Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bully Bully Go Away!

It seems like every time I have turned on the tv or the computer or picked up the newspaper in the last few weeks I have seen TONS of articles and specials on bullying. Back when I was in school kids were mean. Kids have always been mean. I remember the Summer between 7th and 8th grade I hit puberty and my bra size when from non existent to a C cup! I got ridiculed forever by kids making up rumors that I was stuffing my bra. My bigger chest made me look bigger and I remember a couple boys calling me fat. I spent my entire 8th grade year making myself puke every time I ate so I wouldn't get made fun of. I can recall crying myself to sleep because of the things that mean kids would say and I would dread going to school the next day. But since having kids of my own, I have learned not only are kids today much much meaner but they are starting to be cruel at such a younger age.

My first experience with bullying with my own children was when my now 3rd grader was in KINDERGARTEN!!! Andrew is a quiet kid, much more backward than most of his peers. He doesn't speak unless spoken to when out in public and this was especially true when he first started school.  The first week of kindergarten at the age of 5, Andrew came home from school and asked me, "what does it mean if you are gay?" After doing my best to explain it in the best way possible for a 5 year old to understand, he explained to me that there was a mean little boy at school who ran around the playground calling him gay and pushing him around. KINDERGARTEN people! I am still flabbergasted.

1st grade came and Andrew came home crying one day that there was a boy who taunted him every day out on the playground making fun of him for having a "big head." I told him to tell the kid it was to hold his big brain. He doesn't have a big head. That kid was just mean. Later on in the year, a couple of times Drew came home with rips in his jeans and bruises. When I asked him where they were from, he explained to me that the same boy had started pushing him around on the playground and even in the class. I marched right into the school that very next day and had a talk with the teacher and principal.

You see, Andrew is a sweet, intelligent, quiet kid so I think mean kids see him as an easy target. He won't tattle and won't fight back so he just takes it. There are so many kids like this out there. And if something isn't done, that ridicule continues into the tweens and teens and causes major, lasting problems in our children.

When our daughter was in 1st grade last year, there was a little boy who followed the girls on the playground telling them he wanted to have sex with them. Yea, try having your 6 year old daughter come home from school and ask you what sex is. Not a pleasant conversation. So not only do we have bullying, we have 6 year olds who sexually harass.

Joshua started kindergarten this year. We went through weeks of him crying until we found out it was because of a mean little boy in his class. They blame it on ADHD. I call it lack of parenting. A child that has behavior problems still needs to be taught to fight impulses and to not be violent and mean to other children. Is that insensitive for me to feel that way?  Is it insensitive for me to want to go into that school and say "Keep that mean kid away from my little bitty 5 year old?" What's the solution? Where do we draw the line?

Is it because Parents aren't teaching their kids any better? Are we not doing a good enough job to teach our children to treat others with respect? To be kind? To remember the golden rule?! Are the schools being to lax in punishment? Education against bullying? What do you think the problem is? How many more teens will have to commit suicide before drastic measures are taken in the home and in the schools?!


  1. My son is also in Kindergarten and he has came home crying a few times also. Last week he came home crying because a little boy had jerked him around by his shirt and then kicked him in between the legs. When I qustioned his teacher about it she was nice enough but also said that the little boys has issues. WELL DUH! I just simply told her that I told K. Next time tell the teacher if nothing is done, 2nd time tell the principle if by the 3rd time nothing is done. double up his fists and sock the boy right in the nose. I also told his teacher that if this happens my son will not be punished, she agreed and said some kids just have to learn the hard way.
    I feel like I have to teach my kid to be violent just so he can protect himself. Blah I think it is the school system blaming everything on problems that a child might have. If they have problems to were they are hurting other childen then in my opinion they should not be put in a surrounding with other childen.

  2. Hi there,
    I just came across your Blog on mommy bloggers.
    The bullying in schools seems to a universal thing as we also have a problem with it here in Australia. I also question the parenting methods, after all where is a 6 year old learning to say he wants to have sex with people or a child in kindergarten learning to use the term "gay" as ridicule? It really is a big issue and it is far from black and white, there is a big grey area involved. I think the best we can do is educate our own children and really get involved with our childrens communities to keep ALL kids safe from this stuff. After all if a six year old can be a bully surely that means that somewhere is his/her life they are suffering too??

  3. I got harassed in middle school a lot! I was in a group for a class with two boys. One of them kept putting his hand on my thigh. I kept getting up, pushing his hand away. Then one of them put their pencil upright on my seat and said, "Sit and spin." I of course barely knew what this meant. I had never even kissed a boy before. After class I asked to switch groups because the boys were doing and saying things that I didn't feel comfortable with. He let me switch groups.

    Later on in high school I was in photography. I was told never to be alone with a the opposite sex in the dark room. I was timing my many photo's on expensive paper. There were 3 or 4 other people in there. Then all the sudden everyone, but me and one boy were in there. I quickly tried to finish what I was doing; it had to be timed though. The boy came up behind me and put his hand on my breast. I gabbed him with my elbow, said, "Get the _____ off me!" and left.

    I never told a teacher, or a parent. Somehow I always felt the situations were somehow my fault. I was told never to be in the darkroom alone with a boy, and I was.

    I also experienced a friend of mine being harassed too. She was really skinny. They would walk behind her and say, "I bet if I would have sex with her she would break in half." We would walk really fast away from them.

