguists, and anyone who spends some time thinking about language must also realize that while there are myriad ways to express oneself, and while one obviously doesn’t have to swear, there is no real replacement for swear words and their power. No synonyms that have the same impact. That’s why they’re swear words — so, perhaps ironically, to really give them power you have to rarely use them or they become commonplace. This is rapidly becoming a tangent, but I think it is so ludicrous when people say that we should simply use other words (in someone else’s personal forum, no less), because those other words don’t exist. Not ones that achieve the tone the author probably wanted, anyway.

      To get back to my original question, if you find something worthy in this article on ethical, logical, moral, etc. grounds, something that would have made it worth sharing with the aforementioned PTA, how are those traits lessened any by the swearing? If this were a post on “How to be a better parent by not swearing ever” then yes, the f bombs would perhaps be a little bit hard to swallow. As it is, those other points still exist — you simply have to excise some of the language you find objectionable.

  46. How about something more honest and realistic: “It probably means he likes you, and that he’s a jerk. Also, he’s going to grow up to be a complete jerk who will probably continue to insist that he loves women that he’s abusing. Don’t put up with it from him or anybody else. Ever. And if he keeps this up, kick him in the stomach and tell your teacher I told you to do it, and to call me if they have a problem with that.”

    And I say all that as a guy with a daughter. It’s the same reason I feel like I have to deconstruct Disney movies with her.

      • Why on Earth would you deconstruct Disney movies for your kids?!?!?!?! Oh my God it’s one thing to be a good parent and showing your kids what’s right and wrong and to not follow or believe everything they see or hear, but Disney movies are supposed to ENTERTAIN your kids! Thank God my mom was not like you in that aspect at least, Jesus Christ, you’re killing their imagination that way, next you’ll be telling them there’s no such thing as Santa Claus or the tooth fairy!!!

  47. Speaking as the mother of both a daughter and sons, I agree that there’s an added level of injury and insult when the aggressor is male and the victim female, but would add that in cases of male/male bullying, the “advice” given by society is just as often “boys will be boys.” Violence and abuse can only be stopped if BOTH genders are encouraged to respect themselves and others, and if adults get their heads out of their asses, recognize AND STOP this stuff, each and every time it occurs.

  48. Sigh.
    *flame protective suit on*
    I would bet that very few of the girls that were told “oh, he just likes you” were told that it was acceptable to be hit/pushed/etc. The comment is generally a statement of truth. Young boys that tease female classmates generally ARE trying to show affection, only they don’t know how. It’s not right for them do those things to female classmates (or anyone, for that matter)… but since our society generally tells boys that showing affection is bad, they really have no other way to signal that they want to be friends. Of course, IT IS NOT RIGHT that boys do this… but don’t shoot the messenger. It is not the “they just like you” messenger’s fault that people raise boys like animals. Energy would be better expended convincing boys that it’s ok to be friends with girls and that their emotions are not horrible things to be excised than hitting people in the face just because they’re stating a fact of life. Certainly an unfortunate one that we need to change, but is true nonetheless.

  49. I could not agree with you more!However,most of the girls of today that “I know” don’t even buy into that load of crap!They are just as terrifying as the boys!!When were growing up we were often told boys will be boys,and yes,the boy just likes you.My daughter for one, wasn’t having it,she’s 18 now ,but I can still recall when she was smaller, if the little boys”liked her” they often were the ones running to the teacher. I taught her better by example as well.She’s never seen mommy getting hit on,because mommy wasn’t having it.Not to say I can/would beat up on,or kill someone(hopefully it never goes to that extent),but ,rather first take necessary legal steps to eliminate the problem before anything else(not that it always works,we have butt-wipes everywhere). I am a tiny woman,she is a small young lady, and neither of us are fans of pain.

  50. Bravo!!! *claps hands*
    If only every parent were so intelligent as you. Thank you for this, it hits home for me especially (no pun intended.) I grew up in a home were this kind of “abuse” was deemed acceptable. “don’t worry honey, your father had to beat you till you couldn’t walk. Its how he shows his love and respect for you. It teaches you how to behave in society.” no, what that teaches, is FEAR; of him, of making mistakes, failing, embarrassment, of not being perfect. And finally it perpetuates that stupid line, “he only hurts you because he loves you.”

  51. I absolutely agree with where you’re going, although I think – to a certain degree – you fall into the ‘children are just like adults, but smaller’ trap.

    Should we be teaching our children (both boys and girls) how to properly respond to their feelings (ie through friendly words and actions, not aggressive words and actions)? Absolutely.

    But is a six-year old a ‘jerk’ or ‘bad’ for teasing somebody the like? No, they just don’t know any better yet – there’s no mens rea. A six year old hitting somebody they like is emphatically NOT the same as an adult hitting somebody they’re in a relationship with.

    The solution is to teach our children to be better – not to shame them for what comes naturally to them.

  52. While I see the point, I didn’t bother reading past the point where it says “boys hit girls”! I know plenty of girls that hit my son, and he doesn’t hit back because he just is not that type of child. I have always taught him that it is not okay to hit anyone period.

    This perspective just created another stereotype that we as a society do not need to share because I found this offensive and it angers me actually.

    Next time, please write for an entire audience before blasting young kids and putting them in another box so you can take your child out of one.

    And while I know other people probably addresses this issue before me. Thank you for sticking up for your kids. This is irresponsible writing.

  53. I remember when I was in 6th grade, my mother told me that a certain boy was pulling off my stocking cap on the playground because he liked me and was too immature to know how else to express his interest. She told me to either ignore it or tell him to knock it off–and let her know if it continued. I wasn’t interested in him but at least I understood where he was coming from and didn’t feel hurt or abused. Knowing that was empowering. Also, I learned a valuable lesson: Don’t work up a frenzy of rage and create a drama over something that’s just mildly annoying. Ultimately, as I recall, I said, “Yeah, whatever, Jason,” and waited until he dropped the cap before retrieving it with an air of nonchalance. The behavior stopped.
    The reality is that boys do act this way–and girls can set firm boundaries without sending cortisol through their systems as they talk themselves into the idea that they are victims. THAT to me is a much bigger problem that a little bit of an annoyance: The message to wear the mantle of VICTIM and embrace one’s powerlessness.
    I actually do like the little card; it’s true! Boys can be immature in how they express affection. Heck, even as men, they punch their friends in the arm to be cool! But we should be compassionate toward them as people even as we set boundaries. Pulling a girl’s pigtail isn’t on par with punching her in the face and it’s not healthy to teach your girl that it is. What matters is that a girl knows she can say “CUT IT OUT!” and be heard and that she can CHOOSE not to blow things out of proportion.

  54. To all the parent’s saying “children express themselves this way sometimes (sic.)” well, when I was in the first grade my best friends were two boys, named George and Steven (I still remember!). If parents raise their children to view the opposite gender as an alien life form -well- that hurts the empathy process, it’s better to just raise children as children. Not “little men” or “little women”….In fact I didn’t even know racism was a thing until a few years later as well. what I’m saying is, maybe violence could be avoided altogether if children could just relate to each other as people….it’s not a maybe even, it’s true!

  55. I fucking love this!! I endured having my ass grabbed daily on the bus for years, and got “protection” from a football player which I then felt obligated to go on a date with. I didn’t have a problem telling him NO but then my “protection” vanished as well. If my daughter told me that something like this was happening to her, I’d be on that bus myself ASAP, if not punching those little assholes in the face myself!

  56. I stumbled across this post via Flipboard and I just wanted to leave a comment telling you how much I AGREE! I have a 3 yr old son and we are focusing on raising him to be a gentleman and to respect himself, his peers, us (parents), his teachers, etc. He has been very fortunate to have a wonderful upbringing so far with two great male role models in my dad and my fiancé. We talk about our feelings with him regularly, are strict about rules, and we are teaching him manners. To us manners include general manners, table manners, and gentleman manners (walk a lady to her car, open the door/hold it open, etc.) So many children we are around are not being taught how to respect themselves, their parents, their teachers, their peers, etc. I have witnessed little boys actually hitting their mothers!!! NOT acceptable! My goal as a parent is to raise a confident gentleman who sticks up for himself, the picked on & abused and who is respectful without being a doormat. If we happen to have a daughter in the future, my goal will also be to raise a lady who has self respect, confidence, and who doesn’t take crap from anyone. If I fail at those goals, I fail as a parent. It is our job as parents to teach our kids by example and by having open communication with them about what is acceptable and what is not. So many parents out there aren’t actually taking the time to parent! It is wonderful to know that there are other parents out there with the same views and opinions as us!

  57. I don’t buy for one minute that this is a double standard. At my Elementary school, there were countless incidents of fifth-grade girls going up to third-grade boys, socking them in the face, and when the boys were about to retaliate, said in a sing-song voice, “Boys can’t hit giiiirrrrls!” It happened to me once. I told several teachers about it; two of them said that it meant she liked me, while another laughed at me because, hey, what’s funnier than a boy getting his ass walloped by a girl?

    Men and boys nowadays live in total fear of women and girls. They’re afraid to express their true feelings for them due to draconian sexual harassment laws, they constantly check their speech to make sure that nothing they say could even remotely be taken as offensive by any women or girls in the vicinity, and if they dare to defend themselves against a woman assaulting them, they’ll be locked up.

    You say that you plan to teach your sons to respect women. Why not also teach your daughters to respect men? Few parents ever consider this, and we end up with a bunch of wimpy, ineffectual men who think that their being able to sit there and take abuse from a woman is a sign of their strength, and a bunch of selfish, entitled women who don’t know how to communicate with a man through any other means than their fists.

    Respect is a two-way street. I sincerely hope you realize that.

  58. There os a HUGE difference between a kindergarden boy pushing a girl because he doesn’t know how else to express affection and a grown man abusing his wife. Even between the kindergardener and a ten yr old. Ten year old boys are being abusive and it should have been addressed. Younger kids need to be taught by their parents. Ranting and swearing on a blog does not solve the problem. Communication with your children will.

  59. have you seen the movie “He’s Just Not That into You?” They address this in that movie. My daughter got the crap knocked out of her in the 4th grade by a boy on several occasions and that’s what the school tried to tell me. It wasn’t until I threatened to go to the school board that it stopped. He literally punched her in her shoulder while wearing a sling b/c she had broken it. He kicked her in the leg when on crutches (yeah, she had a lot of injuries that year), picked her up by her shirt, etc… Maybe he did like her but I will never teach my daughter it’s okay to be with a boy who abuses her. you go!

    • I totally understand and agree and I am making a spinoff to this post, because of the way it was received (mistakenly) to be vilifying little boys. As a mother of three sons, including one with a disabilty, that was not my intent. I was speaking, strictly, from my experience with my school age daughter, as i haven’t had any experience with bullying with any of my three sons (11wks, 2yrs and 6yrs). My oldest boy is in kindergarten and he has a genetic disease and is legally blind. I know, at this point, the additional services he requires in school has gone unnoticed but it has the potential to make him a target for bullying from boys and girls in the near future. I didn’t intend to dismiss that boys can be the victims of bullying, including from girls under the guise of affection. I was just blogging about my experience to date. Thank you for reading and for sharing your dissent in such an understanding way.

    • I totally understand and agree and I am making a spinoff to this post, because of the way it was received (mistakenly) to be vilifying little boys. As a mother of three sons, including one with a disability, that was not my intent. I was speaking, strictly, from my experience with my school age daughter, as i haven’t had any experience with bullying with any of my three sons (11wks, 2yrs and 6yrs). My oldest boy is in kindergarten and he has a genetic disease and is legally blind. I know, at this point, the additional services he requires in school has gone unnoticed but it has the potential to make him a target for bullying from boys and girls in the near future. I didn’t intend to dismiss that boys can be the victims of bullying, including from girls under the guise of affection. I was just blogging about my experience to date. Thank you for reading and for sharing your dissent in such an understanding way.

  60. I think the same thing, and have told my girls as much before. I think there is a grain of truth to the idea that “he just likes you”, messed up as that may be. But all that means to me is that we need to teach our boys better how to handle emotions and relating to other people. It certainly does not mean that we should be teaching are girls to explain it away and accept poor behavior. Hopefully, that boy will learn. In the meantime, let’s teach our kids to find the ones that already treat them well.

    This does happen to boys, too, as some have pointed out here. (It happened to me more than once.) But, let’s be realistic. In a society where the boys are [still] taught to be the aggressors, this happens a lot more often to girls. I’m usually pretty sensitive to arguments that leave out the male side of whatever is going on, and have been accused of derailing once or twice. But I don’t see this as one of those arguments. Just as the beginning of the discussion. You wrote from your experience without (IMO) any denial of anyone else’s.

    Thank you.

  61. And the church says: AMEN. I’m sure that if I told my brothers that some boy hit me that’d be the last time that kid drew breath. We must said better messages to our children. Our girls need to know what is affectionate and boys need to know how to display their affections properly.


  62. While I agree with almost everything this post addresses, I would urge the author to lay off the Ani and consider shaving her legs more often. Interesting she would condemn children for not knowing how to deal with their emotions but advocate slapping a person in order to get her point across. Can’t have it both ways , Einstein.

  63. Any activities by young boys that would best be described as bullying should of course be dealt with as such and not tolerated. But in the sometimes case where a boy actually does like the girl, he are trying to relate to the girl in the same way that he relates to other boys – through roughhousing. He probably isn’t mature enough to be able to think of a different way, and to just label him as “an asshole” does not do him any justice either.

    In this instance, saying “oh he just likes your daughter” may be accurate, but the conversation shouldn’t stop there. The answer as I see it is that the boy’s parents and/or teachers need to help the boy see the more socially appropriate way to play with, and relate others who do not appreciate the rough play. That is what will help the boy to mature into someone who understand how to relate to different types of people.

    IMO of course.

  64. Holy crap, this lady is a psychopath.

    “I want my daughter to know that the boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life.”

    It’s more likely because he’s a 10 year old, and that’s an awkward stage of life for boys. Or, hell, anyone.

    When a boy hits/shoves/pushes a girl he likes, it should definitely have consequences, and it’s not OK to brush it off as affection. But if we can’t deliver the consequences without calling a kid a bunch of expletives and acting like he’s a junior monster, than he’s not going to get any better.

    Kids are horrible sometimes, because they’re still learning not to be. We deal with it as best we can, and hope they’ll grow up to be well adjusted adults. Better so, at least, than the author.

