Thursday, January 31, 2013

Childhood Bullies

I mentioned before that when I was in Kindergarten, I got bullied on the school bus from day one. I didn't do anything to provoke it. I simply got on the bus and sat down directly behind the bus driver to only be called a "chink" and have things thrown at me from the back of the bus by a 4th grade boy. Once my mom found out she was FURIOUS and typical mom, she got on the bus the next day, found the boy, and basically told him to leave me alone. The bus driver said that he would look out for me and he did. My bus driver, Mr. Frank, became my hero that year. My mom told the principal about it and my principal scheduled a meeting with my mom and the boy's mom. That's when we found out why the little boy acted the way he did. His mom was the same way! My mom described her as a racist as well as a few other not so nice things. His mom used to volunteer at my school and when she'd supervise on the playground she'd be so mean to me after the meeting with my mom. She wouldn't let me have one of the playground balls or would always yell at me for no reason. I'd tell my teacher and the mom would basically say that I was a liar. Long story short, my mom handled it and I never got bullied again after that kindergarten year. Oddly enough I ran into my bully when I got to high school. I told him how much of a jerk he was to me and asked him why? He said he honestly didn't remember doing any of those things to me and sincerely apologized. He explained his upbringing and said how he's matured and is nothing like his family anymore. It was shocking that he didn't remember any of it when it was such a traumatizing part of my life.

So yesterday, JAM gets off the bus and he has a bloody lip and a stain of blood on his shirt! I freak and I asked him what happened. He said that a big kid pulled his arm for no reason, which made him fall and hit his lip on another kid's knee that was in the aisle. You can tell that he was holding back tears and I asked him what's wrong. He started tearing up and said he doesn't know why that big kid did that. My heart broke, but I was furious! Honestly, I wanted to hunt this kid down and kick his you know what! BUT clearly that's not the right thing to do so we talked about it. I asked him if the kid was picking on him or if it was an accident. JAM said that it wasn't an accident. We went on and on about it and I was trying to understand the situation more. Since JAM was real little we've always talked about bullying: What to do if he sees it and what to do if he's a victim. We've also always told him that we are his safe zone. He can always come to us if it happens. He won't get in trouble if he tells us and we won't cause a scene and embarrass him in front of his peers (since that seems to be his biggest concern).

My son is such a social butterfly. He makes friends real easily and he always sees the good in people. He loves making new friends, but as parents we try to explain to him the difference between bullies, friends, and people who just try to use you. Sometimes if I see it happening I'll pull him aside and explain it to him to show what real friends shouldn't do, but in the end he always just says "They are my friends, and I just want to play". I still try to make him aware of it from time to time, but I figured he'll just have to learn like I did as a kid. Plus, what do you really expect from a 6 year old? After this incident happened it made me sad when he couldn't understand why this big kid was mean to him when he didn't do anything. I could see it in his eyes. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. We simply talked it out until we both felt better. We talked some more about bullying and friends. I even showed his a few YouTube videos to show him a different perspective.

Mahal said that it easily could have been an accident that the boy was just trying to play around with JAM and didn't mean for him to get hurt. He said to wait it out to see if it happens again before reporting it to the school. I was still hesitant. I felt like I should report it even if it was an accident so they had it on record just in case there was another incident with this child again. After talking to fellow moms I decided to write a letter to the principal explaining what happened. Accident or not, my baby boy bled. Hopefully this is the first and last time I'll have to deal with something like this, but something tells me this is just one of many bloody battles I may face especially with the way kids are these days. *sigh*

How would you handle the situation if you were me?