About a year ago we went through a really tough time with our son being bullied at school. It took many months of play therapy to help him deal with it and about the same amount of time for myself in counseling to learn how to not fall down crying in a heap on the floor at the mere thought.
I received a call from a school Mom today, her child is going through the same as our boy did last year, courtesy of the same little group of fuckers. (Doos is just not a strong enough word here). I’m hoping the school will deal with it better this time, but that’s a whole other story.
It made me think of how far we’ve come, sometimes 3 steps back before we could inch forward, but we’re getting there.
Something that Mom said today about how she is opening dialogue with her son really hit home. Our son starts smirking when he feels scared or threatened. It’s his coping mechanism. He also doesn’t disclose easily, we’ve had to find other ways to get him to open up.
So I thought, why don’t we play the Bully Game?
As we sat down to dinner tonight we said we had an awesome idea, why don’t they (the kids) pretend to be bullies and they can say absolutely anything horrible and we would respond like we were the ones being bullied.
They looked at us like we were mad.
Then our boy started out. We oooeeeed and aaahhhd, thought long and hard and looked perplexed and then offered a come-back which they had the right to agree with or not.
It was like a verbal diarrhea of junk that came tumbling out. I think it was cathartic because he (and the Sussies) were free to just blurt it all out. We could see in his face when he was having fun and making stuff up and when he was repeating what has been said to him. It was the most he’s ever told us, knowingly or unknowingly. It gave them all the freedom to entertain that dark side we are forever telling them to suppress.
This is huge. It is monumental.
The lesson for me is really about the fact that, the more we, as parents, freak out, the worse it is for the child. There is much more value in being constructive about things like this, opening the door for them to feel safe enough to talk and to never, never make them feel weak for having to go through something like that, no matter how good our intentions are.
The world is full of bullies, whether you’re 9 or 39, so I’d rather us teach our kids to think on their feet and to allow them to practice how to deal with it. To take the power away from the bully.
Because fear is what fuels a bully, and when you can laugh in their face or verbally put them in their place they longer have any power over you.
Whether you’re 9 or 39.