What Should We Do About Wimpy Bullies?
Isn’t is weird how things appear in threes?
First, we have budget issues at school. (Don’t we all?) They have been stressful, on-going, and now is the time to make final decisions. We have a committee that works on this all year long, and frankly, while I do totally trust them with the process, I also cannot handle the associated craziness.
At one of the last meetings, a letter surfaced that was signed, “From The Teachers.” I don’t pretend to know all the in’s and out’s of how this letter surfaced and why it showed up that day, but I do feel like calling some people one word:
Passive aggressive pansies.
One of the parents felt they should forward the letter, giving more attention to people who can’t communicate through proper channels, and stirring the pot further.
When I attended the PTA meeting to discuss this letter, I thought my head was going to explode.
We have incredibly thoughtful people on a committee working hard all year long, for hours at a time, at multiple meetings that none of these people bother to attend – and then an inflammatory piece of paper shows up, pushing things all their way?
Second example. My friend Connie recently blogged about how someone read The Lorax to their kids at school. I’ll leave the telling of the tale to her, but in a nutshell, an anonymous parent didn’t like it. (Didn’t like WHAT exactly?) But instead of being ignored for not having the cajones to sign their request, and explain their concerns – the teacher is now clearing all books to be read to the class. I am sorry, what-the-what?
At least real bullies have fists.
Or threats, as we are experiencing in Declan’s case.
I won’t go too deep into the situation because we are still working it out, but when your son tells you he can’t go somewhere because he is afraid of another kid, you start paying attention. When you find out that another child has saying outrageously scary things to your child, you get mad.
But you also wonder.
How many types of bullies are there?
Do they all get treated the same?
Where do they come from?
When you hear the word “bully,” you think of the big dude slamming his fist down some bean pole’s throat.
We forget that it happens everywhere, and very often from people who are weak and hide behind their words.
Have you every had to deal with a bully,
either with your children or as and adult?
Thoughts… Suggestions… Advice?
My son was bullied for a year on his bus by kids way smaller than him. They bullied him because he is a kind and sensitive kid and they thought they could break him. We went to the school and they did nothing. Finally my son stood up to the main bully and put him in his place. The bully actually thanked him for doing that because he said he never would have stopped otherwise. You are right. Bullies are truly cowards who haven’t learned the proper ways to communicate feelings. You have to get back in their face and tell them NO WAY for them to stop. I also have dealt with bullies in the workplace and the only way to get the conflict to end was to stick up for myself and say I will not take your s#$%!
You touch on something that happens all the time these days that drives me INSANE. I call it “the letter.” It happens everywhere – PTA, work, parenting groups, school, but I’ll use school as an example. You’re a teacher and you notice that a few kids are playing inappropriately on the playground so you send a note home to ALL parents that says “I’ve noticed that kids are climbing up the slide during recess and after school. I’d like to remind you to read the school rules and ask your children to follow them.” We’ve gotten several of these letters this year – about play equipment use, kids playing inappropriate games based off of adult video games and appropriate snack foods. IMO, sending “the letter” is just one great big fail. Ppl like me who are too sensitive freak out and worry that the letter was about us. Then the other 90% of the world thinks it couldn’t possibly be about them and tosses the letter with no further thought. It solves nothing and I feel the same way – the person in authority here is just being a pansy. What ever happened to talking to people? Why not call Johnny’s mom and say “I noticed we have a problem here and I’d like to discuss it.” Rather than address the issue on an interpersonal basis we now just send a blanket admonishment to everyone and hope that it hits its target.
I think bullying is a huge issue here on both sides – we’re all so afraid of being bullied that we won’t confront so instead we become big, anonymous bullies to make up for it.
I blame the internet, land where *everyone* can be an anonymous bully and get away with it. We have moved away from personal interaction. It is becoming our way of life. And i think we’re scared, which really often IS the source of bullying.
