Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Need To Fight Back

My husband and I barely had any sleep last night.  And no, it's not that there was too much 'fun' going on, but because we were seething with anger.  We had just found out that our son had been bullied.


I was in the process of dressing Noah up after his bath when I thought of asking him how his afternoon went.  He was picked up by his grandparents to go play and have a snack at McDonald's.  I knew that after a while one of his cousins (a year older than him) came by to join him there so I was focused on asking Noah how he spent his time before his cousin arrived.

Noah said, "I just played by myself".  I thought that would be the end of it but then I was shocked when he continued to say, "But Mommy, while I was by myself, there was a boy and a girl and then the boy kept pushing and hurting me."  

Defenses up.  
Eyes squinted and focused.  
Mother Tigress ready to strike.

As calmly as I could, I asked, "What do you mean?  Can you show me how he did it?"  So then my son stepped closer to me and gently did punching moves on my chest.  He was doing it gently so I had to clarify if that was exactly how the boy did it and he said yes, and that he did not get hurt at all.  He then proceeded to say, "But I kept telling him to stop but he wouldn't.  I even told him, Hey no punching and hurting, but he still kept punching me.  And then Mommy...I was getting angrier and angrier and I was stomping my feet 'cos he wouldn't stop".  My son's face was turning red and getting more intense as he was telling me this story so I knew that he looked and felt exactly that way when the incident happened earlier that afternoon.  To make matters worse, he continued to say, "And Mommy, after that, the girl was calling me bad things....She called me 'poopoo face' and she kept calling me that."


At this point, I wanted to hunt those two kids down and strike them dead.  Yes, yes, we're talking about kids and I'm the adult.  But I'm being honest.  I wanted to hunt them down and still do, actually.


I asked Noah what he did and he said he just kept telling them to stop but they wouldn't listen.  I'm not sure exactly what happened, not sure if my son just walked away eventually or if the kids stopped at some point.  Noah did say that the boy's mother intervened at some point to tell her boy to stop punching.  My son did not mention anything about the ill-mannered girl's parent though.  


I am angry, sad and highly disturbed.  My son is just 4.  He's shy and is gentle and we've always taught him to be 'nice', polite and to not hurt others.  My instinct as a protective mother was to teach him to retaliate, but I know that that is not the proper way, the right way.  A part of me wonders though if I'm leaving my child ill-equipped for the world when apparently, not every parent out there is teaching their children the same values and rules of conduct.  I asked how big these other kids were and Noah said they were all the same size.  This means these kids are probably the same age, if not younger, considering my son is not exceptionally tall for his age.  


To be that young and that mean?!!  To be a bully so early in life??  I'm appalled.  And like I said, highly disturbed.  I'm disturbed by how there are parents who are not doing their jobs well.  I'm disturbed by the thought of my son getting bullied more in the future.  I'm disturbed and anxious because I realized that I am not equipped at this point in time as a parent with the necessary tools that will help my child deal with bullies.  


I took it for granted that he was too young; that I'll know what to do or say and how to deal with it when it happens; that others will be there to help me deal with it, like maybe a school teacher or a principal, etc.  But what if there were no adults around to intervene?  What if it happened at some totally unexpected place, like maybe, McDonald's?!!


Looking at the brighter side of things, I'm thankful it happened now and that my son was not seriously hurt (either physically or emotionally).  I'm thankful for those two bullies.  Yes I still want to hunt them down like an obsessed and starved beast, but I'm thankful that they brought this to my attention this early.  And most of all, I'm thankful that Noah opened up to me.  That, I'm extremely grateful for.  Now I have a serious task before me.  I now know that it is never too early to educate myself about bullying so that I can teach my child and myself how to deal with it.  I am clueless and this admission is a blessing for me.


Have you been in a similar situation?  How did you deal with it?  How educated are you about bullying?




  



16 comments:

  1. Wanting to kill the little brats is a very normal response!! I'm sorry you both had to go through that (well all three of you becuase I'm sure your husband had the same feelings you did). We have had a little of this, mainly with our oldest when he was in preschool and even a little in first grade. It was similar to your sons situation as that it wasn't so serous, no real, emtonal or physical abuse happend and he came to us and we were able to deal with it. Which was very good, because as you said, it makes you aware that there is a problem and makes you conscious to talk about it. I always wanted my kids to feel lkie they have some power in the situation. I think when kids tell their parents and the parents talk to them, as calmly as you did, it helps. I also would ask what he could do if it happended again, how he could handle it. We also would talk abuot what would happen when you saw it happen to someone else and how you could help you friend by finding an adult or helping the friend get out of the situtaion. My son is now 12 and he really feels some empowerment. When he was being bugged by a few eigth graders he came to us, we spoke about it, how he could handle it, when the situaiton was still bothering him he spoke with his counsleour and it ended. His freinds stood by him and he feels stronger becuase of it. But it really sucks and when they are so little you do want to slap somebody, even though that wouldn't help. I think you all handled it well. All the best!

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  2. We haven't really had any experiences with bullying, but my heart breaks for your sweet boy. I would just be so grateful that he is open and communicating with you. Words are so helpful when hearts are hurt.

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  3. 5.19.11 13:20 via FB

    This is exactly how I felt when it happened to Kara at the playground. But Kara made the little boy cry by saying in an adult manner ..."no hitting! That's not nice!" I totaly agree with you that not every parent is teaching their cildren the same values and conduct. Really disturbing....

