Wednesday Worries– A Bully In Our Midst

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My six year old is being bullied in his second week of school? Aw hell no!

Jack brought home a little sticky note from his teacher in his folder last night notifying us he spit at at a peer, and could we please talk to him. It requested that I sign and return the sticky note.

My first response was to get sick to my stomach. I had a brief urge to get drunk and jump off a bridge– but unless it was a very small bridge into a heated lazy river, I wasn’t really in the mood for that. As for getting drunk, being hung over with children scampering around is like my worst nightmare, so that was not an option either.

That left talking to my kid. 

Jack did NOT want to talk about it and when I brought it up screamed at me to shut up. This was the final straw. What had I done to bring this monster into my midst who apparently was engaging in primal behavior at school?! I was devastated and also discouraged at Jack’s lack of respect for me.

I admit it.  I catastrophized. 

Then the social worker in me remembered the signs and symptoms of bullying- changes in behavior, anger, crying, embarrassment, etc. When we finally got him calmed down (and I got myself calmed too), I laid down in bed with him and talked to him.

Because you have to talk to your kid about these things.  You can’t run away or jump off anything.  School teaches neither compassion nor self defense, so we are responsible for talking to and helping our children solve their problems.  We are their Obi Wan Kenobi, their only hope. 

It turns out there is a kid who Jack has been complaining about since the first day of school, on almost a daily basis. The kid pushed him in the library and has also said some mean things to him. This kid spit at him in the cafeteria and there was no teacher nearby for Jack to turn to, so he spit back. The kid then told on Jack before Jack could tell on him.

We explained to Jack that this behavior was totally unacceptable from that kid and from him. We explained that using our words and getting an adult to help is the best course of action. We hugged him and reassured him that we were on his side and that we would figure out how to fix these problems together.

This was his first time encountering a really mean kid. Of course he didn’t know what to do. And have you ever been spit at?  It has to be one of the most disgusting and shocking forms of aggression, in my humble opinion. 

I’m not excusing Jack’s behavior, but what the crap??!! This is his second week of first grade!! Why the eff are kids so freaking mean? I’m pissed as hell, which is maybe not the “right” response. Maybe if I called it the Mother Bear Instinct it would sound better. . .

I’m also really sad.  It wounds me to the core that my son has been hurt and confused by another child’s cruelty, and that he knew no other way than to respond in kind.  And I can’t help but wonder why that other child is so mean in the first place.  I do not want to believe that the world is a nasty place, but it truly challenges my faith in humanity to see my own baby in this space. 

Anger aside, I tried my very best to model tolerance and compassion for James, to not malign the other child involved, and to explain that we always do our best to be kind to others even if they are being mean to us.  My husband composed a letter expressing our concerns as well as our desire to work on preventing and addressing such occurances as a team in the future.  We Cc’d it to the principal. 

If I were to look on the bright side, and be ultra-mindful and strength’s based, I would have to say that this presented a good opportunity for us to discuss and model coping skills, compassion, and communication with Jack.  Unfortunately, bullies are going to be a part of any child’s experience at school, so it is also important to discuss how to handle those challenging situations. 

It also presented me with yet another opportunity to check myself and be mindful of my own feelings towards institutional education.  As a parent it is hard for me when I have really strong feelings about something, but have to put them aside and put on a bright and positive face for my children. 

While we hate to make a name for ourselves as the High Maintenance Parents, this is one issue on which we will not stay silent.  I am hoping and praying for a positive response from the teacher, and that the bullying will cease.  Until then, I will definitely be hugging my kid a little tighter and talking more about the power of love and compassion. 

Has your child ever been bullied?  If so, how did you respond?  Were you sucessful?  How did bullying affect your child, and how did you help support them? 

The following link will take you to the Mayo Clinic’s site where you can learn more about bullying and steps to handle bullying.  There may also be community groups in your state or area who can help you advocate for your child at the school level, if the school is not suitably responsive to your concerns about your child being bullied. 

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15 responses »

  1. Your not going to solve the problem by taking a shotgun to the school
    where / kill the teachers (whom seeming the real problem) (as kill bully.

    Thus your going to have to control your emotions / go face to face with
    the teachers / explain in a clear manner your concerns / regarding son.

    The teachers need focus on the bully and if there’s repeated problems
    then he needs to be evicted from the school / it should not be the many
    having to suffer because of one individual / whom needs either a sound
    spanking / or need of medication that controlling his abusive behaviour.

    You face a serious problem in dealing with bullies /thus testing for your
    emotions in protecting your child / if the problem is to the extreme then
    either the bully be dismissed from the school or you removing your son.

    The majority of cases it a passing problem / where you understand in
    growing up your child is going to face as having to deal with problems
    if problems are not within his capability dealing with then as the parent
    you need being responsible as to what being the best action in taking.

    PS / i will write a further commen soon as / how you achieve a greater
    peace of mind being more capable in dealing with problems life brings.

  2. I am so sorry that your son has to go through this. Unfortunately it is very common… I am not really confronted to this yet, but I totally recognize my husband and myself when you say “The High Maintenance Parents”. When your daughter was hit and scratched at daycare (at 8 months !) we protested. It was not well received but improvements ensued. Sometimes you have to be the bully to stop the bullying on your child… I do not like acting like that but if it is the only way… And it means the world to your child that you’re standing out for him.

