Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Heart Breaking Discovery



Have you heard a lot about bullies lately?

I have too. I haven't really worried about it too much. Jake and I have a really open relationship and I have always been certain that he would tell me if there was a problem.

I was wrong.

Today my friend Courtney from VintageGingerPeaches.com posted about a couple of articles that she read about the subject. They are:

http://www.danoah.com/2010/10/memoirs-of-bullied-kid.html
http://www.danoah.com/2010/09/you-just-broke-your-child.html

While I read the first I distinctly felt impressed to discuss this with Jake. I thought, honestly, that I would just be preparing him, in the event that anyone should ever say anything mean to him, to know how to handle the situation.

What I didn't expect, was the tears and the emotion and the name of the boy causing the pain.

I also didn't expect the feelings that I had. I wanted to go find this kid and tell him (maybe scare him a bit, but then that makes me the bully, right?!) to leave Jake alone. I wanted him to know that Jake has had enough on his plate, he doesn't need someone telling him he is fat (SERIOUSLY?!) and putting him down at every opportunity.

This has been going on since last year. 4th Grade. Now it is much worse in 5th grade.

Jake burned his cheek last night at scouts. He desperately did not want to go to school. He said that this boy makes fun of him for things that aren't even true, but this will give him something to really make fun of him.

So we talked about it. We talked about why we thought this boy felt like he had to put people down. We talked about what Jake has tried to do to stop it and what he thinks will work. Jake speaks to the school counselor off and on. She is amazing. She specializes in helping kids with siblings that pass away from illness. Jake really likes her. He said that he was thinking about talking to her.

Through the discussion I was grateful that I had read that first article. I tried to validate his feelings about what was going on.

By the end we had decided on what to do next.

I FIRMLY believe in sticking up for our kids! There are things you can do. There are things that I am going to do. I believe that when your child is being bullied to the point of distraction or fear, you must stand up for them! If you won't, who will?! I do not believe that my child HAS to learn to put up with being picked on so badly. There is always another option!

Tomorrow morning I am going to call the school and talk to the counselor. I am sure that she will be a great resource in this. I am sure that this little boy could use all the help he can get to help stop his behavior. I also want Jake to know that he has an advocate. I want him to learn how to appropriately stand up for himself. Jake is not the only kid that is being relentlessly picked on by this boy. I think that the more the teachers, counselors and other staff are aware of the situation, the better they will be at helping this boy get the help he needs to break this cycle.

Finally, as our conversation finished I asked Jake to make me a promise. He has promised me that if there is ever a time when he feels overwhelmed by a situation at school or anywhere, that he will talk to me about it so that I can help him work it out.

Our conversation ended and Jake left my room visibly lighter than he was before. I am so grateful for intuition/guidance by the spirit!

PLEASE talk to your kids! I honestly didn't think this would be the outcome of our conversation. I was shocked by it. After reading that first article I realized how important this is!

13 comments:

Gear Gang said...

Jake is such a great kid. It breaks my heart to now that someone is breaking his. Just tell him his Aunt Lisa thinks he is the bestest and not to worry about what anyone else thinks :)

Just Us said...

Amy I can feel your pain right now reading this. You do have to stick up for your child. It will do remarkable things to Jake's spirit to know that his mom and dad are there for him and this does NOT have to continue on. We had to rescue Sam from a teacher that was a bully last year. We went into the school swinging and when the Principal wouldn't even validate our feelings we moved her on to a different school (her choice). It was the best relationship builder between us and her and the change in her was so significant. I was not going to allow one person to destroy the spirit of my child that we as parents have worked so hard on building. If you need to talk or anything I am here for you. Sadly I have dealt with this way too many times.

The Nelson's said...

I hate how mean kids can be sometimes. My sister-in-law(Jan) and two nephews have Pachyonychia Congenita (PC). It's a skin disorder that causes them to get painful calluses and blisters on their feet and other problems with their skin and nails. There is a PC project that my SIL's MIL started and my SIL has an area on it where she posts (Jan's corner). Your post reminded me of a time when my nephews were little. Here's a link
http://www.pachyonychia.org/IPCRR/ShowArticle.php?id=442
Jan was so upset she wanted to do as you and ream the little buggers. But instead the whole family went to the bus stop and talked to everyone there, not singling out the perps, but instead educating all of them about their condition and how they were born that way. Things for them got a lot better. And each year gets better, but she also made it a point to either have her or her sons educate their classes at the beginning of each year. Yes, they still get bullied at times, but they've been taught how to stand up for themselves. Thanks for the post.

Courtney Price ~ Vintage Ginger Peaches said...

Ugh... I'm so sorry! Jake is such a cool kid, he shouldn't have to deal with that! Thank goodness you asked when you did!

Even after all the reading I've done, even though I know that the only way to help is for adults to show love to the bully (after all, he's probably got major issues), I still want to go slap the kid! I know that's the wrong reaction... I need to work on that!

The Nelson's said...

I found the post she made about how she resolved the problem.
http://www.pachyonychia.org/IPCRR/ShowArticle.php?id=449
I honestly can't tell you how much I admire my Sister-in-law. She truly has been a great example to me.

Tammra said...

It's interesting that you posted this today. We have had trouble with two boys bullying Parker on and off for the last couple of years. Yesterday at recess one of them hit one of his best friends who is smaller than most boys his age. Then he started picking on Parker and the other bully started helping him. Parker told him to knock it off and called him a freak. Soon the teacher was involved and talked to each boy individually. Parker told her the truth but the two mean boys told her something totally different. She said she obviously wasn't going to get a true story (which broke Parker's heart) and she is now keeping them all in for recess for the next three days together. The day before this happened she had told Parker he is such a good role model. I don't know why she chose not to believe him. I wish our school had a counselor I could call. I need to figure out what to do because experiences like these can really shape a child's life.

Charity Wardleigh said...

I am so glad you are going to call the school. There are lots of times as teachers we don't know that things are even happening, so parents calling is a blessing. I have been dealing with a bullly in my first grade class this year and it is terible. I am totally at a loss on how to even get the situation under control because I have tried a lot of things and nothing has worked. Stay on top of the situation and everything will be well.

Shawnie said...

I went round and round with this with one of my boys who seems to attract bullying like a magnet. It is his life lesson to work through it. He demanded to home school, all kinds of drama, etc. We had several heart-to-heart and significant conversations about this. And then we had a few more. This year, he is fine. He learned to deal with it in a healthier way. He especially learned the art of "don't pick it up". Invaluable tool.

Amy Lindstrom ~ YourLifeUncommon.com said...

Wow! Thank you all for your comments! I will have to post the outcome next week. There has been a lot that has happened. I have to say Hailey Elementary is amazing! I will tell you some of the things the counselor has talked to the boys about, etc.

Lara said...

Oh, your poor boy. My oldest has had to deal with some really mean girls in the past, and it's heartbreaking. I am glad you were able to talk to him and help him know that he has an ally and that he doesn't have to just deal with it.

(visiting from MMB)

Mormon Mommy Blogs said...

Good. For. You.

I am a firm believer in always standing up for your kids. ALWAYS.

big {hugs} for you and your son!

Brian and Kayla said...

He told Jake he was fat? That is a little funny...not trying to play down your post but obviously the little bully was trying to find something...anything...mean to say. That must be hard going through that as his mom. Even as his aunt I'm getting upset with this kid.

Hardy Party said...

Oh Amy, that is so sad.. I hope Jake gets some relief from the bully. One good thing is that schools are really taking this stuff seriously now. We love you...

Sondi

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