It doesn’t matter where you are, there are mean kids.
Last year, Delylah was in Kindergarten and she was bullied by a few kids. She is too kind-hearted to stop talking to kids that are mean or to defend herself in the worry that she will hurt them back. Which is crazy because if her brother touches her she will bring him to his knees and he is twice her size and 5 years older!
This school year she has been bullied by a few kids. One was easily removed. It was on the bus and I quickly asked the bus driver to separate the kids. Aside from the bus, the kids didn’t see each other so it was handled. Lately though, Delylah comes home crying everyday. She is sensitive and cries over everything so I have to take into account her sensitivity. For instance- The child said something mean and hurt her feelings which made her cry and one day the same child kicked her in the back. All bullying but Delylah is sensitive and sometimes dramatic about her feelings being hurt.
All that aside. It continues to happen. The physical part of her being bullied, by the same child. It does not matter what I tell Delylah. She wants to be friends with this child. It baffles me. It is Thursday and she has come home crying twice this week from the same kid. I’ve talked with the parents. I’ve talked with the school/teacher. As a parent, it’s hard to maneuver when your kid is doing the bullying versus them being bullied. There was one time, 1 time, that Levi was mean to a girl at school. A girl! He was defending his friend who was getting picked on by said girl. He got in trouble at school and to ensure it didn’t happen again he had to pick and fill a trash can full of weeds. It was something my yard needed, something he hated doing and it took a long time. He had time to reflect on his actions without me talking to him about anything that had transpired. The only time he ever put his hands on a kid at school after that was to defend himself when he was attacked.
Being bullied is different. I put my kids in Krav Maga (Israeli Self Defense) for 2 years. They know how to defend themselves. Delylah just doesn’t like hurting anyone (except Levi).
It’s only one kid out of the bunch. So far. This kid could change. Levi was bullied by a kid in 1st grade and in 4th grade he and that kid were friends.
I don’t take bullying lightly. I have gone to the school. Talked with the parents. Sat with the kids and talked to them. Yet it continues. Now, I have told Delylah to have no contact with the child. Which Delylah thinks is mean. (My kid doesn’t want to be the bully) I explained that it was to protect herself. I actually don’t expect her to listen to me. Delylah beats to her own drum. She loves everyone and everything no matter how mean, ugly, bad, or smelly it is. She finds the one good thing in it and holds onto it. (I am blaming Mema for this, Thank you Mema)
With only 7 days of school left, I head there today. To be a part of her field day. To observe the actions of the kids and to make sure the kids are not in the same class next year.
Bullies never happen in a vacuum. They are almost always created by other bullies. They learn how to be mean by watching other mean people. They see the pain they inflict on others or the kind visited upon them — and they can’t help but imitate it. They either subject people to the kind of suffering they’ve endured, or they emulate other hateful people believing them to be normal.
As moms and dads, our job is to steward the hearts of our kids, to nurture benevolence in them, to foster compassion, to instill in them a reverence for life. We do this through our example.
We do it through our explicit words.
We do it by watching them and listening to them.
We do it by being aware of the changes within them that no one else would notice.
We do it by seeing the people they surround themselves with.
We do it by being an engaged and consistent presence in their lives.
We do it by talking about how we treat other people.
Parenting well is both teaching our children and watching to make sure that teaching is taking hold in them. Doing only one is leaving them vulnerable to crowd mentality. This is how one cruel kid can so easily become five.
Talk to your children. Listen to them. Teach them. Be present. Notice the changes in them. Push past their silence. Give a damn. Ask questions. Meddle. Repeat this every single day. It won’t prevent your kids from becoming bullies, but it will make that terrible transformation much less likely.
Don’t sit back and let your kid “figure it out” when they are being bullied. You see them crying, ask them what happened. Pry. Go around them asking others until you get answers and can help them. Don’t stop because they are asking you to. They need your help.
Do all you can to protect your children from being bullied — but don’t forget to protect them from becoming the bully.
Happy Thursday My Friends
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