Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bullies and Bullying

It's hard enough being an adult and dealing with nasty folks. I know when someone doesn't like me that issue clouds my mind with anger and hurt and prevents me from seeing the myriad good things in my life. One mean person and my day, my week, my however-long-until-I-don't-have-to-see-them-again is ruined.

So when the bullying happens to one of my children, I feel not only angry and hurt and derailed, I also feel a loss. A loss for another part of their childhood and a loss in my own abilities as parent. I can't DO anything to wipe that nasty, insecure, rude, violent child out of my own baby's life. And I know that my kid has to go back to the same place, see that same person and deal with the same cruelty day after day after day.

If we were overseas I'd know all the kids or at least recognize them in the hall. I'd talk to the teacher, the counselor, the principal and arrange a meeting with the offending child AND their parents and things would be changed. I know that, because I've been on the other end of bully dealings too (thank you Jonathon and your lack of self-control in Kindergarten). But here, what can we do here? In the land of "say anything and you might get sued.... or worse" what can be done to protect a child who is rammed into lockers in the hallway and called vile names in passing, who has rumors and lies spread, who has to wade invisibly through 450 kids to get to the next class safely? And who has had this slowly escalate since the first week of school as a new kid with no history!? Who is watching out for her?

We've always told our kids to be the better person. Ignore the nasty kids, they will always be there but how we behave matters more. Stick with your friends, those kids who support you and are good people. Trust that the truth is stronger than whatever dirt they choose to throw at you. Stay strong, believe in yourself, keep your head up.

But sometimes that's not enough. It's definitely not enough when periodic snottiness turns into bruises. No one lays a hand on my kid and walks away with a giggle and a sneer. Today the counselor gets involved. Tonight we make a plan. I have no clue what that plan will entail but something will have to happen, and I'm open to suggestions.

This little parasite doesn't get keep hurting my kid with no repercussions.

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