"You have my permission to shove him right back. And if teacher says something Dad and I are there for you." , are words I never thought I would have to say.
It came to be when my 6 year old son after repeated similar stories told me, tears in his eyes -
"He (his friend) wouldn't stop pushing me and pulling at my jacket. It was hurting my neck. Even after I told him to stop so many times. So after some time I agreed to do what he wants so he became good to me again."
My blood boiled and my voice choked as I pondered over what to say to my son who never wants to hit back because, " I want to choose to do the right thing and follow the rules. And If I hit back teacher will get angry on me. "
I controlled my mama bear instincts and told him, "When you let him do that to you, you are giving him permission to be mean to you. Anyone who pushes you or says mean things to you is not a friend. The only thing left to make him understand is, to do to him what he's doing to you. But first thing in the morning tomorrow tell him to not ever push you around again or you will not be his friend. "
I abhorred having to say it. I wish kids just knew when to stop when someone said No!
Be the bully or be bullied. Are those are only choices a child has? As adults we know it is not always the nemesis that is the bully. Often it is a friend who loves bossing you around. And that is somehow much worse.
I have seen mothers turning a blind eye when their kids punch, kick or climb on my kids. I have seen fathers rough housing violently to make their son "manly". I have been on play dates where when kids really going at each other or throwing stuff around and parents pass it off saying, " That is just how they play. " (insert eye roll). If it's not that it is kids saying mean things that leave me and my kids hurt.
We have a strict no hitting, no rough housing policy in our home. Since my son has always had a vivid imagination we have been very clear about the difference between pretend and real fighting. Always be kind, have due respect for others things and pay attention if someone is not happy with your playing.
Seems to me, we are one of the few parents who have been doing that. This piece of my heart that walks around in the world has been kicked, pushed, punched and climbed upon. And we as a family take the brunt when we see him hurt in anyway. As a mama bear I only know how I have controlled my desire to set that kid right!
I have been trying to find resources to help your kids handle being bullied and the only things are, “ Walk away. Tell an Adult. Use Positive Voice. Say Stop. “ These don’t work! Specially in an scenario when adults aren’t present to monitor kids. When I googled bullies, the third search result is “ bullies at work “. This behavior just keeps escalating till the person faces someone bigger than them and gets a taste of their own medicine.
" Never pick a fight with an older or bigger kid. " What a person listening hears is, " It is okay and easy to pick on someone who doesn't fight back or who is smaller. "
We all want our kids to be strong. To not be the one being pushed around. Parents try to find ways to impart strength. But we end up teaching them intimidation techniques.
They let kids do whatever they want. Encourage them to fight, like really go at it. Give them the power to drop them, win a fight or punch them without a world. Pretend to threaten a time out but secretly be happy that their kid showed the others who was boss! But in the process they end up creating someone who does not understand that there are personal boundaries that they cross over when they push around other kids (literally and figuratively).
Instead of your desire to make your kid "stronger" than the other kids, why don't people think about making kids "kinder" than other kids?
Because the only disturbing thought I have on my mind is, " I regret not raising a bully. "