  65. I completely agree with your point; however, I also teach my girls along with respecting themselves they do not need to resort to constant swearing either. When one has self-respect one does not need to resort to foul language to prove a point. Also an adult calling a child “little asshole” is not acceptable either. I’m sure if you found out some mother called your daughter “a little bitch” you wouldn’t be to fond of that. You seem like an intelligent woman and I don’t think you need to use foul language to get your point across. I just find it all very distracting.

  66. I agree that this is, of course, a ridiculous and disturbing thing thing to tell children, and any teacher passing this old chestnut on needs to have its absurdity pointed out.
    But I believe it’s also important to remember that the child who engages in this behavior is not an “asshole,” but a kid in need of guidance and intervention about the proper way to relate to others. I’d hate to see a 10-year-old written off in that way. At that age, they’re still young enough to learn better.

  67. Are you or were you ever married? Pity the male. Your “handle” implies QueenoftheRoost. And just a comment, you have a bit of a foul manner of speaking. Kids will be kids both boys and girls. It is their nature to seek attention and establish their self worth and authority. This is intially done through gender peer groups. Some carry this to the extent of bullying. Laws will never stop this. Nor will police in schools. These measures will only criminalize childhood and set these individuals on a hard path.
    Kids do this because they have not been wholely molded to adult life and responsibility. This is the parents job and to a lesser extent the schools when in the role of loci parenti.
    Agree with Kelli quite a bit.

  68. The sad thing is that it might actually be the only way the little boys know to give a girl attention. This sort of behavior can’t just be stopped by educating little girls, parents need, as you said, to educate their sons as well, that this is not acceptable.

    This type of thing also sounds like an extension of adult dismissal of bullying.

    Also just to point out, it’s a two way street in a way. I know first hand that if a girl abuses a guy, even up to teen-hood, an adults reaction is to say “it probably means she likes you”.

  69. Reading all the positive responses, I’m not going to reiterate praise in relation to respecting interactions between people, etc.
    However, I do want to say that it probably is beneficial to your daughter that she know that not all the boys in class don’t like her, it’s important that she understand that they are misguided in their attempts to show affection and their behavior is unacceptable, but that they are most likely attempting to show affection—I think it is equally important for a young child to know they are liked by the people around them as it is for them to learn to avoid those who can’t show feelings in a respectful way.

  70. Bravo!!!

    I’m 6 months pregnant with my first child – a boy – and this will definitely be something I keep in mind when he gets to that age. I would be horrified, and insanely angry, if anyone ever tried to tell him or me and my partner that violence = love. Conversely, I will also teach him that any physical violence he experiences from any girls (or boys) will never equal “liking” someone.

    Thanks for putting this out there!

  71. Thanks so much for your essay. I was horribly bullied in elementary school, and the “they just like you” line allowed the treatment to continue rather than being addressed.

    I’ll definitely be taking a route like yours should I have children.

  72. i love this. and yes, explain all this to the girls… and explain some things to those boys, as well! That is not how you treat a girl you like.. they may be on hormonal over-drive in some situations, they need to know to channel it.
    great post! *sharing*

  73. I was on the receiving end of this type of attention from a boy 2 years older when I was in kindergarten back in the mid 70’s. I vaguely recall at this point how he used to get in my way during recess. Essentially his MO was interfere with my play to get in my way to wreck whatever I was trying to build enough so that other kids got annoyed that he had attached himself to me and didn’t want me to play with them. I gather it went on for a month before I laid him out. I do recall he stepped in my way one more time and I hauled off and punched him in the face. His ass hit the ground. I got a detention and my mother got called in. She told me later the teachers had been watching this go on for a month or so and were surprised I lasted as long as I did. But they had a no violence policy and so they had to give me a detention but she asked my mom not to be too hard on me.

    I have no problem with what I did. He had it coming. He was thwarting my freedom of being and it was harassment. Part of me is of the mind that kids are losing the ability to learn how to take care of themselves and negotiate solutions with how much hovering our generation is doing. But in my instance.. why did this crap go on for a month? Why was I left to my own devices to solve this problem and get in trouble when I finally did. Frankly I really believe he should have gotten the detention for being a nuisance and had harassment explained to him. And for the record I really don’t have a problem with kids inflicting violence on others in the name of self defense. It is an acceptable response in my view and frequently ends the problem faster than anything else has, it just shouldn’t have to get to that point. He just likes you as a pat answer to unwanted attention is really unacceptable. And no girl or boy should ever have to put up with it.

  74. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic. So glad there is at least one parent in the world like you. Thanks for everything you do for your children and for the world.

  75. Bullying and teasing are different things… still, well said. But the sad thing is, I believe there is some truth to the idea that a boy who picks on a girl likes her. The real problem here is less about what we say to our girls and more about what we say to our boys. Everyone should be teaching their BOYS from a young age that if they like a girl they shouldn’t pick on them!! Instead boys are taught that girls are “icky” and that being sweet makes them “sissies.” So if they have affectionate feelings towards someone, they act out and harass the thing that’s making them feel mushy, because no one ever told them how or what to do otherwise or that it’s okay to feel otherwise. The little boys aren’t assholes- their parents are.

    • @badbadwebbis. Yes and hallelujah!
      Let’s try put this more blandly and PC-ly:
      The entire POINT of this blog is to teach young humans not to take abuse – but to counter it in the most appropriate assertive form. Gender aside. Nevertheless, our unfortunate world does not leave gender aside when it comes to training it’s human young – which has unfortunate repercussions though-out an individual’s life. That individual, if counseled incorrectly by the prominent adult mentors in its life usually is held back by the social sanctioning long internalized and ends up dealing with baggage they would not have needed to carry had they been counseled well. Being held back in life due to feelings of inferiority inferred by such comments following abuse is analogous in many cases to the old cliche “she asked for it” still being used even by police in many places in the world to a rape victim. The victim is rendered powerless and confused. And open to more abuse in the future. Wise, corrective parenting and mentoring now can stem many future ills.
      Did anyone get this?

      It’s making a statement to all those adults who will hopefully read this to be aware of the subliminal messages they send when training the next generation.

      And finally (if unnecessarily): The expletives were merely shock value and catharsis. Literary shock-decorations of emphasis, if you will. Future repliers – please read the posted comments before making an irrelevant point. it gets very old.

  76. For the debate on whether boys “understand” that their behavior is inappropriate…when they get socked in the nose for hitting a girl, they’ll learn. They’ll learn very quickly

  77. I believe it has more to do with the stage of the neurological development cycle, and not that it’s ok to let boys hit/tease/etc girls.

    At that point, boys generally are not able to express their feelings in the adult way, and are transitioning from the “girls are the same as boys, and are gender neutral” or “girls are gross” stage to the “girls are cute, I want a girlfriend” stage.

    And, girls have been known to do the same exact thing at that stage of development.

  78. Oh man, you are so right!
    I taught my daughter @ age 3 to respond to this by holding the boy by the shirtfront and yelling full blast into his face “YOU CAN’T DO THAT TO ME!!” She hasn’t had a problem since. She has, however been reported for ‘anti-social behavior’ for defending herself against this kind of violence. That’s society for ya.

    • Do I honestly think I can marry the two statements, as if I have divined your meaning? Quite the opposite. The two statements don’t go together at all, so I’m not going to try to marry them! I asked because the second made me think I’d misread the intent of the first statement, perhaps colored by the 3 comments to it above by Dawn etc. Let me put it more abstractly, and perhaps less directed at you personally: If a little kid tried to grab someone’s daughter and the parent slapped them, is that always bad? I just thought you were maybe being hard core protective. Your first statement is not definitive either way on that.

    • (Clarification: I meant: the two statements, AS I FIRST UNDERSTOOD THEM, didn’t fit together. And I don’t know how far you’d go in using violence to protect your kids. I don’t have kids, and am meek.

  79. I have two children- a son and a daughter. Abuse is not acceptable period. The shitty thing is that it was my son who was abused last year by some amazon kindergarter who got jealous because he decided that he didn’t want to play with her. He told me that he kept asking him to chase her, and he didn’t want to. He took another girl up on her offer to play somewhere else. When amazon girl saw that he was walking away to play with another little girl, she flipped out, picked him up by his feet and dragged him across the playground. I still have photos of the cuts and bruises. His whole ribcage was swollen on one side with welts. Unfortunately we live in a society where treatment is NOT equal. Girls rarely get punished for their crimes the way that boys do. This little girl got a “talk”. Had my son done the same thing- he would have surely been expelled. Funny how someone said “She probably just likes him” to me. I feel just as furious about it as you do.

  80. This should be posted in CAPITAL LETTERS at EVERY school, household, oh this should be EVERYWHERE!!! Cheers to you my friend! What an amazing woman you MUST be!

  81. Well, this has been interesting reading. Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with this anymore, but someday I’ll have grandchildren (Lord willing). I hope that I can help their parents instill a sense of self-worth without their feeling they have to report every childish infraction.

    I was that girl. You know the one….. in 3rd grade, I chased boys to kiss them. In 5th grade, they chased me to kiss me. In 7th grade, I was the only girl in my school wearing a C cup, they had absolutely no idea how to handle it (cuz you KNOW they wanted to handle them), and it just got worse from there. The boys? They picked on me because they had raging hormones and no FREAKING idea how to deal with them. I just smacked them back, I didn’t go tell my mom. I knew what was going on. When their buddies weren’t around we were friends, but when the guys were together they were pretty much socially unacceptable until we were Seniors(and then it was iffy). I dated a few of them in high school, and they acted like gentlemen and treated me like a lady.

    So yes, I will educate my grandchildren, as I educated my children. They will not accept abuse as normal, but they will also understand that not everyone has the same parents, not everyone has the same culture, and that stupid, childish actions are not always the precursor to a penchant for dispensing abuse. And yes, I will tell my granddaughters that sometimes he smacks you on the arm because he likes you and has no idea how to express himself. That doesn’t mean you sit there and take it. That also doesn’t mean he’s going to beat his wife, it probably means that he thinks girls are still supposed to be icky and doesn’t know why he feels all funny inside. I have a son – we talk at length, and I had to educate him on the proper way to express these feelings.

    By the way, I’ve talked to those guys at our high school reunions, and they are wonderful, caring fathers and husbands, and we are still good friends.

  82. I’m always trying to find the fine line between teaching boundaries and preventing narcissism. I’ve seen parenting go too far in either direction…

    But I know you are absolutely right on this matter.

    I work hard to teach my two daughters (2 and 3 yrs old) to talk through every dispute. “Did you ask her to stop pushing you? Tell her it’s not ok. If she doesn’t listen to you, then come tell me.” I want their first impulse to be standing up for themselves, and speaking up when they feel mistreated.

    So when they come home and share a similar story with me, I will absolutely be all over it. I expect them to learn to stand up for themselves. But if it doesn’t work (face it, they’re kids. They need help.), I want them to know from example that injustice is not to be tolerated.

    If I had boys, I’d teach them the exact same thing.

  83. I was an bookish, skinny, mildly Aspergery kid. I stood out, and it wasn’t ever good. I had traditional, but intelligent and loving parents. I knew about the boys who teased the girls they liked. I knew about how to deal with a bully, not that I ever had the self confidence to ever put that knowledge to work. I knew what was reasonable, and what I wasn’t going to be able to explain away.

    I say all this because I was “the problem” that we’re talking about. I poked a couple girls and pulled their hair, exclusively because I had a crush on them. I had a crush on a lot of girls, so I have a bit more first-hand knowledge about this than I’d like.

    I could have told you 10 seconds before, as well as 10 seconds after pulling someone’s hair that it was inappropriate behavior, and I earnestly would not have desired to do it. WITHIN those moments, however, there is no internal logic that could have directed me away from doing it, it was just what was going to happen.

    I don’t consider that bullying, a bully in my mind is about a pattern. I was to no one what any of the bullies in my past were to me. I crossed a line of appropriateness, occasionally, that I had to learn not to cross, and I did.

    I wanted to say I couldn’t imagine ever grabbing a girl and taking something from her. I never did anything that inexcusable, but I can see how it could unfold. I would have gotten in more trouble than I could have possibly processed, and it would have been justified. From that, like so many other things about growing up, I would have learned just enough FEAR to keep me out of trouble until I matured and experienced enough to UNDERSTAND why it was wrong in the first place.

    I guess I’m just saying there is a balance to be found:
    Be careful not to expect, or teach your daughters to expect, a level of control that isn’t reasonable from our sons… but don’t you dare let them think they have to tolerate it.
    Boys can grow up, but we aren’t born men, and we don’t get to maturity as fast as girls… but you don’t let your sons ever use that as an excuse for behaving badly. There is a basic level of respect we extend to each other, always, NOT having that is not ok.

  84. You have negated your entire point, which is, I think, how to be a better parent on this issue, with your foul language. You had me until the first “F” bomb. As PTA President, I can not share this message with my fairly large network of teachers, parents, mayors, and councilors because of the profanity. Good writers know you can send a very strong message without cursing. (I am also a full time published writer) Yours could have been a good one, but you negate your “good example” by setting a bad one. I have to agree with other commenters who are not alone in thinking this piece of ‘writing’ is self indulgent and obnoxious.

    • Really, a PTA President and published writer (whatever that means in this digital age of self-publishing) can’t edit this blog post to remove the profanity if desired? It can still be shared as “based on” the original work, or even with a note saying “Edited for language” with the web address of the original post provided.

      Get off your high horse. I agree with you that her point could have been made without the cussing, but it’s her blog- she can be “self-indulgent” if she wants to.

      Related but slightly off-topic (because really everything I would say has been said), what I don’t get is the pervasive idea that, if teasing bothers someone, they should “get over it” because it was “just meant as a joke”. So?? If it was just meant as a joke, then the appropriate response is to apologize and not do it again, because hurt feelings were not your intention. Whoever is being teased is not required to grow a thicker skin. They may choose to in order to affect their social interactions, but then it’s THEIR choice.

      And oh my god, people, if you want to be listened to learn how to spell. I can handle cussing, but trying to dissect poorly written comments is a waste of my time.

    • Lady, pull the stick out of your ass and think for a second. You don’t have to pass around this particular article to get the message out. In fact, if the rest of your community is as uptight as you are, it would probably be best to repackage the message. Either way, the point is the same.

  85. Too true, and I love your “slap, I love you” response. I also taught my daughter that if a boy hit her, she was free to hit him back. Then when confronted (because you know an adult is going to jump down on her for that) look confused and say “oh, I thought we were playing the hitting game”. she has brothers, trust me, she can hit pretty hard. And before someone disagres that violence should not beget violence. When boys are held 100% accountable for their actions, then we can get to the subject of like kind retialiation.

