Single Dad Discovers His 9-Year-Old Son Was a “Bully” — Doesn’t Demand an Apology for This Reason

Like most parents, Patrick Forseth is doing his best to raise a respectful kid who treats others with love and kindness.

But when this single dad discovered his son was bullying another classmate, he hit a bump in the parenting road.

Instead of taking his son’s behavior as a sign of personal failure, Forseth did the exact opposite — and it made all the difference.

After careful consideration, this single dad proved he didn’t need a partner to consult with — he knew just what to do.

In his brilliant three minute video, the Arkansas native shares what happened and how he attacked the problem.

Here’s what we can learn from his “gentle parenting” approach.

How a Man Reacted to a ”Prank” His Son Had Pulled

Patrick Forseth/ TikTok

When Forseth received an email about a “prank” his son Lincoln pulled, he knew the teacher was sugar coating a bigger problem.

The teacher shared that Forseth’s 9-year-old had unfortunately pulled a stunt that left his fellow classmate feeling hurt and embarrassed.

“I don’t care who you are — that’s bullying.”

Patrick Forseth, TikTok

While it can be hard to see the faults in our kids we work so tirelessly to raise, this one dad was under no illusions.

In his video, Forseth shares his simple philosophy. “If you do something to somebody that, you know, has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt, you’re bullying.”

Forseth chose the road less traveled.

Instead of failing to recognize his son’s behavior as problematic, he chose to embrace the situation fully.

Amazingly, instead of seeing the bullying as a result of his own parenting, he took the opportunity to show up and show case his parental strengths.

It Was a “Long Talk” Not a Lecture

For Forseth, it wasn’t just about this isolated incident.

It was about showing his son Lincoln the kind of person he chose to be in that moment and how that had the potential to affect his choices down the line.

He opened the discussion by asking his son how he would feel if the roles were reversed.

Yes, we can never deny the old “step in somebody else’s shoes” still has its charm.

But it didn’t end there.

Forseth didn’t give his son a run-of-the-mill lecture listing all his faults and then abruptly confiscating his iPad and sending him to his room without dinner.

Those of us who are older know this punishment well and most of the time “sitting in our room to think about what we’ve done” never helped.

In fact, the harsh punishment just breeds contempt for our parents and made us want to lash out more at the kid who put us there.

It Wasn’t a Monologue — It Was a Dialogue

Kids aren’t that much different than adults.

If our boss pulled us aside for an hour and talked our ear off about how poorly we’ve been performing lately and why they’ll have to scale back our lunch hours so we can make up for all our work, we’d probably not take the news so well.

A better approach would be for our boss to acknowledge how we have previously performed much better — and open up a dialogue for how we can work together to do better so we can achieve goals, collectively.

We all prefer to be talked to rather than talked at.

So this single dad applied that same principle to his son’s predicament — and guess what?

It totally paid off.

Watch Patrick Forseth’s Video:

Why One Dad Didn’t Force His Son to Apologize

In his now viral TikTok, Patrick Forseth (@halfdeaddad) shared that while he found an appropriate punishment for his son, he didn’t do what you would think.

He didn’t force him to apologize.

But he did encourage it.

“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher.”

Patrick Forseth, TikTok

He continued, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can’t take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”

And that’s exactly what 9-year-old Lincoln Forseth did.

We Can’t Take Anything Back but We Can Make It Right

“Doing the next right thing” may sound simple but it’s not easy.

While Forseth was honest with Lincoln and told him he can’t take anything back, he assured him he could do better next time.

And Lincoln chose to do better in the cutest way possible.

Sharing His Pokemon Cards

man with a beard
Patrick Forseth/ TikTok

When Lincoln returned to school the next day he was inspired by his discussion with his dad.

Yes, he admitted he was nervous but he was a little excited too. Instead of just apologizing, Lincoln chose to extend a hand of friendship.

He asked his classmate what he liked — and to his surprise found common ground.

Both boys had a shared love of collecting Pokemon Cards.

Right then and there Lincoln made up his mind that when he would go home, he would dust off two of his favorite Pokemon cards and gift them to his new friend.

His sweet gesture of cleaning the cards is better than any forced apology.

How One Dad Emphasized the Importance of Talking to Your Kids

We may try out best to be impartial, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing our children as an extension of ourselves.

And it makes sense! After all, they are literally made up of our very own DNA!

But in making it about us we miss the point entirely.

Instead of taking his son’s behavior as a sign of personal failure, Forseth did the exact opposite — and it made all the difference.

“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let’s try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn’t teach them anything.”

Sometimes, in trying to warn their children about the importance of their actions, parents can make the innocent mistake of making their kids feel like they are innately “bad” kids.

Instead of focusing on their choices, they refuse to see the problem at all.

Either ends of the spectrum are extreme and don’t get through to kids in the long run.

Studies have proven that children grow most when they believe in their innate goodness and understand that yes, their choices have weight, but they always have the power to choose better.

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