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Nothing pisses me off more than finding out that some jerk upset one of my kids, and there's nothing I can do about it.

I know that in the long run, the best thing I can do is offer love, understanding and support, but parents out there probably know what I'm talking about; that feeling of helplessness sucks, and makes me stabby.

Comments

Being someone who grew up with bullies attacking them every day, I know that having loving supporting parents is very important. There was always somewhere for me to go that was safe. I know my mother told me once that she was so upset over this one girl who bugged me that she ran into her with a shopping cart everytime she saw her at the local grocery store. Of course, I'm sure my mom would apologize each time. I don't think the girl even knew why it was happening.

makes me want to go have a "chat" with the parents grrrr

Trust me, I know. I went to my friend's daughter's birthday party yesterday with my 3-year-old son and 18-month-old daughter. Twice my little girl cried as two different mean girls snatched toys away from her. Sounds so minor I know, but my heart broke for her and I wanted to bash the little princesses over their heads with the plastic teacup set they were playing with.

It happens to everyone... nearly everyone, anyway. I have a severe/profound hearing loss and you can bet I was picked on in school growing up for wearing hearing aids. Kids just hate what they don't understand. Fortunately, I was never traumatized over it. My parents always made me feel better about it.. I only hope I can do the same for my kids. My son has mild autism and my daughter wears two hearing aids so.. I only hope it will be easier for them.

I'm beginning to think we need sensitivity training in schools!

Makes me wonder how lions can eat their own cubs...

Makes me think maybe they should be eating other lion's cubs instead...

Does this make any sense? And yes, being a dad, I know exactly how you feel.

Love, support and the plasma pulse rifle from Doom 3 should do the trick!

One of my piano students came in last week with his music books ripped to pieces. It happened on his way from school to my studio and the bullies took his bag and threw all his books onto the street. He had to dodge cars to collect his belongings. I know how you feel.

My daughter just started kindergarten and she is fairly soft spoken so does not always tell the other kids how she feels (she does NOT get this trait from me:) and she told me that the boys don't want her to play with them because she does not have the right color coat. Can you believe that? so I ask her if the boys play with any other girls and she said yes. So she is going to talk to her girl friend and see if she can play with her and if she will talk to the boys to let them know that she wants to play with them too. It just makes me so crazy because I have this image of my darling little girl standing on the playground by herself in her little pink coat just watching the kids play and not knowing how to get 'in' with them. If it is this hard now, when they are so young, I just have to hope it gets better. But it sounds like it might not get any easier.

Wil,

Never underestimate the power of anonymous tips to the IRS.

My son is only 2 and already I am thinking of how to combat bullying (and more importantly, how to make sure my son isn't a bully) and I keep coming up with the same answer. Martial Arts.

It teaches discipline, over everything else, and confidence. Two things that help people in every aspect of life, professional or social. It doesn't breed violence, and the ability to defend ones self is always useful.

'I've always said that you can accomplish more with a kind word and a 2x4 than you can with a kind word alone.'

I feel for ya. My five year old is being teased on the playground at school because her clothes are not the latest namebrands. Her clothes are well cared for and some were purchased just a few weeks ago. They are not outdated.
I felt horrible when she came home crying from school. I wanted to drive over and punch the parents of those rotten monsters. I wanted to scream and I wanted to cry along with my daughter. I wanted to cry for her and I wanted to cry for the child I had once been. I knew what she was going through and I knew how much it hurt.
No matter how hard we try to protect our children, it will never be enough. There will always be nasty people out there who find joy in putting others down. Just do your best in teaching your children good values and morals(your morals, not the so-called morals of others) and hope that it is enough.

Wow, all the comments I'm seeing about FIVE year olds getting picked on for not having designer clothes?? Now that is scary!

I agree with one poster above that an anonymous tip to the IRS is the key. That and martial arts. Of course, it all comes back to parenting in the first place. You can put any kid in martial arts, but if they don't have balanced parents at home showing them right from wrong then no class at school or out is going to help them with that.

I used to teach at a pre school my first year in college. Let me tell you, even some three year olds there were beyond repair. It was really damaging for me to see and I actually quit my dream of teaching because of it. If it doesn't start at home, these kids are almost certainly doomed. I knew if I stayed there that I would begin to hate my job and that I would never want kids of my own.

