Posted by I Say Things So You Don't Have To
I sat here for at least 10 minutes, stuck on what I would title this blog post. Finally, I decided that there is no better way to put it… bullies suck. After being bullied mercilessly as a child and teenager, I now get to watch my own children suffer the same fate. Just what the hell is wrong with people?
Now, I am NOT the mom that thinks that everything is bullying. Kids can be obnoxious and sometimes, they truly don’t mean harm by what they are doing. What I am against, is the children who constantly put down another child and the brats that put their hands on another kid. It’s sad to know that they get by with it. Hell, it’s completely heartbreaking. Schools claim they have “no tolerance” for bullies but it just isn’t true. This isn’t a new thing, it’s something that has happened for as long as there have been kids. So, what should we be doing?
My kids are adorable. They are sweet and loving and that in and of itself, makes them targets. You have a child that shows emotion? You might as well be painting a giant bulls-eye on their back. The more perfect a child is, the greater the chance that they are going to be tortured by another kid. Name your son “Paris” like I did and you might as well just kick him yourself. Yes, what I just said is harsh but damnit, this is serious! What we do as parents directly affects our children. We can try to change those things or we can sit here with a “woe is me” attitude and we can complain about something that we don’t try to fix.
A few days ago, my youngest son came home sad. I knew something was wrong and when I asked him, he shied away from me. Paris (my 9-year-old) spoke up and he told me that Bristol was sad because of the bullies at school. Paris then turned to Bristol and he told him how proud he was of him. Then I heard the details of what happened at school that day. Another student was getting picked on at school so Bristol stood up for him and he asked the bullies to leave the kid alone. Almost immediately, the bullies turned on him and they began to kick him under the table. Bristol didn’t mention a word to the teachers. How could they not have known? Bristol told me that after it happened, one of the boys was acting like he was pointing a gun at him and was pulling the trigger.
It’s only been a week since Bristol came home and he told me that he needed to take chips to school the next day “or else”. I asked what that was all about and he said that one of the boys in his class told him that if he didn’t take chips for him the next day that he would give him “a whooping”. Really? Physical harm over chips?
Things for Paris aren’t much better. Of my 3 boys, he is the most sensitive and always has been. In Kindergarten, he would come home crying, telling me how the kids on the bus were making fun of him and calling him names. Their favorite torture was to call him “gay” and by the time he was 7, Paris started to believe it. I taught him how to respond to bullies and he honed his skill. He would come home on the bus and say, “Hey, mom! The mean kids picked on me but I did what you told me and I didn’t let them see me cry. I just turned my head away so they couldn’t see my tears.” As a mother, to hear your child say that, it crushes you.
After one of my boys was punched in the stomach during the morning bus stop, I changed their daycare and I put them in the before and after school program. That way, they never had to ride a bus again. I hoped that it would stop what was happening but that was short-lived.
Nearly every day, my boys come home telling me what another kid said or did to them. While sometimes I think my boys are trying to get some extra attention from me, all the other times, the mom in me wants to go find the kids’ parents so I can punch them in the throat. But then, I’d be just as pathetic as they are. Double standards…
I’m thirty “something” now and even though I grew up and moved out of the town where I lived, I still carry those horrible, horrible days with me. Sometimes, I forget what I ate a few hours ago but I can always tell you who my bullies were in school. The school bus was always the hardest thing for me. When I would get home, my hair would be full of gum and spit wads. And that’s IF I got off of the bus successfully. Once, two of the bullies on my bus (who were sisters and the bus driver’s kids) reached under my seat and they tied my shoe laces together. When I stood up to get off the bus, I tripped and fell and I hit my head. Another day, they painted the back of my new shoes with nail polish. Life on the bus was hell for 10 years and then I took matters into my own hands. As a plea bargain one morning my Freshman year, I grabbed bottles of alcohol from the cabinet at home. When I got on the bus that day, I tried my best to act “cool”. I tried to be different, as different as possible. I thought that if I was bad, maybe they wouldn’t be so mean. By 8:30 am, I had given a handful of kids enough Wild Turkey to have them passing out on their desk. I never touched the stuff myself, of course, that didn’t really matter when I got called into the principal’s office. The principal talked to me and asked me why I did it and after I told him, he said that if he had it his way, he wouldn’t have to punish me at all. We all know that he did anyway. I had a day of ISS (in school suspension) while the bullies got to have out of school suspension. It was the one and only time that I ever got in trouble and it was only because I was at my wit’s end. After that, people on the bus left me alone. Sometimes they would even try to sit by me and talk to me.
I know what bullying is. I got it at school, I got it on the bus and I had the joy of having it at home. They cut my hair, ruined my clothes, took my school papers and ripped them up, spit in my face and they laughed at me every chance they got. I would hear their whispers and I’d gather my things when it came to my stop. I’d try to hold my head high and I’d walk off the bus and into the waiting fists of my step-dad. I had no “down time”, no break from the pain. Why couldn’t someone have stood up for me?
People, we have to change. Bullying ruins lives, permanently. Our children deserve so much more than this. We deserve more, too.