Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sticks and stones

Ok before I start, I am typing this with Ollie in his new (second-hand) and Patrick playing trains next to me so I may have to go at any moment.

What do we do about bullying?

I was hoping to not have to consider all of these issues until Patrick was ready for school.


The daycare P attends is having a week-long fundraiser for breast cancer, and they requested the kids all wear something pink. Considering I had nothing better to do than study, I immediately accepted the challenge to make Patrick something to wear. I made two t-shirts- one a white one with a pink star on the front, and another pink one with a train. He wore the pink star one on Monday, with a pair of skate-y long shorts (and the waistband of his Wiggles pullups showing. Dawg).

As we walked to his room I as astounded to hear two older boys (in the pre-K room, so 4 or 5) say as we approached "Is that a boy or a girl? Look, he's wearing PINK so he must be a GIRL" lol lol lol.

Luckily I don't think Patrick got it and he walked on, regardless.


I'm probably drawing a long bow here* but maybe there was this discussion at that little boy's home: "They have to wear pink this week"
"Bullshit. Pink's for girls, my boy's not a girl, he's not wearing pink. This is bloody political correctness gang bullshit. Next thing you know they'll be having Ramadan and banning Christmas" (Ok the last bit is a bit OTT, but you catch my drift).

At least they didn't call him a poof.

As I said, I was shocked, so i ended up not saying anything to the staff, although now I think I should have.

But what to teach Patrick?

Part of me nods in agreement with each side of the fence on bullying. "Bullying is unacceptable, leads to children being isolated, unhappy and stressed and should not be accepted in any setting" but also "we can't insulate our children from all the bad things in life, and teaching them to deal with the bad stuff will make them more resilient and prepares them for the ugliness of real life". After all I was bullied at school and look how I turned out.

Insecure, with poor self-esteem and still hurt by all the barbs. Hmmmmmmmm

If you teach the child to answer back to the bullies it potentially opens them up to more bullying. Similarly, no-one likes a dobber, and he may be tauted more for being a crybaby.

Probably the best defence against bullying is to laugh. "With" them, not at them. If someone's trying to make you feel bad, laughing makes them feel that their jibes don't hurt and it de-powers the insult. But how do you explain that to a 2-year old?

We all want the best for our children. I think I've said it before that the thing I don't want the most for either of my boys is for them to be nerdy, daggy outsiders. The ones whose only frinds are the fat kid and the weird smelly kid. Because that was me, and thank Christ I was academically gifted because otherwise I would've quit school early, as the only thing of interest to me was learning. (sorry Alex, Renee, but it was true and I think we all know it). I don't mind them being 'just another kid', not the most popular, but also not the loner. (I'd really love for them to be the nerdy but sporty one with the looks- the one that the cool girls all have a secret crush on, but would only ever admit to under threat of 'truth, dare or torture'...
Girl 1: "Patrick?!"
Girl 2: "Yeah, Patrick- he has the most amazing green eyes, and have you seen him in boardies? HOT"
Girl 3: "I saw him surfing the other day and he is awesome"
Girl 4: "He's so lovely- he was my partner in chemistry last year and he's really funny and smart, and kind. He was so nice to me when I didn't understand something, and he'd explain it to me really well."
Girl 5 (the slutty one): "Yeah, I'd do him"
-more lolz-
Girl 1: "I can see it, now you say it, yep. He's hot"
Girl 3: "His little brother Oliver is hot too, he's in year 9 and all the girls there love him but no-one would say it"
and Patrick suddenly becomes the bookies' choice for school captain 2025.

Yes, this is a fantasy of mine I spend some time thinking about, normally when I'm doing laps and some school group turns up and I can see the group dynamics forming... which one would I like Patrick to be?


Wow, that's a long way off course.

What to do. Suggestions?

Next post: photos

* speaking of which, MrT and I are addicted to the Ranger's Apprentice series. Sad, very.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i feel supremely unqualified to have an opinion here, although i realise i will have to face this soon if you are facing it now.

i do wonder about how we'll deal with the kids who say you can't have two mums and that kind of thing. but i haven't figured out the answer yet. soon it will be time to do some reading i think.

i don't think i have ever fantasised about what the twinkle will be like as a teenager (or what her classmates will think of her). but maybe i will give this line of thought a go sometime soon.

patrick's outfit sounds v cool.

16/10/09 05:35  
Blogger E, SS and the Little Man said...

Recently our friends' six year old was being bullied at school. He was so afraid of the kid that he was hiding it from his parents. He told his 8 year old sister, that's all. It went on for a few weeks, and then the bully pulled down his pants at school. When he told his sister about it, she said he would have to tell mom and dad, or she would. He told his parents and they went to the school to talk about it.

I was so appalled at this story. I am a bit naive about how young this bullying starts. I couldn't believe a six year old was acting so horribly (the bully), and I couldn't believe that J was so scared that he couldn't even tell his own parents. How could he be that scared at 6 years old? I also wondered what had made this other 6 year old into a bully at such a young age.

17/10/09 16:25  

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