Dalyce, great points. We did a lot of roll play last night. 🙂
Nicole – also great point. Where people are scared to or don’t have he tools to express their concerns (ie a teacher that cants face the parents of the 1-2 offenders and sends a letter to everyone). I feel really lucky that Dex’s school works on that with the kids and we do at home… in his case we are trying to get to the bottom of it before we fly off the handle but also take it seriously, teach Dex to protect himself, ask for help if he needs it, etc.
No Joann thanks for sharing that. I am glad the school took it seriously!!
Mimi – so true!!
What a timely post! If you look back through my FB status updates, you’ll see one about bullies. In our case, it’s a little boy who up until Friday would just pester Claire in her Kindergarten class. He has been targeting others, too, nut had never crossed a physical line with Claire.
Like I said, until Friday.
Long story short, he wasn’t getting a reaction from Claire, as we’ve taught her: 1) tell someone to stop bothering you, 2) then ignore them. So, he pushed her. She then did what we’ve told her when physically confronted, which is get away & tell a trusted adult.
She told one adult at the school, but in the morning mayhem, the situation wasn’t fully explained, and her teacher was out that day. She told me immediately upon pick-up at 11:30. I confirmed the story and got the ball rolling, and within the HOUR had my concerns acknowledged by school officials. They assured me they’d handle it.
She was worried all weekend about seeing him in class. Seeing her fear broke my heart. 🙁 She’s SO self-confident and articulate that someone physically pushing her was just so confusing.
(We tried to focus on the positive. She’s in Karate, so she had fun showing me some moves she *could* have used on him. Ha!)
On Monday, the school was true to their word. He not only got a “serious talk” from the officials, he apologized to Claire.
On one hand, I have the “wow, he just pushed her, and they’re in Kindergarten” feelings and some may not see it as a big deal. But, on the other hand, he’s already on their radar for questionable behavior (prior to the shoving incident), and they stand by their Bully Prevention Program.
When a confident kid stands up for herself and doesn’t give the bully what he or she needs, I can see where the bully would step it up a notch to get a reaction. Now, this person knows that just won’t fly at this school.
Have I mentioned how much I love our school? 🙂
Anyway, enough rambling…good luck with your bullies, Aimee!
Holy frijoles my comment is wordy. Sorry ’bout that! Responding via handheld magical device.
Ack. There are bullies everywhere. Sometimes the ones that hurt the most are the ones that use words to absolutely destroy you.
Anonymous snarks suck.
Thank you so much Meghan!!!
Bullying is a serious issue that is finally getting the attention it needs. I thoroughly believe we ALL have to do our part to tackle bullying–in schools, in workplaces, in our neighborhoods, and in our homes. There is a tremendous documentary that I just saw at a film festival that is being released starting March 30th. I highly encourage you to go see this film, to take your kids, and to have a real and serious talk with your kids and everyone you know. http://thebullyproject.com/
We were so surprised to find out recently that our 10 yr old had been having trouble w/ a bully for months. The school has held the anti-bullying seminars, focused heavily on it with the students – and still our son didn’t say anything, b/c he thought that would only make it worse. It was verbal teasing that was going on constantly – and b/c he hadn’t told anyone, the teacher kept them at the same table all semester. The moment we spoke with her, and she could keep an eye out (as well as switch seats around), the teasing stopped. That kind of bullying is subtle, and opportunistic – and we underestimated the effect of constantly being made fun of…
As far as The Letter – oh, my nemesis! We get them every time the President plans to address the school. B/c a few riled parents object, we all get a letter saying we can opt our kids out of assembly. Sometimes they don’t even show the Presidential address – we’re told to look online if we care to show our kids. Maddening! How very educational, right?
Bethany – that is insane!!
My oldest son was beat up on the soccer field by a boy from his class when he was in 7th grade. The coach quickly intervened but it was seriously scary to hear about. The crazy thing is that the bullying occurred at another school, so nothing could be done about it. Thanks for speaking up about this. We need to keep talking so that bullies get their due.
Back in middle school, my cousin who was the same as my age, was beat up by a schoolmate while going down the bus. My aunt brought it up to school administration, had several meetings, and thankfully the boy was expelled. That was years and years ago. Now with all the bullying stories everywhere, somehow, I get worried for my two boys who’s 9 and 7.