Wil, you teach your kids good values and you spend time with them. You're already preventing some bullying from happening in the world and that's a great thing. If they just hang in there they'll make it through school and then they can have brilliant jobs and not help the idiots who picked on them because they are too dumb to help themselves. OR they can be even better and still help the idiots. It'll be entirely up to them. :)

Martial Arts? Are you kidding? I knew little assh*les when I was growing up who used to enjoy kicking kids with their so-called martial arts skills. If you teach a psycho kid martial arts, he's still going to be a psycho kid.

Growing up as teased child and watching the same thing happen to my younger brother when he was little, I can completely empathize. My only fault was I never told my parents how mean some kids had been to me. I quite literally exploded when I found out a cousin had bullied my brother and then stole a stack of video games from him. Here is my little brother in tears, upset and angry.

The 'big sister' gene took over and my cousin should be thankful he lived 45 minutes away. I picked up the phone and screamed at his mother. Then yelled at him. (It's a whole dysfunctional family thing. You know, the whole learned behavior from his mother and father that do not give much of a damn.)

We got his games back of course and we cooled down. He knows I'll always be there for him, no matter what. It's just sad that at such a tender age he learned another rough lesson of not being able to trust people so easily. Something much worse happened to him that would change his perception of people for years to come. But he knows Mom, Dad, and I will be here when things get too bad.

It's the natural response of a loving parent to want to protect their kids when someone does something negative to them. However, it is an important lesson for the kids to learn that not everyone in the world cares about their well-being or their feelings, and that the harsh reality is that some people are just jerks. So unless it's something that places the child in physical danger, it's okay to roll with it and let them learn some valuable life lessons.

Still, the parenting instinct is strong, and it is difficult at times not to pound someone!

It's natural for you to feel 'stabby' when someone messes with your kid. He'll be all right eventually.

On a lighter note, I read this post in bloglines and the ad was for 'jerk at shopping.com'...

hey wil,
hope you and your family had a great holiday:) as far as being bullied is concerned, I spent my formative nerd years in terror and bandages. sometimes as hard as it is you have to let them handle it their own way. I developed a wicked sense of humor And afterwards they found no ammo to feed their war and stopped. those kids are lucky to have a positive male in their lives. good luck

I was also bullied in school. It always seemed like I never had the right brand of clothes, or the right color, or the right hair, or whatever. Even though to look at the pictures, I was a normal kid. At the time I thought I'd be scarred for life, but it hasn't worked out that way. I learned that everybody has something, and that often it's the bullies who are the most insecure people around.

I was never able to talk to my parents about it though. I was an only child and I felt like they had this perfect image of me. If I shattered it, maybe they'd be dissapointed in me. That and mom was so high strung that to tell her would be to make it worse, so I always carried baggage and that's not good.

Talking to my husband, who was Mr. Popular in school showed me a glimpse of the other side of the fence. He said he bullied a kid once, and then went and threw up. He spent the rest of his school days getting in fights to defend the kid, and the kid never knew. But that's because he's a nice guy who would actually feel bad about something like that.

I guess I'm just saying that some kids try out bullying and it doesn't stick, and that if you make too much of a big deal about this at home, your kids may not see it as a safe haven. They may start to swallow their feelings.

There's no easy solutions. If you go talk to the parents it may be worse for your kid. If you teach him how to fight he may not be able to really judge when there's no other alternatives. Martial arts are ok as long as the teacher doesn't teach bullshido, and it's something that your kids take an interest in anyway, not some "because I want to defend myself" crap.

I guess that sadly, he'll have to learn on his own that everybody has something, everybody has a hairline crack somewhere, and that the bullies usually have the easiest to find.

I was bullied at school too. Thankfully, I had someone who had more wits than this person who bullied me. She helped out and told the bully to stop. Everyone has to remember that it will pass, you're not going to be in school forever instead of taking a way out like suicide or do something damage. Some just had to tolerate it which is terrible for self-esteem. I think what they need is confidence and not take it personally. Also most important to tell someone if it gets worse. All I'm saying, just try to find situation rather than deal with it.

I think it's up to the students to rise up against bullying. Teachers can't be everywhere at once, and anyway there are a lot of teachers out there who turn a blind eye to it.

