As a mom, it rips your heart out to see your child cry. Whether it be something simple as a skinned their knee, fear of a bug, or just plain mad, no mom wants their kid to cry, but let’s face it, skinned knees are easier to fix…being mistreated…not so easy!
After a recent letter I wrote to my girls, I got to thinking about all the trouble we went through to help T at school when she was being bullied. It was awful! We had no idea what to do. The pain, the tears, the fact that she kept quiet about for so long…we ALL were hurting.
T knew from day one, that we “had her back”, but it took her YEARS to tell us what was really going on. I remember one morning, she was in her room for so long getting dressed. We were running late and I went into her room to tell her to get a move on. She probably had 10 pairs of pants on the floor and she was just standing there crying! I asked what was wrong and through her sobbing she said, “I just don’t know what to wear, that they won’t make fun of me in!”
This was the 2nd year in a row that this had been going on. T didn’t tell us anything. Everytime we asked what happened, she wouldn’t tell us. She said she didn’t want to make it worse, or she didn’t want to get them in trouble. I even pulled her sister into my room and asked if she knew. We had our suspicions.
After that morning, I had “HAD IT!” This was the last straw! I wanted my happy, giggly, fun little girl back!
I emailed the school. She wouldn’t tell the teacher who it was. She got in the car that afternoon, and I asked how her day was. She just put her head down. I asked her STRAIGHT OUT, if it was a certain girl and she put her head down again, and said, “I don’t know.” Her sister said, “You need to tell us so we can help you!” She finally admitted who it was. THEN it all came out. All the teasing…all the making fun…all the PAIN, FINALLY came flooding out! I cried right along with her. So did her sister.
I emailed the school AGAIN! I emailed the principal! I emailed THE parents!!!!!! I had even had emails from OTHER MOTHERS who had heard from their own kids of this going on at school to T.
One night, I went into her room at bedtime, and we had a “chat”! 😉 I told her the reason that they were teasing her was because she was smart and beautiful and THEY KNEW IT! They knew she was well-loved, she had a great family, and they WANTED THAT! I told her that “we had her back”. We didn’t want to make things worse for her at school, but we were NOT going to allow things to continue like they were. We were NOT going to allow HER to keep quiet anymore!
I also told her something that took me YEARS to discover, and I’m still learning to apply to my own life…”We will NOT allow anyone to choose for US, how we are going to feel about OURSELVES!” No one has that right!
The school and teachers were supportive. The parents were… as I expected…defensive.
I started writing everything down! The teacher got involved. The principle came to me and said “this is unacceptable”. We were blessed with a school that was so supportive.
As a parents, it was the hardest thing we ever went through. The doubt that we went through…should we let her handle it, or should we have pushed her sooner to tell us, or did we just make things worse by getting involved…
OH, AND LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING…the CRAP, I got from other people!!! HA!! So called friends….
….“She is too SENSITIVE.”
….“She needs to learn to handle this kind of stuff now as a kid or she’ll never be able to handle it as an adult!”
….(and my personal favorite) ….“Is SHE the one upset or ARE YOU?”
All children need to learn to stand up for themselves; however, they CAN NOT and SHOULD NOT be expected to stand up to bullies all by themselves. We are their parents! The Lord trusted us to take care of them, when He gave them to us. We CAN NOT sit by and let this happen to them and expect them to KNOW what to do! They DON’T know what to do…THEY ARE KIDS!!!!
I did have support…my family who had seen the changes in T, and a few close friends…
I had one mom, who had gone through it with her son. She was a HUGE support. She was the one who told me to keep records of everything. I would have felt very ALONE without her! She made me feel “normal”. She made me realized we were doing the right thing.
SO….here we are…almost 3 years later. T is my happy, giggly, fashionista, sport-loving, “straight A’s” kid again. We still have our up’s and down’s, but both my girls know that their Mom and Dad are their biggest supporters and they know that NO MATTER WHAT, we will love them and be there if they need us.
Please know, if you are going through this with your child…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Keep records of everything…NO MATTER HOW SMALL IT SEEMS AT THE TIME!
Get INVOLVED! Get teachers INVOLVED!
Tell them that…THEY ARE NOT ALONE! If they are not talking to you, tell them they need to talk to someone! (We started a “journal” with T. She would write in it and put it under my pillow at night, and I would write back and put it under her pillow.)
There is support out there! Find it! Don’t try to do it alone!