“What should I do to make sure my son doesn’t get into more fights?”

Hi, welcome to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, licensed marriage and family therapist.
I'm the founder and clinical director of Teen Therapy Center. I'm also the executive director
and chairman of the board of the up -and -coming new nonprofit organization, Child and Teen
Counseling, which will be offering low -cost counseling to affordable counseling to people
in the San Fernando Valley area for kids and teens, and also be a training ground for pre -licensed
therapists. We're very excited about that. hoping to get that launched and ready to go in May
of this year. Anyways, I come to you every Wednesday at 12 o 'clock on Facebook to answer your
parenting questions that you email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com or you message
us here on Facebook. And today is the question. Here it goes. My son is in 6th grade and got into
his first fight at school. Both boys got suspended. No one got seriously hurt. What should I
do to make sure that he doesn't get into more fights?

so this is actually a very layered question and first before I get into how to stop him getting
into more fights let's get into that transition of you pick your son up from school from the principal's
office and what do you do because it's the first thing and to help him not get into more fights
you get him in the car he's probably got a lot of emotions going on he's probably scared angry
upset even if on the surface like yeah no big deal whatever there's a lot lot of emotion and adrenaline
going on. So you check in, hey, probably pretty upset. No, I'm fine. Okay. Do you want to talk
about it now? Or do you just want to drive home, listen to some music? More than likely, he's going
to say, I just want to drive home, listen to music. That's fine. So you let him listen to music,
you drive home, you get him something to eat. If he's got a lot of energy and adrenaline, let him
go shoot hoops, let him ride his bike, let him do something physical to get out of some of that
extra energy. Not screens

though. And again, this is a whole other topic we can get into but screens are just gonna build
up more and more anxiety and more and more adrenaline let him get physical exercise out once
he's kind of at the place where he's calmed down say hey I want to talk about what happened to school
today you're not in trouble I'm here because I want to understand your side and I want to help
you and ask invite him if he wants to go first or does he want you to go first and he thought to you
there first say okay well this is what the principal told me and go through the details of this
what the principal said but I really want to know what you have to say What was your side of the
story if he starts telling you his side don't interrupt him? Just let him talk now if you need
clarification you can ask clarification But don't say but the principal said this or but you
usually do this Just let him talk and get it all out whether you agree with it or not once you have
his side Then repeat back to him

This is what I'm hearing you saying and you kind of repeat back to him what you understand this
story And how he's feeling and let him go. Yeah, that that's how I see things okay now you can compare
what the principal said and what your son is saying and figuring out where the middle ground
is now you're never gonna find the absolute truth because there is no absolute truth your son's
got an opinion the guy he fought has an opinion the principal has an opinion the teachers aide
has an opinion everyone saw things a little bit differently don't try to figure out the ultimate
truth what you're trying to do is help him have empathy help him not only for himself and from
you but also maybe understand what the other kid was going through now he may have had very legitimate
reasons to get into a fight some people say violence is never the answer you should never get
to a fight that's not necessarily true sometimes you really don't have an option that's not
always the case usually you do have options

but sometimes sometimes you don't sometimes there's no teachers aid around sometimes it's
just you and that guy and three of the guys around you and you cannot walk away so you've got to
defend yourself or someone else is getting bullied and he felt he needed to defend somebody
again are there better ways possibly but in the moment it's hard to figure that out so just because
he got into a fight doesn't mean he's wrong so we really have to figure out how do we help him understand
what his options are in those moments whether he could have walked away or not whether he had
to stand his ground and defend himself or someone else or was he the bully was he the initiator
was he picking on some kid if that's the case how do we help him develop more empathy for other
people and that starts at home by him feeling that he has empathy from you that you understand
his feelings regardless if you guys agree or not that you still feel or he still feels that you
get him you understand his feelings that's

the first and foremost part of empathy and helping someone not attack someone else work with
the school to make sure that if your son and other kid have a lot of problems that maybe they're
separated maybe once moved to a different class maybe they can work it out with the principal
and you know hash things out a lot of times when kids get into fights once they fight it's done
with it's over with it's squashed but not always again there's no one way to handle this because
there's a thousand ways this can go right so it's really important to find out what is the best
way for your son and your family again if you feel that your son is the aggressor what's going
on is there's some anger or sadness or fear there's some unmet emotional needs that he's not
dealing with very well and he is lashing out of the people so it's helping him figure those out
whether it's therapy or you know more family meetings or more family time too much screen time
again it's not about what the screen time is it's

more about the volume usually but there is social media that kids have our time understanding
and getting in tune with or setting boundaries with video games setting boundaries with so
again we can talk a long time about this but the most important thing if you don't want your son
getting in more fights make sure that he feels that he has empathy from you and he understands
you because it helps him translate that empathy to other people if you think there's something
going on at school an environment that that's a little out of your son's control make sure you're
advocating for your son if he suspended and you feel like he was a little in the wrong you know
don't let it be a vacation make sure that you know the power cord the Xbox is going with you to work
and the keyboard and you know maybe there's no screen time during that that suspension but again
every situation is gonna be different and you've got to to make your own choice of what works
best for your family. So anyways, great question.

We can go on and on. I could talk your ears off, but you probably have to get back to your lunch.
So I don't want to interrupt your salad. But tune in next week. We've got another great question
coming up next week. And if you have questions, please email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com or message us here on Facebook. And we look forward to answering your questions every Wednesday
at at 12 o 'clock on Facebook. Thanks again. This is Kent Toussaint, and I'll see you next week.
Bye -bye.

It’s hard to know what to do when your kid gets into a fight at school. This week’s Tips on Teens question comes from a parent concerned that his 6th grade son recently got into a fight. Kent is here to give his advice on this topic. Here’s the question:

“My son is in 6th grade and got into his first fight at school. Both boys got suspended. No one got seriously hurt. What should I do to make sure that he doesn’t get into more fights?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.