Or am I to strict? How would you have reacted?

(153 Posts)
OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 19:35:05

My 6 year old son was playing with his friend who is 10 outside. He's a nice boy and they've always got on well.
I was in the kitchen and I heard this absolute wail come from outside that was my son. I ran out and he was clutching his eye and sobbing uncontrollably.
His friend was saying sorry to him and comforting him, and told he'd shot him in the eye with his Nerf gun.
DC couldnt open his eye so I didnt respond, and just ushered DS inside.
A cold compress later he could open it, but it was swollen.

We asked what happened when he'd calmed down, he said his friend shot him in the eye with a nerf gun. His dad asked how fat away he was stood and he said "where mum is now", at which point I had a cold compress against his eye so there was about half a foots width between our bodies.

A bit annoyed, I knocked on his door to as, what happened . He answered and I said just wanted to hear what happened (i.e was it deliberate) and he explained. He said "We swapped guns and I shot him in the eye."

Basically it pans out, it was deliberate but he didnt mean to hurt my son.

Then his mums comes to his side, I told her. She said "Oh dear. Did you say sorry?"

He said yes (he had).

That was it.

I left having to make a point of keeping my chin off the floor. His mum is a nice person from what I know of her but clearly we parent differently.

If that was my son especially if he was 10, who had shot a younger child, or any person in the eye, Id have been livid.

I was pissed off but now Im confused. Ive recently been doubting my parenting approaches with my son, Im having a bit of a wobble. And this has made me wonder if my reaction would have been too harsh.

So I put it to the jury, how would you have reacted if your child had done that?

Cloverer Sun 12-May-13 19:55:58

He didn't mean to hurt your DS
They are friends
He was sorry and told the truth about what happened

Not sure what you wanted the mum to do? Go ballistic and humiliate him in front of you on the doorstep?

If I was her, I'd have made sure he apologised, and then privately spoken to him about why it was dangerous and that he needs to be careful.

He didn't mean to hurt anyone, so don't see how shouting and punishing would achieve anything?

OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 19:56:33

Laurie with all due respect, a bat and ball would have had the same effect.

I feel as though a child should just not aim any toy at the eyes.

Cloverer Sun 12-May-13 19:57:25

He did something stupid. I don't think children need punishing for acts of stupidity so long as they are sorry, realise their mistake, and have learnt from it.

mrsjay Sun 12-May-13 19:57:44

I feel as though a child should just not aim any toy at the eyes.

you are right it was a stupid and dangerous thing to do i dont think the 10 yr old will do it again ,

OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 19:58:39

"What did you expect the mum to do."

Honestly, if it was me. id have told the mum that I would be having words with my son. then closed the door and had said words. id have explained how dangerous it was to aim any toy at someones eye, and wouldnt have let him out for the rest of the day.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 12-May-13 20:00:00

He's 10. He reacted with sympathy and concern when it happened. It was an accident.

What would you have done if your ds had been the "perp"?

It was just an accident. One of those things.

Cloverer Sun 12-May-13 20:00:31

You don't know what happened behind closed doors though.

Seeing as the gun wasn't his, and couldn't be confiscated, not sure I see the point of keeping him in all day.

OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 20:00:35

I think a lot of mumsnet children must not get punished for many things then.

I would genuinely like to be a fly on most of your walls when your child does something that I would consider dangerous. This is not a sarcastic statement, I would genuinely like to see it. My 6 year old is my first and I often wonder if I am getting things right!

OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 20:01:20

They both had a nerf gun, they swapped, he lifted and shot my son.

I said this in the OP?

Nope - a bat and ball is not the same as a gun.

A bat and ball has a purpose distinct from twatting someone round the head.

You might as well say that you can strangle someone with a bit of string.

Unless you're American and its part of your culture giving a six year old a gun is fuckwitted. And even in America they're encouraged to teach safely on ranges with children til they learn to handle a gun.

phantomnamechanger Sun 12-May-13 20:02:04

the boy made a mistake but his honesty is very important - if the mother went mental at him, he learns the message that honesty doesnt pay, and next time claims it was an accident. I think it is importnat to reward kids honesty, owning up even when you think that will get you in trouble is a very grown up thing to do

we have always told our 3 that we will be even more annoyed if we find out they have lied to us about soemthing

thecatfromjapan Sun 12-May-13 20:02:31

I kind of agree with what Laurie said. But, on the other hand, how were you to know? I have a ten year old. I let her play with her friends with limited supervision. No guns, but that's because she's not interested in them. I've not seen a nerf gun, but I had no idea they could do that!

