Parenting is never easy but when it comes to trying to protect your children from those not under your control it gets even harder. When my Teenager was in Kindergarten I had the moment we all dread. That phone call telling me that my son had been in a fight. I had never been prepared for what can happen when bullies attack and unfortunately this would be my first but not my last experience.
Why Didn’t I Know?
The first time it happened was in a Private School when we lived in New York. I was at work and received a call from my Grandmother saying the school contacted her and that my then 5 year old son had been in a fight. I told her I was leaving work and would meet her at the school. When I arrived the first thing I did was scan my son for injuries. He seemed fine but was very shaken up.
I couldn’t understand why my son had not told me anything. We were nearly at the end of the school year and this was the first I was hearing about any of the picking and name calling that happened. A meeting with the child’s parents was set up. We discussed how wrong it was for any child to try and question another child’s race or ethnicity. The child was reprimanded by his parents and punished by the school for the fight.
Why My Child?
Throughout the entire incident I just kept asking myself…why my child? I knew before we sent him to school that he may face some issues of race and identity simply because he was a child of a mixed background. I asked my son to tell me what happened and to say I was upset as I listened to his small voice and the words he spoke – it still gets to me even now. He slowly explained that this little boy had picked with him everyday since school started. He asked him ‘what he was‘ and ‘why he looked like that‘ . My son got upset and this is where the constant bickering and arguing between the two began.
I had been here before. I had faced similar situations myself and sat through a few meetings with my Grandmother and another student’s parents. I would sit there annoyed and wondering why they were picking on me. Yet mine started well into Middle School and I was fully prepared by my Grandmother with how to handle and address it. I didn’t have a chance to give that preparation to my son. I didn’t think he needed it yet. Now that I realized how wrong I was I did not plan on making that mistake again in the future.
I was forced to deal with the after of bullying. The damage done by the attack to my son and who he was. It wasn’t easy but we talked through it, hugged through it and even cried through it. Now at age 18 he is fully aware of who he is – all parts – and he has no problem expressing the pride he holds in that. Still when my daughter was born nearly 5 years later I prayed I would not have to deal with it again.
Fast forward to my 8 year old daughter. She made it through Kindergarten and 1st Grade without any bullying issues.
Until last week that is. Not even 4 weeks away from the end of 2nd Grade and I see my daughter limping to my car with tears in her eyes.
She had been pushed. There was a kid in her class who was known as a bully and he had decided that day that she was his target. He pushed her down in the playground and she had the cuts to prove it. Two really yucky looking cuts on one knew and a few scrapes and bruise on the other. The sight broke my heart. I consoled her and tried to understand why it happened. Had he always picked with her? Did they have issues? What had been said?
This Time Is Different
Her answers surprised me. No, he never really bothered her before. No, they didn’t argue. He hadn’t said anything to her at all. I was shocked. Why would someone target my child for no reason? My daughter went on to explain that this little boy seemed to be angry.
I made a call to the teacher and found out that what my daughter was explaining was true. He was a child with issues and had been suspended from school before for the same thing. I was so upset. Bullying is something that can be prevented and should be stopped yet it felt like this had no cause and like I had no way to protect or defend my child.
It Needs To Be Addressed
I’m not one to confront BUT I will protect my own at all costs. After speaking with my husband we decided the Principal needed to be notified of what happened. I went to the school and after speaking with her was told that the student and his parents would be addressed. To this date I am not sure if that has happened or not but what I do know is that bullying is not okay.
When bullies attack it causes nothing but emotional and at the worse physical damage to a child and their confidence. My daughter is healing physically but emotionally she still feels the impact of what happened. She doesn’t understand why she was this little boys target. I have done my best to explain that sometimes a person (even a child) has issues expressing their hurt, anger or even fear. When they choose to let that all out on another person it can happen in the form of bullying. I have given her all the dos and don’ts of how to handle a bully as well as how not to be a bully.
Has your child ever been the victim of bullying?
How did you address the situation?