Grabbing the BULL-y by the Horns

Probably one of the hardest skills a mom should master is hiding her emotions.  It’s putting on a façade of strength when inside, her spirit is crushed to bits.  I was faced with that challenge last week, when my daughter came home from school, crying.  She said that one of her classmates- I’ll call her K- broke her rosary.

It broke my heart to see my daughter sobbing.  Inside, my blood was curdling.  I pulled out all curse words I knew from my vocabulary, and mentally hurled them at K, stabbing straight through her heart.

It’s not so much about the broken rosary as it is about what my daughter was feeling.  She treasured that object, and seeing the beads fly all over the classroom simply shattered her.

My daughter went on to cite instances when K would forcefully demand her to lend her a pencil, etc.  There was also a time when K scratched my daughter’s forearm, for what reason I don’t know.  What set me off what hearing my daughter tell me that she’s afraid of K.  I now have a new name for K … Bully!

In the school I work at, I’ve seen bullying in all its forms, and educated myself on how to react and what to do if and when that happened to my daughter.  Now that it’s finally happened, all I feel is anger.  All sanity is lost.

I’ve written my daughter’s teacher about it, and we’ll take it from there.  I know this incident may pale in comparison to other cases of bullying, but when it happens to you, it’s simply the worst.

Do you have a bullying tale you’d like to share?

Mommy Red Flag: The Beginnings of Domestic Violence

Pop quiz: Who said the following… “I like to fight her because I don’t want to fall in love with her!  She’s so pretty.”

  1. The neighbor with the unshaved chin and maniacal laugh.
  2. Brad Pitt
  3. A 5-year old boy at school.

If you answered C, you’re right.  I felt my jaw drop and couldn’t believe it myself when I heard that boy say that after slapping a cute little girl smack in the face, making her cry and fall to the floor.  Turns out, he does this on a regular basis.  On one occasion, one of the teachers caught him relentlessly punching that same little girl in the face.

This leaves me utterly stunned, dumbfounded.  I couldn’t make sense of what happened.  I don’t have a degree in Psychology, so I’m clueless about the reason behind that boy’s behavior.  I don’t really feel like Googling this right now…

I am a mother to a girl, and I can’t imagine someone doing that to her.  Just thinking about it sends my blood pressure soaring.

On the other hand, I also pity the boy.  His behavior may be a result of some past traumatic experience.  Could he have special needs which haven’t been addressed?  I reckon this boy has the makings of a future wife-batterer.  Do they really start off this young?  Maybe.  Parents should probably catch this behavior early, and start an intervention plan of action or something.

This is a real eye-opener.  As parents, we should be more vigilant about our children’s behavior.    It’s time to reassess how we are at home and the possible stimuli they get from their social and physical environment.


Kindergarten Cliques: How to Handle Preschool Bullies

Okay, I’ve just added jujitsu, taekwondo, and karate to my martial-arts-to-teach-my-kid-so-she-can-beat-bullies list.  I have briefed my five-year old, and told her to leave no stone unturned and beat the living daylights out of her mean classmates.  I have just finished polishing all the heavy artillery in my arsenal and am ready to bring out the big guns when my daughter goes back to school on Monday.

Before I let the war-freak in me pounce on those bullies without batting a false eyelash, I am going to breathe deeply and count to ten- backwards- and let the calm, collected, poised, and smart mom in me take over.  That’s a difficult feat, I have to admit.

I had the feeling that something was amiss when my daughter came home from school one day with an unusually dejected look on her face.  Normally, she’d come home all jumpy and eager to tell me how her school day went.  When I asked her what was wrong, she told me, “Mama, Teacher said that classmates should love one another.  But why are some of them not nice to me?”  Although there hasn’t been any physical violence, some of her classmates tell her things which clearly have affected her.  Alarms went off inside me, and I had to restrain myself from screaming, “Off with their heads!”  Oh, the nerve of those kids to be mean to my angel of a daughter!

So, what do you do when your kids are bullied?  Short of pulling out your copy of Witchcraft for Dummies and casting a spell on those kids, you should first try to stay calm- unless of course, there has been evidence of physical abuse.

You should definitely let the teacher know.  She’s supposed to be the mom in school, so she should step up and sort things out.  She should be well-trained to handle such cases, and make recommendations for therapy for the bully, if deemed necessary.

Talk to your kid.  Tell her that she doesn’t deserve to be treated that way.  Remind her that she is doing a good job at being nice to them, but if they’re not nice to her in return, she should walk away and not be friends with them.

Boost your kid’s self-esteem.  What’s happening is certainly crushing her spirits, so try to help her regain her confidence by getting her involved in activities which hone her talents and skills.

Teach your kid to stand up for herself.  A little sassiness wouldn’t hurt.  With your kid’s renewed self-confidence, she should be able to know how to fight back without turning out to be the bad guy.    You can help her practice assertiveness at home, by encouraging her to always be open about how she feels about anything.  She should learn to express herself and not allow others to put her down.

It’s never easy fighting bullies.  That “I speak softly, but I carry a big stick!” attitude can be very well put to good use in such situations.  Practice is the key, I guess.

When Your Kid Is The Bully

You can still vividly remember that day when you first dropped off your kid at school.  He was clinging to you like compression hosiery to a woman’s leg.  He was holding on to you for dear life, while wiping away the tears trickling down his chubby cheeks. 

Fast forward to today, you receive a call from his school guidance counselor, giving you not-so-pleasant news that your boy has just punched another kid in the nose.  You feel your entire world cave in as you try to make sense of that incredulous thing you’ve just heard.  Your precious kid has turned into something you’ve never dreamed of- a bully. [Read more…]