  86. When I was in fourth grade (circa early 1980’s), there was a little boy who was hitting me on the playground on a daily basis, hard enough to bruise my arm. My mom told me that he probably just liked me and that I need to tell the teacher about it when he does it. My dad said, “This is bullshit. Here is how you make a fist. Keep your thumb on the outside and go for the nose first. You don’t allow anyone to hit you like that.” Although it might not be the politically correct response in this day and age, one slug back and the kid never hit me again.

  87. As a new mom to a little girl, I hope that I have your insight and courage when she deals with assholes in their various forms. Thank you for this post! I retweeted and I am going to send to friends!!

  88. Can I take this one step further – and add that it’s not acceptable for girls to hit boys out of “love” either? I had someone tell my son that a girl was making fun of him because she liked him. Really? I don’t want to believe that is a sign of a healthy relationship and, should he meet a girl who believes it is, he should run the other direction. My children (3 boys and a girl) are all taught that affection is gentle and loving and never involves hitting, belittling or teasing.

  89. Sadly enough, it even goes the other way…the next time I hear my son’s dad ask, “is she cute?” I think I’ll give him the same affection…My son is constantly reminded that everyone needs to always keep their hands, etc. to themselves-however, when out on the playground it seems to be a free-for-all…he’s 9 and I find it HORRIBLY offensive that when he goes to a teacher to ask that they please help him to stop the girls chasing, pinching, etc that he gets told to “stop tattling and go play”- My son has been taught to stand up for himself, no matter who is standing in front of him…I always tell him that if he gives respect, he will get respect…too bad some other parents weren’t told the same along the way…

  90. I think the simplest way to express this is this: “Violence and harassment are never acceptable ways of showing affection.”

    School administrators should be told, “You have a responsibility to teach kids that violence and harassment are never acceptable. It doesn’t matter if the kid thinks he’s being friendly, or funny, it’s not acceptable.”

  91. So much agree. I’ve seen this manifest in so many different ways, none of them pleasant. Given my social awkwardness and gender variance, I was a fairly easy target for ridicule throughout school, especially by boys. My mom dismissed my complaints with “they probably just like you” for a long time before realizing what was really going on.

    It seems like “it’s only because she likes you” is applied to girls too, sometimes in cases of abusive behavior but also in cases where a girl is trying to express active dislike and a wish to be left alone and it bleeds into the idea of “playing hard to get”. “Leave me alone, you jerk!” is somehow parsed as “I want you to keep bothering me” way too often, and sometimes the two sides get combined (“he only bothers her because he likes her/she only retaliates because she likes him”.) Gross.

  92. This is honestly something I hadn’t really thought about and now that I have I’m so angry. I’ll definitely be passing this on and am so glad a friend passed it on to me. More people need tools like this in preventing their child from growing up to accept violence, thank you.

  93. WTF its not only boys that pick on girls i remember when i was in school girls picked on boys the same fucking way this fucking oringal post is nothing but a sexiest cunt.i used to get beaten up by girls when i was in elementary school so wtf and there kids for fuck sake they dont kno any better at all wow what a fucking sexiest cunt she is and yes am a adult am allowed to swear if u dont like it GO FUCK UR SELF WITH A SHARP POINTY STICK

    • Yes, as an adult you’re allowed to swear… but as an adult you should also learn how to spell and use proper grammar when posting in a public forum and expecting people to listen to your point of view. Otherwise, you just come off as ridiculous and uneducated.

      The author never stated that this never happens to boys, so you obviously misunderstood the whole point of this article. Because how often do you hear about women battering men? Sure, it happens… but is it as common as men battering women? Or how about rape? Do women rape men often?

      The sad fact is that lessons learned in childhood, whether they come from good or bad experiences, can follow us into adulthood. That was the point of this article, to not teach young girls that it’s okay to be insulted or abused in any way.

  94. I’ll chime in and say it goes both ways.

    When that sort of thing happened to us boys, we got told it was just cause you “girls liked us.”

    People need to be taught on all sides…

  95. Calm down. Your focusing adult levels of aggression at a problem for children. And from the sounds of it your a few steps away from coddling your child into a simpleton who wont be able to defend themselves, let alone think for themselves with mom the lioness watching over. You cant be there forever. So calm down and think it over.

  96. You know, the pinching and the hair pulling and the name-calling do usually mean “I like you and I don’t know how to express it. My feelings make me confused and awkward and I act roughly because of it.” I can understand that feeling, of searching through the social toolbox to try and find the thing you know how to do that will get the attention of the person you want to notice you.

    The thing is, every interaction we have with another human being is training us. When I speak to a friend one way, and she reacts negatively, she is training me not to speak to her that way. If I then change the way I speak to her, I am training her to communicate her expectations to me that way. It’s not a conscious thing in most cases; it’s just a matter of feedback and interaction.

    Where I’m going with all this is that even IF the bullying behaviour means one child ‘likes’ another, it’s an opportunity for training. If you pull my hair and I tell you I don’t like you, then maybe you will take ‘pulling hair’ outta your toolbox because it *didn’t work*. If you call me a nasty name and I stop being your friend, you’ll take that out of your skill set. If you tell me “I think you’re cute” and I say “Thank you, I think you’re cute too,” then I’m training you to communicate compliments honestly. If you react positively, you’re training me to accept compliments with sincerity (this, by the way, is why I do not compliment friends who invariably respond with self-deprecation. They have trained me not to be complimentary).

    Instead of teaching children “teasing you means he likes you,” let’s teach them to respond to abusive teasing with the simply stated “You’re a bully and I don’t like you,” while getting teachers to tell the bullies, “Maybe you should try a different way to get (kid)’s attention?” If boys and girls give clearly negative feedback, the awkward little bullies will have to find new tools for their toolboxes. You don’t have to defy or be aggressive. Just say, “I don’t like that,” and walk away as well as you can. Tell kids it’s OK to respond to teachers who say “I think he/she just likes you,” with “I only like people who aren’t jerks to me.”

  97. It’s amazing how many responses to this post argue that we should view boy-on-girl violence interpretively, and yet lack the interpretive skills necessary to understand that the author doesn’t actually advocate punching grade school administrators.

  98. When I was a kid and was told that a boy being a jerkoff to me meant he ‘liked me,’ it simply didn’t compute. This made NO sense to me at the time: how could that be? If they ‘liked’ me, they would be nice, not dicks or physically hurtful. I remember thinking about it, wondering if that meant the approved method of showing interest in someone, was to be a jerk myself. But it didn’t FEEL right, so I stopped trying and stuck with what did feel right; not being an asshole. Not hurting others.

    As I got older, I paid more attention to what I saw happening between younger children, and could see that *sometimes* it was indeed, true. But not always, and the children who did like someone never actually intentionally hurt the object of their affections. Often enough though, it was just bullying, or a kid – male or female – acting out their own private issues against what they perceived as an easy target that could not or would not fight back. I sincerely hope I never make the mistake of answering a child’s complaint with a condescending “that just means they like you”. I could well be utterly incorrect.

  99. Your Majesty,

    Your position is the kind that gets 4th graders suspended for “sexual harrasment” when they don’t know what either word is. Children at this age have neither the knowlege of what their doing nor why they feel like doing, and lack a pre-frontal cortex to figure it out. You are judging children by adult standards which are literally impossible for them to meet. Permit me to suggest that you take a developmental psych class.

  100. I am ashamed that I didn’t realise this before reading your piece. I have an only son and would hate to think that he expresses “affection” through violence. The parents of boys really need to read this.

  101. Bravo!!!! And please remember that this goes for boys being treated with no respect from bitchy little girls too! I have seen so many more girls being nasty with boys and other girls – than I ever see boys being nasty to the girls. Girls get away with the “she’s a girl” so she’s allowed to be whiny and bitchy. NO thanks! Please, as long as you are encouraging your girls to be confident, kind women, please don’t allow all the drama to begin when they are young. It is not cute.

  102. I agree with a lot of what you’re saying here, but I think you’re focusing on playground mistreatment as THE end-all-be-all reason women stay in abusive relationships.

    You said: “When the fuck was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment? And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships?”

    Women stay in abusive relationships for reasons that have nothing to do with believing abuse is a sign of affection. They stay because they have little or no self-esteem, they stay because they are irresistibly attracted to the bad boy image, and many more reasons. You’re making a good point here, but you went a little over-the-top with it.

  103. Is there no distinction between teaching a little girl how to INTERPRET the actions of the people around her versus how to RESPOND to the actions of the people around her?

    I think the explanation as it being affection is by and large and accurate one nonetheless. Your eye-for-an-eye mentality concerns me. She’ll pick that attitude right up from you, Mom.

    Obviously, I don’t think it’s appropriate for PEOPLE to abuse other PEOPLE physically or emotionally, but that goes in all directions. Let’s not be hetero-normative please. It seems like you’re implying that women have no ability to abuse others because they’re such gentle, fragile specimens. Let’s not perpetuate a male-dominated society.

    Truly I do agree with the idea that its wrong for girls to accept being mistreated and put down. No question. But there’s more than just that in my opinion.

    Much love :)

  104. As the father of a little girl, I couldn’t agree with you more about girls needing to not tolerate violence and disrespect. My only concern is your response to the violence and disrespect directed at your daughter is you directing violence and disrespect towards someone else. “If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.”. Remember children learn what is acceptable and what isn’t, from home and that sends the message “violence and disrespect is wrong, if someone does that, then be violent and disrespectful to them”.

  105. holy cow, i remember being told that as a kid and accepting it and it honestly never occurred to me until right now how absolutely stupid and wrong it it. thank you for this. i will make sure my son knows the difference between loving and abusive.

  106. this is hillarious i have a daughter. I know that it actually means that he does like her because when i was small i did the same thing. I used to hit girls that i liked. but now that i have grown up i understand it is wrong and i dont hit my wife. when you are a little boy it is easier to hit then talk to and that is all part of childhood. but if your daughter is so weak as to allow this to ruin her life then by all means shelter her from this ongoing childhood evil. in my books you are way way over reacting. either that or the boy that used to like you doesnt anymore and your just pissed.

  107. love it! my mother never fed me that load of crap when i was younger!!! my little sister was getting notes saying i hate you and youre not my friend and got BIT by another girl (so hard it actually left a mark)and she was afraid to say something cause they have a “dont squeal unless its a big deal” policy. finally she told my mother but as soon as she realized my mom was calling the teacher, she freaked out and said she bit HERSELF! and then the teacher BELIEVED HER! and told her not to lie even though the bite mark was clearly in a spot where she couldnt have done it herself. the teacher said the other girl only said mean things to her cause she “Wanted to be friends but didnt know how to ask” load. of. crap. love this article. i agree that this should be read by everyone

  108. As long as you also teach your daughter to look for the nice guys who don’t slam into her for attention as possible dating material as well.

  109. As the father of two girls, can I just say how much I love this?

    Pure awesomeness. I was so glad to have had this passed on to me, and you better believe I am sharing the hell out of this.

    Thanks so much!

  110. Anyone who hurts her physically or emotionally doesn’t deserve her respect, friendship or love

    I was with you 100% until that line. Please, whatever you do, don’t reach your daughter to be self-righteous and selfish enough to think that every time she feels bad, it’s the other person’s fault.

  111. This is a load of crap. Nothing exists in a vacuum in this world. Sure sometimes it is merely a boy being mean, but other times it is merely a boy who does not know how to express his feelings. So why don’t most of you women friggin relax and judge each situation on its merits….ya know like you were raised to do or at the very least have figured out after growing the F up and becoming an adult.

    PS – I argue for a living so just save it……

    • You know, I *would* save it but I’m tired of the whole, ‘keep your mouth shut and don’t cause trouble’ kind of mentality that women in my age group were conditioned into adopting as we grew up. Also I don’t recall seeing any of us women reacting with anger and belligerence to this article… only men. Interesting, yes? Maybe if *you* had grown the F up and become an adult, you’d be able to argue without ranting and looking irrational.

      This article isn’t about judging boys who don’t know how to express their feelings. Like the other guys who have blown this way out of proportion, you see this as an attack on your gender. It’s not. It urges us to NOT teach our daughters that it’s okay to be treated poorly, for whatever reason. You and the others who have left abusive comments are treating the author of this post, and any other women who agree with her, poorly. Perhaps you just don’t know how to express your feelings properly.

      • I don’t agree entirely with all of the points you’ve made but I was just noticing that myself – the women who have either disagreed or felt that it was in some ways unfair to oys did not go apoplectic to get that point across

    • You argue for a living? Well, then I guess I should just go back to the kitchen and make you a PIE!

      Of course each situation should be judged on its own. Of course. Duh. But — as I’m sure you know, being all lawyerish (I assume) — generalities can be helpful as a starting point.

      Now I’ll go back and start on that pie.

  112. There is a context and a limit to everything, and kids are still figuring that out when they’re young. There should be two things you try to teach your child:
    a) when to let something roll off your back
    b) when to put a stop to it

    … both of which follow from the main point: if you have confidence in yourself, other people won’t be able to make you feel bad. I know you’re talking specifically about things that probably mostly fall in the “now it’s time to make it stop” category, but I think people have abused the notion of self-esteem to the point where they don’t allow *anything* to roll off their backs and must make *everything* stop, and that’s just as destructive as assimilating inappropriate behaviors as appropriate. I guess I just feel the need to express that there’s always a level of nuance involved in here that hinders applying this as a single, universal way to deal with these sorts of issues, and don’t trust people to make that distinction on their own. Part of the reason we find ourselves here to begin with is because people don’t make the distinction between this kind of bullying and behavior that is just a misguided attempt at social contact.

    The “it just means he likes you” line is bullshit precisely because it’s a default response without any genuine analysis of the situation.

  113. I mostly agree with what you say. However it is also wrong to say you will go around as a mother slapping 10 year old boys or their parents or teachers for doing or saying things to your daughter. If abusive behaviour is NEVER acceptable then it is NEVER acceptable. Right?

      • queenofthecouch, you said:

        “Now, with that said, when it comes to my children, I wouldn’t hesitate to, literally, become physically violent in the name of protecting any one of them.”

        “I never once said I would slap a child, thankyouverymuch.”

        Would you get physically violent toward children to protect your children? And how far? (It was obvious to me you were not serious about slapping administrators, but I thought from the first statement above you’d be willing to slap a child, which is why I why surprised by the second statement.)

