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'Today I messed up by telling my son to physically stand up to his bully.' UPDATED 4X

'Today I messed up by telling my son to physically stand up to his bully.' UPDATED 4X


As a parent, you have to make some tough calls. Luckily, the internet is always here to weigh in with their thoughts on your choices.

In a popular post on the TIFU subreddit, a dad asked if he was wrong after he told his son to defend himself against a bully. He wrote:

"Today I messed up by telling my son to physically stand up to his bully."

Actual f#$k up happened yesterday at the dinner table after school. After effects of my f#$k up have me currently at the ER getting my son checked out for anaphylactic shock. Yesterday, my kid came home and was obviously upset. So I asked him what was wrong (he’s 8 so he still talks to me about this stuff).

He proceeds to tell me that at lunch, another kid in his class is bullying him about his peanut allergy, saying that he’s faking his allergy and that he’s gonna wipe some peanut butter on him to prove that he is faking. My kid says to him that he isn’t faking and that could die just from touching peanut butter...other kid said he didn’t care and that he wanted him to die anyway.

At this point, my kid said that he told the teacher and the lunch room monitor who both know about his allergy and they were able to intervene yesterday. I had a long talk with my kid about doing the right thing and telling the teacher and not letting this other kid make him lash out. Then we talked about the hard part.

Now, I’m sure I’m gonna generate some hate with some people here with what I told him next and that’s fine, we are allowed to have differing opinions…but I’m not apologizing to anyone for teaching my kid to stand up and defend himself.

After we talked about doing the right thing, and doing everything you can do to avoid a bad situation, I told him that sometimes you have to do the wrong thing to protect yourself and that should always be the absolute last resort.

When he asked what I meant, I told him that if that kid as long as the bully is only taunting him with words then he should always walk away but if he ever did try to put peanut butter on you then you hit him as hard as you can with the side of your hand in the throat…kind like a throat chop. Then you stop unless the bully keeps trying.

Fast forward to this very afternoon and I get a call from the principle of the school saying that my son hit another student and needed to be picked up. I asked what happened and of course they won’t talk about it over the phone. But I smiled a little bit because I already knew. I get to school and i see my kid sitting in the office tears streaming down his face.

So I walk in and the principle tries talking to me but I blow right past her and ask my kid what happened. He says the bully had peanut butter on his fingers and he was threatening to wipe it on his face. Then my kid said that he did what I told him to do and hit the kid in the throat because he wiped peanut butter on his arm.

I looked at his arm that was pretty swollen up, and asked him if he was having trouble breathing. Kid said he was fine just a little shaky. At this point the principle interrupts with her “mr so&so, we can’t just have kids hitting other children just because they had a little peanut butter wiped on them…kids do this kind of thing…we are gonna have to suspend him for a few days.”

It’s obvious to me that principle is clueless about the peanut allergy so I cut her off and asked my kid if he told the bully to stop before he hit the other kid. He said yes I yelled at him several times that I’m allergic to peanut butter and told him to stop and he just kept acting like he was gonna wipe it on me. Now the principle has a shocked look on her face.

I ask to see the video from the cafeteria and sure as shit my kid can be seen and heard screaming and trying to back away from his bully. At the point where it looks like the bully grabs my kids arm, my kids yells at the top of his little lungs “I told you to stop!" Then he grabs the bully by the arm, pulls him towards himself and executes the best clothesline I’ve ever seen anyone do and floors this kid.

Then my kid sits down and starts crying in the middle of the cafeteria. At this point I tell the principle that If my kid isn’t allowed back at school tomorrow I was consulting with a lawyer about the attempted m*rder of my son. I also said that assuming he didn’t have any other ill effects from this I would be fine not pressing charges against the school and the bully since he may have already learned his lesson.

Since I didn’t get a response and it’s been about half an hour since the peanut butter was wiped on my kids arm, I picked him up and left to take him to the ER to get checked out. About 10 minutes ago I got a phone call from the school board superintendent saying that the school board has decided to let my kid come back to school tomorrow.

