Our boys are six-years-old. They are babies. Loud, active, goofy, frustrating, fart-obsessed babies. The focus of their lives should be recess, loudly announcing their bodily functions, and straddling that fine line between dependence and independence.
There is an inherent innocence in being six. No one expects higher level cognitive functioning to happen inside the oversized toddler mind of a six-year-old boy. Our boys are at a stage of emotional and cognitive infancy, and it’s important to remember that.
Somehow, your son had the cognitive understanding to threaten my son. He verbalized a specific threat. Your son said he was going to bring a gun to school in order to shoot and kill my son. This threat has changed my son and our family.
I desperately want to speak with you but at the same time I want your entire family to disappear. I have struggled since the initial phone call, and I hope you have too. I need to tell you some things and writing this is the only way I can do that.
I encouraged my son to reach out to yours.
Our boys have been in school together since preschool. It is obvious that your son has social and behavioral challenges. On the first day of preschool, your son hit my son. He came home and explained that “some jerkface kid” had hit him. We talked about it and about how some kids need extra help making friends.
My son took this situation to heart. He has consistently reached out to your son. This year your son has been treating my son poorly. It escalated to the point that I had to contact the school. Through it all, my son still wants yours to be his friend. I have a voicemail I saved from the school counselor that describes her appreciation for the extra effort and patience my son has had with yours.
All of this made my heart happy. Knowing that my boy could empathize with yours and continue to provide kindness made me proud. But since the threat, my outlook has changed. I worry that I have encouraged a relationship that could be life-threatening. To me, your son is not worth the risk to my own.
My son is confused.
My son has intense emotions. He feels everything to his core, and I have had to help him rein in his empathy at times. We have funerals for butterflies and sobbing watching Disney movies. Tears have flowed frequently this school year as my boy struggles to understand your son’s behavior.
After the threat, my son was in a state of shock, anxiety, and bewilderment. He snuggled on my lap, buried his little head straight in my tits, and cried. He said, “I was just giving him positive accolades!” (Side note: I’m a psychiatric nurse and my poor kids have grown up with psych talk. I promise to cover their future therapy bills.)
I asked him to tell me what happened. Your son had to read in front of his class. This is extra hard for your son and my son knows it. It was lunchtime and my son invited yours to sit with him and his little crew of boys. My son told your son what a great job he had done. Your son did not respond. The other boys agreed and provided “positive accolades” to your boy. That’s when my son describes how your son’s face changed. He said your son turned red and clenched his fists, that his eyes turned dark. He then made the threat to all the boys. He said he was going to bring a gun to school and kill my son and his friends.
My boy might know some big words but he’s still six. He doesn’t understand how kindness can be met with hatred. I have caught him over analyzing this situation many times over. He feels guilty that his attempt at kindness initiated this threat. He now questions his social interactions and expresses fear about being the cause of another threat.
I am so incredibly pissed off.
I missed the first phone call from the school. I was having a big day with my younger daughters and I was not focused on my phone. Once we got home, I noticed the voicemail. The principal had called and stated I needed to contact him immediately. My first thought was my boy had provided age-inappropriate information to his peers… again. I called the school, but the line was busy. My son got off the bus shortly after. He’s the one who first told me about the threat.
I was shaking. I hugged him, held him, and listened. I got him settled with popcorn and cartoons before calling the school again. This time I got through to the principal. The information I was given was initially vague. There was an uncomfortable attempt to minimize the situation. That did not sit well, so I pushed for more information. I was told that (for your family’s privacy) the school would not discuss the consequences for your son. Fuck that shit. My words were angry and firm. I said, “Let’s get really specific then. How are you going to keep MY SON safe from this kid?!”
My level of pissed off was at maximum capacity. I was angry that my son was dealing with this. I was angry that the school made attempts to minimize the situation. I was especially angry that your family’s “right to privacy” was valued higher than my family’s right to the knowledge of safety.
I stalked your Facebook.
The police showed up at your home. You assured them that your son has no access to guns. Those words were apparently enough to appease the officers that your son could not follow through with the threat.
We live in a small country town. Hunting is big here. Also, the small town situation means I know your name, even though we’ve never met.
It took me a 30 second Facebook search to find you. Your profile was as mundane as mine. Pictures of you and your kids, the occasional meme, and a long list of friends (however your profile picture is horizontal and makes me seriously question your ability to function in the real world). I scoped out your relatives and my level of pissed off blew past maximum capacity and I entered total fucking meltdown. Almost all your relatives have photos of guns littering their profiles. Your other son even has an assault rifle as a profile picture. Your OTHER SON that also lives at that home. I made screenshots of all the profiles and sent them to the police. I hope they come back to your home when you are least expecting a visit.
I understand you want to protect your kid but so do I.
Your lack of action towards your son confuses me. The lack of transparency regarding his access to weapons scares the shit out of me. I have thought hard about what the hell you are thinking. I’ve come up with three options.
- You’re an idiot.
- You are in complete denial.
- You feel like you are protecting your son.
I tend to lean towards 3. I think you believe that you are keeping your son safe from unwanted consequences. What you are doing is making allowances for his behavior. You are allowing this threat to continue.
I don’t have control over the direct consequences for your son. If I did, I would want him in intense therapy. He deserves a chance to overcome whatever he has been dealing with. However, I do have control over a few things. As of now, there will be no birthday party invites, no scheduled play dates, and my son will no longer be the one sticking his neck out for your kid.
My son and the school have clear directions of firm separation for the boys. You now need to take over the role my six-year-old son had played in your son’s life. You need to be the one sticking your neck out for your kid. I’m done allowing your kid to have any effect on my own. Please reflect and remember what is important. So far you have raised a kid that the world will interpret as an asshole, a villain. Fix it, do better for him.
What happened stole a piece of my son’s innocence. The part of him that still believes in Santa, gets excited about the tooth fairy, and thinks the world is a wonderful place has been compromised. He still talks about your son and asks questions regarding what he could have done differently. What I have told him is that some kids have an invisible struggle and they need someone to help them. You need to help your son.
Kira Gilbertson is generally awkward, uses too much dry shampoo, and is likely to avoid eye contact with you at the grocery store. As a wife, mom, nurse, and farm lady it is likely that she is sporting some bodily fluids that are not hers at any given moment. Kira has been farting around with the whole writing thing for a few years. Check out her work at http://tirednotdead.com under the pen-name Rnplusmommy and on all those social media sites at https://www.facebook.com/tirednotdead/ , https://www.instagram.com/tirednotdead/ , and https://twitter.com/imtirednotdead