The father of a girl in my son’s preschool class apologized to me today as I was getting out of my car in the school parking lot. He felt badly for reprimanding me the day before after hearing from his daughter that my son had allegedly pinched her while on the playground.
The day of the alleged pinch I immediately apologized to the man and his daughter for my 4-year old’s behavior. I asked my son to apologize to the girl, but he said that he had not pinched her and so wouldn’t apologize. The father and I got into our respective cars, with me saying a final apology.
In the car I questioned and then listened to my boy’s side of the events and he said again and again that he didn’t pinch his classmate.
I told him that because he had never given me a reason not to believe him, I believed him. It was a case of his word against hers. (His teachers hadn’t reported the incident to me while I was picking up my kiddo.) I told him that it was very important to be honest with me because honesty builds trust.
What was my responsibility as a mother? Should I have immediately assumed that my son was telling a lie because another parent said so? I certainly don’t want to be one of those mothers in denial about her child’s bad behavior.
The next day, after the father apologized to me, I told my son about it when we got buckled into the car. My son quickly asked whether I told him that he hadn’t pinched her. I said that I hadn’t.
I told him exactly what I said to that father. I explained that I was glad that he had spoken out for his daughter. She was really lucky to have such a great daddy who cared and loved her enough to defend her. I told him that the daddy was a great role model and was teaching his daughter how decent men behave.
I hope that my son learned something from this experience. I hope that he learned about honesty, good behavior, trust, and decency. I hope he learned that I am his advocate and that he can trust me. Oh, yeah, I hope that he didn’t pinch that little girl…