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Helping HandsSo yesterday in the car on the way home he said “THIS BULLYING THING IS OUT OF CONTROL! TODAY A KID PUSHED ME INTO THE FENCE!!” Ok, so I have to admit he has used the word bullying a lot this year. There have been a lot of kids kind of picking on him. I usually start with, like I did yesterday, “what did you do to him?” but the more I reflect on his year, the Boy has really been reporting this a lot. Then there are the things he has not reported to me! He is having a rough time and there are kids in this “No Bullying Zone” that are taking advantage of him. He is small, an easy target and he gets riled up so it gives bully’s a rise when they get to him.

The Assistant Principal read me the definition of bullying to me. Which kind of offended me because basically she said it wasn’t always the same person The Boy is having altercations with so it wasn’t repeated it can’t be bullying. But really it seems that there is a culture her of kids who think they can pick on the little or less confident ones. My son is one who always stands up for the kids getting picked on. If someone takes his friends hat he chases after them and defends his friends. It seems The Boy might not have friends who do the same for him. Which I don’t fault those kids but the kids that are picking on my son are kids who may be bigger, more athletic and have bigger egos than my son. However he gets sad when his is not “accepted” My kid is not afraid of bigger kids he is afraid of not being friends with them!

Let me repeat that, my son is not afraid of the bigger kids, he is afraid of not having friends. In school kids want friends. Friends make you feel safe and loved and like you belong! Friends are teammates. I have always told the Boy you have your team, that is your crew, who cares what the kids at school think! But the problem is that when he is not in season he doesn’t have his team to refocus him on football at the end of the day. He does have his baseball team but they don’t have the same brotherhood feel that his football team does. They spend so much time in school though. If you don’t feel like you have a crew, what do you do. The problem is the boy has a crew. He has some good friends at school but for some reason he wants to hang with the crew that doesn’t treat him right.

The Girl on the other hand she will cut out friends who are not nice to her! She said in 3rd grade of so that for her birthday she is only going to invite the girls who are “nice” to her, not everyone in her class. She has great friends now! She is selective and not afraid to let go of the ones who are not good friends! But she sometimes still gets sad about kids she is forced to work with at class.

I struggled with acceptance as a kid. Why would I think my kids would be super different from me? The Boy has my tender heart and he has The Hubs’ toughness. He has a bit of combination of tempers but from the stories it sounds like The Boy has been pretty patient with these kids. He hasn’t fought back when I have heard that he has been thrown against a fence and put in a headlock. His dad is now encouraging him to fight back. Punch them in the mouth and then they will shut up is what the Hubs has told the boy. Which there is a big part of me that thinks that is logical.

The Boy wants to fit in. He wants what all kids want 10 year old boys want to belong. Just like all the rest of us. We all need to feel like we belong! Even the boys who bully. They feel like they belong more when they are bullying the kids like my son because The Boy is a good kid. He is kind hearted and will laugh tomorrow, with those boys who are being mean to him today. I think that makes him an easy target because those bully’s know he will be friends with them tomorrow when the rest of their friends leave them behind. This makes me so sad but it is a repeat of my life. I have so many people in my life that don’t bully me, but that use, the way these boys use my son. They use him to make them feel better about them selves when they are picking on him and then when they need a buddy they use him as a friend because they know he won’t say no to them because he wants so badly to fit in!

I don’t want my boy to relive my life. I want him to know he deserves good friends and those people who he allows to be his friends need to deserve it. He has seen me have friends who I am there that don’t really deserve all they get from me. So how do I teach him that? Model how to be a good friend and have friends who treat me nicely and walk away from those who do not!  ….that’s a lot of work.

We need to be good friends to each other so our kids can learn that behavior and we need to stand up for our kids and for those bullies. We need to not look the other way or tell our kids to toughen up. Let make those bullies accountable and teach them how to properly fit in and find love. You don’t have to bulldoze someone in order to feel better or to get what you want. Respect and love is what we need! Everywhere in this world!