Looking back to my elementary and high school years I was probably bullied. With my thick rimmed glasses, tall skinny frame, my hair in pigtails (that I wore up until my sophomore year in high school) and unique first full name, usually made me the butt of jokes. I never got into a fist fight (thank goodness), but have gotten cornered by the “mean girls” and ridiculed by the guys ’cause of my exceptionally small frame…on top….I dared myself never to tell my mom, not until now….3o years later!
I told her stories of how my favorite yellow Sony Walkman was stolen and not lost, how my Spanish full name was criticized by classmates and how I was called “Yoko Ono” because of my dark tinted glasses. The weird thing about all of this is how these same so-called bullies had “friended” me on Facebook. Huh??! Did they not realize the affect they had on this 11 year old? Did they actually think we were friends?
Now that I am a parent, my worst fear veered its ugly head. At the tender age of 16 months, Lil B was pushed by another kid, fortunately for everyone involved a police officer was not called to the scene…If you’ve never been on the receiving end of bullying, it’s likely that I cannot convey the hurt, the anguish, the utter despair you feel when you have to get up every day and face people who will torture you. Not only that, but the long term effects are devastating and I vowed that I would not let this happen again – to anyone!
I watched my son walk over to another boy (who appeared older) and was holding onto a bin full of balls. Since my son loves balls he could not wait to get in on the fun, but the boy was not interested in having anyone join in. The boy walked in front of my son, screamed “no!” and then shoved him. My son immediately cried, I cried (inside) and saw red. Cue the music to Jaws! I ran over to the boy and swatted his hand and screamed “don’t you ever touch my son!”.
Before you judge, know that I apologized for hitting another child, that was not my own. I waited for his mother to yell at me for doing so or even yell at him for behaving badly, but all she said to the boy in a soft spoken voice was “play nice”. What??!! “Play nice!”
Images of my youth passed before my very own eyes and since no one had stood up for me, I was taking a stand, for ME, for those other faceless victims that have or had been bullied and for my son!
Since this was the first time I was faced with this situation in my 30’s and as a mom, my instincts gave in and my “no-nonsense” attitude (my husband likes to call it something else) took over. So I ask you today: What is up with parents? Why did the mom just sit there and casual watch the situation unfold? Why did she not get up and intervene? Obviously the little boy was being a bully. Was the mom too tired to handle it? Did she honestly think that this was acceptable behavior? Or am I just too paranoid as a first time mom?
Obviously, I realize that kids are going to do this to each other from time to time, and not play in perfect harmony, but when it’s really young children, and the parents are sitting there watching, don’t you think they should intervene, and teach them not to hurt other kids? or should my boy “man-up” and take it like a man?
What do you think? Do you think bullies are born with this disease?