TL;DR: Told my kid how to physically throw a p*nch. Kid listened and did it the next day and got suspended for defending himself. principle had no damn idea that my kid had a peanut allergy and was then unsuspended when I threatened to talk to a lawyer about attempted m*rder charges.

The internet was fully invested.

Turbulent-Oven-9191 wrote:

10/10 response. Your kids life was legit in danger. That's the only way to defend himself after screaming and demanding to be left alone. No hate here.

Personally I would be proud of my son, and probably reward him for defending himself.

OP responded:

He’s totally getting ice cream when we leave the ER.

sailphish wrote:

None of that's a f#$k up. Have the allergy documented. Get a lawyer anyway. Pressure the school board to develop an action plan (a legit one, not some BS lip service) that will prevent this from happening again.

Especially true as your kid was threatened with this yesterday, a teacher was involved, and now today the b*lly carried through with the exact same thing life-threatening behavior he tried to do the day prior.

popeyegui wrote:

That’s the way parenting should be. Nice job. I’m proud of you and your son. Raised mine the same way and no one f#$ks with them.

OP responded:

I’m really conflicted you know…I don’t advocate violence but if it comes down to my kid dying or a bully getting hit because he was being a jacka*s well I’m siding with my kid.

deano413 wrote:

Exactly, just because you don't advocate violence (and you shouldn't) doesn't mean everyone else is on the same page.

Violence isn't the right answer but sometimes its the only answer.

OP responded:

I like to tell the people that work for me that correct thing to do isn’t always the right thing to do.

opschief0299 wrote:

Well I was reading it I kept saying in my mind attempted m*rder, attempted m*rder, attempted murder...and damn it you went there! Awesome! That's exactly what it was. Good Dad! And you didn't FU at all. If you hadn't given him that advice, you would be watching a totally different story on the cameras. You saved his life.

OP responded:

I don’t f**k around when it comes my kids…

woodlandtom wrote:

I hope the other child was suspended. Do you know what happened to him afterwards?

OP responded:

School zone here has a policy that prevents me from being told what his punishment is. Don’t care frankly, karma got him.

Laspz wrote:

This one sparks joy.

OP responded:

Honestly I’m proud of him...I just don’t know how to tell him without glorifying the fact that it had to come down to violence. Not that I disagree with what he did, I just don’t want that to be the point of this whole thing.

Hours after posting, OP shared three small updates.

EDIT 1: Lid has a clean bill of health form the hospital. Swelling is starting to go down after some epinephrine.

EDIT 2: Kid got cookies and cream ice cream!

EDIT 3: I have been invited to a meeting with the school board Thursday afternoon. Will update afterwards.

Then two days later, he shared a major update.

Just left the meeting which wasn’t with the school board as I was led to believe on the phone, it was with the principle and a legal representative from the school board. Had lawyer with me and prior to this meeting and we discussed what I wanted out of this meeting. My main concerns were:

Making sure that there was a procedure in place to keep allergens away from my child.

Ensuring that this child has no ability to assault my child again.

I also wanted to know how it was that the principle wasn’t informed or aware of my child’s allergy prior to trying to tell me that he was gonna be suspended. Lawyers talked legal stuff for a little bit while I listened and principal listened. Eventually my turn to talk came and I simply explained points #1 & #2 above. I also asked why principle didn’t take time to assess the whole situation.

The explanation I got was that she was told by the monitor that it was almond butter not peanut butter by the monitor, so she really didn’t look further into it. Which I can understand her point but it doesn’t make things any better from my perspective. So cut and dry stuff first. The bully child has been moved to a different school.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any legal recourse to find out which school he has been moved to and frankly don’t care. Cafeteria monitor has been fired. I didn’t hear this at the meeting but my son's teacher called last night last night after school and told me… I asked why and I was told that she was distracted my her phone when all of the commotion started which explains why this was progressed in the first place.

Based on the recommendation of a friend and many of you via PM, I requested, and was accommodated with, an allergy free table at our school (and I’m being told every other school in the district will be implementing one as well) where children with know allergies will eat lunch at and anyone who eats with them will have their lunches inspected by a teacher and a monitor to ensure no allergens are present.

