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News

A Time to Fight Back!

“Mom, he slapped me in front of everyone & threw my backpack in the garbage!” 

“What if I'm hit first?” 

“When should I stand up for myself?” 

“When should I take things into my own hands?”

 

There are thousands of kids being bullied on a daily basis who end up blaming themselves as the reason for their torture. If your child is being bullied, the first thing that you should tell them is that they are not alone.

Some kids clam up, back down, and suffer through it (which may lead to other serious issues). Some kids, however, are ready to fight and defend themselves at the drop of a dime or right as the feeling "I just can’t take it anymore" hits.

Here’s my son’s experience with bullying. 

 The first time my son was bullied in middle school was within the first two months of the first day of school because of his tape line (or haircut). His hair grows in too fast, and I was unable to get him a haircut at the time. He also got bullied about his clothing specifically his sneakers. Because I drilled the following messages into his head from elementary school, he always knew to tell me everything; no matter what:

“Is there anything going on?”  

"It’s important you tell me everything.” 

“I can’t protect you if I don’t know what’s going on.” 

“It’s important that you talk to me.” 

"It’s important that you’re OK.”

 

Here is what I did at the moment:

Counseling my son 

I told him as I normally do when it comes to having the things he has, there are children out there whose parents have died, who don’t know where their next meals will be coming from, or have been abandoned and are currently in foster care.

Educated him about always being grateful for what you have 

I educated him to always be grateful because there are children within this world who do not have nearly as much stuff as he does and there are also children who don’t know when they are going to get their next meal and are missing both parents. To this day, when I offer to buy him things, he asks how much it costs, LOL. (Maybe that’s just a single-mom-and-boy relationship.)

 

Action Causes Reaction

As appreciative as he was for everything he had in his closet, he couldn’t take the bullying anymore. One day he came home, and he didn’t ask for new clothes, which would be the normal response. Instead, he asked, “Mom can I just hit him?! Please! Just one good punch and I can knock him out. I can take him, I know I can.”

A part of me was proud that he came to me to ask for permission, and another part wanted to laugh a little, but I replied, “No you can't ask for permission to hit someone.” After the shock wore off, I felt heartbroken. He felt so bullied that he wanted to take things into his own hands. I immediately thought of suspension.

I told him, “No, I’m sorry, but you just can't." You have to be so confident that people eventually won't care anymore. From there, the bullying died down; he made one savage move, and he told me things at school were normal; everything was good.

 

How Things Got out of Control 

I didn’t hear the stories anymore, and I was relieved until… I saw the school's number on my caller ID, and my heart dropped. I just knew they weren’t calling for anything positive. My son was in the front office; he had been in a fight.

A child called my son a name, and he called him one back. As he was walking out of Header One: My Son Bullying story

the class, he was shoved in the back. He said, "Don’t touch me!" and the kid did it again, the rest was history. My son smacked him right in the face.

I knew my child was scorned from the previous bullying; he had his fill at the moment and lost all control. He felt the sting of being emasculated. The feeling “enough is enough” swept over him. Was my son completely wrong? Yes and no. He could’ve kept walking, even if he was fed up, angry, or on emotion overload. Other boys would have bullied him the next day for being “soft" or a "punk" if he had walked away (a rumor did spread that he lost the fight, but this is another story).

 

The Aftermath of the Fight

After the fight, I discussed the situation with the assistant principal. It eventually became a debate. 

“What is my son supposed to do when he is provoked? What is my child supposed to do when someone puts their hands on him? What is any kid supposed to do when they are hit first?” 

Needless to say, I didn’t get any solid answers. My son was served with three days of internal suspension. Later that day, I talked to him. I explained,

“You got into a fight, and you had to suffer the consequences, I don’t have all of the answers, and I can’t tell you when you should or should not walk away, but you're growing up and you have to figure out what’s worth it and what's not.”

In the next few incidents, he did.

 

The Next Incident

The next incident occurred when my son got switched to another class due to the overcrowding of classes. The school didn’t have another teacher in place, so there was a substitute every day. Why on earth would you split a class when there isn’t a permanent teacher in place is beyond me.

It was a total nightmare. Everyone in the class was horsing around. There was a kid who was hitting everyone with water bottles and stealing things out of backpacks! Then it happened; this kid slapped my kid in front of the entire class and threw his backpack in the garbage. He came home and told me what happened.

I asked him, "What did you do?" 

He said, "Nothing, I just sat there."

He had been learning to pick his battles. In some of these incidents, I wouldn't have been so accommodating myself, but I couldn’t tell him that. All I could tell him was that I was so sorry someone put their hands on him and that I am glad he made his own decision to walk away.

