A four-year-old little girl was punched in the face by a boy at school, and her mother, Merritt Smith, took her to the hospital to receive stitches. However, it wasn’t the stitches that the shocked mother was left talking about after she left the Children’s Hospital registration desk. Smith notes that the registration clerk, a male, quipped “I bet he likes you” to the little girl when the mother explained that a boy at school had punched her in the face. Now the child’s mother is speaking out in hopes of changing the rhetoric and “old scripts” that are often tossed around nonchalantly such as the idea that boys hurt girls to show them that they “like” them.
The Daily Mail reports that mother Merritt Smith was outraged when she took her four-year-old daughter to the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, after she was punched in the face by a boy at school. The little girl was punched so hard that the resulting wound required stitches. However, when the little girl approached the registration desk to check-in at the hospital, the male registration clerk attempted to the lighten the mood by giving an excuse for the boy’s behavior. The clerk told the little girl that the little boy probably just liked her, that is why he hit her in the face.
“I bet he likes you.”
That is not the message that Merritt Smith wanted her daughter to hear from the person that was supposed to be a conveyer of comfort during her daughter’s time of need. Smith says that she explained to her daughter that hitting is not how we show we like someone. Smith told her daughter that the boy’s choice was wrong. However, Smith says that her words of wisdom to her daughter could have been overshadowed by the well-meaning reception clerk as he was in a position of influence at that time.
Smith says that the old fashioned message that boys hurt girls because they like them opens the gates for making domestic violence acceptable. She notes that a simple statement such as “I bet he likes you” can seal the idea in a child’s mind that hurting is flirting.
Smith says that as a society we need to take responsibility for the messages we send our children and that the incident at the hospital shows that there is much room left for improvement.
“It is time to take responsibility for the messages we as a society give our children. Do not tell my 4 year old who needs stitches from a boy at school hitting her ‘I bet he likes you.’ NO.”
The post, which was made public on Merritt Smith’s Facebook account, has been shared over 32,000 times since the time of this posting with many people showing their support for the mom. In the comments section, Merritt Smith went into further detail about why she made the post public and exactly what she hoped to accomplish.
“I want it to be understood that I value Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a tremendous asset and resource in our community. I do not mean to attack the hospital or get this man fired. He genuinely meant no harm. My intensity and intent is to change old scripts that do not serve us as adults and most certainly do not serve our children.”
— someecards (@someecards) October 9, 2015
What do you think about the incident at the hospital? Was the registration clerk’s statement that the boy must have liked the girl to hit her inappropriate?
[Image Credit: Facebook]