My son is 6 and he is being bullied in first grade. Actually it started in Kindergarten with the same kid, but the school did little to help. We tried everything to get the school to step in and stop it, but it was close to the end of the school year. I know they were hoping to ride it out till the end of the year so they didn’t have to deal with it.
My son is one of those good kids. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. You think he is either one of those goody-two-shoes or this mother is blind to his real behavior. Actually he really is a good kid. The teachers from pre-school on have always wrote outstanding remarks about him and he gets good grades. And he’s sweet, which makes him a target for kids like the one he is dealing with. This mean kid repeatedly hits and kicks my son and he is smart enough to do it when no adult is looking.
When this same kid started up again this year, I just about lost my temper. I so wanted to march down to the house as they only live a few houses away, look at that kid, use my scary mom voice and threaten to do to him what he’s been doing to my son. Then turn and tell the parents the same thing. That’s the mama bear inside of me.
Now of course I know I can’t go and threaten a little kid, but part of me so wants to do something, anything to protect my boy.
I am so confused on how to help my son. As the youngest of seven, fighting and standing up for myself came natural to me. In school if a bully hit me, I instantly hit back and hard. This often got me into trouble, but my parents always stuck up for me and agreed the best way to handle a bully was to give it straight back, then the bully never bothered you again.
Since the school offers little help in the matter and will instantly punish both children if one hits and the other defensively hits back, we are left with few choices. Of course we tell our son to tell a teacher, but often since the teacher didn’t witness the incident, she does little to nothing to punish the offender. This makes kids like my son feel that no one believes them and no one will protect them. This in turn makes the bully feel even more powerful since they got away with it and they can see that no one is going to stop them.
My husband and I told our son he has our permission to defend himself. We don’t want him hitting another child unless that child is hitting him, but he can and should defend himself. I know many people say we shouldn’t tell him it’s OK to hit back, but I would disagree. The schools do little to enforce the bullying rule and teachers are so busy, they can’t watch everyone all the time. This leaves our children vulnerable to the ones who are there to hurt them. Just like I believe every woman should learn self-defense, I also believe our children should have the right to defend themselves against any attacker – even if the attacker is another 6 year old.
The problem I am facing is, my son doesn’t want to hit back. While I admire his sweetness, I am frustrated with how to help him. He tells me he doesn’t want to get into trouble again. He learned early on that the teachers never see the kid who threw the first punch, but they always see the kid who throws the second punch and the school has him convinced he will be kicked out if he defends himself. Grrr, thanks school officials for twisting that around to putting even more fear into the kid getting bullied.
My son is also afraid of his inability to stop hitting him if he starts. I can understand his concern. He inherited my temper and he is very strong. He could easily hurt this child if he were to “lose it” and he doesn’t want that to happen.
I warned school officials that everyone has a breaking point and if steps aren’t taken to stop this, that my son could finally reach the point where he has had enough and will pulverize this child. That is something no one wants to happen.
I don’t know what else to do. We’ve tried talking to the father, the grandmother, who by the way allows her grandson to hit her, smack her and say awful things to her. She refuses to correct him because she feels sorry for him. She is a big part of the problem and I have tried telling her that she is doing him no favors by allowing that kind of behavior. The father just makes excuses, blames his ex-wife who walked out and she only sees the kids every other weekend kind of thing. I’m tired of their excuses and tired of them trying to make their problems ours.
I always turn to God for guidance and help, but lately all I feel is anger towards this child and his family. I want to scare them off with my own bad temper and threats of violence if it continues. I feel that my son is being hurt by this child and let down by the school who seems unable or unwilling to step in enough to protect him. As a fierce mama bear, I feel compelled to fight any threat made against my child, but also feel the tug of God wanting to teach me peace and forgiveness.
What do you do when you are torn between vengeance and wanting to violently protecting your child against a threat and what the Bible and God teaches us about compassion, love and understanding?
One thing is for sure, I’m getting fitter physically. To keep from storming down to their house I storm down the walking trails and hit the free weights with some really loud and really hard music. It helps me get out my anger and frustration and makes me way too tired to do anything else.
I highly recommend hard workouts when you are angry. Even just a brisk walk in the woods or at the very least sitting somewhere peaceful. It really does help.
I will continue to pray asking God for a solution. It is very hard though, not to go to God with anger in my heart. I hope someday that I can learn to quickly let go of the anger and let the peace God has for me to enter quickly. Till then, my muscles are sure going to get a workout!