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So, a day or two ago, my son touched a girls butt during lunch. She reported him to the counselor and my son got a Saturday Detention, along with having to write a hand written apology to the girl. This is extremely unusual for my son to do, and I wanted to make sure this doesn't happen again. How can I explain yo him that this behavior isn't appropriate, and what questions should I ask?

His in the 7th grade

  • 1
    how old is 7th grade, as not everyone here is in the same country as you. In fact we have no idea which country you are in. – WendyG Dec 17 '18 at 15:16
  • Is the 7th grade around 13 or 14 years old? Did your son say anything about the situation? – Arsak Dec 20 '18 at 12:55
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Welcome to puberty. All the intellectual knowledge in the world does not prepare people (kids or parents) for when the hormones start to kick in.

This is a pretty strong response for a first infraction, and I suspect it will be sufficient to prevent future issues.

Find out what else was going on when this happened. Was it a result of a bunch of boys daring each other? An impulsive act with no reason (yes, adolescents will do stupid things on pure impulse with no malice intended, and have no idea why they did them)? Or possibly even a true accident where he is being punished for something he didn't know he did, or something he got the blame for that was actually done by another kid?

At a much younger age than this, I have been teaching my own son that one of the girls out there is his future wife, and to treat every girl with the same respect that he wants other people to treat his future wife.

We are a religious family, so I use the Bible to explain the boundaries and reasons for them. It's pretty easy, you're married, it's between you and her. You're not, it's out of bounds. God didn't put a fire in a boy to have it snuffed out, but neither did he put it there to burn uncontrolled and turn his life to ashes.

  • Suspecting that a particular punishment will be 'enough' is being presumptive. The energy of your answer can be focused more on your third paragraph and trying to get to the heart of the issue. – Calvin Smythe Dec 18 '18 at 20:02
  • @Calvin Smythe that's the autism shining through. Inability to distinguish priorities. – pojo-guy Dec 18 '18 at 20:39
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+100

Your son needs to understand that

  1. He made a mistake
  2. He is not the victim
  3. The girl is the victim

It's important that he understands not just that it was his mistake, but also why it was a mistake. The goal of your conversation should not be to punish or humiliate him, but to make him a better person.

  1. It was wrong to touch her like that, because she is a human-being and has body autonomy. That's unconditional. It doesn't depend on race, social status, reputation or the like. You can illustrate that by giving examples of touching by strangers he wouldn't want. It also teaches him the important lesson that it would be wrong if someone did that to him, too. And girls are more vulnerable for reasons like being inferior in terms of physical strength. Teach him about boundaries.
  2. Everyone makes mistakes, that's unavoidable. What makes a difference is how you react to them.
    • You need to own up to them. He has to apologize (not just because some authority ordered him to).
    • Understand why it was a mistake.
    • Not make the same mistake again.

It happened and cannot be undone, but it's not the end of the world. He already is being punished and as long as he learned his lesson, it's fine. I guess he will meet her again (same school still), so he may apologize again in person and then leave her alone, if she wishes so.

He shouldn't get the feeling that he gets a draconian punishment for a relatively small mistake (probably at least in his eyes, being in puberty in addition) from all sides, so the conversation needn't be too stern. That's also why I wrote above that not he is the victim, so don't make him feel like one. It may therefore be good to end it conciliatory, so maybe do something he enjoys, too, afterwards. After all, it's about understanding and learning for the future, not punishment.

  • Of course without knowing more details, we don't know the boy is not a victim. We don't know the girl was telling the truth, or that she accused the right boy, or that the contact was not accidental. This is correct if, indeed, the boy deliberately touched the girl inappropriately, but the evidence offered does not rule out the boys innocence in the matter. – pojo-guy Dec 18 '18 at 22:23
  • I tend to trust the OP and answer their question, unless something's unclear or seemingly contradictory, in which case I would request clarification. To me, the OP seems to be pretty clear on that ("So, a day or two ago, my son touched a girls butt during lunch."). For sure, if they had asked something like "A girl accused ..." or "A girl claims that ...", my answer would have been different. – Anne Daunted Dec 19 '18 at 15:53
  • I've seen too many lives ruined by a presumption of guilt in these matters, where the claims ultimately turned out to be untrue or incomplete. Even if there was a touch, we don't know it was deliberate or any of the surrounding circumstances. OP needs more information than has been posted here to fully formulate an appropriate response. – pojo-guy Dec 19 '18 at 15:59
  • Did you ask for more information in a comment? – Anne Daunted Dec 19 '18 at 16:03
  • In my answer I recommended asking for more information. – pojo-guy Dec 19 '18 at 16:19
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At 7th Grade he is still very young and during this stage kids develop a lot of curiosity to know things.

You should have casual talk with him and ask him about his thoughts, don't make it an investigation but rather a conversation. try to know about his intention when he did that.

Also check his activities what he do when you are not around and check the kind of friends he played with.

In this age of this internet everything is easily available and parents should check what their child is watching on internet or TV. If he is having a smartphone you can install some apps that locks certain website or content you don't want him to get exposure to.

Does he have a sister or a cousin sister ? how he behaves with them? Ask him to treat all the girls with respect like he treats his sisters.

Children also learns quickly from the adults around them so you should talk to you partner about it and should also be very careful how you behave with others and do things when he is watching.

You should also talk to him about the his day in school and try to know about his thoughts towards his fellow classmates.

Never scold or punish him for such things but help him to channel his thoughts in right direction.

There are really good books out there about the parenting the Boys when they grow and you may get some more good ideas to deal with such situations.

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Please take the time to talk with your son about dating, what is and isn't ok. Primarily that he shouldn't touch anyone else without their approval. The current social climate requires nothing less. If you want to hold hands, ask, "can I hold your hand while we walk?" It sounds really old fashioned, right?

We have more success in relationships when we show the other person consideration and respect. Grabbing and touching without permission leads to rejection from the other person involved (and their friends, and the teachers, and the neighborhood in general).

Use this opportunity to teach him how to approach relationships in healthy, positive way.

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