    I'm not looking forward to my kids being harassed! It's not fun.

  4. I am an elementary teacher by profession. Bullying is a serious problem, and yes, it is unfortunately starting as soon as your kids are in school. I believe there are numerous reasons, one of which is that parents seem to feel that their children are perfect and never do anything wrong, and so when they are told their child has misbehaved in any way, instead of punishing or disciplining the child, they start placing blame elsewhere. Nothing is ever that child's fault. Of course, this is not every parent, and there are certainly other reasons. But I can say that it is a situation I faced on more than one occasion.

    First, Andrew needs to understand that there is a BIG difference between tattling and reporting. These are words we distinguished at my school. Tattling is telling for every little ridiculous thing. Things that don't hurt anyone. Reporting is for things like getting beaten up, pushed, or harassed on the playground or anywhere else. If you feel the teacher is not handling the situation adequately, then after meeting with her as you did, go to the principal. Your child has the right to be SAFE at school, and if you don't think these people handle it well enough, then go over their heads. Go all the way to the school board if necessary. Don't just let it go. Don't let them brush it off or blame it on ADHD or anything else. That's a stupid excuse, because ADHD does not cause bullying.

    The sex talk is rampant, too, I think because some kids are exposed to things when their parents are not watching them, or their sitter or whoever is just plunking them down in front of the tv. Make sure you talk to your children about what is appropriate and what is not and that it is NEVER EVER EVER their fault if someone touches them inappropriately. They should tell their teacher immediately, and if the teacher does not also immediately deal with it, again go to the principal. You should definitely call the teacher if your child comes home and tells you that another child hurt/harassed them, but please give the teacher a chance to explain. Sometimes I had parents call and tell me something happened that I had no knowledge of because the child had not told me about it. Most teachers genuinely care about their students and want to keep them safe. You have to be your child's strongest advocate, but please make sure you always give the teacher their fair chance first. Always go to the teacher before going to the principal, and if you do go to him/her, it is really nice to tell the teacher you are planning to do so.

    Finally, while I completely understand how tempting it is to tell your child to fight back against a bully, more often than not this is only going to cause your child to get in trouble at school. A better approach is to tell your child that if someone hits or hurts them in some way, they should 1. tell the teacher. 2. tell you, so that you can call and talk to the teacher and make sure that child was disciplined. Be aware that sometimes teachers are not allowed to tell what the exact punishment was, but give the teacher the benefit of the doubt--if she/he says the child was dealt with, then they were. If it keeps up, then go in and meet with the teacher in person. Tell her/him that if your child is touched again by that bully, you will press charges of assault against the other child. Then tell the teacher you are going to let the principal know the same thing, and suggest that they inform that child's parent of the same thing. Then, if it does happen again, PRESS CHARGES. They are not too young!!! A child who is hurting other children and does not stop when disciplined by the school needs a wakeup call that obviously is not coming from the usual forms of discipline.

    I know this was long, but I hope it was helpful.

  5. How about a view point from an ex-bully. I was always the shortest kid in school. When the teacher would have the class line up , I was always first because she went by height. Not one day went by that I wasn't made fun of because of my name or my stature.
    When I was in between seventh and eighth grade I decided I had enough so when my eighth grade year started, I picked out the biggest girl in my class and picked a fight with her. After that I picked on another girl until no one ever messed with me again. I even beat up on boys. I had become the bully because I was tired of being bullied. It was a defense mechanism, strike first.
    I caution parents of these kids being bullied to take care that your kids don't become the bullies.
    I agree with the teacher, Learning disabilities are not an exuse and shame on the teacher for trying to use it as one. This behavior is parenting and learned behavior. I don't believe K kids know about sex they learn about that at home.

  6. So many good points made in the comments, but I wanted to throw in that it doesn't seem like recesses are usually monitored well enough. SO many of these situations are happening on recess and the kid isn't getting caught time and time again...seems to me that there aren't enough people watching the kids. I know it's impossible for recess aids to catch everything, but if multiple situations take place and none are scene then they need more aids or better aids.

  7. Funny that you call ADHD lack of good parenting. When I took a neuropsychology class as an elective in college, the professor (he's a neurologist) told us that more parents come in looking for excuses for their plain old bad kids and so the doctors eventually just say 'fine, they have adhd'. So about 90% of kids diagnosed with ADHD don't actually have it at all!

    I think it's terrible that parents are teaching their kids 'gay' and 'sex' at such a young age. I don't believe is protecting my daughter from those things, but I'm not going to teach her what it is unless she asks and even then, I wouldn't teach it to them in a condescending way. It's ridiculous.

  8. I am sorry to hear about your kids having troubles in school! Unfortunately, there is nothing we as parents can really do other than report the problem to the proper authorities when we know that something is going on in the class room. Well, and of course keep communication open with your kids! Bullies have been around since Cain & Abel and they obviously aren't going any where.

    I think the important thing right now is for parents to teach their kids how to deal with the bullying and the taunting. That way, they don't feel as if suicide is the only way out -- the only way they will be heard.

    Of course, my little guy is only 1 so I haven't had to deal with any of this yet. Maybe my opinion will change once he is in school. He is a tiny thing, so it should be interesting.

    I also agree that a lot of ADHD cases are a lack of parenting. I do realize that some kids really struggle with it; however, there is no way that every kid you meet has ADHD like doctors would make you believe. Just my opinion.

    Best of luck to you as you go through this with your children.


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