Thursday, February 19, 2009

What To Do About Bullies

I felt impressed to share this on my blog, I didn't want to but I hope that there is a reason I write this.
My kid has his very own bully.
I don't know if he technically qualifies as a bully, but there is a kid that picks on him, calls him names and is physical with him. Commander C doesn't want to go to church/scouts if this kid is going to be there. (Can I just say, I am so glad I homeschool. If Commander C was in public school they would be in the same school with the bully 1 grade ahead. Classic.)
I don't fear for my son's safety just yet, but I know this child's family, when he grows up he is going to be a big kid, we are talking star of the varsity football team, my kids are not going to be big - runty is more like(I am not being mean it is just the hard truth) So I think it is best to nip this thing in the bud while they are both puny kids.

Once I learned about "Bully" I went to the trusty Internet for help. I was blown away, all this blabber for years about how serious bullying is and there was no practical help at all. The most common was "Check with your school about their anti-bullying program." Thanks - that really sounds like it will protect my son. Apparently, talking to the bully's parents can work wonders or make things worse. Depends on the kid. My friend says that she tells her son to "punch the little blighters in the nose." While practical, I don't know that it is applicable to our situation yet.

The fact that this is a church bully makes it stink worse. This is the place where people are supposed to be nice to the fat kids, kids with glasses, lisps and every other target. How do you try to convince your kid that the people at church are nice, if they aren't.

How do adults handle bullies? For the most part we don't put ourselves in situations where we have bullies. If someone is mean to us we just steer clear of that person. Kids don't have that option. Generally, if you are an adult dragging your family to 9:00 am sacrament meeting, arriving at 8:30 just to find a seat and them spending 3 hours at church, chances are you want to be there and have made the choice to be nice to other people. I don't have church bullies.

I had found out about this situation by likening the scriptures. I was pulling an Alma to his son Corianton - Commander C. has been having some severe attitude problems and we had decided it was time to call him to repentance. As I was wrestling with this bully business I wondered what the scriptures would say about this. I thought about Nephi and his brothers Not sure that is really bullying and while confounding and shocking the bully with the power of God would probably be effective, I don't think that is going to happen either.

And so, what to do?
Well, I am grateful for the blessing of personal revelation on this one. The thought came to me that we should pray for him. Pray for "Bully" that he will realize the way he is behaving is not right. I know he has been taught this, what he needs is to recognize what he is doing. I suggested to Commander C that we pray for "Bully." He agreed readily. I am praying for Commander C as well that he can bear it and learn from this situation.

And then this morning, to illustrate the point in 2 Nephi 32: 3 "Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. " I remembered this scripture perfect for dealing with bullies " Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." Luke 6:28

Tender mercies. While I may or may not have a talk with "Bully's" parents I will continue to pray for him, and be grateful for the scriptures and personal revelation


Keira said...

Oh blarg. I shall keep a weather eye on the blighter and blight-ee and hope it all comes around right.

Mommy Bee said...

I appreciate your advice. We had some real bully problems ourself last year. I think it's important to remember that sometimes the bully situation is not 'classic' our case, the 'runt' was the bully, and our bigger/taller/older son was the victim. Our son has been taught to be kind, and he very much wanted to be friends with the few kids here in town, so he tolerated a lot of taunting and teasing before we knew what was going on. The day we found out about it was the day that our son finally reached his limit and socked the other kid.
Our son subsequently told us that the bully had said mean things all year, and that he'd told the teacher and the recess supervisor and nobody had done anything beyond a "ok kids be nice" sort of response. Nobody had called us. I think that nobody really registered that the little runt could be bullying the big kid, you know? But it does happen--it's not just size that matters, it's also about personality and character. Our son was raised to be kind and the bully was not.
Thankfully once we knew about it we did get it resolved, but unfortunately I know exactly where the bully learned it--when we sat down to talk with him and his parents about the problem it became clear that he was merely repeating what he saw in his own home every day :(

Afton said...

Oh...I'm so sorry to hear that this is a problem. I know if I was the parent, I would want to know that my kid was not being nice. Of course my first thought was that maybe it was my kid, but we aren't in cub scouts anymore, PLUS, there is no way my kids are going to grow up to be football player sized, except maybe the 4 year old and he's pretty darn sweet.

Anyway, I guess some parents are going to be more open to dealing with these kinds of issues with their own kids and some are going to want to put their heads in the sand and deny.

I really do love your solution and think that you are right to follow the promptings. I'm sure more promptings will come on how to handle the situation as you continue to follow the Spirit.

Anyway, quick story from the biography of Ezra Taft Benson. When he was a kid his dad traveled all the time and was often gone for long stretches. Ezra was being bullied at school and told his mom about it. His mother told him to challenge the bully to a fight and set the date for 6 weeks away. Then she had some guy from the ward come over and teach Ezra to box. Every day he would have lessons with this guy. Then on the day of the fight, his mother asked him what time the fight would be. She told him she would be praying for him during that very moment.

