Back off bully

A FELLOW blogger discussed workplace bullies recently, a TV show on sex changed tack and talked about bullying (in regards to a person’s sexuality) and then today, I witnessed my son deal with two bullies.

Time To Blog.

I was never really bullied as a kid. I was such a scared, little thing that most people probably weren’t even aware of my existence. But I was petrified at the prospect of being bullied. I remember being asked to count to 100 once on the school bus by a much older, aggressive-looking child. I couldn’t and didn’t and he went away. Phew.

Nor do I think I was ever really bullied in the workplace – sabotaged by incompetence and undermined on occasion, but not bullied. I wouldn’t know how to handle a bully.

But I may be guilty of bullying myself, by reinforcing negative stereotypes of homosexuals while refering to things as “gay” – you know, “that’s so gay”. I’ve even done this in front of friends who are gay. My bad, I know, but I don’t see people in terms of sexuality and it’s simply a bad habit I’ve fallen into.

Watching the show, however, I made a quiet pledge to stop using “gay” as a derogatory term.

But onto my son.

At the water park today I watched two, much older girls, hog a particular pool of water that both my children had taken a liking to. My daughter, rambunctious and carefree as she is, took no pains in wedging herself between the girls. And, girls being girls, thought this little gregarious baby was just wonderful and made room for her.

But when my son wanted a turn, he stood waiting patiently as they deftly flicked their hair and pointedly ignored him. I had seen an earlier altercation between him and one of the girls where she pushed him down a slide. Not in a “weeeee” kind of way, but more like “I don’t like you now get off” kind of way. So I almost certainly already had my back up. They continued to play and he continued to wait.

No other parents were intervening, so I went over and asked Son if he was okay. He told me he wanted his turn and I reminded him about being patient. I waited with him and when he grumbled again, I taught him how to ask nicely if he “may have a turn please”.

Pouting, one offender surrendered the baby pool and her sidekick tried to sidle in after her, effectively keeping Son out. Using my best, “I’m a parent and I’m being reasonable when I really want to turf you out of the toddler zone, you school-aged shit!” I explained that Son was next. More pouting but she conceded and Son got to sit in the pool and squeal like the kid on Billy Madison who sits on the sprinkler.

It was a good end result. For him anyway. I’m left to wonder if, when I drilled into him that screaming and harassing other children to get your own way is Not Cool, I instead turned him into a polite, quiet victim. I’m wondering where the happy middle lies between not being a victim of bullies and not becoming one yourself.

Advice on dealing with bullying, click here.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Emma
    Dec 05, 2010 @ 22:06:36

    What a great post. It is so tempting to whisper in your childs ear to “push her back” that would never do. Do nothing and then what?
    xx

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Random Words Wednesday « PetaJo

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