If bullying were uncool, it would make the job a lot tougher. I've seen that work. At my high school it wasn't cool with the majority of students. It was seen as lame.

Not that bullying didn't happen, it's just that for every senior who'd throw a freshmen into a trash can, there would be 10 seniors with multiple letters on their jackets who'd stand up against it.

And if you were unlucky enough that a teacher saw you, you better hope that the most that happened was a suspension.

Oh, god. I was teased mercilessly in high school. First because I was fat. Then, after I lost all the weight, because everyone found out I was a lesbian. Now THAT was awful. A lesbian caught in a Christian boarding school in the middle of a Midwestern corn field. Sigh. You couldn't pay me enough money to go back.

But, as hellish as it was, it was nothing compared to what my partner's co-worker's son is currently going through. He is 7 and has a bad heart. He had a pacemaker put in last spring and had been doing well until the last couple of weeks. His heart rate kept shooting up over 200 bpm when he was at school and the school sent him home. His parents and doctors were afraid that the pacemaker had failed and put him in the hospital for more testing. As it turns out, the pacemaker is working, but kids at school have been teasing this boy relentlessly because he's very small (because of his heart), and the teasing has been causing him to have panic attacks and is stressing his heart! Poor guy! His parents are just beside themselves with worry. Not only are they worried about his feelings, they're terrified he could have a heart attack.

Mean people really do suck.

Bullying sucks.

I got bullied a little in school, but for the most part held my own. My little brother got bullied a lot and far worse than I ever did, and it has scarred him for life. He's a mess these days with anger management problems and you name it. Ok, probably not ALL from being bullied, but I'm sure it contributed.

But the effects do last - a bunch of years back I attended a training session on database development and ran into a kid I went to high school with. I said, "Hey, I know you," and his immediate response was "Were you one of the guys that use to beat the sh*t outta me?" I wasn't, thank God.

As I got older and bigger, I stuck up for other kids when I could.

As a parent, I find that I have popular daughters. That's kind of foreign to me, since I was never popular, but just one of the "regular" people. I'd like to believe my girls are popular because they are polite, well-mannered and outgoing. The fact that they're cute as heck (ok, so I'm partial to them) doesn't hurt either.

So, I use their popularity as an opportunity to teach them about folks who are seen as not popular, and to be nice to everyone because of who they are, not what they are wearing or how they look. Between that and what they learn in CCD, I find that they are progressing nicely.

If anyone were to upset them? Well, I think Wil's title on this post is quite appropriate

Yeah I know how you feel Richard I mean Wil.

>SNIP!

Under the California Constitution, all students of public
schools have the inalienable right to attend campuses that are safe,
secure, and peaceful.

I believe, under Bill AB537 that "bullying" is illegal in California. Then again, I am in North Carolina.

I do like the Martial Arts suggestion~~that sounds like fun. Kicking bully ass would be totally primo

Pook

Just wanted to add that proper martial arts training teaches respect and to learn to NEVER use your training for selfish reasons. So, if it's a well respected martial arts school, your child will learn that it is not appropriate to use their skills to beat up someone they don't like. Only for defense.

I was definitely bullied.

The very most important thing, as others have said, is for you to be understanding. There's only so much (not much) you can do directly to solve the problem. But you can make your kids understand that you know it's awful, you believe their stories of pain, and you are supportive -- that they have somewhere safe and someone safe to be around.

As for martial arts, I don't know that it's necessary to become a black belt or anything, but I took a karate class for but 6 months... it gave me just enough confidence that I was able to stand up to the simple bully. I actually only ever had to hit someone to end a confrontation twice -- most of the time, the fact that I was able to ignore verbal abuse, and respond to threats of violence with confidence meant most bullies gave up the game. I didn't look like easy meat.

I didn't stick around in the lessons long enough to actually be *able* to defend myself from the bigger bullies... but I felt confident enough to not let just anybody walk all over me.

Eventually, the bullying stopped. And I don't even remember most of the names of the losers who tried so hard to ruin my life... just goes to show how important they were[n't]...


I know how you feel. That sense of frustration is familiar.

You being there for him, and understanding, matters.

Best wishes.

wheres a goon squad when
you need one?

C.

