My daughter has dappled in the receiving end of the bullying market. Ouch. Now before I begin the story, may I say with utmost respect and concern that there are tragic bullying stories everywhere, and this particular story is truly far from tragic! I am sharing the experience simply because I am just being introduced to this war of the children. I pray my kids are never drafted into the battle, but the reality is that they will be exposed to and involved in some sort of hideous crime. The hiding places for the innocent are scarce in school hallways, playgrounds, and all the big events. The savage bullies are everywhere, even in the best schools around town. These kids are ugly and evil and they are hurting and desperate. The victims bear the burden of their pain.
I am mortified when I hear some of my friends share stories of their children getting attacked in school hallways and bus rides home. What makes my stomach spin isn’t only the bullies at large, but the idea of other children watching these acts of violence or hearing these gruesome verbalizations and doing NOTHING about it! When I was a child and noticed playground fights erupt, I literally ran to the bathroom and threw up. I have no ability in my being to take in that evil and do nothing in response. I know children are afraid. I get that. But I also know that some children find gratification in watching other children fight and actually cheer them on. That… I don’t get. Those children are just as cruel and dark as the one who attacked the poor soul getting beaten.
It’s a passionate topic, isn’t it? How many of you moms out there have experienced this awful occurrence in your own children’s life? I hate to call the bullies evil, especially when their mothers might be reading this. If you are one of those mothers, please know I sympathize with your struggle. I can’t imagine having that kind of accountability to another mom’s hurting child. Awful.
So back to my kid’s story…
My third grade daughter has been kicked by a boy multiple times under the table at school. It didn’t seem like a huge deal at first, as she complained of this boy kicking her all the time and telling the kid to stop. Apparently, he doesn’t listen to her….instead he kicks harder and laughs. For a week I heard about this and tried to address the issue of how boys can like girls and show this in the strangest ways…. (kicking under the table, perhaps?) Then Friday came, and she showed me her leg. The bruising was so horrifying that I realized I needed to do something about this.
When my husband saw her leg, he FREAKED out! He was furious and claimed he would NEVER have hurt a girl in school when he was young. His little girl was NOT going to be hurt by any boy, period. I believe he wanted to go to the boy’s house, pull him by the collar and give him a lesson he would never forget! It was quite precious to see his response actually. I finally conceded that I needed to call the mom. I had a really great conversation with her and she received my complaint with respect and agreement. The boy was never going to kick my daughter again.
What happened the next day, you ask? The kicker met my daughter at the locker first thing in the morning and said, “So I can’t kick you any more…but my mom never said I can’t do THIS!!!!” The boy pretended to violently stomp on her feet. Nice.
Then the kicker became the teaser with “cheater, cheater pumpkin eater” and the infamous “liar, liar pants on fire”…. She hated it.
My husband did what any man would do. He rehearsed with my daughter just what she can say back to this “punk”. It went something like this: “ You eat pumpkins, do ya?” And “are YOUR pants on fire?” etc. These responses may be harmless, but they would be fueling and feeding into the low swirling funnels that abounded this boy. She does NOT need to respond at his level and certainly not use bullying techniques right back at the bully! We have our different views, and agreed to disagree…that’s okay.
Funny, my daughter comes home and shares that she decided to tell the teacher about her kicking, teasing bully. (something she was too afraid to do early on) She didn’t choose either of our ideas, but rather found her own solution. The teacher was very receptive and responsive. Bullying has now apparently stopped.
There it is. One more new experience to check off. One more coping skill acquired. One more tool in her bag. One more notch on her gear. One more coin in her bank of self worth.
It may be the beginning….but for now I will treat it like the end. The bullies are everywhere…. I am not looking forward to the years ahead and watching my children on the battlefield. I clench my teeth in fear of what’s to come… with both my son and my daughter.
A week later, while my kids were playing on a playground at a different school, my five-year old comes running up to me. He looks panicked and claims his sister is being bullied!
“Mommy, he called her a really bad name!! I think it starts with a B…..I can’t remember but I know it’s really bad! I told him I would put him in a PRETZEL if he kept being mean to my sister!!!”
First off. What’s a pretzel? Apparently he described a literal pretzel shaped boy that he would physically create by his supernatural strength. He would pull the boy’s legs over the boy’s shoulders and behind the boy’s head. Then he would grab his arms and pull them behind the boy’s back. Then he would hold him there ‘til he says sorry! Wow.
As we walk over to my daughter, I share with my son how wonderful it is for him to have his sister’s back…..and how “not-wonderful” it is to threaten a boy under any circumstances.
I get to my daughter and I ask her 101 questions as she shares that this boy was calling her an idiot and other names and she just said, “I don’t want to play around you” and walked away and played on the other side of the playground. As I was eyeing the little runt while she talked, she knew I was in “mama bear mode” and said to me, “Mommy, I am fine! Don’t make a big deal out of it. You don’t need to go tell on him.” I don’t know if my passion was truly about protecting my daughter or really wanting to call the scrawny little goofball out. Either way, I heard my daughter loud and clear:
She had the victory…. Within.