Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Kid is Being Bullied

"Mom, Dad, I'm in pain.  Please help me."
Every parent's worst nightmare.  Your kid is being bullied and you don't know what to do about it.  Do you teach your kid to fight back?  Do you teach him to turn the other cheek?  Do you go to the authorities?  The answer is YES!  To every one of those questions.  Do SOMETHING.

Here is what I did  when it happened to my son.  He came home from middle school and told me that on the way to lunch as they passed a parent waiting to pick up her preschooler, his friend had made some disrespectful remarks to the woman.  It was obvious from her vehicle that she was in a low income bracket.  The boy made rude remarks about her car.  After they passed, my son said, "You shouldn't talk to her that way.  She can't help it if she is poor."  That did not set well with the friend, so he began making fun of my son.  When my son got home, we discussed what the friend had done to both the woman and my son.  Then we discussed options of how to handle the situation. The following day, the boy's comments became more hurtful to both the woman and my son.  Again that afternoon, we discussed options. 

This pattern continued for several days.  Finally one afternoon, my son said, "Mom, I've tried everything you've told me and nothing has worked.  I am afraid I'm going to have to fight him."  Now the rule at my house was that if you got in trouble at school, you could double that when you got home.  I answered, "Well, if you have to I understand."  He said, "Am I going to be in trouble at home?"  I answered, "No, because you are taking up for that woman who can't defend herself.  Just remember that there will be consequences at school, so be sure that it is worth them."  He said he understood and was willing to accept the consequences at school, but he felt like he had to stop the abuse the 'friend' was giving that innocent woman.

The following day, I called the counselor at school.  I told her the situation and said, "Now I don't mind if he is punished, but I just don't want him kicked out of Honor Society."  School rule was that if the principal intervened, expulsion from Honor Society was mandatory. She said, "I think we will let the coaches handle this."  That afternoon, my son came home and told me that he and his 'friend' had been called into the coaches office.  The coach held a piece of paper in his hand and told the 'friend' that it was a list of witnesses ready to testify to the abuse he was doling out to my son and the mother waiting for her child.  The 'friend' deeply apologized and then went out of the office and told all of the other participants that the coach had the list.  When they didn't believe him, he said, "I saw the list and your name was on it so you better stop it." 

I stood as my son told me this and never told him that I had called the counselor.  He knew that there was no list, but he didn't know how the coach had seen all this take place.  He was out of college before I told him the truth.

But Theresa, I've done all that and it didn't work.  Now what do I do?

You get your child in counseling.  You continue to work with the school administrators.  You go before the school board if necessary.  If nothing else works--Homeschool your child. 

I don't know how to do that.

There are self paced curriculum sold on line that any student can do.  Hire a tutor if necessary.

I can't afford that.

Barter.  Clean house for the tutor.  Cook for them.  Do repairs around their house.  Take care of their lawn. 

Last but not least, there are laws in every state against harassment.  Do not hesitate to press charges if nothing else works.

Above all---DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD IN THAT SITUATION.

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