Again my heart dropped because I knew he suffered the embarrassment of being slapped in front of the entire class. He didn’t want to get suspended, and worse, he did not want to fight and not win… the bullying would be worse. Needless to say, I brought fire and fury and countless emails to the substitute, the assistant principal, and the guidance counselor. After a few efforts, he was switched back to his normal class. That child was eventually kicked out of school. This was not even before Christmas.

 

The third incident was the hardest.

 How he Snapped: The Story Behind It                   

My son was in lunch and accidentally spilled milk on a classmate (a troubled child). The assistant principal was there, (the one I had a debate with). He told my son to apologize, but as soon as he was about to, the other boy said, "You’re lucky he (the assistant principal) was there.” My son, being prideful, didn’t say sorry. That same day, in class, the kid wrote on a piece of paper, “[my son] is gay”. My son tried to take the note to the teacher, but it got snatched away and put in the garbage…the taunting continued.

 

The Dreaded Call               

My phone rang at work; my heart dropped again. It was his 6th-period teacher. My son was in trouble... and did the most horrific thing; the blood from my face drained; I was devastated. “That can't be true. That’s not my child. There’s no way.”

I was told that the assistant principal, his teachers, and a school psychologist would have to assess the situation, and the worst-case scenario would be that he will be expelled from school...

 

How I Handled It

I got home and treated it like a normal day. I laid down on the bed, and he came to me and said,

"Mommy I have to tell you something."

I said, “OK." 

I tried to hold my patience so that my child could tell his side of the story without any fear. And it worked. Here’s what happened:

Immediately tears started strolling down his face,

“Mommy, I accidentally spilled milk on this guy at lunch." 

He continued, "I tried to apologize, but he said 'You’re lucky [the assistant principal] was there.' So I didn’t apologize. In class, he started talking about me and wrote notes about me, and passed it around the class, calling me gay. I tried to grab the paper, but he crumpled it up and threw it in the garbage. I tried to tell the teacher, but the teacher told me to go back to my seat... When I got back to my seat, they were tormenting me." 

I asked, "OK, then what happened…" 

He said (tears streaming down his face), "I said…." (more tears)… "I said, 'If I knew where you lived, I would kill you.'"

"Baby I know.”

 “You know?”

"Yep." 

"You’re not mad?" 

"Hell yes, I am mad! But I’m more concerned than anything! Honey, what are you doing? Have you lost your mind?! I get it, Middle School is a bitch, kids are horrible! You’ve been bullied! But how did we get to the point where you threaten someone’s life? Do I really believe that you will miss the school bus and follow someone’s home to do something crazy? No! But is it possible?! Look at what happened in Parkland! Do you know the consequences of saying those specific words? Do you know the consequences of kids being troubled when no one takes them seriously?! Look at Parkland!"

“Mommy I'm so sorry, I didn’t mean it. I was just angry.” (Tears turned from slow in a full-out sob).

 

The discussion with the school

The Assistant Principal called, they assessed my child with all of his teachers. They were not going to expel him; they were not going to suspend him either, but he had to serve a week in Internal Suspension.

I told them, "THANK YOU. I am so sorry this happened, I appreciate the caution you took, but my baby will NEVER EVER go down this route again."

I was grateful for the strategies they had in place.

It’s Time to Take it Seriously

We live less than 3 miles away from Parkland, FL. If you know anything about Parkland, you know that a gunman opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School, killing 17 students.

The school took it seriously, I took it seriously. I knew this was serious. 

I knew my kid was tormented by his clothes, his shoes, his haircut, and he walked away. I knew he was provoked and pushed, and I knew he was slapped in the face. I knew we could handle this together. Never in my wildest dreams would I think he would ever EVER utter those words.

 

Here’s my note to you                             

Just Be There

Be there for every incident. Talk to your child, but don’t get too upset when you know the answers. Don’t leave them afraid of wanting to tell you things in the future. Remember to be on their side, even when you’re not. 

Help them Learn from Mistakes

When the first situation happens, have a conversation with the school about how to prevent this or stop this from continuing

 

Conclusion

Most bullies don’t even want to fight. They feel empowered simply by belittling others or they are showoffs. Other bullies want to feel the pain of being in a physical altercation. Training in martial arts or boxing can provide benefits for handling a bully. It teaches principles of patience, special techniques of defense, and gets out physical frustration in a safe environment.

Combating bullying starts with the WARNING SIGNS: IS YOUR CHILD BEING BULLIED? Is your child starting to act differently? They may be exhibiting some signs of being bullied? Read about specific warning signs here:

What is your experience with bullying? Do you know of anyone that suffered through bullying? Combating bullying is a community effort; maybe your experience can help someone else. Please comment below.

For affirmations you can instill in your child, please follow us on Instagram! Check out our daily affirmations on Instagram!

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