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  4. when my eldest was just 7 years old, he was bullied by his busmate. luckily, he was already learning taekwondo and remembered what his teacher told him - that if there is someone bullying him, push the bully away and say "STOP" as loudly as he can. aside from that experience, none of my children has been bullied again. hopefully, miguel doesn't get bullied when he goes to the big school. piece of advice, remind noah to always walk with confidence because bullies have an eye for the" meek and mild."

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  5. i always told myself that if i will be blessed with a kid, i will enroll him in karate or any martial arts class for discipline and self defense. i am hoping the instructor will teach them when and how to retaliate. sorry to hear about noah. i remember my brother was always bullied by cousins when we were young. i (and ading) would always retaliate for him because he didn't think that what they were doing was wrong. as for me, like i said before, in stc, i had at least 6 bullies. so i know it too well. luckily, i was strong enough to hold my own.

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  6. I totally agree with you! Any mother would feel like hunting down those bullies and show them how it feels to be bullied! I am so glad nothing like this happens when I take them to the park. I might end up in jail! Heaven forbid!

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  7. Ugh - I hate it when kids won't share with my daughter. I can only sympathize with your situation. At least this gives you a chance to talk about bullying with him - hopefully it won't happen again or if it has to at least he'll know he can talk to you about it.

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  8. A thought-provoking post. As a mum, I also would have wanted to kill the other children. Bullying happens at all ages. My daughter is 11 and one of her classmates was hit by 7 (yes, 7) younger girls, apprently poached by another classmate.
    I think that we need to teach our kids how to react. I have told my daughter that she needs to say "Stop", or "No" as clearly and, if necessary, as loudly as she can. And then, try to escape/ put some distance. It is also important to keep calm. Good luck!

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  9. I watched a video about bullying in my child development class. It is frustrating to me to see children that don't deserve to be hurt, that get bullied. It would make me angry too if that happened to my own child.

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  10. Ugh... I have felt this anger :( My oldest is really small and socially awkward and used to get picked on a lot. I let him know that it was so great that he would come to me... especially at that age. At one point, I 'had words' with the school administration (it was happening in the play yard). They saw fit to change some policies :) And at one point I even dealt directly with a bratty kid who was ratting my son out after he defended himself from her bullying. She changed her tune and they actually became friends. (((Hugs))) Navigating this is so hard. Best of luck to you :)

    And I thought I was already a follower, but I am now for sure! Happy to be here :)

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  11. Now following you from the hop and would love a follow back at
    http://mizzreviewlady-mommyreviews.blogspot.com/
    I think its all part of life. It really sucks when its happening to your child though. Just this past week some kid sneezed on my son on purpose so he told him not to and he did it again!

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  12. It certainly does bring out the mama bear in us when our little ones are threatened! When my middle daughter was 11, she told me a boy on her school bus had been pushing and intimidating her. I walked her to the bus stop the next morning. I made the boy wait until everyone else had gotten on. I told the bus driver sternly that I was holding her responsible for ensuring that all kids on her bus, including mine, were safe. Then I grabbed the boy's collar (he was as tall as me, 5'3"), brought our faces nose-to-nose, and growled I'd go after him if he ever touched my daughter again.

    NO, it wasn't how I was raised. YES, it was effective. Not only did it scare off the bully, it modeled for my victim-mentality daughter (4'11"), who I knew was getting perverse pleasure from any attention, even the negative kind, that girls can and should stick up for themselves. In junior high she was being threatened by a girl, who told her to meet up after school. She ended it quickly with one swift punch. She's physically stronger than most, and has not had to use it since.

    By the way, she's a nurse now, and will be 27.

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  13. I have a 5 year old nephew who was once pushed around by a girl because he is really thin! And then his friends made fun of him because he was being hit by a girl! So, my sister, who was always a meek, quiet girl as we knew her, all of 5'1" goes to the girl and gets in touch with her parents and gives a piece of her mind, pretty nastily! Seems like she had notified them earlier of what was happening in school and the girls parents didn't bother! Sometimes you just have to take that route!

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  14. Thank you for all your comments above (Kathy, Jenny P, TV, Muriel, Jen N., XLMIC, Mizzreviewlady, Scrollwork, and Hajra! I am now focused on 'training' my son in dealing with bullies. It's not that I want him to hurt others but to just be brave in confronting them. And you're all correct...There is a point when it becomes acceptable and NECESSARY to fight back! THANKS AGAIN for all your support and advice :-))

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  15. Now following you from the hop and would love a follow back at
    http://mizzreviewlady-mommyreviews.blogspot.com/
    I think its all part of life. It really sucks when its happening to your child though. Just this past week some kid sneezed on my son on purpose so he told him not to and he did it again!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ugh... I have felt this anger :( My oldest is really small and socially awkward and used to get picked on a lot. I let him know that it was so great that he would come to me... especially at that age. At one point, I 'had words' with the school administration (it was happening in the play yard). They saw fit to change some policies :) And at one point I even dealt directly with a bratty kid who was ratting my son out after he defended himself from her bullying. She changed her tune and they actually became friends. (((Hugs))) Navigating this is so hard. Best of luck to you :)

    And I thought I was already a follower, but I am now for sure! Happy to be here :)

    ReplyDelete

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