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“Was I Wrong to Tell My 11-Year-Old Son to Hit a Girl Back That Won’t Stop Hitting Him?”

A father has taken to popular subreddit AITAH to ask if he was wrong to tell his 11-year-old son to hit back if a girl in his class continued to hit him. Despite having approached teachers about the girl’s behaviour, his son’s complaints had been ignored and nothing had been done.

My 11 year old son has been hit multiple times by a girl in his grade. She has a very strong personality and wants to be the boss in most situations. My son is very independent and has no interest in that sort of thing. This leads to this girl getting mad at him for not following orders and she ends up hitting him sometimes.

My son has brought this up to the teachers more than once. They have done nothing about it. I have brought it up to one teacher, in particular (She assigns mostly group projects that lead to this behavior), and she did nothing about it. So today, on the way to school, knowing that he had a group project, my son mentioned being hit again. I told him “If she hits you again today, you have my full blessing to hit her back. You will not be in trouble from me.”

Well, she did hit him again today and my son hit her back. It is important to know that my son’s are basically human-gorilla hybrids. These kids are freaking strong football players! Anyway, he was sent to the office and I was called.

I defended my son and even though he was suspended for a day, I took him out for ice cream.

My in-laws think I am a monster for this whole thing. My wife is 50/50. Am I the asshole?

Commenters were quick to point out the glaring unfairness of the young boy being suspended and the instigator, the girl, getting off Scot-free!

NTA. I would not be taking that suspension lying down though, not unless the girl also got suspended. I would be taking it up with whatever higher powers there were until they admit their existing policies are wrong. (Level-Tangerine-8172)


This needs to be higher. There is no justification for OPs son to be suspended for hitting someone and the girl to not be suspended, even though she has a well-documented reputation for hitting people.

Take it to the board of governors or whatever the equivalent is that runs your kid’s school. Make sure they know full well that you will not tolerate teachers allowing your child to be abused, nor will you tolerate them being punished for defending themselves against a bully.

Let them know that you won’t be bullied by them, just as much as you won’t let your son be bullied by this girl. Its your turn to punch back – metaphorically, of course! (BurdenedMind79)

If it was a guy hitting your son, both would have been suspended. There should be no difference here.

NTA (muchkin2366)

A teacher even weighed into the conversation to express their own frustration at the lack of repurcussions for girls who hit boys in their peer group.

I am a teacher and yup. I’ve repeatedly written up and called home for girls who hit boys and they don’t get in trouble by admin UNTIL a boy hits them back, then they both get suspended.  It’s so stupid. The instigator should always be suspended for more days than the one protecting themselves.  Additionally, if it’s been pushed to admin multiple times(which truly the teacher might have pushed it to them and they just ignored it bc that’s the norm now) they should’ve handled it long before it got to this point. So definitely make sure she was suspended and definitely gather more information on the ways in which the administration could’ve been negligent.  I have girls that are straight up punching boys in the face in the lunchroom  in front of administrators and nothing happens. 

I have told them some parents tell their boys to hit back, so don’t be surprised if one day you get hit.  (BlackSpinelli)

Many people pointed out that what the girl was actually doing was bullying him, because she thought that he couldn’t defend himself on the grounds that she is a girl.

He didn’t “hit a girl” but defended himself from a bully. Good job. (lostinhh)

NTA – It is unfortunate that schools allow bullies to be bullies, but are so quick to discipline anyone who defends themselves against a bully. You tried the diplomatic approach and exhausted all of your courses that way, so next step is defend yourself and let the pieces fall where they may. (Fit_Reason7319)


NTA – what your son did was self-defense. She attacked him multiple times. He made her stop.

The administration was given multiple chances to rein her in, and didn’t. So he did. Your son is not required to stand there and submit to physical violence. (avast2006)

However, some people thought that the father should have stepped in and spoken to the school rather than telling his son to hit her back.

The young girl and the teachers are the villains in this. But If your son isnt being protected at school by people whose job it is to protect him then I think it’s time to take the solution out of the hands of the 11 year old and into your own adult hands by way of teacher conference/admin complaint.

I’m all for kids being able to defend themselves but the reality is there’s a double standard that exists- especially if your son is athletic or large for his age. If the goal was to teach him to navigate this situation appropriately I’m not sure this solution was it.

If the goal was to tell him that he doesn’t have to accept violent behavior, and his safety is just as important as hers- if not more because he’s the victim in this- then what better way to showcase that than you making noise at the school on your kid’s behalf? (typeslikeagirl)

If your son is so large and not in control of his own body that he can’t control how hard he hits someone, this lesson you’ve taught him is going to land him in prison. YTA for not actually protecting your child by escalating this issue through the adults in charge of them, and for not teaching your kid that he has to know his own strength. (annang)

What do you think? Was the dad right to teach his son to hit back, or should he have taken it through the proper channels first?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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