To be honest, the other mother is probably just shell-shocked that nerf guns can do that much damage. And she's probably thinking quite anxious thoughts that it could have been her child that was shot in the eye.

It it tough. At 10 they are pretty grown up. but they are also still children. Really. I have a 15 year old, and he can suddenly stun me with acts of thoughtless, child-like, un-thought-through, bewildering idiocy. 10 year olds do that too. Unless you've seen signs of it before, it's unlikely that the other child is a genuine psychopath. He might be. But it is unlikely.

Ultimately, they are children, you are the adult. Although it's kind of unfair, the ultimate responsibility kind of lies with you. And you know it was an accident, not malicious negligence on your part. So, hard though that is, you may have to extend it to the other child.

Really hope your ds is OK. It sounds truly horrible. And I, for one, did not know that was possible with one of these nerf things.

Cloverer Sun 12-May-13 20:03:13

If a child does something dangerous because they haven't understood the consequences, why would you punish them?

If they do something naughty - deliberately hurt someone else or break something - then yes, punish. If they do something dangerous because they haven't thought or realised what they are doing, then I would want to ensure they do realise and won't do it again!

Children aren't little animals to be trained though, you can talk, reason and discuss things with them!

Oh and I have every sympathy for your child's eye and hope he recovers well and elects himself not to touch the gun again.

I have no sympathy for an adult that gives a 6 year old a gun.

mrsjay Sun 12-May-13 20:04:12

we have always told our 3 that we will be even more annoyed if we find out they have lied to us about soemthing

^ ^ this is what we have always said id rather be shocked if they did something but glad they told us that barefaced lie that really winds me up

It was an accident!!!! Jeez do you want him to get an asbo or something?

BarbarianMum Sun 12-May-13 20:05:15

<<Unless you're American and its part of your culture giving a six year old a gun is fuckwitted>>

It was a Nerf gun, not a .22.

It is very much part of our culture that children play with toy guns - water pistols, cap guns, nerf guns - then grow up not to use guns at all. Not everybody agrees with this of course, but it is disingenuous to suggest it is unusual.

UnChartered Sun 12-May-13 20:06:11

how do you know that child's nerf isn't in the bin right now?

OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 20:06:12

Really Clover, you think a 10 year old wouldnt understand the consequences of shooting a gun at someones eye?

thecatfromjapan Sun 12-May-13 20:06:21

Oh. Your child is 6? I genuinely don't know what one of these nerf things is, but if it is capable of doing that, isn't it a bit daft to be sending your six year old off unsupervised with one?

Or was the 10 year old supposed to be in a supervisory role? Some 10 year olds aren't mature enough to supervise. Though some are.

OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 20:07:53

comedy have you read the thread? He admitted it was deliberate.

Thanks barbarian, I had a spud gun as a child, I turned out ok.

malovitt Sun 12-May-13 20:08:30

If I had been the boy's mum, I would have told my son off in front of you, then marched him round to yours to apologise again to your son.
I would then have confiscated his gun.
10 year olds should know that you do not aim at the face from any range, let alone 6 inches away.
But then I have a friend with the sight in only one eye now, due to 'stupidity'

mrsjay Sun 12-May-13 20:08:50

I am not sure what comes out of a nerf gun is it like a sucker thing ?

thecatfromjapan Sun 12-May-13 20:09:29

duck - It's not just Clover who thinks that. I don't think all 10 year olds are fully "there", all the time, when it comes to thinking through all of their actions. As I said earlier, my 15 year old can be shocking sometimes, and I know he's a boy with good moral grounding. Clearly, we expect a great deal more of them than we do of your average five year old. But they are still on the road to full maturity. It's why they are tried differently in courts of law.

OHforDUCKScake Sun 12-May-13 20:10:26

Apparently they are aged 6 and above, to be honest he'd only owned it 24 hours and the 'bullets' are foam. Probably less painful than a spud gun wink.

I guess I assumed a 10 year old child would know eyes hurt when anything hits them. hmm. But the mumsnetters are assured me that he wouldnt know that at all.

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