I follow George Takei on Facebook and I read his posts pretty much daily. I don’t care if he has a team of assistants who post for him or not, I generally find about 50% of what he posts interesting.
Today he shared a Whisper post (through Buzzfeed) about the parents of bullied children. Like I said, I always read the posts from his page – but furthermore, I always go to the comments to see what the real people are saying.
Some of them have such heart wrenching stories.
I can’t even begin to imagine being the parent of a child who is being bullied for things that are out of their control – like their child having glasses, or being short or having a scar etc.
When we become parents we immediately and fiercely love our offspring and to see them hurting or struggling with something like bullying can be so infuriating and can make you question so many things.
Like, “why can’t others see how awesome my child is?”
And it can be equally as sad to know that your child’s once pure and carefree heart is now betrodden with thoughts of self-doubt and worry of what the next day brings. It can be so heartbreaking to see their innocence get stripped from them unwillingly. It takes away a bit of their spirit and turns it into dark matter.
The confusing part of this is that we often equate The Bully as being some sort of delinquent or dehumanized oppressor.
This idea is false.
I can almost guarantee that the majority of the time The Bully is just as loved as the victim.
As much as I can’t imagine being the parents of a bullied child, I also think about being that parent who discovers that their child is being nasty towards someone else. The shame that would course through my body would be apparent. None of us want our children to be the bad guy in stories or the Regina George’s in school.
We want our children to be good people.
We want others to look at our kids and think, “Wow, they did a great job raising these remarkable young humans.”
But, they aren’t going to come by this goodness magically.
I know there are some children who have had the shitty end of the stick and their bullying ways come from a history of abuse and learned behavior. It is common for anger and rage to be a coping mechanism and that is very unfortunate. Not only are these kids a victim, but they continue to victimize and try to push the pain onto someone else. I hope that in today’s world these children are given more of a chance than they are discarded and seen as a lost cause.
I know elementary and Pre-K bullying can be all kinds of rough. How do you deal with parents who won’t acknowledge the problem (or even care) and how do you communicate with the children effectively enough to put an end to it?
I can’t give any insight into that situation because I have never encountered it. I have dealt with a bit of middle school drama, but nothing major. My oldest girl has had things run pretty smoothly for her. She’s chill, pretty level-headed and deals with any escalating drama in the most diplomatic of ways. Pretty awesome for an almost 14 year-old. I can only hope my youngest’s school days turn out so smoothly.
I do remember my own first week of grade 7 – I had an older girl yell at my from across the yard that she didn’t like me because I looked like someone else she didn’t like. It made me nervous. She probably gave me a few cold stares in the hallway and a couple of shoulder bumps, but nothing to the extent that happens with incessant bullying.
This happened a couple of times over the span of my middle school and high school life. I had another girl rag on me pretty hard (unwarranted as I barely knew her) when I became pregnant in grade 12. But, by then I didn’t give a shit what people said about me. If it wasn’t physically hurting me, I didn’t care.
If anything else happened to me, it wasn’t significant enough to be emblazoned in my memory bank.
As an adult I have learned that bullies – or Assholes, as adult bullies are called – usually always back down when they realize their target is a bit harder to hit than they thought. Whenever I have fought back or showed by bullies up or given them back some of their own medicine, they almost always back down.
I know this doesn’t always work with child bullies because The Bully often doesn’t give up so easily. It can be kind of fun for them to have a bit of a challenge. That’s why kids think it is such a time to play the same level in a video game over and over and over. They do it until they think they win.
Then again, I know have also deterred my bullies/assholes by killing them with kindness. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it is so satisfying to see the realization come over someone’s face that the road they take is a lot lower than they think – and it is a shock to their system to realize they get zero respect for doing it.
The childhood bully won’t always walk away from a situation like that and sometimes the child victim is not even going to try to sway them by being nice.
Do you want to know why this happens?
…It is because we are all different and we handle different situations in different ways. EVEN AS CHILDREN.
Can get a completely different response from different people/bullies/victims because we all think, act and react in different ways.
There is no concrete solution to end bullying.
Each bullying situation is completely and entirely unique. So, when I see blanket statements like, “The victim just needs to stand up for themselves!” or, “Just ignore it.” I get a bit enraged.
It isn’t just a matter of teaching our kids to be more confident, how to defend themselves, how to read people, or to just be good.
We need to teach them ALL OF THOSE THINGS and more.
We also need to listen. We need to listen to them with EVERYTHING. Our ears and our eyes are great observers, but our hearts tell us when things are a little off. We need to actually hear our kids when they tell us something isn’t right. We need to admit and be open-minded when we realize our child is a victim or even the one victimizing. I know it can be really hard to realize your child has hard time coping with a terrible situation, or maybe they are The Bully, but it isn’t going to change them or a damn thing about the situation just because you know about it. We need to take action.
We have to talk to our kids. Show them what empathy is. Teach them about self-respect and kindness and what it feels like to take the high road.
Let other people help your kids, too. Not every one of us has the answers. Someone else might have a better idea or a clearer view of the situation. Just because you had a child doesn’t mean you are an All-Seeing and All-Knowing Deity. Sometimes we just need some damn help helping our own kids. On the flip, if we see a kid that isn’t getting that help, the right talk or learning experience, we shouldn’t be hesitant to step up.
Dog-fuck civilization when it thinks it doesn’t take a village to raise a child.
Love Yourself (and yo’ kids),