I got a lot of bad advice growing up about how to deal with kids when they are being mean. Top three bits of bad advice:

1. Just ignore them.
2. Just walk away.
3. Try to laugh with them.

I tried all of those and none of them work. The truth is kids are nasty. I am convinced that that nastiness comes from instinctual urges to establish pecking order. Adults do it too to some extent, but the three strategies above work much better in the real world.

I don't know how I'm going to handle this when I have kids. I suspect I'll try to talk about similar experiences I had, how I handled them, how they didn't work, and then maybe help strategize a response for when it happens to them in the future.

Dude,

The most important thing you can do as a parent is not solve the problem but teach them that it *is* a problem.

I think the true tragedy is the kids who just accept crass behavior as a normal part of life and never think to do anything about it.

There are many techniques to dealing with bullies but they all start with the same thought: "I'm not putting up with this!"

Hrm, what can I say that wasnt already said? Not a lot. Though on the point of martial arts, it teaches so much more then how to kick ass. Discipline, control, self confidence and all that stuff. The short time I was in it if the teacher ever found out that you used it to instigate a fight or got into one of those 'i know taekwondo and i can kick your ass' modes, you were in deep shit with him.
I was one of the kids that got bullied and made fun of. Little things mostly, like my shoes were never a major brand, and my jeans were considered to be 'highwaters' because, alas, my mother insisted that they fit and not be dragging the floor. Oh, and the rumors... those suck too.
Unfortunatly Im not going to say that itll work out and all be fine, cuz sometimes its not. But you love those boys, and I think they know it. You and Anne have taught them well. Theyll be fine :)

stabby? XD

I hate it when kids have the need to bully other kids. Their parents should smack them around for a while to see what it's like.

Somebody mentioned "sensitivity training" for kids in an emailer comment... Anyway, every two weeks my kids' classes go to "counselor" to learn about things like positive character traits and how you should behvae in certain social situations. Every now and then they tell me about how to behave around someone different from you, or someone who is angry, and so on. I thought it was a great idea.

uhh..

^emailer^earlier

Does that count as a Freudian slip?

wow...looks like quite a number of us were in the same boat as kids....
yep..i too was bullied as a kid....we had this little terror at our primary school...one of the shortest kids in the school..but an absolute tyrant...by the age of grade 4, he could (and did) regularly beat the crap out of grade 8's..anyhow, he was fairly unstable...one year he'd be one of your best friends, and you felt safe..the next year you were on his bad list, and you had to watch your back every recess....it was nuts...so after years of bullying and threats from him he caught me alone in the school yard and let me know 'today's the day you die' type thing...and i figured...well...thats it, he's gonna beat the crap outa me now...and i decided i'd try to give as good as i got..and i took the first step and jammed him straight into a wall....i was scared shitless, but if iwas going to have to fight, iwas ready (by the way, i was a sucky fighter and pretty damn small) at that moment, a teacher came around the corner and told us to get to class...(like most teachers he was oblivious that we were about to scrap....anyhow, the surprise shove from me totally shocked the bully..i guess he thought i was going to just allow him to punch my lights out...and when i stood up for myself, it shocked him...he threatened me a bit more that day, but that was it...and by the next day i was permanently off his radar....we were never exactly buddies afterwards, but he left me alone, which was all i wanted...(epilogue) years and years later, towards the end of highschool, he'd found out that me and a few friends were working out a strategy to get an apt in Toronto to go to art school...he actually asked if he could join us as a fourth house-mate....we pollitely declined....last i heard he was pretty much a drug-burnout back in my hometown....

as a parent, the best thing you can do is let them know that life sucks, and that you love them no matter what.

Baseball bats are available at any common sporting goods store! LOL! ((just kidding))

BUT my joke has a basis in fact. There is nothing worse than a bully that suddenly becomes victimized. When those that bully stand up and realize that the world won't end when they get punched once or twice, the bullying can STOP.

There are two areas of your body that can take incredible amounts of pain and punishment and still work... the knees and the elbows.

Martial arts works, folks. I recommend any child get training in a reputable school, and that the parents take part in their children's growth into a world that will teach them respect, fair play, and finally, when to put an end to bullshit!

As a parent, I had NO problems when my kid finally said, "Alright motherfucker, you're MINE!" I DID have a problem if they themselves became a bully... for I told them that I'm much bigger than THEY are!