    • Your son is 15 and in an abusive relationship… I am so glad you are close and willing to listen to him. I am delighted that he is cognitively advanced enough to recognize that it’s abusive and he ‘should’ get out. BUT as a father (and survivor of childhood abuse, and someone who walked to the judge to get a restraining order the day i was hit by an abusive S.O.) i’m appalled you’re not teaching him he must get out of the relationship. It’s not a gender thing, folks; it’s co-dependency, a mental disease like alcoholic co-dependence and co-facilitation. He needs to be in Teen AlAnon. He needs a counselor. YOU need to remember that at 15 he’s beneath the age of consent and you must order him to stay away from her – when he’s 18 he can make his own decisions, but someone needs to be the adult now, and you are legally responsible. Great open communication, good listening, yada yada yada – get off the couch and take a stand. THe lines are no good if you make them meaningless.

  114. How refreshing!! A friend just sent me this and I LOVE you!!!! Great article and humor.
    I just had this same conversation ,( language and all) I was as frustrated .This topic of disrespect among children makes me very passionate,often the apples do not fall far from the tree. I too have a 10 year old sweet reserved beautiful girl and the bullying from girls was already …….but I heard a mom say almost those exact words to her daughter a couple of weeks ago and I almost lost my mind!!!! I turned to my daughter when we got into the car ready to slam that comment ( in an appropriate mother to daughter way)and she said,”mommy that is not how you treat someone if you like them, I don’t think her mom really understands.”

  115. I would also like to point out that in a situation where one person is teasing another, it is a total power play. By asserting authority over another person, it creates a truly negative dynamic. By assuming that either girls or boys have to subject themselves to a subservient position in a relationship (however childish) because teasing (mean or otherwise) is a sign of affection is incredibly misguided.

    I have been in adult relationships where teasing is a form of veiled hostility. Behaviors that are condoned on the playground usually transfer into patterns in adult life. Best to call a halt right now.

  116. It’s true that boys often haven’t been taught how to respectfully express their feelings. It is also true that violence is Never an acceptable way to do it.

    I urge people to remember that violence is Learned.

    Someone Taught (more likely Demonstrated) that little boy to use violence against other people.

    Violence among children must be addressed immediately and with seriousness, but then After that focus on the kid who demonstrated the violence not as a perpetrator but as a likely victim.

  117. The same happens to boys as well though. Like my Jake (7). A girl pushed him on the floor, really hurting him. She actually told him she was in love with him. I was very surprised when I saw it but he told me she does somethingsimilar every day. What do I tell him? She hates you? No. I tell he should tell her to stop if he doesn’t like it, but he’s afraid she will be upset!!!! Please don’t give boys a bad name. girls are just

    • Thank you! A voice of reason! My son was given welts/bruises across his ribcage from a GIRL who liked him. She didn’t even get punished, yet MY SON is looked at as a potential predator. Funny how feminists say they want equality, but they really want special treatment. It’s not okay for boys or girls to put their hands on eachother period. Hands are for helping, not for hurting.

      • “Funny how feminists say they want equality, but they really want special treatment….”

        Because when anything negative happens to a male, it’s the fault of those EVIL FEMINISTS.

        You know, I might have taken your point seriously, but with statements like that, you’re simply defeating your own argument.

  118. I don’t necessarily disagree with this – and yes, abuse is wrong. But I don’t think you can lump all teasing as abusive quite as broadly as is described here. Some teasing (not all!) is pretty harmless. Obviously when someone is uncomfortable or hurt it has crossed the line. The biggest issue is that adults need to stop putting their own spin on kids actions (“how cute” or “he’s an asshole”) and look at what is really happening. Find a teachable moment, and teach both kids when possible. It’s important for kids to learn how to respect others’ boundaries, and for us as adults to teach (And model) appropriate ways to set boundaries. Honestly, there are a lot of adults who don’t understand that either.

    “Anyone who hurts her physically or emotionally doesn’t deserve her respect, friendship or love.”

    In issues of personal safety, yes – the first goal should be to be safe and remove yourself from an unsafe situation. I have been there. I’ve acted on this. But the above statement is pretty broad – and a pretty heavy-handed message for a kid to try and interpret. Setting appropriate boundaries can solve most solvable issues without cutting someone out of their lives who makes a mistake. Yes, I realize you’re aiming for the extreme – but I’ve seen both sides of this scenario – I’ve seen lives changed by… 1) being safe, but also by 2) dealing with an issue and not abandoning the person who made the mistake. Are there situations you cannot possibly resolve? Yes. But while those situations happen, most issues are in this middle ground area.

    My other issue with your article is the statement “I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter.”

    Standing up for yourself is one thing, but presenting an opinion like this, and presenting an aggressive, emotion-driven response – sends entirely the wrong message. It sullies the very real issue of how to approach children teasing kids, how to deal with it… how to teach kids how to handle themselves when young.

    I agree with many of the sentiments shared, such as “I want my daughter to know that if someone likes her and respects her, much less LOVES her, they don’t hurt her and they don’t put her down.” I still, however, have issue with the broad sweep of the brush, the rush to anger/violence in response to disagreeing over others (certainly mistake) opinions. Sometimes you must resort to violence in defending yourself: to get out of a dangerous situation where you may be physically harmed, or to save yourself or others. Most of the examples I’ve read here, and in the comments – that violence sends you to the level you are so carefully trying to rise above.

    A study from 2000 is summarized as stating: “Surveys find that men and women assault one another and strike the first blow at approximately equal rates.” Guys just are less likely to talk about it. So this is an issue that is even bigger that the boy/girl dynamic. I think, too often, we exacerbate problems and say “Girls should… or Boys should” when in reality, we ALL should. NO child should put up with abuse from friends or other children, regardless of gender.

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  120. The origins of the phrase are no comfort … it is time the phrase and actions were ‘retired’ from our society …


    O.E. hyttan “come upon, meet with,” from O.N. hitta “to light upon, meet with,” from P.Gmc. *khitjanan. Meaning shifted in late O.E. period to “strike,” via “to reach with a blow or missile,” and replaced O.E. slean in this sense. Noun meaning “successful play, song, person,” etc. first recorded 1811, from verb meaning “to hit the mark, succeed” (c.1400). Underworld slang meaning “to kill by plan” is 1955 (n. is from 1970). Meaning “dose of narcotic” is 1951, from phrases like hit the bottle “drink alcohol” (1889). Original sense survives in phrases such as hit it off (1780) and hit on (1970s). To hit the nail on the head (1574) is from archery. Hit the road “leave” is from 1873; to hit (someone) up “request something” is from 1917. Hit and run is 1899 as a baseball play, 1924 as a driver failing to stop at a crash he caused. To not know what hit (one) is from 1923.

    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

  121. amen to this! and this SHOULD be distributed nationwide! i as a kid was told, after incessant teasing, “oh, it just means they like you.”. god help the parents of the kids who dares to touch or verbally abuse any of the future kids i may have. they’re going to hear a mouthful from me the first time it happens. also, i love this line:
    I want my daughter to know that the boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life.

    finally, others’ get that this is NOT acceptable under ANY circumstances.way to go.

  122. I agree with you. Maybe this is why so many girls out there go for the bad boy while keeping the nice guys who’d never hit them or belittle them in the ‘friend zone’.

  123. Amazing post!! Thank you so much!! I am sharing thus with my school PTA group and with every parent I know! Well written and insightful, and a fantastic discussion in the comments! 1<3

  124. NEW RULE: If you want to make a relevant contribution to the discussion, agree or disagree, I encourage you to do so. I have, however, decided not to approve any more comments that are nothing more than, “you’re a psycho bitch” or anything similar.

  125. Well, no. There’s a difference between abusive behavior and playful teasing. It’s especially hard to differentiate between them when little kids are involved because kids don’t know where the lines are, and adults range everywhere from overprotective to neglectful. Sure, a girl (or boy) raised to accept abuse will probably end up leading a miserable life, but one taught react negatively to every negative micro-experience they have will end up lonely, antisocial, and just as miserable.

    It’s hard to teach your kids to find the lines, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.
    The kid with the most friends at the playground is the one that knows when to brush off an incident and when make a big deal out of one.

  126. I remember telling my Mom in 1st grade that a boy did something mean (I don’t even remember what it was) and she told me that it was because he liked me. I did NOT like that boy, and the question of whether or not he liked me was never found out. I remember desperately trying to convince her otherwise by in turn escalating the story by lying and saying he did worse things than he really did. It was never brought up to the school or teacher until later in the year at parent-teacher conferences, where of course my lies were found out. I got in a lot of trouble, and still get teased by my family about the lie I made up (it was a little bit ridiculous and because the lie was a little out there I had to back it up with more lies). I am 22 years old and of course, know now that lying is not a good thing to do, but reading all this makes me feel some how justified. If my mother had responded differently, it likely would have not gone that far.

    • Funny thing about the article. It is about how adults treat inappropriate behavior in children. Not that girls are better than boys. Maybe you should read it before casting stones.

  127. hahahaha calm down any good parent is going to say that so that the kid learns why people do things that is a part of development but most parents also give options for solutions as well and I don’t see how any choice u make as an adult can be blamed on your parents choices of raising u cause they adults women stay in abusive relationships because they have low self esteem or are weak minded and being controlled not because they parents gave em this age old explanation of child behavior

  128. Well said mama! I’m sharing this EVERY WHERE. Every mother, father, parent to be, teacher, child care provider, grandparent and essentially any one who is going to be teaching our children (whether in an educational environment, or simply through day to day living) needs to read this, and hear the meaning.

  129. My mom used to feed me that “Oh, he did [insert sophomoric behavior here] to you because he likes you.” crap to me as well, particularly once in 4th or 5th grade when some little jackhole put a cricket down my shirt. This was my response:

    Me: If he likes me then why is he being so mean?
    Her: That’s because boys don’t know how to express themselves.

    Possible [and most rational] solution: Oh I don’t know. How about TEACHING BOYS HOW TO FUCKING BEHAVE FROM THE GET-GO? HUH? HUH?! But I guess that would be way too difficult since everyone seems to subscribe to the Rosseau theory that boys need to be wildlings until the age of 12.

    My past solution: I went to my dad. He said, “Hit them back.” Guess which parent I listened to? Here’s a hint: no other boy in my class messed with me for the rest of that year. 😀

  130. FAN-Fucking-TASTIC — that is for the folks who object to swear words, they are just words used to highlight / express the frustration and anger involved. Which of the following gets the point across better:
    1) “FUCK! I forgot to mail the rent check”
    2) “Fiddlesticks, I forgot to mail the rent check!”

    This is a very true article and she is just expressing her frustration. Those of you who think she was actually going to hit someone… please step away from the computer, for you are far too stupid to be using such a technically advanced device. It was used to make a point… Relax people.. not everything in this world is LITERAL!

    • THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I got tired of responding to explain the difference between speaking literally and figuratively. I gave up. They also seem to have missed the point that I was making that if I hit an adult, it wouldn’t be taken as a gesture of affection. The point flew directly over the heads of some readers, it seems.

  131. I agree that no children should be taught that abuse is acceptable behavior.

    That said, you made a point to personally threaten physical violence in anyone who disagrees with you. That is just as bad a lesson to teach kids.

    As a dad, I understand the desire to protect your kids, and I would do anything to protect mine, but violence shouldn’t be your first response to a disagreement.

  132. Interesting article, but it does seem to demonise young boys. From my experience in school girls were just as likely to engage in this kind of abusing horseplay. Although it was never an ‘issue’ which had to be delt with.

    Also teaching your children to respond with violence is never the answer, whatever the sex. Likewise its wrong to deal with parents of the kids with violence or anger – you’re then teaching your child that violence is an answer, but only if you’re really angry.

  133. Thank you. I have shared this. It was a wake-up call to me. My little girl is only three and has yet to deal with this. Reading this made me examine my own point of view and I immediately saw that I needed to keep this close to my heart. I will not allow my daughter to think that physical and verbal abuse is anything but abuse.

  134. I see many here that are mistaking Queens “punch in the face” followed by an “I love you” as the way to fix the problem the wrong way. Its to make a point. Obviously, if you punch someone in the face you clearly don’t love them, never did and never will. Hence her message to start with. Anyone who is picking, pulling, calling names and generally being U.G.L.Y. no matter what their gender is NOT NICE. Ever. Get with the program people. I believe her *real* advice was TO SEEK HELP and yell it out if you have to. Sigh. My own 15 yr old is dealing with a similar douchebag right now. I can’t wait for her to read this as I linked it on facebook!

  135. I agree that violence and affection do not go hand in hand. I don’t agree with the binaries you are creating. Little girls also hit and tease little boys for affection, especially in today’s age when women, younger and younger, have such entitlement.
    Also try to remember that children’s interactions with one another are strongly influenced by their upbringing, ideologies, and societal norms thrown onto them since the time they were born. Kids will be kids according to surrounding culture. Most teasing is indeed harmless and sometimes serves as a ground to teach children about self respect, you have to make mistakes to correct them.
    Honestly, the only issue I see here is how fired up people are getting. A little less vulgarity and some more decency to the “parents” who find these acts harmless may help create a better message especially for the kids who are rapidly soaking up our own actions as well as emotions.

    Try to be rational, calm, and maybe don’t confuse abusive with gender politics…

    Working towards a less chaotic world takes all of our strength and civility, but hey… isn’t that part of your point?

  136. My wife and I raised two boys, and they were subject to this from girls as well. Our philosophy was just like yours – tell someone, yell it out loud if need be. It finally sunk in with the school administrators that this type of behavior was improper.

    Respect is key in this day and age. In many social situations, it is a “dying art”.

    The title of the song by a group called the New Radicals “shouts” this message loud and clear:

    “You Get What You Give”

  137. I feel that we need to teach our children not to take things others say to heart! I was teased a lot in school for being bigger and I still have issues dealing with it!

    On the other hand this is your blog and its called freedom of speech! And one of my favorite sayings. Opinions are like assholes everyone has one!! Everyone needs to remember that! There is no reason to call anyone dumb ass names for them having their own opinion!!!!

  138. Entertaining but, no offense, you seem to be cherry picking one social dynamic of a larger and more difficult problem, then offering a solution which isn’t really all that healthy. An important factor that deserves to be considered (although it is often forgotten in child rearing today) is that children are not just little inexperienced adults. The way they experience the world, down to something as basic as the passage of time, is different than our experience. When you compare a child’s behavior to an adult’s without addressing this difference you imply a stronger similarity between the two than exists. For example young children are generally not capable of romantic love or interest, that is one of the reasons why pedofilia is still rightly classified as a mental disorder while homosexuality has been correctly removed from the DSM. So while yes, a healthy adult does not express love through physical aggression, holding children to those same standards is a flawed, and futile, outlook.

