When 1st K was little he was bullied at school. Due to his quiet nature we didn’t notice it at first but when the nail biting started, I immediately knew something wasn’t right. After coaxing the info out of him he told us about the playground bullies. The silence was broken.
This prompted a letters and calls to the school to have the matter dealt with. Nothing was done about it immediately and for a short while it continued until I visited the school AGAIN and threatened to take action. The school did their bit which wasn’t much because the bullying persisted as the parents of the bully didn’t come to the party. Can you imagine how I wanted to throttle that kid and his parents? The only problem with doing that was that I wouldn’t be able to equip my kids with the knowledge on how to deal with bullies and other issues from a prison cell.
This is when I decided to do the only other thing a parent can do. Equip my son with enough knowledge and skills to defend himself and beat the bully to the ground if need be. No child of mine is going to be a victim and at the mercy of a little brat! Sure parents are not supposed to promote or encourage fighting but it’s either self defense or continue being a victim for the rest of your life.
Here’s what we did:
- He was a bit of a loner so we encouraged him to make more friends and make sure that he was amongst his friends most of the time. Bullies seek out loners and won’t exactly attack in front of crowds. (At least some of them)
Walk tall. Literally. I’d show him my best eight year old boy walking tall impression I could and made him follow suit. I just figured walking tall would exude some confidence.
Give him the evil eye. Look your bully straight in the eye and don’t show any fear. If he wants to take your sweets or toys say “NO” and be flippant about it.
Don’t run away. No matter how afraid you are at that moment, suck it up and stand firm.
If he/she hits you, surprise them by hitting back and don’t stop unless they stop.
Guys I promise we would practice his stance, walking and words in the evenings and we could notice how empowered he felt the more we did it. Then the day of reckoning came and the bully tried to take 1st K’s marbles from him. As he tried to remember everything we taught him, a little six year old firebrand we call Middle K, intervened and made her brothers fight her own. I remember the kids who witnessed the debacle re-enact it for us like it was yesterday. She moved in between her brother and the bully, grabbed his chest shoving him backwards while kicking and hitting him until he fell to the ground non stop. When she’d had enough she told him, pointing to her brother, “You see that boy there? He’s MY brother and YOU don’t mess with MY brother or you’ll deal with ME!” With that she stormed off with cheers erupting from the crowd that gathered.
The bullying stopped that day. The bully got hit down by a girl who was four years his junior! He was the butt of the joke for the rest of the school year. As a parent I should not have rejoiced at this since the bully was only a child too. But I did. My daughter, who is only a child too, kicked his hiney real good. Somewhere during our bully sessions with 1st K she’d taken notes and prepared herself for the ultimate fight. Problem solved. I have never been more proud of my daughter than I was that day. Naturally because she beat up a boy, but also because she had her brothers back. For all their sibling rivalry they actually do have each others backs when it counts.
That all happened six years ago and I’m proud to announce that my son was not bullied again after that. Sure he felt a bit like a wuss because his little sister fought his battle but it ended satisfactorily. There has been some subsequent school ground fights which ran away from. (I’m not even sure if that’s my kid some days) Not that I encourage him to fight but just one time I want him to stand up for himself against a little wannabe punk. Probably not a great idea but you see, I believe that we allow bullies to get away with it. We give them the power.
Now a little advice for parents of bully victims:
- As difficult as it may be to remain calm, you have to do just that. Try to remember that the bully is also just a child. Believe me I know it’s difficult.
Another reason for remaining calm, besides the fact that parenting from a prison cell would not be ideal: Your kids observe how you deal with conflict and your actions will determine how they deal with conflict when they’re adults.
Try not to fight with the kids. Again a very difficult task. Pick on someone your own age. That’s their parents and often the catalysts to their kids bad behaviour.
Approach the school and be persistent. Sadly many schools do not take much notice of parents and bullying issues. And no, this is not just the case for government schools. The more affluent schools brush these incidents under the carpet because of the financial influence of some parents may have. Pathetic actually. Do not take no for an answer. It’s your kids emotional well being at stake here. If you don’t win with the principle or the governing body, then march to the department. It can be time consuming but again: It’s your child’s well being at stake.
Another difficult task is to try and keep your emotions at bay. Some people seem to think that emotional people are weak. Mothers I’m talking to you. We’re still considered as the weaker sex (crazy I know) so that’s already one strike against us.
In some instances, while you’re trying to sort out your kids issues, you’ll be faced with bullies too in the form of educators, school principles and the other parents. If so then my bullying advice to my son should work for you too. It’s worked for me and still in many situations. Just don’t hit anyone. Not that I have. Prison doesn’t quite appeal to me 🙂
Have your kids been bullied and how did you deal with it?