I can’t believe I even have to write about this, but here it goes: Our oldest (second grader) came home today and told us he had a bad day. When we asked why, he told us an older boy hit him, pushed him over, and then kicked him when he was down. Our son was very matter of fact about it, but when I asked him later, he said that he did cry when it happened and his teacher sent him down to the school nurse. He was supposed to talk to the principal as well, but she was out of the office at the time, so we told our son to make sure he talks to the principal tomorrow. My husband is going to stop in too.
What disturbs me the most is the way my son recounts this and says that the kid kicked him, not just once, but twice, when he was already down. When I asked Bren if he was ok, he didn’t appear upset but said, “not so much.”
Words are failing me. How do I help him understand how to deal with this? I sat down with him this afternoon, when he first got home, and I told him to avoid being alone with this other child. I also asked him to talk to us or the school counselor (who is the mom of one of his best friends) if he needed to talk about what he was feeling. But I can’t stop thinking about it right now – according to my son, the kid didn’t say anything before, during, or after the incident. How do you talk through a problem with someone who just does this out of the blue?
Bren was the target of bullying in kindergarten too. How wrong is that? What on earth could possess a 5 year old to pick on another 5 year old?? The after-school teacher told us that this other kid zeroed in on Brennan like a heat-seeking missile, almost every time.
And we’re not even to junior high, when the worst of the bullying happens.
My husband was picked on too. Unfortunately for the kid who did it, my husband studied karate for years before the infamous “show down.” So this makes me wonder, for physical bullying is this what it comes down to? Violence isn’t the answer, but I have to think self-defense has to be. What does that mean for me as a parent?
Our son is different. He’s not a sporty kid. He doesn’t meet those cliched genderized notions of “boy” that seem to provide some sort of protection for them when they’re young, but matter less and less as they become men. I feel the pressure to change it… to change the inputs we give him, because maybe he won’t feel alienated as he gets older. Then I get mad and wonder why it has to be that way. I want him to be truly himself, with all his quirks and his wonderful, loving personality. It sucks that I’ve even had these thoughts of “fitting in” pop into my head.
I really am at a loss. I want him to be resilient and self-sufficient. I want him to be safe to be himself. How on earth do you get there from here?