  139. Felt this same sentiment when I watched Chris Brown perform at the Grammy’s, and then read about how the Grammy’s really missed out on not having him there and ohhh, how nice it is to have him back.

    Seriously – are we going to sit there and cheer on a man who beat up his girlfriend as hollywood turned a blind eye?

    The icing on the cake was the post I saw later about all the twitter users who tweeted that night about how they’d “let Chris Brown beat them up any day of the week”.



  140. This article is stupid… Boys do pick on girls as a way of showing affection, it’s part of the way they learn social norms, and how to communicate properly with the opposite sex. Of course, there are some little dipshits who really are just bullying and abusing people… But that doesn’t mean some aren’t genuinely trying to get attention from a girl they have a crush on.

  141. doesnt ANYONE have a son who is continually treated badly by a girl?we have had meetings at school about this girl who has my son ‘wrapped’ he has been told he is in an abusive relationship VERBALLY and EMOTIONALLY….i have seen some of the things she wries to my son when shes mad or is son and i are real close we talk about this situation all the time..he has ‘broken up with her several times but keeps going back for more..its tiring watching him allow himself to be treated this way..i told him hurt people hurt people it does not make it right but that he can not fix her she has to do it herself..he knows this is not healthy he has said it to me many times but he will not let go..all the way he is only 15! i pray(and im not overly religious) everyday for BOTH of them her to find her way and him to let go and concentrate on himself

  142. I get what you are trying to say here and I could not agree more. Kids need someone to keep them safe and it’s upsetting to see teachers who are in a position to do so often times overlook things like this. When my daughter comes home telling me anyone is bothering them, I address it right away with the bus driver or the teacher. I do teach her to address anyone who is bothering her and ask them to stop but when they don’t, an adult needs to take action. Bullying will not be tolerated and if it doesn’t get addressed in playful teasing or touching, it will go to the next level and give that child power knowing no one will step in and help the child they are bothering. Thanks for sharing this. Because of what you wrote I will be even more aware of not only my child but those who are responsible for her when I’m not around.

    • Thanks for that input. I have enjoyed reading the initial post and many of the comments left behind both good and, well – unintelligent at best. The general message makes you really think. Combined with the above message I get a sense that a lot of people hadn’t really even thought about it. I know I hadn’t. My grandma use to just tell me to kill everyone with kindness. It sucked but has worked out ok in adult life I guess. Now that I have a little boy I have heard a lot how boys will be boys but I attributed that to them being a little louder, rougher, and dirtier then girls in general. Never mean. Those mean boys in elementary school are still mean boys today and I for one had some great elementary teachers who cracked down on a lot of the non-sense but I had never really thought about it the way you put it and I feel I should have. So much I could say but I think I would just mull it over some more. Thanks for sharing! (what’s up with people cracking down on your swearing? Do they not realize this is a blog meant for venting?)

  143. At age 12 I was being bullied constantly by a male classmate that had just come from being home schooled. Repeatedly I called out that he was hurting me and no one listened. Then one day on the school bus, he was playing around with another boy tossing a piece of wadded paper around. The paper ball landed into my open back pack and I went to grab it out as he lunged to go in for it himself. Apparently to him that was unacceptable and he began punching me in the head. The bus driver witnessed this, and I will forever be thankful for her, slammed on the brakes and removed him from the vicinity of me and other kids (ie: those first 2 seats no one wants that are right by her). She filed a report and spoke with my father whom I was living with at the time. My dad, now hearing about the abuse, demanded to have the boy removed from my class. The boy’s parents retaliated and claimed I started the whole thing by not letting him go into my back pack and were demanding I be removed fully from the school.
    I still remember my teacher pulling me out of class to “discuss” what had happened. His words: “Do you think he did this because he has never been around other girls besides family and has a crush on you?” … I was shocked. “No,” I replied, “he did this because he’s an asshole that likes to beat on someone smaller than him.”
    When the school didn’t remove me.. his parents withdrew him completely. Some of the girls were upset because he was one of the cute boys and began calling me names and saying I’d deserved it.
    A few years later at a county fair, I was in a 4H building talking with some kids I’d just met when I saw him walking our way. He’d grown up, was bigger, face had matured with puberty.. but I could still remember him and the torment and pain. I froze. I had a panic attack and couldn’t move from the spot. He just walked on by, he didn’t recognize me.. didn’t care.
    My dad, a vietnam veteran, likened it to being “My ‘Nam”. He might not remember, but I always will.. this happened when I was 12, and I’m 28 now, and can still remember all of it and still shake thinking about it.
    No one should suffer abuse, and I’m sickened that anyone would believe that a fist, a kick, angry words could be considered a sign of affection.

    • Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry you went through that but I can completely relate to your feelings when you saw him again. I was raped when I was 20 by two men. A couple of years after the incident, I went out with friends and looked across the room and he was at a table, staring me down. I just froze. In my head, it took me straight to those moments and I was back in that room with them attacking me.

    • Hm, I’d say that the behavior of the other girls sounds much more distressing than that of the boy, and unless he masterminded an elaborate plot was outside his control. I also think that, given the overreaction of his parents (which seems indicative of severe emotional issues) it’s a sad thing to just dismiss him as a little asshole (although I understand those were your words as a child, not necessarily your opinion now). I’d also caution you about comparing the experience to PTSD, I don’t mean to diminish your pain in any way but the experience on the bus you described would not be as traumatic as Vietnam to someone with a healthy level of emotional resilience.

      • I know about PTSD. Have been diagnosed with it in my teens. It was just another factor in it. Before telling someone they don’t know something or difference between it and something else, maybe think that person sought professional help.
        But thank you for your caution.

  144. Little boys really do hit little girls when they like them sometimes. This is not a societal thing – it happens in all societies, and has happened throughout history, and can even be seen in animal behavior. This is a genetic, instinctual thing. Little boys don’t know how to express their emotion, and so turn to fight or flight.

    The reaction of a parent to that shouldn’t be to freak out and assume this behavior leads to continuing male violence later in life or acceptance of the same by women, and I know of no scientific basis for that belief.

    As a parent, you should first try and understand why it happened, and then try and teach little boys how to express what they are feeling.

    But telling your little girl the truth – that the boy probably DOES react that way because they like her, isn’t a bad thing. Lying about it and pretending it’s about violence however might – it sends a weird message to your girl that isn’t accurately describing the situation (but it might describe the adult experiences of that parent that they are projecting onto their child).

  145. I think young people (all genders) struggle with their emotions, frustrations and feelings. Children need to be taught how to handle these when at school. Parents need to help their children understand what they feel and instill an understanding of the right and wrong way to act out their feelings. I have two boys and it’s a constant struggle to get them to understand that fighting and hitting each other is not tolerated. Unfortunatly my boys innately want to fight. My little girl came out wanting to take a hand bag with her everywhere. Educate the boys. Schools need to stand up to this behavior.

  146. I think that you are an opinionated bigot and don’t realize the difference between the adult world of abuse and the child world of abuse. Personally I think you should have just kept this to yourself.

    • PTSD is PTSD and it doesn’t matter what the original experience was or the trigger that re-stimulates it. It is NOT your job to judge those who have the symptoms, nor to belittle them or dismiss the causative experience. God did not die and leave you in charge of judging everybody’s soul, bud. There is no hierarchy of oppressions (some OK some not) and there’s no hierarchy of pain (some believable and some discountable) and there’s no competition for the Hallmark Movie of the Week about PTSD. It’s an experience you don’t choose and it’s not one you wish on even your enemies and it is not OK to dismiss it.

  147. I really agree with you! It’s never acceptable to teach children that violence in any form, physical, verbal or emotional, is ok and a sign of affection. It would be interesting to see how many women that are in abusive relationships or been subject to domestic violence that were told this as children.

  148. HEAR, HEAR

    I applaud you for calling out this bullshit. I can distinctly remember being told this countless times when I was bullied in elementary school, especially by my aunts and teachers. Only when the violence escalated to me being pushed into a brick wall and kicked in the face by 6th graders wearing snowboots was my torment taken seriously. Often, when we hear of a woman staying with an abusive partner, we ask why, wondering how she can still be deluded into believing he loves her.

    “Oh, that just means he likes you.”

    No, it means he is a weak male who needs to reaffirm his nonexistant manliness by making you feel like less than the beautiful, wonderful woman you are!

  149. Actually, the phrase “hitting on” stems from “to hit on” which means to obtain what one desires, usually with implied chance or luck. You can usually use it similarly to “found.”

    ie: “Hey, I totally hit on the perfect job earlier this morning!”

  150. I love this! So true! We have all been told this at one time or another and thinking back, I guarantee it didn’t help me anymore at the time and in fact, probably inhibited me down the road when guys have treated me poorly. Thanks for putting this out there!

  151. Great post!

    It seems to me some people here are failing to make an important distinction. While it’s true that boys often tease and abuse girls that they have crushes on, it does not follow that these boys are being abusive *because* they like their victims. They are abusive because a) they’ve absorbed a belief that teasing and violence are the way to express themselves and process their feelings, AND b) they’re failing to think about the girl’s feelings. They’re behaving badly because they’ve learned to behave badly, and they’ve failed to learn to behave nicely. No other reason.

    Liking a person is not the cause of abuse, and abuse is something no one should expect or tolerate from people who are supposed to “like” them. Yet that’s the message we’re giving our girls when we tell them “he’s mean because he likes you.”

    So we need to fucking stop. He’s being mean, AND (maybe) he likes you, but the two should not go together. (Yay for adults swearing in the presence of other adults!)

    • Dismissing and attacking the natural urges of children (more often boys) ultimately is not really motivated by an urge to raise responsible empathic, rather it stems from the fact that it is easier to manage and control tiny adults than children. Little boys do not “like” others in the same way that adult men do. And thus they do not express the feeling in the same way.

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  153. HOLY crap! I only clicked on your blog b/c I’m looking into downloading wordpress and yours was on the front page. Just looking for an example and I LOVED this gem of a post! I am guilty of saying this exact thing and until now I had NEVER considered the message I was sending. Thank you! I am sharing this one for sure!

  154. wow, i had seriously never thought of it that way before now. come to think of it, in elementary school, the boys who liked me never pulled my hair or hurt me. i wore their coats (that was a sign of liking someone in the early 90s i guess). so why do we say that means “he must like you”.
    as for “hitting on her”, i am really curious to the origin of that. thanks for your post.

  155. I am a father of two little boys one of which will be starting preschool next year. In our home my wife and I like to stay gender neutral as much as possible. This certainly applies to emotions and respect. We like to make sure they treat others kindly and with respect REGARDLESS of gender. I hope to have a daughter someday and I will teach her the same and I will also take a page from your blog and make sure she doesn’t take that sort of behavior either.
    It is kind of weird that I never thought of that. I may be a male and that may be part of it. I was also raised by women, I had a father but he was not around much. I was told to treat women with respect and I think that is where the problem lies. Sure we need to teach daughters not to take it but when a boy does this kind of act he needs be told that is not how he shows affection or whatever it is. Bottom line those boys need to be taught the right way to treat others.
    Great post and congrats on the fresh press.

  156. “I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter” brilliant…or as we would say in Australia “BLOODY brilliant!”

    This post needs to be posted to every teacher on the planet…with all the cussing kept in!

  157. Reblogged this on DoraDoha and commented:
    I could really relate in this post because as a child I was always at war with boys. Now I truly understand what those riots meant and known that I’ve been doing the right thing from the start. That is to fight for myself. :)
    Thank you very much queenofthecouch for this wonderful and enlightening post ^_^

  158. My mom was a grade school teacher and she took me with her once. I was in Grade 1. One of the boys in Grade 3 was lifting the skirts of all the girls in the playground. I told him to stop and when he didn’t, I punched him in the stomach. I was 6 and he was 8. My mom told me then that he was just doing it because he liked the girls and I was wrong for hitting him. Thank you for validating my actions.

  159. Yes we need to teach our kids to ignore idiots and there’s always a “mean kid” lurking, but I agree with the many who would like to see this posted nationawide; Could you maybe add one along to this though? The one that gets under my skin is ” he/she is just going through a phase”….. so did Jeffry Dahmer and Son of Sam. Rationalizing they will grow out of something in a month does NOT excuse it today. Funny how parents of mean kids have all these cute little sayings…..WELL DONE!

  160. Mind blown.
    I was delusional all through my childhood but this (especially now in times when bullying is being addressed more publicly) is something worth changing as well.

  161. Your post is so damn correct! 😀 I reblogged it because I can totally relate to it. There’s this boy whose so cruel at me when we were younger. He tortures me every single time we visit their house like, locking me to the bathroom, taking my toys, punching me, and even hitting me with a plastic stick of a balloon at the back which hurts really! My mom wouldn’t even notice it at first but in the end when she finally learned about it and couldn’t take it much longer she spanked this boy and humiliated him at the front of both our families and friends. Hell yeah SWEET REVENGE! hahahaha!

  162. the best thing my husband taught our daughter when she was young was how to throw a punch. That way if he wasn’t around to defend her, she could defend herself or as he said (teasingly I hope) she could give them a busted lip or black eye so it would be easier to identify them once he found out what they did (or tried to do) to her. He’s a great Daddy.

  163. I think if you really worked hard, you could hate men and boys even more…
    Violence from both boys and girls happens regularly…your message is a good one, that disrespect and violence should never be tolerated..even more so when it is disguised as a compliment.. But there is no need to make that point so specific to boys..making them evil as a whole….in order to prove your point. You are just spreading hatred and sexism…so although you are helping one way, you are hurting in another…

  164. I came to this posting as I saw a link to it on Facebook, and while at first it took me a minute to gain my composure and not instantly give my two cents on my friend’s wall, I think I’ve reasoned enough things to make a coherent retort. I was a boy when I was in school, it took college for me to break out of my shell and realize that all my life I had truly been a transsexual (no, this in no way involved anything at school, that was something that a therapist diagnosed had been in my mind since age 5). During my stay at schools, I went from the normal child, to withdrawn, to practically not even there. Half of high school I barely even remember because I cared so little. In elementary school I had two girl friends and I was confused when I told one of them and she stormed out on me. I liked them both, and although I also didn’t understand at the time that girlfriends were something different from “best female friends”, I don’t feel that by playing power rangers with them and the rest of my friends caused them to feel disrespected when they fell, or when we play-tackled each other. One might say that’s different, but it’s simply because I put it into a different connotation: play.

