Sunday, October 09, 2011


A friend of mine is having problems with her son being bullied. He's mildly ADHD, so he's a "weird" kid in the eyes of a lot of of the other kids. And he gets set off really easily - she's working with him on his temper, but it's slow going.

The aggravating thing is that the school is blaming him. "If he just didn't get upset, if he didn't push back, those other kids wouldn't bully him."

While I tend to come down on the side of "teach your kids to be tough, because there are people who will try to bully them all through life," I think there's also a point that adults need to step in and be the adults.

Blaming the kid for getting upset when other kids harass him seems wrong.

Other kids will ALWAYS cut the "weird" kid out of the herd and harass them. I didn't have anger issues when I was a kid, but I cried easily. So guess what some of the other kids' favorite sport was? Making me cry. Saying mean or rude or nasty things to me, doing stuff like excluding me, anything they would think would set them off. Sometimes the teachers saw and did something (though some well-meaning but ham-fisted ways that teachers stepped in made stuff worse, actually), sometimes they didn't.

What was the lesson I learned? Don't trust your peers. Ever. I can't quite unlearn that lesson. So, thanks a lot, stinky little bully kids. Probably part of the reason I never dated much, part of the reason I remained single was that every time I worked up the courage to begin thinking of asking a guy out, I immediately imagined him laughing at me, or saying some cutting remark that would make him look "big" to his friends - and so I decided no, being alone is not worse than that.

It must really be awful to be a kid today, even with all the lip service given to "ending bullying" - I am sure at a lot of schools "bullying" has gone underground but is still there. And cyberbullying - harassing kids over the Internet - you couldn't get away from that, the way I could go home on Friday afternoons and be bullying-free until Monday morning.

Frankly, I roll my eyes when any sentimental adult talks about how "angelic" kids are and how some of them seem to have a direct line to God and stuff. Because it seems more to me that a lot of kids seem to have a direct line to The Other Guy. Which is why teaching them to be civilized, to understand that other people have feelings and get hurt and all of that is so important. (And sadly, I've seen a few kids lately who don't seem to be learning that lesson).

This is just another way in which people frustrate me.

1 comment:

Heroditus Huxley said...

This is just another reason I plan to homeschool. My imp is showing some early signs of high intelligence. He's charismatic, but doesn't really talk very well yet. A friend's bright son who also talked late and is still behind is bullied because he doesn't talk very well.

I plan to get my imp into some kind of martial arts to help him learn some kind of self-discipline, though. He's got one heck of a temper, and I've seen him defend smaller kids at the church nursery from bullies by forcing between the little kid (and their toy) and the bigger one that tries to take it. He's got a dominant enough personality that he could become a bully, but I'm trying to prevent that.