This image circulated on Facebook a while ago and I find it quite powerful. Sadly I have had to deal with the effects of hurtful words and verbal bullying with my 3 boys over the past few weeks. As a parent to have your child come home from an activity in tears caused by hurtful words is heart breaking and infuriating.
It all started with my gentle soul, Alexander, occasionally saying he was being excluded from an activity because he wasn’t “good enough” broke my heart. So as a newly self-employed mom with time flexibility I went to watch and didn’t see signs to indicate anything as amiss so we had a talk and I hoped things would settle down. However, his confidence seemed to be taking a knock and I couldn’t see the cause.
Then Oliver, a gentle and easy going soul with a twinkle in his eye, came home saying similar things. And Oliver is a bit of a tough cookie so this made me uneasy. Unfortunately Max’s temper flare ups meant I was side tracked into a peace keeping role at home and making sure we all survived each day without heading out to A&E (them or me!).
And then on Friday after I had a quick chat to the activity organisers in question, Max comes home in tears – utterly distraught and upset and angry – verbal bullying being the cause. I saw red – literally – my inner lioness broke free and I may just have roared. To see you children crying and upset by ugly words said to them over and over again by their peers is gut wrenching. and I know kids will be kids and boys will be boys – but seriously. Day in and day out to say nasty things to another child is not on. And certainly NOT the way I have raised my children. And should I hear they have been terrorising another child in this way there will be hell to pay.
Oliver & Alexander have been forthcoming to some degree – but not specifics – just some boys have been saying they are stupid, or dumb, or the worst at x or y or can’t do x or y. Until Friday I hadn’t been aware of the fact that one boy was verbally bullying Max – but from his complete melt down I suspect it has been happening for a while. Heavens I WISH boys would TALK to you! He did eventually say it was just one boy doing this – but good grief – look at the damage this ONE child has done to him. It would also help to explain, to some degree, the 180 swing in his behaviour over the past few months.
Another meeting this morning and I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be handled effectively and corrective actions put into place, while I try and rebuild the confidence and belief in themselves of my 3 children.
WORDS HURT and as parents we need to remember this all the time – the casual “don’t be stupid” might be chipping away at a little hole in your child’s psychi or misinterpreted by young child. Comparing children’s abilities and achievements to others is also not helpful – I remember reading something about parenting twins and being advised not to compare them to each other or other siblings especially when it came to school results and achievements. They will probably do this themselves and that is ok – but for parents to say “You should be more like Johnny who is good at spelling” is counter productive and damaging.
And let me be clear – I am in NO WAY an over-protective Helicopter-type paren – my boys go to bed hungry if they don’t eat dinner, get bad marks if they don’t prepare schoolwork in time etc.
But if your kid starts verbally bullying my kid .. I might just have to come bring out my lioness claws and go on the prowl…