    Kids don’t understand a lot of things, just like I didn’t, and the worst thing I can think of is trying to push such a zealous agenda for “justice” in schools like this. The only logical conclusion to this is that you will confuse the children even more. I’ll give an example of one such action. My father enrolled me in martial arts when I was seven years old, because he didn’t want me to be bullied in High School like he was. I didn’t understand that when I was seven; all I understood was that every autumn we got to break weak wooden boards and go running through a survival course where our instructors dressed up like ninjas and dropped from tree branches. In other words it was fun. In the process however, I gained self-discipline, became meek, and learned that fundamentals of the good human being is to seek peace (without trying to force it down the throats of others). Teaching our kids on our own to do things like scream when a boy or girl may be playfully tugging on their hair or stealing their bracelets, whatever you may want to name the situation, short of maliciously grabbing a pencil and trying to stab the other or straight-up throwing a haymaker, is not only going to make that kid stand out and possibly teach them to be overly self-conscious, but it will confuse all the other children around them as well, as to what is truly acceptable and “normal”. It makes our child emotionally weak, knowing that anything they may construe as abuse or something they just don’t like, regardless of reason, constitutes the perfect situation to complain at the top of their lungs.

    I personally think the definition of abuse that is being demonstrated within this listing of comments is too liberal. Any case of physical or verbal contact that may or may not be unwarranted, may or may not be considered an actual strike, and may or may not leave a bruise or any form of emotional scarring? This reminds me of when one of my best friends went to High School a year before I did and claimed to the whole school I was a stalker because I called her twice in one week (which was actually a reduction from the amount of times we called each other only a year before). Right. After two calls, I gave up for the rest of my life and that was considered stalking.

    I just don’t think such a drastic approach is useful here. Perhaps when the children are older and have a semi-basic understanding of how actual society works, then we can explain to them that they’re not children anymore, there are responsibilities to be had, and you are liable in many more ways than just being sent to a Principal’s Office.

    On a side note, I have read both comments on the swearing of the initial post, and I have read the retorts of how, “I’m an adult, it’s my blog, I can swear.” I’m in no way trying to condemn the vocabulary you’ve chosen to utilize here, but when your aim is to address a potential audience on the issues of abuse and disrespect, perhaps a more soothing and respectful choice of words would more suit the topic. There are a lot of credibility issues opened up in this and I don’t intend to try and cover them all, but just because you have achieved adult status does not mean that wantonly throwing four-lettered words in their many shapes and sizes is the proper way to behave. I also am an adult, and the one thing my father taught me, is that when a man (or woman) resorts to swearing, it’s because they no longer have anything intelligent to say. Take that piece of wisdom how you will.

    • OF COURSE! Although, I have been told I am not cut out for blogging or parenting because of my filthy, whore mouth and my appreciation of the vino. I wanted to respond to those people but it would have required me to set down my glass of wine.

      • Great blog! I bet you had no idea of the shit storm headed your way when you posted this. It’s really unfortunate that so many people got hung up on your language and almost missed the main point. They get in the way of others who want to engage in a discussion about your topic, and not whether profanity is appropriate, or if you’re unfit or unqualified to express an opinion (IN YOUR OWN BLOG, no less) because you drink and swear. Personally, I like to read something with a bit of personality in it. Keep up the good work!

  165. Shannon Hale, who writes YA and adult novels, wrote a similar post on her blog awhile back. I’m not sure what prompted her post, but it said pretty much everything you did. I agreed wholeheartedly with both of yours, especially after watching close friends either go through abusive relationships or deal with their after-effects. I remember in first grade, a girl I was friends with punched a boy in our class in the stomach so hard that he had to go home for the day. I have no idea what provoked it, but I often played with this boy too, and he was never disrespectful to me. He was really one of the nicest boys in our grade. You better believe, though, that no one said, “Oh, I bet Ana just likes Mark and doesn’t know how to tell him.” No, we were shocked and she was in huge trouble. If only it would be the same the other way around.

  166. Whereas I agree with the article that yes, hitting isn’t a behaviour that should be encouraged, in my experience, it works both ways. As a father of both boys and girls, my boys have also come to me with stories that girls have picked on them, also. And in speaking to the parents of said girls, come to find out that, yes, the girls like my sons.

    At that age, they don’t know proper behaviour for this. It’s brand new to them. And they want attention from those that they like. And, like most children, they’ll get that in negative ways, too, if they’re not getting it in positive ways.

    My best friend’s daughter liked this boy (she’s eight). She did many positive things to try and get him to notice her (dressing up, giving him drawings). And was completely ignored. It wasn’t until she started doing negative things that she was getting the attention that she wanted, even if it wasn’t the KIND of attention that she wanted.

    The point is this: it’s not about teaching girls that this (hitting means I like you!) is how things should be. It’s about guiding children, of both sexes, to express their emotions in a positive way, and if they’re not reciprocated, ways that they can deal with that emotion, too.

  167. And how do you propose dealing with a child who comes home crying because she thinks all the boys at school hate her? Or with an adolescent who finds that nobody will spend time with her because she can’t take a joke? Or even an adult, who has grown up thinking that teasing of any sort is a sign of serious disrespect that should not be tolerated, and finds herself unable to tolerate the majority of her co-workers?

    Conflating abuse with the teasing that all elementary school boys do is not only misleading, it’s dangerous. Teasing is part of growing up; it doesn’t stop in high school, college, or the workplace, and it’s best that children understand the difference between that and sexual harassment or abuse. Your daughter will not stop boys from teasing if she does not put up with it. She will only alienate herself, and have a harder time understanding what actual abuse is.

  168. Edit: Paragraph 2, Line 11, forgot to include one sentence: “I did not learn to protect myself through means such as punching others in the face or kicking them in the groin, I learned to protect myself by giving off the presence of someone who is in no way interested in their bullying, and couldn’t be bothered either way if the person had anything to say.”

  169. Childhood is a weird time, mostly because of adults. Every adult treats small children the same way he or she remembers being treated as a small child, because…well, there must be some reason adults acted that way. The whole “S/he harasses you out of affection” is one of those nuggets that is part of our cultural consciousness by this point, and every adult repeats it by rote for that reason alone. No one thinks about it, they just say it.

  170. Hell to the yes.

    I am the mother of 3 sons. I base an aspect of my parenting on remembering what it was like to be a little girl. I teach my boys “no hurting others unless they are hurting you”. Equally important, I teach them if they are doing something to another person – and that person says “no”, “stop”, looks sad, or is crying – then STOP. AND I teach them others should give them the same respect. At this point, it’s about toys, tag, and rough-housing. With any luck, by the time it’s about something else, they’ll already have healthy boundaries for themselves and others.

    I went through puberty early. When I was in the 4th grade, there was a boy who was physically aggressive with me on the playground. I tried to get away from him. I begged to stay in from recess. I even attacked him in class once for something he whispered when I walked by. The teacher thought it was “cute” (nevermind that I was a shy, silent child who had NEVER been aggressive with another child before that). That boy eventually caught me on the playground, held me down, and pulled up my shirt so all of the other boys could look at my breasts. Yeh…real cute all right. Thanks for your support teach.

    An aside:
    I usually say “congrats” to those who have been Freshly Pressed, but I suspect you’re going to get some….interesting traffic, since *some* people do not like to think about these things and get angry when they are addressed (and so they may read in all kinds of words you did not write). SO I wish you good luck and much strength. Rock on, momma.

    • I just found out about being Freshly Pressed an hour ago. Needless to say, your prediction has already come to fruition about a hundred times. People have taken some MAJ-AH liberties with my words and read between the lines until it is unrecognizable. I have no problem with engaging in a discussion with those with dissenting opinions, as long as they don’t put words in my mouth (or my hands, as the case may be).
      Thanks for sharing your story.

      • You’re most welcome. I may repost this tomorrow. It’s important.

        I’m sorry that some folks have so misread what you wrote. I wonder if this happened to my sons and I was equally (and rightfully) outraged, if people would think I was saying it would have been okay if the genders were reversed.

        Let’s hope for – and continue to work for – a better cultural norm in our children’s future.

  171. Although your reaction is perhaps a *little* too strong, I agree with everything you say here. I have a six year old boy and if I ever find out that he’s been harassing any member of his class/school, regardless of gender, (I would certainly hope not, it definitely isn’t how we’ve raised him) then I would EXPECT swift and appropriate punishment to come down from the school, and if it didn’t you can sure as hell believe it’ll come down from ME, and I’ll be taking it up the chain at the school to ensure steps are taken it doesn’t happen again.

    The behaviour of your child’s teacher is reprehensible, and I would have called her out on it, in front of your child, right there and then, and then gone to see the principal. Adults call it assault; there is no reason why it’s not the same, simply because those involved are younger. I’d like to think it’s merely a case of educating the offender that such things are NOT OK, and how to behave properly and with respect.

    A great post. Well done.

  172. i used to get my butt whooped on by this girl that was in my class…all the way till 8th grade…i was raised not to assault women verbally or physically…thankfully the girl failed and i moved on….but whats funny about this article is how you guys say this is a male thing towards females….when it goes both ways,i witnessed last week a lil girl in my sons kindergarden class runnin around tuggin on him and trien to wrestle and just straight up man handleing him…he didnt do a thing back because thats how ive raised him….now….he has been instructed to defend himself at all cost if he feels like hes in danger from a male or female…and that i know he will do…now…..about the abused woman and men staying in the abusive relationships…..its your own fault…god gave you a brain and two legs…if your being harmed menatlly or physically…use your brain and legs to walk out…there are many contradictions throughout this whole post…and if your gonna talk about being a better parent…take down the picture with you huggin some jack…..have a blessed day people

  173. It’s not that I disagree with all of what’s being said in both this post and the comments that follow, but I do have to mention something that I don’t believe is being considered. I am an elementary school teacher and have been observing the social interactions of boys and girls for years. Boys who like each other, who want to be friends, tease, chase, punch, and wrestle, and by so doing they grow closer. While we may not think this ideal, and while we are certainly responsible for helping our kids develop more advanced methods of interaction, I don’t believe we can say this is unnatural or abnormal for young boys (generally speaking of course), and we certainly shouldn’t peg them as assholes when they make the mistake of trying the same tactics with a girl who they like, which at least in the context of younger kids, probably doesn’t mean romantically in that ridiculous “oh how cute” sense. The majority of situations I’ve witnessed where a boy teases or physically hurts a girl, fall into two categories. Either a young boy thinks the way he plays with Bobby is a perfectly fine way to play with Susie, or the boy is intentionally being mean and socially competitive with Susie (this is not the same as bullying, by the way). In both cases the boy is basing his behavior not on disrespect for girls but on equality for the sexes; he’s either trying to play with everyone the same way or he’s trying to be a jerk to everyone in the same way.

    So when we tell our boys they can’t do that stuff with girls, what we are really saying is, don’t treat girls the same, which they shouldn’t, but we forget to tell them why – because boys and girls tend to be different.

    I’m all for discouraging this behavior all around (while respecting the fact that it’s a normal part of growing up in every culture throughout every period of human history), but I refuse to replace the over-simplification “he does it because he likes you” with “boys shouldn’t hit girls.” This implies girls are weaker and must be treated more gently, which in my opinion is the more dangerous message.

    The bigger problem is that we punish boys for this behavior when it’s aimed toward girls but accept it when aimed at other boys. The author of this post went running to the school officials when her daughter’s silly bands were taken. The vast majority of parents wouldn’t have come to the aid of their son if his silly bands were taken. He would have been told to tough it out. All of this sends the message to our kids that girls are delicate, so when some of the boys grow up to be assholes, they take advantage of someone who they’ve been lead to believe is weaker than themselves.

    • “Boys who like each other, who want to be friends, tease, chase, punch, and wrestle, and by so doing they grow closer.”

      WHAT??? I also teach elementary school and I see SOME boys acting that way. I also see that most boys don’t like it, only some are willing to put up with it. No matter the age, people should be taught not to be agressive with others, no matter the gender. If they want to wrestle or fight they can join a martial arts class and learn the proper way to treat others. Even masters of martial arts know that random agression is inappropriate. The first thing every student learns in our school is to keep their hands and feet to themselves. Girls and boys need to be taught not to mistreat others for any reason. Just becasue they “naturally” do is is not a justification of bad behavior.

    • Very well put JR King. I am currently in school for art education and work at an after school program at an inner city charter school in Philadelphia and you articulated very well the sentiments that I am feeling regarding this post. I too have witnessed this behavior, and it can be attributed to treating girls they like the same way as boys they like, or general nastiness which is across the board regardless of gender. The important thing is to have your child be responsible enough to go to the teacher at the time of the incident and deal with it then instead of retaliating or waiting to get home. Sometimes the recipient embellishes what happens to a person who they know will be on their side ie a parent. By demonstrating that the behavior is unacceptable, instead of enduring it and waiting to tell mommy, it shows the child the consequences of their actions in a timely fashion, which will ultimately reshape their behavior. I believe that you are as likely to get children to stop acting in this manner as you are to getting boys to stop fighting boys and girls to stop creating manipulative little clicks and ostracizing each other. You can subside the behavior, but it will always show up at some point

      In regards to the orignal poster’s swearing, it belittles the validity of your argument and makes you seem sophomoric. Perhaps if you feel so strongly about your child’s well being you could articulate it better.

      oh and all caps is tacky

  174. I agree, thank you for posting this.
    Now, put together a post about the affects on children of our cultures’ misplaced dependency and celebration of drinking alcohol. Your picture says it all; and we wonder why there is so much teen/young adult alcohol abuse.

    • Amen! Her “classy” photo, her limited vocabulary, and her EXTREMELY limited understanding and education about human behavior and development speaks ever so loudly. She should be embarassed, yet she has such a following. <— The ever-growing with our society. Projecting/blaming others, analyzing, distracting and placating — whatever it takes to cope and not own and confront one's own behavior or responsibility. Oy!

  175. As a little girl who was often bullied – or flat out terrorized – by little boys, I too was given the ‘he probably has a crush on you’ line when I would come home in tears, my things broken or stolen, a bruise on my arm or leg, with my sense of self worth in shreds.

    And even as a kid, I felt there was something deeply wrong about that being an excuse. But still I accepted it, as did my mother when she was little, and her mother before her… It’s the general ‘wisdom’ that’s been passed down to girls for countless generations.

    The sad thing is, it’s most often true. Little boys are somehow taught to believe that it’s normal and natural to feel shame about their feelings of affection and attraction. That bullying and cruelty are a perfectly acceptable way to express the exact opposite of the feelings in their hearts.