Anyway, I think the kid went down with one punch and the fight was over in a matter of seconds. I just thought it was a humorous and interesting story on many levels.

As if this comment isn't already long enough, I have to wonder some times if our sugar coated, everyone wins, padded-corner society is turning out boring people. I believe our challenges are what shape us, for good or bad I suppose, and give us character. Of course when I'm personally dealing with challenges I could care less about character.

Jenny said...

We had to deal with this in our family with our oldest, Hailey. Unfortunately her "bully" was her cousin :( So, having it in the family was much worse. Hailey really wanted this attention from her older cousin and would do anything to have her older cousin play with her. This cousin would tell Hailey she didn't want to play with her and be very rude to her. Well, when offended my little Hailey (at the time was 6 years old) would sit in the closet at her cousins house. I talked to my SIL and between the two of us we were able to help these girls. It was a great lesson for Hailey in sticking up for herself. I told her that regardless of what was said or done, she had a choice of whether she wanted to have friends like that and telling the person "I will not play with you when you treat me this way" really helped. It took time and of course maturity. It seemed the older she became, the more she could reason and see that surrounding herself with others who treat her with kindness is more important than everyones acceptance. I know your situation is different and as I have a little boy now, I see that boys are much more physical in their bullying rather than verbal although I know both happen. I feel that when a situation becomes "chronic" then parents need to be involved, especially when the kids are little. As they age, then I find that I can help my older kids by helping them learn what to say or do and only when a problem becomes "severe" do I involve parents, because honestly kids need to work most of their problems out without Mommy always stepping in. I did have an experience with Abby where a boy from our ward pushed her down on the way home from school. Dan was so mad, he called this mother of the boy and explained what happened on the way home. The mother told us her son would never do that to another person. So obviously talking to the parent didn't work. I told her sisters to watch out for Abby. It was also a lesson for Abby on teasing, but this boy was and can be a little physical no matter what, from what I've heard from my three girls. I did tell Hailey that if this boy touches Abby again, that she go up to him directly and firmly (loudly) tell him to keep his hands off of her! He has left her alone. I'm sorry this is so long, but I think these are common things to deal with and I love your attitude and hope you receive guidance. I appreciate you sharing all of your thoughts! Your awesome! I miss you!

grandmawhitehouse said...

like all of us, bullies just want to be loved. They do not get the love and attention that they crave at home, therefore, knowing no better they think they can get the love, attention and respect through force. As a wise man once said, "everyone has some good in them". Grasshoppers challenge is to find it and play to that strength. For example, if the bully is smart, C.C. might say to the other classmates (in the bullies presence) Hey Joe, you are one of the smartest guys I know, could you help us with a question...? or if the bully has some special skill or talent, C.C. needs to compliment him on it. When C.C. is choosing team mates for the game, he says "I want Joe, he is my friend and he'll be really good". If C.C. will be persistent and continually, praise, compliment and include Joe, the first time C.C. gets picked on by someone else, guess who will be there to stand up and protect C.C.? That's right, Joe himself. This will work and someday they may be inseparable.

Plan B. Over the last thirty years our society has deteriorated to what you see today, partly because they have left behind the rules we lived by back in the day. In the day when things were much simpler and the secular progressive, politically correct, liberal socialists, had not yet polluted your minds. Life was good and things worked themselves out. We fought our own battles, no one came running to our aid. There was a bully in Japan, we went over and kicked his butt. There was a bully in Germany, we went over and kicked his butt. Desert storm wasn't a few hours old when the bully was surrendering by the thousands. I was bullied all my life, I took it as long as I could, I gave warning, and the next time it happened. KABOOM!*#@ what was that? One properly placed punch to the nose and just like President Benson. The bulling stops forever! And every time it resulted in a new friend. Because now they respected me. They only bully those who do not respect themselves or stand up for themselves. But try plan A. first. Love pompa

Chelsea said...

Okay, after thinking this over after our conversation, I think you should talk to the parents. I think it shows C that you don't let people walk over him or you, and it is also something that can't be ignored. I suppose you could wait it out and see how bad it could get, but IMO that is risky! I also talked to my son about the problem and he noted in agreement that there was a problem (though I didn't mention C's name of course). He said he'd keep an eye out and help keep the problem in check if he could. I am really glad you blogged this b/c i think it could be a learning opportunity for everyone involved. Keep praying, this will work out positively in the end for everyone, I really think! Good luck and keep us posted!

Anji said...

How about talking to the scout leader. They often have more influence over children and could be a useful ally. It’s amazing how when we ask for help it does come, not always in the way we expect.