Wednesday, May 06, 2009
My friend and fellow author, Frederick Smith wrote a great blog today about parents who might find themselves with a bully on their hands. Here is my response that I hope will inspire parents of children who have been bullied (ahem, that would be ALL of us!):
With my little guy in preschool, I've seen him bullied by other kids. And not just by boys. Girls do it too, by refusing to play with someone "new" or encouraging the other kids to run away from a specific child they've deemed unacceptable.
I encourage parents of kids who have been bullied to teach compassion, understanding and appropriate self-defense. My son once asked me why some boys were mean to him. I explained that those boys might have had a bad morning, or they might not know better, or maybe they felt afraid of him. I emphasized that it had nothing to do with him; it was the mean boy's decision to be mean. After the Little Dude thought about it for a moment, he said, "Mama, I hope mean boys have a good day tomorrow."
He still seems confounded when other kids are aggressive or mean to him, but he seems to have an understanding as to why they might be that way. It's hard not to tell him to go over and beat the s#!% out of those kids because uh, that's what I did to kids who bullied me!
Instead I tell him to say to those kids that they're not cool or to buzz off. (Hey its better than f$#* off, right?) And if they don't stop bugging him, the Little Dude knows he can go tell one of his teachers. My biggest fear is that inevitable moment when he'll encounter an adult who tells him to toughen up and take it. But when we get to that bridge, I hope the Little Dude knows that his Wonder Woman, ass-kicking Mexican mama will cross it beside him.
Man, it's hard letting your little one go onto the big bad world. But even at the Little Dude's tender age of three, I'm already giving him the tools to manage bullies because let's face it, bullies in the playground grow up to be bullies in the office, on the roads and as certain bloggers and reviewers on Amazon.com.