    It persists past childhood, for both genders. Personally, it took me years to realize that someone acting like an utter dick, did not mean it was OK because they were just-masking-their-deep-feelings-for-me-due-to-an-adoration-so-intense-it-frightened-them.

    I – as so many young women did and do – continued to believe that men behaving like bullying little boys – was something to be tolerated and seen as a sign of underlying love.

    What a load of crap.

    Not sure exactly when, why or how my perspective changed, but eventually it did. I allowed myself to realize something I’d known all along… Something your post so brilliantly points out, and something that ALL CHILDREN should be taught from infancy:

    When you care about someone, you show them kindness, because love is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. Behaving any other way, is unacceptable.

  176. The weird thing is that just today I sat through an assembly about teen dating violence and now that I read this it makes me wonder. If this behavior is being tolerated from the a such young age, how can they question why teen dating violence is so high now. I, myself am not saying I’m any better. I as well was brought of with the same phrase of, “It means they like you.” but even at that age I didn’t like it no matter how many times my friends said that. It wasn’t even the teachers but my friends in 5th grade that said that to me. How is it that when you’re a little kid it’s considered puppy love or something but once you’re a teen it’s considered only then as abuse?

    • yeah, i was told that one in grammar school. “they’re just jealous” so, of course, being the extreme nerd i was – i informed my tormentors one day that they were just jealous. you can imagine how well that went for me. :)

  177. How about teaching your daughter self-esteem so emotional bullying won’t get to her instead of reacting violently to teasing?

    Paragraph after paragraph about how other parent’s are stupid when you are just as bad.

  178. “I will teach my daughter to accept nothing less than respect.”
    Totally agree with you on that statement but I want to point out that the kind of language you are using in your blog leaves one to wonder if you respect yourself? Do you use the kind of language around you daughter?

  179. As a father of both a girl and a boy, I couldn’t agree with you more. I taught my daughter early if a boy puts his hands on you it must mean he wants to hurt you. That’s not ok. You make him bleed. Not to be mean in return bit to teach him a lesson about putting his hands on a girl. He’ll be a better person for it one day. She’s now a self assured 16 year old and she knows how she should be treated. My son is only 9 but he knows you show people you like them through kindness, not being a little peckerhead. He knows to look out for smaller kids and not to tolerate or participate in any kind of bullying. You’re absolutely right. These are things that must be taught and as parents we can ill afford to let tormenting someone be socially accepted as a positive thing.

  180. I love this . My mother used to tell me that crud, and also that the girls in school who were cruel to me were “just jealous” it is quite possible they were just jerks, I spent waaaay to much time trying to make them like me, when I should have focused my attention the people who did..

  181. YES! Thank you. I’m not a parent (yet, anyway). But when I was growing up, my mother was THIS. When people–aunts, grandparents, even–demanded I hug them, as people do with kids, she explained that I didn’t have to hug anyone I didn’t want to. When a kid punched me in the stomach in first grade, she went to the school and had a…chat…with him. When his brother beat me up the following year, she raised hell until the teachers feared her. My cousin is now that same mother, and if ever I’m a mother, I will be, too. Fuck all this false messaging: Respect is respect. Love is love. Don’t confuse it.

  182. Pingback: You Didn’t Thank Me For Punching You in the Face | Infos Press

  183. Just wanted to offer a few thoughts to this oh-so-intelligent discussion. (I love the primary point of your original post, QueenoftheCouch, but so many of the comments have me grinding my teeth.)

    Personally, I’m disturbed by the idea of reacting to violence with violence. I have told my daughters (aged 5 and 7) that bullies (male or female) have to pitied and treated with kindness, because there is often something wrong in their own lives and they hurt other people to make themselves feel better. And from a purely practical perspective, hitting back means two kids hurting, not just one, and two kids in trouble.

    Our school teaches children from aged 3 to react to unwelcome touching/teasing with “Stop, I don’t like it” at repeated frequency and volume until they attract someone else’s attention. Sometimes it works to actually stop the aggression, but more importantly, it gives kids the opportunity to verbalise their objections and stand up for themselves without using physical violence. We also train grade sixes (12yo) as peer mediators, and they come running when they hear that particular phrase.

    But bullying does and will always happen, and when it gets to a scary physical level, children have to be aware they can and should protect themselves physically. But lets give them a tool to react and defend their rights BEFORE they resort to that. Otherwise, we are just fuelling violence in our schools, and our society will follow.

    On the “it means he likes you” point. We have actually been going through exactly this with my younger daughter and a boy in her class. He is not an asshole, jerkoff or whatever – he is an only child who doesn’t know how to relate to girls, and is desperately keen to play with them, really likes them, but needs to learn how to relate. Reacting with physical violence would send the wrong message there – my daughter and her friends inviting him to join their games, as long as he plays their way, has worked wonders, as has the socialising work his Mum and our teacher has been doing with him.

    And finally, on the gender issue – yes, this happens to boys and girls, and boys and girls are the victims. But society has been telling girls to accept it, and using excuses like “boys will be boys” etc for too long, and don’t the comments here prove that! When we as a society commit to the idea that violence is unacceptable for everyone, this problem will be greatly diminished, but until then – I do believe girls get the raw deal, because they are fighting a social apparatus as well as a little boy who is still figuring out how to relate to girls. The problem isn’t really with kids, people – it’s parents, and that’s why this is an incredibly important blog post. Bravo, Queen of the Couch.

  184. This post is vile and androgynisitic. You just simply hate boys and it seems that so do your commentators. There have been societies that would drown the boy children, even though they grow to be better hunters. There is some implication that the boys know what the hell they are supposed to do as children. They don’t. They use their instincts. If you don’t like the instincts of boys, then you should be on another planet. This one needs boys for survival as much as it needs girls. Take your sexism…. elsewhere.

    • OK I’ll bite …..

      “…You just simply hate boys and it seems that so do your commentators….”

      Are you implying that for a girl to assert her right NOT to be ‘manhandled’ (and for a parent to encourage this) = hating boys?

      “…There have been societies that would drown the boy children, even though they grow to be better hunters…”

      Are you implying that young girls must become (or remain) totally non assertive in order to stop society sliding into some barbaric practice involving drowning boys?

      “….There is some implication that the boys know what the hell they are supposed to do as children. They don’t. They use their instincts….”

      But girls shouldn’t use theirs, right?

      “…. If you don’t like the instincts of boys, then you should be on another planet…”

      Seems fair enough to me (mind you I was brought up have no self respect and to view my body as the property of others and to generally let boys treat me like a rag doll, so what would I know?….)

      “…… This [planet] needs boys for survival as much as it needs girls. Take your sexism…. elsewhere…..”

      Of course – survival! (like duh!) Because if girls stopped letting boys treat them like shit they wouldn’t ever get pregnant and we’d all die out as a species!

      Wow…. just wow.

    • I also have three sons but my oldest just now entered kindergarten. I haven’t dealt with this with him, at this point, but I doubt it will be any easier. My son has a genetic macular degenerative disease and is legally blind. He probably will get it as bad, if not worse, than our oldest daughter but for different reasons. I know it goes both ways, I was just writing from the perspective of my current experience.

  185. Boys tease young girls simply because it has been scientifically proven that ladies have brains that are 3/4 the size of their male counterparts. But good for you, taking a break from the kitchen to use the Internets! Now go check on the roast.

    • the female brain carries more nerve endings which in turn make it much more efficient. That is why it is more compact. I hope your trying to be funny dude, I like stupid jokes as much as the next person, but if your not you should really do some research haha.

    • First of all, a descriptive pattern is not one that is “proved” but observed.

      Secondly, the average male brain to body mass ratio is 24.5, whereas female brain to body mass is 23.8… really a miniscule difference, and much of the difference is due to the fact that females carry more water.

      Third, brain size is only roughly correlated with intelligence, as what matters really are the neurological connections. By your argument, dolphins, whales, elephants, etc. are more intelligent than humans.

    • Riiiiiight J; because that tactic has worked so well for most kids bullied today: what, with all the suicides and stuff going on. Sometimes parents do need to intervene.

  186. FYI:
    I just asked my 8 year old son what he would do if he liked a girl.
    His response: “Keep it a secret, unless I thought she might like me too. And then I’d tell her quietly that I thought she was very very very pretty. And then I’d wait to see what she said.”

    See? Not all little boys are assholes.

    I have consistently taught my kids words and gestures to express love, anger, disappointment, etc. And they actually use them, at ages 8 and 10. (Not all the time, but nobody’s perfect.) But I make a point of taking their emotional education as my responsibility. LOVE THIS article.

  187. Hell, we don’t just do this with kids on the playground. Have you ever really watched “Beauty and the Beast?” One minute he’s throwing furniture aside, advancing on her threateningly while she begs him to stop (this is AFTER she escapes the room he locked her in when she refused to have dinner with him), and the next minute she’s singing about how he’s sweet and kind.

    By the end of the movie, a singing teapot has to explain to a candlestick that the reason he didn’t change into a prince was because *she didn’t love him enough.*

    Let that sink in for a minute.

  188. I remember being clueless on what to do when liking a girl. I chose inaction rather than aggression, and my amorous intentions were pretty much ignored.

    I’m concerned about the tenor of this post, however. A violent response to, yes, a violent action will inevitably be just as damaging to children who are learning social norms. Your desire to call another child an asshole is just as damaging as that child’s actions. As for punching the teacher in the face, well…

    Rather than violence begetting violence, your advice to your daughter to shout: “stop touching me” is spot on. And good for you to teach her to expect respect from others. An active, loving parent who teaches her children these valuable lessons will overcome any idiocy the child experiences in school.

    I have two boys. I look forward to the day when they become idiots around girls — it’s a wonderful, gut-wrenching, butterfly-inspiring time. I will commit to telling them, having read this post, that if they like a girl, they should do with her things that she likes to do, and if that fails, then they should do nothing and wait for the girl to catch up with them. I suspect they’ll tell me that all the other boys will laugh at them for trying, and that eventually they’ll find themselves acting out of frustration at the childhood roles boys and girls occupy.

  189. It’s best to start breaking their spirit and cancelling out their instincts, natural personality and self respect as young as possible. That way by the time they’ve left college, started working, paying taxes and settling down with an abusive partner it won’t feel ‘weird’.

    (end of sarcasm)

    Yes, yes, yes!!! I love this post and agree 100%

    May I please recommend to you and all readers a bunch of amazing videos on parenting (and its effects on family and society) by the formidable and thoroughly entertaining Stefan Molyneux?

    Here’s two I picked out which seem totally relevant to your post.

    Prisoners of Childhood

    ‘But They Did The Best They Could’ A Moral Examination of Historical Parenting

    His youtube channel is like TV in reverse….. (it nourishes your brain instead of rotting it)

    • The EXACT same thing happened to me, 2 days suspension as well. All because some boy was picking on my friend and I decided to defend her.

  190. Remember this can be both ways there are alot of girls that abuse boys as well in name calling and hitting them cause a gentleman doesn’t hit back!! No one should lay a finger on each other the are just as many girl bullies as boy bullies my boys never lay a finger on another yet the do recieve abuse…They do respect women and at the ages of 3 and 5 know to hold the door for a lady and compliment her and help around the house…

  191. take a look at PETAs latest ad.. it will make you vomit.. they are “petaphiles” and support violence against women.. let them know just how sick they are

  192. I’m so glad this post was Freshly Pressed. Congratulations! It looks like some of the fellow bloggers have not moved beyond their bullying days in grade school by the looks of some of the comments. The WordPress audience is really changing. It used to be all supportive fellow writers. Anyway, I totally agree with your position. I’m sharing on my FB page.

  193. I am very fortunate to be raised by parents who expected me to not accept such behavior as well.

    When I was in third grade, this meant demanding my comb back when boys would steal it from my back pocket instead of crying–what the hell was up with comb-in-the-back-pocket trend anyway? It meant chasing them down and taking it when I needed to do so. I’m not particularly proud of the physical altercations that ensued. I could have handled it better, and I was duly punished for the way I chose to take action.

    When I was ten years old and at summer camp, it meant fighting the boys who jumped on me, trying to strip me to my bathing suit because I was was the well-endowed girl. It was just as frightening as it sounds, and I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have fought back and kicked at these boys had my parents told me that rough play was a sign of affection, but I do know that I felt empowered by their support to stand up for myself.

    When I was in my early twenties, I woke up to a naked man who had broken into my home looming over me, pulling at my clothes. He didn’t expect me to immediately say “I’m counting to three, then I’m going to scream, and then I’m going to kick your ass”. The officers who arrived on the scene afterwards said that it was my sheer and immediate aggression that made him run away in search of an easier target. Yes, it could have gone much differently. I acted on instinct and instinct alone. I was raised to not just accept unwanted touch, and I didn’t.

  194. I have been telling my daughters the same thing since they started getting”hit on”…I had to explain to my mother and all my aunts that I wasn’t raising my daughters to accept any sort of abuse as cute, or flattering….I then had to point out that each and every one of them had been in abusive relationships and maybe that was why…I saw this on facebook and will be re-posting it…hopefully every one who sees it will get it!!

  195. This is not right from either gender. My son (10also) was teased incessantly by girls and others said the same thing – they are trying to get your attention etc. Same as you wrote above except no teacher would think he would/could be hurt by it because he is a boy and so much bigger than the girls.

  196. Great Post. Well said.
    I clicked that link to the Chris Brown reactions and I feel slightly sick now… I actually can’t believe it.
    I have a son with behavioural problems, and one of the things we struggle with is his physical outbursts. It’s getting much better and happening much less often now, but despite this being something he couldn’t really control, hitting anyone for any reason is something we have always told him is NOT OK to do. We think he’s finally getting the message. I’ve recently been trying to get him to tell me what things he thinks girls might like to do or talk about or play with if he wants to have a play date with one. Perhaps more parents should do this to give their boys better ideas on how to get a girl’s attention. Of course it’s also so important that the little girls are not told to accept physical or verbal abuse from boys or girls.
    Good on you.

  197. The anti-violence and anti-abuse message the writer of this blog tried to send is a valid and important one. It was, sadly, done in a very inarticulate way using the most vulgar language I have seen in a while. I do hope this is not the way she speaks in front of her kid(s); however, one day, not long from now, he/she/they will read all of her that right here on the web. Well done mom. Now go curse at something and kick someone.

  198. The playground and classroom aren’t the only place where young girls face emotional, psychological, and/or physical violence. No adult who says, “I love you” and then verbally berates or physically slaps a child, whether the child is female or male, is demonstrating love.

