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Mum responds to “I bet he likes you” comment after daughter is hit by a boy


If a boy hits a girl it probably means he likes her. So go the rules of the primary school playground, at least back in the day. But one mother is challenging this notion, arguing that the underlying message is damaging to kids.

I bet he likes you

Merritt Smith from Ohio, found herself taking her four-year-old daughter Joni to hospital after a boy hit her at school. As they arrived and made themselves knows to the reception, a man at the desk told the girl, “I bet he likes you”.

However, when she got home from hospital Merritt decided to respond to the man’s comment. She acknowledged that he probably meant well but detailed how messed up it is to suggest that boys demonstrate their affection through violent acts.

Acceptable behaviour

Merritt wrote: “Dear man at the registration desk at Nationwide Children’s hospital, I’m positive that you didn’t think that statement through. As soon as I heard it I knew that is where it begins. That statement is where the idea that hurting is flirting begins to set a tone for what is acceptable behavior. My four year old knows “That’s not how we show we like someone. That was not a good choice.” In that moment, hurt and in a new place, worried about perhaps getting a shot or stitches you were a person we needed to help us and your words of comfort conveyed a message that someone who likes you might hurt you.

“No. I will not allow that message to be ok. I will not allow it to be louder than “That’s not how we show we like each other.” At that desk you are in a position of influence, whether you realize it or not. You thought you were making the moment lighter.

“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.”

Response from hospital

Merritt’s open letter has since gone viral, with over 26,000 people sharing her post on Facebook. The mum later added that she had received a response from Nationwide Children’s hospital. “The hospital responded to my email,” she posted. “They thanked me for my feedback, acknowledged they had never thought of that situation in that light and consider it food for thought.”






About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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