Raising them right.

1 06 2010

I wonder, sometimes, when children and teenagers and even adults get picked on and bullied by their peers, what is it about them that makes them a target to others?

Is it just an unidentifiable trait that the bully doesn’t like? Is it the clothes they wear, the way their hair is styled or something they see in themselves that they don’t like? Is it nothing that can be defined, like a pheromone scent?

Or is it that some people are just jerks?

I am asking myself these questions, and trying my hardest to figure it out because it’s happened to my son. Another child in his class has decided to take after him on a regular basis, for reasons I cannot figure out, since they used to be friends. This boy berates Nick, calls him names and tells him lies of things he has done, to get under my kid’s skin. He has also picked on one of Nick’s buddies on a regular basis. This was first brought to my knowledge by other parents, who came to me to ask how Nick was doing, because their own child told them about this on-going bullying. That other kids noticed it happening.

When it first started happening, I refused to be a “helicopter parent” and chose to not get involved other than wanting to help my child figure out how to stand up and defend himself, even if it meant punching the other kid in the nose, if it came down to it.

Then, eventually, I did end up contacting the mom, and felt really good and positive about our conversation. She really made me feel like there would be changes happening. Although, a tendency to blame other kids for their own child’s behaviour became quite apparent to me. I know that we all are our own kid’s advocates, but to the extent of not owning your own kid’s behaviour really gets me riled up. I mean, for God’s sake, KIDS LIE. They manipulate to make sure they don’t get blamed. D’UH! I did it as a kid, every kid does it. That’s a major reason why I didn’t want to over-react and chose to try to let them work it out.

But it didn’t stop. And I noticed sometimes my normally goofy and jokester child was sad and withdrawn. So the other night, we laid on his bed, played with legos and started to talk. And wow, did we ever have a conversation.

We talked about how people are mean. How Mom and Dad deal with jerks on a regular basis, because, let’s face it, human beings are the meanest animals on the planet sometimes. We chatted about standing up for yourself. We covered the whole gamut of topics relating to this, including that Nick himself has been really mean to other kids in the past. He owned it, and I was proud of him. And then I asked him what he wanted me to do.

He told me he wanted it to stop and asked me to call the school.

So I did. And when I went to pick my kids up today, I saw the other child walk by my son and shoot him a look of utter hatred.

I hope that the parents deal with this in a good way. They need to be clear that this is not acceptable, that this is bullying and he is not allowed to try to blame it on anyone else, but he should accept that he was wrong and apologize to my son.

All I know is, that when I was bullied in school, it left such a deep and jagged rent in my heart that took years to heal. That, to this day, if I conjur up the faces and names of the girls that did it to me, I still feel echoes of such rage and despair, such hatred and sadness that I ache to fix this for my son, immediately. So that he doesn’t have to bear this in his sweet and tender soul.

No child deserves this. If your kid has been bullied OR is part of the bullying problem, fix it. FIX IT NOW. You’re not a bad parent if your child is the victim or the perpetrator. It just means they need extra help in guiding them to become outstanding and amazing adults.

Thank you for reading my blog.