    If you’re going to give the message that any abusive behavior is not an expression of love, extend the message to cover the behavior that adults practice towards children too.

      • Hey, great response Princess but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the harmless stuff that kids to do other kids, not real aggressive action. Kids have done this for ages without harm until this self-esteem, ‘I’m being oppressed and in the future I will be fucked’ culture came along. Why INSIST that they feel like shit when they don’t? You’re doing more harm than good, especially to boys…that other gender, but who gives a fuck about their self-esteem?

  199. I love this post! I think the reasoning could also be applied to same-sex bullying. When I was in middle school, bullying by other girls was dismissed as “they’re just jealous”. Not acceptable!

    • There is something fundamentally broken about a person who is disgusted at the notion of another person using profanity when they feel strongly about a serious subject, like someone’s life or safety or mental health being put on the line by careless behavior. Especially when the someone is the speaker’s SMALL DAUGHTER.

      If it’s beneath you to ever have strong feelings about *your own kids,* by all means, if you can live with yourself, knock yourself out. But you don’t have the bloodline to put your nose in the air over ANYONE else’s language.

      Profanity is one of the ways we convey that we have strong feelings about something and, as far as I’m concerned, is an acceptable alternative to breaking an offender’s nose. And research shows that people who don’t swear very often can actually lower their blood pressure by indulging in it every now and again when they are particularly ired about something, and can markedly reduce their pain when they are injured. You could try it once in a while. Bet you’d feel better.

      As for profanity being “immature”–they call it “adult language” for a reason.

    • Dana, the difference here is that the OP, and others following, are not directing that profanity at the perpetrators. The way a message is communicated has consequences. One can be angry about this fact, or act in a manner more conducive to their interests. If you’re angrily directing energies meant for specific people who have caused harm into a semi-public forum, you really don’t have a place upon which to stand when one gets angry (again?) when hearing ‘your profanity is getting in the way of the message’.

      I have small girls. I don’t disagree with the message in general, though I still get stuck on the general point that violence isn’t an appropriate answer to violence. That’s not an absolute. Lots of people have had many experiences where the right things were not done by the resident authority. Turning to the A Team’s AK-47s when the sheriff is in on the fix isn’t immoral, but when these teachable moments come up it’s sometimes that context is sacrificed for brevity. Or, worse, sometimes it’s lost to the need to have surrogates work out problems you didn’t, or weren’t able to. That’s not justice either.

    • Eh, Dana, not really much into Internet fighting, but I’ll indulge for a few.

      1) You have no idea about my bloodlines, so try another insult when you have an idea of what/who you’re trying to insult.

      2) I’m broken. Newsflash. We all are.

      3) Profanity IS “one of the ways” to convey you strong feelings. But it’s also a way that is universally looked upon NY an educated society as a lower form of communication. Not only that, but as this very thread points out, if you alienate potential receivers of your message based solely on language, then…might it not be a wiser path to take, using one of the “other”forms of stating your anger/opinion? Just saying…

      4) I like to drop the occasional f-bomb and many others…but I know the right forum. And “adult” language is a joke. I’m an adult, and I don’t swear like that in everyday communication, nor would I on my blog.

      Every time you speak you alienate people & insult people on here. Stop it.

      That’s all I have to add, I’m sure you’ll get the last word. Make it a juicy “adult” one.

  200. Thanks for the hissy fit! But girls are total shits to boys and girls. Get over yourself and tell your kid what my dad told me. If some hits you, hit them back twice as hard and they won’t fuck with you anymore.

    Little girls acting like victims all the time starts with misconceptions like this. Don’t make your daughter a snowflake, make her woman up.

  201. I love this rant! Very much in line with my ideals on respect and knowing how to treat each other. I can’t stand it when weak leaders and teachers hold sway over our children. I’d love to have you guest blog on my project

    It’s a thought experiment on openness and societal worth. Let me know if you’re interested.

  202. You’re talking about ten-year-olds. I don’t think that your view of harassment and abuse has quite sunk in at that age. While I agree that teaching kids that it’s okay for girls to be hurt by boys “because he likes you” is wrong, I completely disagree with you breaking out words like “assholes” to refer to a ten-year-old who pulls someone’s hair. I find that quite abusive, especially coming from an adult.

    What I want to know is if your ire is better directed at adults who perpetrate this idea, or a ten-year-old child who’s not excusing what he did? Defend your daughter, but not by attacking children.

  203. Go ahead and teach your girl whatever you want but what are you going to tell her when she becomes a lesbian feminist because you are a man hater?

  204. It’s funny, I’m teaching my 10yo boy that it’s not okay to tease a girl if he likes her and telling him to ignore the neighbor girl who is constantly harassing, pushing and belittling him because she’s a rotten little bitch. I’ve talked to her parents (dad works for the sheriffs dept) and it’s done no good, since I can’t tell him to punch and push her back, I’m at a loss.

    These days boys definitely don’t have a corner on the bullying market, girls are just as vile as the boys you’re describing.

  205. I’m old enough to remember having inkwells in the school desks – when I was a kid and a boy would dip a girl’s hair in the in well, or pull on their pony tail, it was said that he did it because he liked the girl.

    What they were pointing out was the irony. Not saying it was acceptable to do, but that it was ironic behavior because he actually liked the girl.

    I don’t know when this morphed into telling the little girl to accept it. I never would tell a young girl, oh that means he likes you, so live with it and accept it – that would be pretty asinine, in my opinion. Understand why it is happening, and *also* do something to stop it.

    • I got told to ignore people who were mean to me when I was a kid. Do you have any idea what that involves when they DON’T stop right away? Trying to find a place where you can rest your eyeballs without them being in your line of sight, wishing you could close your ears because they WILL NOT SHUT UP, having every single thing about yourself being micro-analyzed because your pants legs were a bit too wide or your jacket wasn’t the right color or the moon’s in Asshole Constellation this week and ALL the kids are being jerks. And there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

      Punching them in the nose would shut them up faster. If nothing else you’d be sent home and then you wouldn’t have to hear it anymore. Wish I’d have thought of that back then.

      Why does a girl owe a boy attention just because he’s nice to her? Is that all girls are for, servicing boys? I give someone attention when they interest me, not just because they’re nice to me. I’m a human being, not a service machine. I was going to say “whore,” but that’s not an image I want to evoke when we’re talking about grade-school kids.

      What are you training YOUR kids into?

    • you’re the parent. if your sons are picking on someone, it’s not up to the other parent to teach their kid to walk away, its up to you to teach your child not to bully in the first place. holy jeez, the hypocrisy. i’m so scared for all children. i may never have them after reading the comments on this post.

  206. This is excellent. Excellent.
    Honestly, I used to bully the bullies on the playground and all through my whole school career. No one commented on it – of course, I was punished multiple times for either sticking up for myself or sticking up for others… but I never changed and I never will. My reputation of “don’t f*ck with me” stuck with me through my senior year… and still remains. Yet, that doesn’t make me ridiculous… I am not a boy-basher, brash, out of control or disrespectful. I still remain a respected and feminine young lady, but I let people know where the line is drawn immediately. I feel that is a strong trait to develop at her age.
    I am proud to read this post and I hope your daughter will feel as strongly as you and act out what you advise and realize what you notice.

    On another note, I watched a short documentary on how Disney and their movies are perpetually sexist and racist and shape the young minds of America to believe that they need to fulfill their gender roles portrayed in the media. That’s some serious shit.

    Also, show your daughter a newer documentary called Miss Representation. It is a beautiful documentary that mother and daughter should watch alone or together.
    I wish you and your daughter luck!

  207. This is absurd. Kids will be kids will be kids. They tease each other. For goodness’ sake, if kids aren’t even allowed to do that, they won’t have any childhood left at all. I both teased and was teased by boys as a little kid, and I happen to be very strong and I would never stay in an abusive relationship.

    Kids do not equal adults. They do not have adult emotions. Let them be kids while they can.

    • But also, girls should be able to hit back if boys are fighting with them. I routinely organized playground fights and they were a blast.

  208. If the teasing/hair-pulling et cetera hurts so much, teach your daughter to punch the kid back. Girls are generally taller/stronger than boys of a comparable age in early grades.

    As a rather quiet young boy who was the youngest in his class, I have had my fair share of being teased/scratched by girls who later admitted that they had a crush on me. It *is* normal childish behaviour, and linking it to going for abusive relationships in later life is unscientific unless you have statistical studies that prove so.So stop mollycoddling your child.

  209. *{ Standing up and applauding for you! }*

    Yes, we all use to hear that phrase. I can’t believe people keep saying it. I haven’t got a daughter, but I would hope for everyone that we stop telling our kids these things. Stop the ignorance and stop the hate!

    Great post.
    Regards, Dawne

  210. I understand where you’re coming from, and agree with it completely. But I just want to point out that this goes both ways. There are some real bitches on the playground. Just as many as there are assholes. I know you’re writing this from the perspective of a mother of a girl, but don’t think this doesn’t go the other way.

  211. I agree with the basic premise but like some others, I think you are being a bit harsh. It isn’t black and white. Some kids, of either sex, have high emotional intelligence and others do not. It can take a long time for some children to learn to manage and express their feelings appropriately.
    If you are talking about high school boys they might deserve some name calling, but in elementary school, kids make so many social mistakes, and they often regret them deeply, even when they don’t show it. Compassion and communication help, condemnation does not.

  212. Thank you! Yes! I remember when mom said that! It didn’t make sense to me as a young girl and you are so right about it still not making sense today.

    And I defend your right to be blinded by the outrage of it and use expletives. If you are a nice girl and speak softly you will not get attention focused on the issue.

    I remember the women’s lib days of rage when they told us we were just being “too sensitive” — bull! We are obviously still fighting the fight if this is what young girls are still being told today!

    You go, Girl!

    • I don’t spank my daughter. I don’t spank her because spanking her has never, ever worked and what’s going to happen in that case is either I will have to pick another mode of punishment or I will have to escalate the hitting. Escalating the hitting doesn’t work which means we’re onto beating now. I never got to that point. I picked something that WOULD work, instead.

      What do you know–every single time we’re out in public I get compliments from adults about how well-behaved she is. She has manners, says please and thank you, and gets along with kids of all ages if they let her.

      Maybe the problem is YOU, not whether you spank.

    • And by the way if I EVER catch a boy snapping my daughter’s bra, his parents better get to him before I do. Boobs are a no-touch zone if she’s not his girlfriend or his wife. If she’s under the age of sixteen? She’s not his damn girlfriend.

      I can’t believe there’s a parent out there who ACTIVELY teaches her sons that snapping a bra is socially acceptable. WTF I don’t even.

    • You know, I don’t really like how the OP called a hypothetical little boy an asshole but at least that little kid was, you know, fake. That said I find it incredibly telling how so many people coming here to disagree with the OP can’t seem to do so without calling her a name. Classy.

      Anyway there’s a lot of different nuances in this discussion that I think you’re completely misreading. Nowhere do I recall anyone saying that harmless teasing at the hands of children was equivalent with abuse from adults. Another issue, though, is this very “harmless teasing” appellation that everyone is bandying about. I think half of the twisted panties some are experiencing are due to the wildly different connotations about what is happening when that phrase is used. Some seem to think we’re just talking about little boys, I don’t know, pinching little girls, and so they think this whole post is overblown and the perfect excuse to come in here and spew a shit storm at someone they don’t know (you know, totally rational behavior). But other people when talking about how they’ve been told to pretty much cope with this behavior from other kids are talking more persistent bullying, sexual harassment, or worse. And then everything in between. So, there’s massive disconnect there.

      There’s a whole scale of behaviors at play here. What I think it comes down to is making sure that the seemingly small, irrelevant behavior doesn’t eventually morph into more harmful, disrespectful conduct towards others. It’s not a given that it will, but we should be setting examples of respect for our children in the hopes that they themselves will treat others well. Conversely if they aren’t treated well — whether they’re teased, bullied, or otherwise — it needs to be honestly addressed in SOME fashion.

    • Spoken like a real bully. Keep your kids away from EVERYONE. You obviously can’t handle adult conversation. This is why sensible adults need to teach their daughters to be assertive and ACTIVE against bullies- because the children they face have parents like this.

    • So being that you state you have children, I’m appalled you can condone even a bra snap. As you are an adult (assuming, since you state you have kids), let me ask, would you snap someone else’s bra? How would you respond if someone snapped yours (or your wife’s)?

      It’s SEXUAL HARRASSMENT, no matter how old the perpetrator and the victim. It’s so sad that our entire society normalizes this shit.

  213. Fantastic article! I remember when I was in 4th grade and a 5th grade boy would follow me around at recess and hit me. When I told adults, they said “he probably just has a crush on you” (as if that thought was supposed to make me feel better about being harassed). When I told my brothers, they told me to hit him back. The next time I saw the boy, he punched me hard in the chest right on top of the zipper on my top (it left a bruise), so I kicked him between the legs as hard as I could. For the rest of the day he sat on top of the monkey bars whimpering and telling all the other boys to stay away from me if they didn’t want to get hurt! The whole thing remains one of the clearest memories I have from my childhood.

  214. I think you are getting carried away with what is actually going on, I have never heard of any parent saying that its ok for kids to pick on other kids! you must have never been picked on when you were a little girl and sounds like your pretty bitter about it. So tell your duaghter that she needs to stand up for herself and tell the “bullys” to leave her alone and get over it!

  215. Greetings. In grades 3-6, I was the “new kid.” I was told by a few teenage girls to watch out for a certain boy. I was 8. I finally met him one day. He told me all the things he was going to “do” to and with me. I stared at him for a second, then told him “no.” He laughed and took 1 step forward. I flattened his nose, literally, with a right hook. Then I went home and told my parents. Dad took out for a steak dinner. Next day, this boy’s Mom came over with him in tow. Yes, he was wearing a tong depressor on his nose. Mom apologized profusely, of course. Dad just sat and waited. The woman looked at me right in the eye and told me that I had her full permission to do whatever it took to get her son to stop what he was doing. He, on the other hand, looked shocked. Dad chuckled. Mom blinked. I just sat there.
    Apparently, this Mom had done all she knew to curb her son. Nothing worked. I ended up breaking this kid’s nose two more times. I did not go looking for him. I didn’t have to go anywhere. He was a stubborn little biscuit-eater who didn’t like the word “no.” Physical self-defense is the last option, however, it is still an option. My Dad was the one who taught me not only how to defend myself but also what I should /expect/ a male [man] should be toward me. IF he isn’t, then how he is dealt with depends upon the situation. Intelligen