A Bully’s Bullseye

I, like every other parent in the world, has been deeply disturbed and quite frankly incensed by all the news stories in the last couple of weeks, featuring kids that were bullied beyond what they could bear. Kids by nature are resilient. They learn to adapt to new situations and surroundings much quicker and easier than their adult counterparts. Hence, it really concerns me when a child has been pushed so hard that they can no longer stand living.


This topic touches rather close to home for me. No, I don’t have any horror stories to tell you about being bullied as a child, at least not from other children. When I was a youngster, the adults in my life bullied me enough; but that’s another story for another post. Unfortunately, my concern is for my kids, primarily my son. It’s funny, though, as big as my son is, you would think bullying would be one less thing I would have to worry about. But alas it is not.


You see, my son has a very gently nature. He writes poetry, plays chess, and consistently makes good grades (so he can get into a good college and subsequently get a good job). He certainly is not someone most 13-year olds would consider cool. To the contrary, a lot of his peers consider him soft. But there is still that size thing. Naturally, any little bully, trying to make himself feel tough, is going to pick on the big, soft kid, because he’s not going to fight back. What easier way to get yourself some street “creds”.


But before you jump to conclusions about my son, there are a few things you should know about him and our family. My son comes from a very loving, mostly peaceful home. We regularly attend church and participate in community service projects. And the people we associate with do these things too. He has never really been exposed to the ugly side of life. Pretty much everyone he has ever been around, up until he entered middle school, was nice and positive. So never in a million years, would my son expect some pint-sized 7th grader to sucker punch him, because he didn’t like the outcome of a flag football game played during recess.
When my son came home from school, with visible evidence on his face that he had been in a physical altercation, I was understandably upset; but probably not for the reason most of you are thinking. Bear in mind, we had been down this road before. Last year, my son got hit by a kid he was playing the dozens with, when my son made a remark that obviously hit too close to home. The kid reacted, by punching my son in the eye. My son did not want to get in trouble or expelled for fighting, so he reported the incident to the principal.
When called into the principal’s office, my husband and I were asked if we wanted to press charges against the little boy, who assaulted my son. We declined to involve the law, primarily because at the time we felt that 1) boys will boys and 2) the assailant’s stepfather is a close childhood friend of my husband’s.


However, as a lesson learned from that incident, we told my son that first of all he needs to watch what he says about people; because he never knows what they are dealing with and his words could seriously set them off. And secondly, why in the hell did he allow someone to get all up in his personal space that they could smack him in the first place.


Seeing how he had been in this situation before, I was kind of ticked that my son had allowed yet another little boy (4’ 11’’ by my son’s account) to get close enough to pop him (someone who’s almost a foot taller) in the eye. Not to mention, that I know my son knows how to defend himself. After all he has been taught by the best; his father, a former bodyguard to the stars.


Don’t get me wrong, I am not condoning violence, but I’m also not advocating allowing yourself to become a human punching bag. Because my son failed to defend himself, yet again, I was afraid the he had set himself up to become a bully’s bull’s-eye. I told him that now all the little boys, with self-esteem issue, are going to buck up to him, to try to make themselves feel tough. Unless, of course, he puts a stop to it. After all, bullies, like criminals, tend to pick the easiest targets. The ones that seem like they won’t fight back.


Now, I know some kids, can’t fight back, because they suffer from some physical, mental or emotional impairment. However, kids not in one of these categories should be taught to defend themselves, both physically and emotionally, from bullies. That’s how you shut a bully down. Because the last thing a bully is interested in is a fair fight. After all that’s why they’re bullies.


If you have a question or comment for Kimberly Clark, please send an email to authorkimberlyclark@yahoo.com or check me out on Facebook at facebook.com/authorkimberlyclark

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Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about your son being bullied, but glad to see that you advocate the legitimacy of a kid being allowed to defend him/herself. I don't advocate violence either, but neither do I advocate allowing obedient children to be bullied by the disruptive and disobedient. Sometimes the best lesson a bully learns is to be set back by a quiet, unassuming kid who will stand up for himself. In many schools kids who defend themselves can be suspended along with the kids who start the trouble. I don't agree with that. But, even in such situation (as happened to my son, now grown up), I told him to stand up for himself even if it means getting expelled.

    This is the first post of yours I've read. I like your upfront and direct style.

    wb

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