I thought we were prepared. We had the tools. We had the skills. We had the knowledge and the know-how. We were ready. We were so ready I wrote about it on Country Girl at Heart because I was so proud of how she handled it the first time up. But…
I was wrong. Ella has been getting bullied at school. For a month, at least.
In the face.
By a boy.
And she most definitely doesn’t want to chat about it with me. Somehow this finally came up on a night I was working and she spilled the beans to her dad. He tells me it sounds like her little brother knew about it too. He pleads the fifth. And he’s four. So that’s going nowhere.
Despite her reluctance to tell me much, I did get a few facts that night when I got home from work and heard the news. Apparently it’s been happening since at least Easter. He hits her regularly (although not in the face until now), and the teacher never sees it happen. I did talk to her about what to do. More specifically what to do now that she’s let it go on for so long.
Ugh. That’s the part that kills me. She’s letting it happen. She isn’t standing up for herself anymore. What happened?
I can suppose that at the beginning of the year, when she stood up to her first bully, our chats were recent and she was in a new situation where nobody really knew how shy and quiet and timid she really was. So she had the fresh-on-the-brain ideas, the gumption to get it done & prove herself, and a handful of new friends to stick up for.
But way back then it was someone she didn’t know and who wasn’t in her class. This time around she’s spent an entire school year with him. So she knows him and he knows her. He knows she’s quiet and shy and timid. He knows she’s a perfect target, just like I knew she would be. She’s my mini-me, in so, so, so many ways.
But she had the tools. She had the know-how. For crying out loud she had a smidge-bit of experience that proved to her that those tools and know-how work!
So at this point I’m going to have to give up my laundry list of “why” questions and move on.
Here’s the advice her dad gave her… “Hit him back.”
That’s it. Ka-Pow. Go Ronda Rousey on his punk ass. Lights out. Goodnight Irene.
And I agree…
but I don’t.
But I do…
Was I surprised by his advice? Well, we did name our other kid Cassius. As in Cassius Clay. As in Muhammad Ali. So…
Ugh. Where do I stand on this???
Well, I’ve hit a guy that deserved it and you know what, he never came back for more. I think he was embarrassed. And he should have been, the jerk. Of course I was in college and even though that sucker was twice my size and thought he could push me around at a concert he got taught a lesson. Wrong-o Mr. Macho. I’ll punch you in the face, so don’t you dare push me around!
So see, I agree with the hubs…
but maybe not in Kindergarten.
But maybe yes in Kindergarten.
You gotta set the tone and the tone she’s set right now is “If you hit me, I won’t tell.”
And now she’s been hit by two different boys in her class.
By TWO boys.
A second helping of Awesomesauce.
Remember when I said I hit that guy? I set the tone. For sure. Because six or more months after that encounter we were in an establishment together, in a group of mixed friends and he was artfully dodging any type of engagement with me. Eye contact, conversation, etc. And as far as I knew I’d never met him. But he remembered me. For sure. He admitted how he recognized me. He wasn’t going to mess with me. Ever. Tone Set.
So here I am back at my daughter’s situation and my issue isn’t just that she’s set the wrong tone but that other kids apparently know it. And now instead of standing up for her like a boy should do, yet another kid is taking shots at her. Because he knows.
He knows she won’t tell.
There it is again.
She won’t tell.
I’m pretty sure I’m worried about her future at this point. I know. I may be a bit overboard on the tizzy on this one, but I’m afraid she’s set the tone and if she doesn’t fix it asap she’s in for a long row to hoe. Thank the Good Lord above she only has a few days of school left this year, because this kid might not give her another chance to fix this.
But if he does, I’ve asked her what she’ll do. Because honestly, my advice was far different from her dad’s. I think she’s more likely to use my plan, but you never know. She says she’ll do what I said and say, “(insert name), don’t hit me anymore!”
That’s my advice. Killer instinct, right? Well, the goal with that is three-fold:
1. Establish the offense and get the teacher’s attention.
2. Establish who the bully is.
3. Establish yourself as the victim.
Then if he hits her again… well, go with your dad’s advice kiddo. I’ll be there to back you up!
And if he doesn’t give her the chance to fix this, well, then I say bravo to the teacher. Apparently her quick-action to do a unit on bullying the day she found out about this little issue has possibly done it’s duty. For now.
But next year is a new year and the chances of them being in the same class again are decent. And the chances of any other punk-ass bully being in her class are even better. So I want her to be ready.
Here’s my plan of attack:
Summer Bully School ~ Big Momma Style
Lesson #1: I will not be a bully.
We know how it feels to be on the other side.
Lesson #2: I will not let myself be bullied.
We know how it feels to be on this side.
Lesson #3: I will not let others be bullied.
Again, we know how it feels to be on the receiving end and sticking up for others is easier than sticking up for ourselves. And, we need to be the best friends possible to everyone we can.
Lesson #4: I will (at least attempt to) be the bully’s friend.
A bully is a person too and there’s a reason he/she is being mean. If he/she needs a friend or attention so badly they are going to bully, let’s try to welcome him/her into our world of friends and be the better person. We have to at least give it a shot.
Today as I spent some girls-only time with my girl I attempted to get a jump on the summer lessons as we chatted about the situation again. She still isn’t super keen on the idea of talking about it, but she did open up on a few more details. While I’m glad to have the knowledge, I’m ready to move on to that educational portion where she learns more about not being a victim. I can’t have her go through life that way. No way. No how. Not my girl. Because elementary interactions become middle school interactions become high school interactions. We aren’t going there being unable to stand up for what we believe in. Morals, values and ourselves.
So tonight I showed her the book I’ve had for her since, ironically, around the time this all started. It’s an American Girl book titled Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way. (Click that link and check it out – it’s truly a great resource for elementary students, in my humble opinion.)
She asked to take the quizzes, check the answers and discuss. And I think things are starting to click for her on a deeper level. During the prompted discussions I asked her what she would do if he had hit her friend and she immediately said she’d tell him to stop. When I asked her why she didn’t stand up for herself the first time he hit her she said she didn’t know what to do. Now she knows. Now I know.
Now I know that I need to cover all the bases. All the situations I can fathom. All the ways people can be bullies. And let me tell you, this book does a great job of helping with that. So we are on our way to being more prepared for next year and we’ll be practicing this summer. Practicing in our interactions at home with little brother will be a great start and we’ll build on the lessons from there.
I’m excited to see where this girl of mine goes in life and I’ll be darned if I don’t give her all the tools she needs to be her very best. For herself and for others. Because doing for others is so important in life. I wish she had someone “doing” for her right now, but it is what it is and she’s learning lessons from it.
My goal this summer isn’t to change who she is, but how she feels about herself. How she respects herself. How confident she is. How capable she is to handle the situations that are going to arise during school and life. Her whole life. These are life skills. Skills I want her to learn so I never again have to say…
He hit her.
In the face.
And she let him.