My youngest son, Monster, got jumped yesterday. We got to spend an entire afternoon in Urgent Care getting CT scanned and X-rayed.
We preach situational awareness on this blog. Being aware of your surroundings gives you the opportunity to avoid bad situations. But, I think I've been guilty of preaching it more to females than males. Obviously, I did it with my own kids.
I told Ashinator, from the time she was little, to listen to her gut. If something doesn't feel right, it's not, and to get away or don't enter the situation.
I must have missed giving that speech to Monster, because not only did he enter the situation, but he escalated it. He was cutting through a field from his grandma's house to 7-11, there were a couple of older kids (18-19 years old) in the field who started yelling and taunting him. At this point, I would have turned around and gone home or given them a wide berth. But that's me and I'm old and I don't really want to fight anyone unless I have to. Monster, on the other hand, wouldn't take getting yelled at and taunted, he yelled back. They approached each other and he got the ever-loving shit kicked out of him - hit in the face with a skateboard, knocked out, kicked a couple of times in the gut, got his left hand stomped on (the swelling on that was impressive) and had his $20 "jacked" (<-- that's teenager-speak for stolen).
I failed on two accounts with him: I didn't impress the importance of avoiding situations like that, nor did I get it through his thick skull that maybe he shouldn't anger so easily, which escalated the situation. So they called him names, so what? They didn't know him, how on earth could he take it personally? But, at 17, I guess you take it personally.
It could have been so much worse than it was - nothing was broken (except my bank account when the bills come due) and really the only thing injured was his pride. The bruises will go away, but I hope that he learned a lesson about being aware of his surroundings and not escalating a situation. Just walk away, or better yet, don't get into a situation like that.
And I hope, by sharing this, that it will be a reminder that we need to teach our children, of both genders, about situational awareness. They need to know to be aware of what is going on around them at all times - this is getting harder and harder with kids, because they're always plugged into their phones or their iPods. They form a little coccoon around themselves and block out what's going on around them - a very dangerous situation.