Thursday, September 29, 2011

The First Bully

It's finally happened.  I knew it would be a matter of time before one of my children encountered their first bully and now Michael has.  Apparently a fellow Kindergartner is picking on him, calling him names, and chasing him around but not to play tag.  My son's reactions thus far only serve to encourage his antagonist because he either runs or hides from this child every time they cross paths.

Today I gave him similar advice to what my father had once given me.  Sadly my bully-handling advice came at about the same tender age but it was good and it worked. A kid names Sean would chase me and hit me on the back as hard as he could.  I would run to my dad in tears expecting him to teach Sean a lesson or to go tell Sean's mom.

Instead he told me to hit Sean back.  Shocked and appalled by this suggestion I refused and continued to run from him receiving several more hits all while my dad was standing there.  I thought surely now my dad would get involved and put a stop to this madness.  He didn't.  He just kept encouraging me to handle it myself and put and end to it.

And I finally did.  After one more solid hit, square in the middle of my back, I let the sting of its pain get me mad instead of producing more tears...and I hauled off and waylaid him as hard as I could across his back.  Sean immediately burst into tears and ran home.  Never again did Sean bully me.

My advice to Michael was not to engage this kid in a physical manner.  But it was to stand firm, not run, not cower, not hide, and to give this bully something to think about.  And if all else failed to finally get a teacher involved.  I really WANT to handle this for him.  But I learned more than one lesson that day I stood up to Sean.  I learned that we have to stand up to our own bully's AND that parents at some point need to equip their kids on how to handle situations themselves and not always defer to their aid.

I wish I could say Sean was my last bully.  I wish I could say that every bully that picked on me from then on got a taste of his own medicine.  But that isn't quite my story.  Unfortunately life's hard knocks and fallen status comes with bullies and tough challenges.  All I can do is pray for and continue to equip my kids in effort to get them through.


Carolin Newmeyer said...

Hm, that's good advice from you and your father. It's not about violence, but about standing up for yourself against bullying. There are many ways to solve a bully problem, perhaps one is fighting back to defend yourself.