I took a photo of Đán’s arm with scratches and posted on Facebook with the following message:

I took this photo to remind him that when someone attacks him, he needs to defend himself.

My wife’s sister commented:

I think cousins should not play together if that’s considered attacked from a 5 years old to a 10 years old cousin while playing getting toys from one to others. Seriously. And you already threaten to have your 10 years old punch 5 years old in the face.

I didn’t refer to the incident specifically because I wanted to teach my son in general when someone attacks him, he needs to defend himself instead of just taking the blows. Since she brought up the incident, I hit back:

No, they shouldn’t play together until they can keep their hands to themselves. No, it was not a threat. It was a self-defense move. When someone comes grab your arm and digs his nails into your skin, it is not playing. That’s attacking and you have the right to defend yourself no matter what age the attacker was. If he scratched me, I would have taught him a lesson for his parents who didn’t even give a damn that another child got hurt by their kid.

She replied:

Asked your own kids what happened then it they said the truth. And what your language. My kids at least know how to say ‘Sorry’.

I followed up:

I don’t need to ask. I observed them and saw the attack with my own eyes. You didn’t bother to ask if my son was alright just like the time when Khôi punched Đán in the face and he was bleeding. Khôi cried and you hugged him to console him while Đán was holding his bleeding nose and you didn’t even say a word. If your failure to discipline your kids affecting my kids, I will discipline them for you. I am done with these spoiled brats.

Yes, your sons know how to say sorry after they attack other kids. Why don’t you teach them to not attack others in the first place or be mean to others. How many times had your son screamed in H’s face and pushed him around? Yes, I observed but it was not my place to intervene. Poor little H, I felt bad for him, but it was none of my business. When it happened to my kid, however, I made damn sure that my concerns were heard and deliberate attacks won’t happen again.

Kids don’t know any better and I don’t have anything against them, but your lack of concerns towards other kids is bothering me. The least you could do was ask if the kid was OK. I was going to let this incident go, but your husband dismissed it as, “Just a scratch.” So your kid can just scratch anyone again and again, no big deal? Whether it is a minor incident or not, that’s not the point. Apparently you can’t see the point.

I had removed my Facebook post, but keep a record on here.

I flipped the fuck out because I watched the whole incident played out in front of my eyes, but I failed to prevent it. They were playing together. Đán was holding on to a plastic sword that Tâm really wanted. Tâm chased Đán around trying to get it from his hands. I saw the raging on Tâm’s face so I told them to cut it out. Đán sat down and watched TV and still with a sword in his hand. Tâm tried to grab it once again, but Đán wouldn’t let up. He grabbed his arm instead and dug his nails into his skin as he channeled all of his anger into it. Đán just sat there and took it. He didn’t push him away or tried to stop it. He was shocked when he saw blood dripping out. He showed it to his mom and she just brushed it off. Both of Tâm’s parents didn’t even bother to check if he was OK.

Grandma took Đán upstairs rubbing alcohol and put a bandage on him. What really bothered me was that none of the parents showed any concern. I told Đán in front of everyone, “You need to protect yourself. You can just let him scratch you like that.” Tam’s father responded, “It’s just a scratch.” That got my blood boiling. He dismissed it as a scratch, which gave his son the permission to do it again. Up to this point, I haven’t said anything to Tâm because he is not my kid. They made him apologize, but he said sorry with bitterness than sincerity. I wanted him to know that it was not OK to scratch, so I said to him with all the adults around, “If you scratch him again, he will punch you in your face so you better stop.” It was my way of responding to “It’s just a scratch.” Well, it was just a punch in the face, what’s the big deal? I teach my kids not to attack anyone, but if they get attacked, they must defend themselves by any means necessary. Push them, punch them, kick them, or run away. Just don’t stay still and take the beating.

When I was a kid, my mother would not let anything go without getting her concerns heard. Whenever I came home with scratches on my face or body, she would flip the fuck out. She would take me to the parents and show them what their kids had done to me. I was teased about it, but the kids learned not to mess with me. I also learned not to get into fights because I didn’t want to hurt my mom. I saw the pain on her face when she saw the scratches on me. When an incident like this occurred, it reminded me of my mother and I took it hard, especially when the parents failed to acknowledge it. I could see the disappointment on her face. Sometimes I wish she didn’t love me too damn much.

I guess no one could understand the bond between my mom and me. Even my wife didn’t think it was a big deal. Of course, she’s always on her sister’s side no matter what. I have learned to accept it.