I received a very interesting phone call from the principal at my sons school today. She called to tell me that Rj has been in a fist fight. This is shocking for three reasons.
Shock #1: I was literally in a screaming match with his principal the day before about Rj having a bully, and the lack of regard that I felt they had for his safety. This bully has made Rj’s life miserable. He began to show signs of extreme stress. So, naturally being the mama bear that I am. I was pretty irate. So irate, that she got irate too. It got ugly, folks. I’m not proud of this, but it produced results. We quickly acknowledged that we’re both overly stressed moms and it was just one of those days for the both of us. We were able to recognize that, tone it down, and move on. And really, was able to come up with a solution for my son’s bully that we felt was beneficial for everyone. So it turned out great. But you can imagine, how embarrassed I felt, when she called the next day telling me that Rj had started a fight with another kid. Whom in which, was completely innocent. That’s right! Rj admitted that he started the fight.
Shock #2: I know a lot of parent say this about their kids, but anyone who knows Rj knows that he is the least aggressive person that you may ever meet. I like to say that he wouldn’t be able to bust a grape in a fruit fight. His soul is so gentle. He loves everyone and just wants everyone to love him. So to hear that he started this altercation was….shocking. But it also shows signs that something is bothering him and it’s starting to seep its way out through aggression, but that’s for another post.
Shock #3: Rj story of events pretty much matched the principals story, which was, this kid “joey” tried to get into Rj’s group at recess. Rj told him he was in the wrong group and that his group was across the gym (which was true). But then “Joey” didn’t listen to Rj and that’s when Rj shoved him. “Joey” shoved Rj back, Rj then shoved “Joey”, then “Joey” punched Rj in the mouth. Rj then grabbed “Joey’s” shirt to try to pull him down. Once “Joey” got loose from Rj’s grip, he then ran hysterically to the nearest teacher. I was told by the principal that “Joey” was very upset and Rj was “cool as a cucumber”. Now, Rj’s personality is normally laid back, EXCEPT when he has been apart of an altercation, even with his siblings. So for him to be so relaxed says to me that he was proud of himself and that he thought he did the right thing, regardless of the consequence. Also, Rj has never, I mean never, defended himself this way. And by defend I mean, he got back up after he was pushed down. He’s not a fighter. Well at least not before today.
I felt bad for “Joey” because it sounded like he was pretty shaken up. But….I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I’m a bit proud. My Rj got into his first fist fight. He showed aggression. He showed he was wasn’t going to back down. Although shoving was a bit extreme. I mean, the kid was in the wrong group. But he showed emotion and with children on the autism spectrum like Rj, it very common for them not to understand or have the ability to process their emotions during the appropriate time.
Rj did later confess that earlier in the day, “Joey” did something to really annoy him. So in his own way, he was tired of “Joeys” shit and shoved him. Most people have been there. So I told Rj that he had to write a letter apologizing to “Joey”. He was very hesitant and sluggish about it.
Me: “Rj, write a letter to “Joey” saying you’re sorry.”
Rj: “Well, what do I say?”
Me: “Say you’re sorry. You are sorry, right?”
Rj: “I mean, not really.”
Me: “I appreciate your honesty, but you still have to write a note. It’s the right thing to do.”
I explained that it is never ok to take your frustrations out on other people. But I also explained that when life throws you a punch, you get back up. He learned both today.
Below is the second note that he wrote to “Joey”. The first one, well, lets just say it was a bit disrespectful. I wish I would have saved it to show you guys because honestly it was hilarious.
“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up. Let your reason get you back up.” -Les Brown