"The boy next to me kicked me in the leg because I wouldn't switch seats with him," she sniffed as I held her tightly in my arms and rubbed the spot on her shin where it was red.
"If he ever does it again, you stand up and kick him back," I said quickly without thinking. "Hard. And you aim right for his balls."
My daughter was 6 at the time, so I don't even think she really knew what I meant. I wonder if she even remembers. It's now nine years later, and I haven't really thought much about the incident in the time since. Or at least I didn't until today, when Mandi Castle's viral blog post Why I Told My Daughter to Kick Your Son in the Balls came across my Facebook feed.
Have you seen it? It's pretty incredible. What happened was this: Castle's first grade daughter came home and told her mom she'd been bullied by bunch of boys at school who chased her around the playground, hit her on the butt, and then called her "chubby" when she told them to stop.
"That's right," Castle wrote in the post. "Two boys put their hands on my daughter, and when she told them to stop, they called her fat and made fun of her. Let that sink in for a second."
"Want to know where they learned that?" she continued. "I have an idea. Our boys are learning from us."
Again, heartbreaking. But an eye-opening reminder, too. Because as Castle—who also has a son—then when on to explain, calling a girl fat because she said "no" is a learned behavior. And it's our job as parents is to make sure both our sons and our daughters know better. Which is why, when her 6-year-old then told her she was planning to hide at recess the next day, this fierce mama wasn't having it.
"I said, 'NO. You will not let two boys ruin your free time,'" Castle explained. "'You will not allow them to take your fun away. They are breaking the rules. If they do that tomorrow, you say Keep your hands off of me. If they do not stop, you tell the teacher. If they continue to bother you, you turn around and step on their feet, or kick them in the shins or their business, and if you get in trouble, go ahead and tell your teacher to give me a call.'"
Way to go, mama! Castle wins all the awards! And not just because she sounds exactly like the type of bada*$ mama I'd want to be friends with, but because every single one of us should be standing up for our daughters like she did, in order to show them how to stand up for themselves. We should be empowering our girls to be strong, teaching our sons to be responsible, and coaching all of our kids to be smart and confident enough to speak out and defend themselves when there's a problem.
And if that requires a swift kick in the groin and a trip to the principal's office, so be it.
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