What to do?! What to do?! I have a question for all parents: What do you do when your child punches their best friend because he felt attacked by bullies and took it out on the best friend instead? Because this really happened yesterday, and I’m astounded on so many levels. That’s not the only issue at hand, though. D has this friend who knows he was born in the wrong body. This friend is a girl and every bit as tomboy as D, but she’s still a girl, never wanted to be a boy like D. She doesn’t have a problem with the fact that D is physically a girl, but emotionally/mentally a boy. She just likes to hang out with D. But therein lies the problem. Like any kid, these kids love sleepovers. I am much more comfortable with D sleeping over at this girl’s house than at a boys house, because, well, he is physically a girl, and a little boy or his parents might have a problem with that and harm D somehow.
A short back story about the fight and what happened. The kids in D’s school are cruel on a good day. They’re monsters most of the time, and they don’t understand what’s going on or how to perceive D. They constantly pester him with horrible questions: “Are you a boy or a girl?” “Do you like boys or girls?” “Is that girl your girlfriend?” D and I discussed this earlier and he decided it wasn’t their business and refused to answer these questions. D’s friend got really annoyed when they were doing this yesterday on the bus. Frustrated that D wouldn’t answer them, she told them D was a girl. Then D promptly punched his buddy in the head.
The friend’s mom called me 15 minutes after D got home from school and spoke to me about this incident. Mom told me that her daughter was upset and wanted to know why D punched her when all she said was, “She’s a girl, now stop it!” Mom had no idea that D was transgender and when I tried to explain she didn’t seem very understanding and said that the sleepovers were done then. “In my world, little boys don’t spend the night at little girls’ houses.” I told her I agreed, but felt that in this unique situation it was safer at the very least to have D spend the night at a girl’s house, not a boy’s. “Well, if D wants to be a boy, then let her live like one,” she said, being very obvious about the “proper” pronoun to describe D in her opinion.
D felt like a complete jerk for what happened with his buddy. He was in tears and very angry at himself. He couldn’t believe he’d hurt his buddy, but felt like his buddy was joining in on the teasing. I said I understood. Herein lies the other problem.
In any normal situation, I would tell D, it’s completely okay to feel embarrassed and angry by their teasing, and upset with your friend for “outing” you. It’s never okay to resort to violence to resolve any problem. If you feel that strongly about something you should try to remove yourself from the situation. This being a unique situation, I did just that and then fretted about whether or not I should have the “boys don’t hit girls” talk, too. Ugh. Frustrated, I decided I’d ask your opinion: What would YOU do in this situation?
What I actually did was just left the violence part alone – I don’t really care if you are man or woman, it’s not okay to punch someone just because you’re mad. What I told D about the sleepover part is this: your friend’s mom is not okay with you staying there anymore if you’re truly going to live like a boy. I’m not comfortable with you staying at a boy’s house because your parts don’t match your mind, and that’s a little weird for people. People do dumb, violent shit sometimes when they’re freaked out and it’s my job as a parent to ensure your safety. So, I want you to consider something for a few days … getting what we want and living a life we need to live sometimes requires sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you willing to give up living as a boy at this moment in time? Or are you willing to sacrifice the sleepovers for 5 years? Or is there something else we should do? Because these kids’ parents aren’t going to know how to react and neither do I right now. Let’s both think about this before we decide what to do.
So now I ask you again, what would YOU do? Comment below 🙂