For the first several weeks (two months really) there were a couple of boys in his class who had been picking on him regularly. He says they "bug" him. He says Joe hurts his feelings while Jacob's specialty is pushing him around. We encouraged him to tell an adult nearby when the boys were bugging him and to avoid them as much as possible. Daily he brought home more stories of being pushed in the hallway and being called 'stupid' and 'cry-baby.' I went to talk to his teacher and she assured me that she'd keep an eye out. She said that the two boys doing most of the "bugging" were not in groups with Elijah, and he concurred that most of the teasing was going on in the hallway, at recess or at lunch.
The same day I talked to Elijah's teacher, he came home with an office referral. Apparently Jacob took his lunch box and was playing keep-away with it. Elijah looked for an adult, couldn't see one close by so he punched Jacob in the stomach to get his lunch box back.
Fighting is a serious offense. Eric was the parent on duty when Elijah came home, and could see that he was already very upset by the trip to the office and the referral, so they talked about how to make better choices next time. When I got home, I talked to him as well, and he agreed that forgetting the lunch box and ignoring the teasing would be better options if no adult could be found.
But here's the thing. Since the fight, two weeks have gone by and the daily teasing seems to have lessened significantly. Today he said they were making faces at him across the room, but the verbal teasing and pushing seem to have stopped for now. There is a part of me that feels, "Way to go standing up for yourself! Its probably what needed to happen." I don't want him to resort to fighting again, but I'm not disappointed in him for taking a stand.
Sometimes parenting makes that line between right and wrong so VERY blurry.