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:
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!