    • It is good from another high maintenance parent! Good for you advocating for your little one. Yes, it is unfortunately very common for kids to be bullied. . . I strive to never accept or become complacent with such treatment of other humans. I wish that compassion was taught in school from the time kids could walk and talk… Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such kind words. Hugs!

  3. The means of far greater understanding experience of creation of the
    human form / in reaching (ultimate goal) of understanding experience
    comes via meditation in one turning the senses inward in doing so the
    experience of creator /brings a clarity of understanding unto one’s life.

    Throughout history of humanity there’s always a Teacher of Teachers
    the Teacher of Teachers is aid as guide to those / reaching the stage
    where meditation is then required in their furthering development / all
    shall come to such stage in development /people but differ in learning.

    Present time the Teacher of Teachers is Prem Rawat / Prem in having
    dedicated his life to aid guide those in reaching such stage meditation
    then required in their furthering of understanding further experience in
    going beyond ideas as beliefs unto very practical experience of creator.

    On pc search put (words of peace) or (words of peace global) on site a
    selection of videos in which Prem explains meditation / as a open invite
    to aid guide all in reaching such a stage that meditation being required
    thus furthering understanding experience / that all questions answered.

    It be as the baby going from breast or bottle fead to that of more solids
    for it’s needed growth / such is going from only an material experience
    of creation / where via meditaion then one’s experience but far greater
    bringing clarity in understanding unto the purpose of creation / creator.

    PS / The problems parents face are many / it requires the ultimate / in
    compassion / understanding / forgiveness / mercy / all such qualities >
    are within in abundance / thus don’t lose heart. / The very best wishes..

    • Thank you for reading, and for your kind and detailed comment. It is a lot to think about! I appreciate you sharing with me on something for which you clearly have strong feelings. I will try not to lose heart. Thanks again. Peace.

      • In very personal conflict (as the protection or in many cases
        an over protection of children) in allowing one’s emotions to
        go off the scale of measeurment. One can take a very minor
        situation as manifest it into that that requiring you be armed.

        In a very demanding complex world / at times one needs but
        simply to experience peace of mind / thus re-energize abled
        dealing with the daily need ( or daily battle that many facing).

        Meditation’s but a means to re-energize /allowing one being
        in control of emotions / thus abled dealing with the problems
        life in bringing / such problems are many where the present
        state of humanity few spare the time knowing peace.of mind
        in understand the purpose of creation as in knowing creator
        thus fail experience one’s true nature which of joy / laughter.

      • Thank you for this reminder about the importance of meditation, even though I don’t do it formally or often enough. Can I ask where you are from? Do you have a website/blog?

  4. I’m so sorry too! Spitting is pretty extreme, and if a kid did that to my kid, I would have a hard time not marching up there and getting in that kid’s face. But, unfortunately, we can’t do that, can we? It does make you wonder about how that kid is being raised to do something so mean and brazen. Sad for your son, and him. 😦 Have you seen the documentary Bully? I haven’t, but have been thinking about watching it.

    • I have seen part of the documentary Bully. It was really hard to watch. We watched at my work at a team meeting, and literally all of us were in tears within the first thirty seconds of the show. It gives some very extreme examples, which are all too common. I actually couldn’t handle watching the rest of it, and never have. Today was a better day, and things seem to be working out, so I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed!

  5. Again, don’t know if this is the ‘right’ thing to say, but when my daughter shows behaviour which is rather, erm, over-feisty, in response to what she considers to be a transgression, I remind myself that the part of her which responded was in that moment indignant that someone else would think it OK to treat her badly. In other words, her self esteem is already inside her; something which she will need to withstand all kinds of crap in life. So I say there is a positive side to the fact that he spat back. Good luck getting it sorted.

    • I kind of had that reaction too, Lucia! He is a very strong willed kid and in some ways has a difficult time with these situations, but I think he will figure it out. Thanks for visiting my little blog and leaving such a thoughtful and supportive comment. It always means so much!

  6. Oh no, that is so frustrating! Especially since it sounds like your little one put up a strong, brave face for awhile and then finally snapped. Which is so hard, because, how long does it take for any of us to do the same? I hope the bullying situation gets figured out and that child can change his behavior.

    Also, I totally loved and identified with your opening lines of wanting to get drunk and jump off something, but not that badly. 😛

  7. momasteblog / please excuse the delay to the quuestions.

    As to where from ? .Do you have a website/blog ? …The
    questions you ask may seem simple asking … but rather
    difficult answering .if i were to give you / honest answers.

    Take example the message you were given of meditation
    it an seed planted/which this life may have no importance
    as even the next or the next / it be as such seed in laying
    dormant in the desert / yet when eventually rain comes it
    be then a desert ofwonder to behold of colour of beauty.

    Life is as the iceberg much more is hidden than be seen
    thus it being with you or I / we but see little of true reality.

    However via meditation /all questions in being answered
    because you go unto experience / unto a depth of such
    understanding that in gratitude one finds all but beyond
    words yet in gratitude /one can’t help say / THANK YOU.

  8. Pingback: And I Thought Kindergarten Was Rough. . . Welcome To The Academic Treadmill | momasteblog

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