Now the weird stuff. The kid probably did wipe almond butter on my parent found out through a mutual friend where we lived and showed up at my house last night. The bully kid was very apologetic to me and asked if he could apologize to my son which I said yes of course to. I invited parents and son into the living room and this child started crying and said he didn't mean to hurt my son.

My son started crying as well and said he didn't want to hit him and he apologized as well. Then the parents asked bully child to explain what happened. So apparently this kid likes peanut butter and almond butter, and has almond butter on a sandwich and little pack of peanut butter in his lunch for crackers.

Bully child thought it would be funny to continue to tormenting from yesterday said something about putting peanut butter on my son and put a little bit on his fingers to make him think it was peanut butter. Then he wiped them off afterwards and got some of the almond butter from his sandwich and that's what was on his hands when he grabbed my son's arm.

I can only guess that there was a little peanut residue left on the bully's hands when he grabbed my son - which explains the subdued swelling reaction. I asked the kid if he knew what a peanut allergy actually does to a person - which to the other parents credit, they had actually made him read WebMD about it - and he explained the whole inability to breath and some other things his mind grasped onto.

So I took the opportunity to show this young man the Epipen needle (we have one that we've had to use previously just for show and tell purposes I) that you have to stick a person with in an anaphylactic shock scenario.

Then I gave him the trainer unit and showed him where it goes and how to press the button (yes I told him it was the trainer unit but I really thought hard about not telling him...I ultimately decided against that because that wouldn't make me any better than the bully kid in front of me). When the button actuated I think he jumped about 15 the air and he was obviously scared.

Parents apologized again, as did the bully kid. I told all of them that I was satisfied that a lesson was learned here and I wouldn't be pursuing any additional charges against the kid or his parents. (Yeah I know you can roast me for it with down votes ). As the parents and bully kid are leaving, my son runs right past us all and give the bully a hug and tells him that he hopes he isn't in too much trouble.

I was asked to sign a non disclosure agreement, which I of course declined. I want my options open to me in case something like this happens again. Until then, I'm letting this die.

Commenters were fully keyed into the update.

Odd-Comfortable-6134 wrote:

Honestly, I taught my son similar to OP. He was getting bullied when he started school because he was so much bigger than everyone else (he’s now 6’5 and just turned 16, so growing to go).

I told him to use his words, to go to the teachers, to start yelling “stop hurting me” if they kept it up until adults intervened, but if the adults didn’t intervene and the kids kept hurting him, to pick one and punch him straight in the nose. Then we spent every morning on the way practicing punching. They stopped within a year.

He was never suspended because I told the principal that if no one else is going to stop it and defend him, he’s allowed to defend himself.

Kat-a-strophy wrote:

My grandpa told my mum "if someone hit You, take a stick and hit back". It was in late 50s, she was 8 or so. My mum wore glasses and was bullied because of it. My mum did exactly as she was told. She did it till she was 12 or so to everyone to even tried to do anything to her and then only a**aulted some a**holes who grabbed her.

She's a feminine, thin, small woman, now in her 70s, who can be f**king scary because of the attitude she has. She has it because her daddy told her she has the right to strike back. So you are right - there is nothing better against a bully than a good placed hit.

Ginger_Anarchy wrote:

The only thing that stopped me getting bullied in middle school, after years of being told by the school I couldn't do anything, was me pushing the kid after he tried to attack me into a table and him knocking over a $1200 trombone and it getting dented and bent. They tried to pin it on me, but luckily other kids backed up my story.

I doubt his parents liked that repair bill because the bullying magically stopped. About half a year later he got put into the hospital with serious head trauma after he got into a fight with some older guys at a skate park after he was picking on one of their younger siblings. Really mellowed out after that.

Similar-Shame7517 wrote:

This is good parenting. I love that everyone walked away here better. Except the cafeteria monitor, because f**k her for not paying attention during lunch time and letting this happen under her watch.

This one ended surprisingly well.

Sources: Reddit
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