It all went down when they were playing a game of tag in the swimming pool that turned sour. Between the “You can’t catch me” and the kiddie giggles, I watched as the game turned from fun to dangerous – dunking instead of tagging. Big Bro pushed Little Bro’s head under the water and held him there, laughing the entire time. From my place in the Jacuzzi, I yelled at him to stop but he couldn’t hear me over the splashing and intermittent screams from Little Bro when his head would pop up. At that point, my adrenaline took charge and I vaulted out of the water to initiate a rescue. Lucky for Big Bro, he realized his mistake before I got to him and he let go. Little Bro came out of the water heaving and crying, not hurt but scared silly.
My pulse raced from the vivid images that had flashed through my mind of a child at the bottom of the swimming pool. So, I held Little Bro tight for a time, then had a “very stern talk” with Big Bro. (Yelling with a finger in his face. “NEVER, NEVER play games like that in the pool!”)
Once I felt like I got my point across to Big Bro, I took Little Bro aside to give him a piece of advice. Here’s what I told him: “If anyone ever dunks you in the water and won’t let go, fight for your life!” I told him that I’d allow him to do anything necessary to get away. And that included hitting his brother!
My Conclusion: Non-violence is always a good lesson for our kids. But there are some situations in which a little self-defense is warranted.