Well. I decided to not pick on anyone, but to talk to the lady who's about my own size and find out what the heck was going on with her kid telling my kid he's gonna die - WHO FUCKING DOES THAT? Turns out, the big kids at her son's school does that, and he in turn did it to my son.
Do I feel bad for the kid? Yes, I do. Nobody should be made to feel bad. But I don't totally buy it. Want to know why?
This week, I was lucky enough to have the flexibility to take F to daycare and then hit the trails for a run. To make sure I to got my ass off the couch, I purposely wore my running clothes to drop him off. The first day I met this woman - to be quite honest, I don't even know her name to this day - she looked at me and scoffed "Heading to a marathon, are we?"
Um, lady, (to borrow a quote from the Maury show) YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW ME! Maybe I am training for a marathon or maybe I just fucking hate pants with buttons. What difference does it make? And, while it was tempting to point out that she was wearing her pyjamas, I smiled and replied "that's my plan!" and I left. Unfortunately, I wound up in my bed and not on my way to any marathon except a Netflix-fueled X-Files marathon with a big ass cup of coffee.
But I digress. The fact is that this kid has learned that it's OK to be snide and rude and mean to people. Was I annoyed and a little put out by that woman? Yep. I was. But that's not the issue. The real issue here is that two kids that I know directly are being bullied, and the bigger issue is that for every two kids I know directly, there's a thousand I don't know who are being bullied and it's gotta stop. The real issue here is that this kid is picking up these behaviours from his own family, his peers and then he's passing it on to others. It's a cycle, and it needs to end.
|photo: bullying project|
I took yesterday as a learning opportunity - a teachable moment, if you will. F had to make the little girl who he was mean to yesterday an I'm Sorry card. He also had to apologize not only to Ella - the little girl - but also to his childcare provider, because he was unfair and unkind. And he had to understand why, so we talked about it. A lot.
We talked about how important it is to talk about our feelings, and how it feels when someone doesn't respect us or treat us kindly. We talked about how to talk about the things that aren't always easy to talk about, and then we talked about cars and trucks and how they make us feel because when you're F there's nothing more important than the cars and the trucks.
I know that these are conversations we're going to have over and over again - and I'm not just talking about the cars here, people. I know that there's going to be another kid who hurts F's feelings, and there's going to be some feelings that are hurt because of F. Talk to your kids. Be an example for them. Teach them how to stand up for themselves, for others, and teach them how to treat themselves and their peers with respect. You don't need to be friends, but you need to be nice was the rule at my house growing up, and it will be the rule at this one, too.
In one day, I watched the cycle of bully happen. That little boy who picked on F? He was told he was going to die while he was at school. He was told his Mommy would die and everyone would forget about him. So he told my son that. And F acted out and it scared him and it scares me that some five-year-old punk with a mushroom cut and the cutest dimples you've ever seen could make my son feel that way. The conversation with his Mom was a little uncomfortable and a lot helpful. She knew it was going on, and she spoke to him. The childcare provider chatted briefly with me about her plan for nipping any poor behaviour in the bud today.
And when I picked F up this afternoon, he was playing with the five-year-old sweetheart.