I wrote the words below weeks ago. It was healing to me to have a safe place to share my feelings. Unfortunately, I saw in the news that a young boy- the same age as my son, took his own life after being bullied at school. That is my nightmare and it breaks my heart that that is now someone’s reality. I’m speaking out now because we can’t have anything like this happen again.
My son is in elementary school. He’s handsome. He’s smart. He plays sports. He goes to church. He’s kind. He has an incredible sense of humor. His smile lights the world. He tries hard to be a friend to all. On all accounts, he’s a great kid and I’m a super proud mom. Yet, he’s hurting. As a mom, that shatters my heart in to a million pieces. Nobody likes to see their child struggle.
There’s plenty of days when my son comes home from school with a big smile spread wide across his face. I live for those days. Everyone wants to hear that their child had a great day at school. On those days, I can predict the answer to the ever popular question – What was your favorite part of the day? Everything!
But then there’s the days when he comes home looking sullen. I don’t even want to ask about school. But I do. My question is usually answered with something about it being the worst day ever. The moodiness sets in. He’s normally pretty motivated to get homework done. Not on days like this. He just wants to be alone. He wants to punch the pillow or rip cardboard to shreds. He writes me letters. Letters that no parent wants to read. Letters that tell me he sometimes wishes he was dead. It’s awful. This kid is my whole world and to know he’s hurting that bad breaks me.
He tries hard to be confident at school and when he’s out in the real world. I think some people close to us would be shocked to find out the struggles we are facing. My son does a pretty good job of keeping up the façade until he isn’t. Then he breaks down. Usually in the privacy of our own home.
I don’t know when things got so bad. He’s always been a sensitive child and takes things to heart. But lately, it’s getting worse. He’s been bullied at school. He’s been hit. He’s been pushed. He’s had rumors spread about him and friends turned against him. It’s really taking a toll on him. It’s too big of a burden for a young boy.
I had one mom say that violence is part of growing up. But I’m not buying that. Our kids don’t deserve to be treated like that. Nobody does. My son said he doesn’t feel safe at school. How is that possible? Isn’t school supposed to be a safe place? It’s an environment designed for learning and for growing up not for being terrorized. He’s told his principal he’s terrified of certain kids. Meanwhile, I’m terrified of losing my son. It’s one of my biggest fears. But a kid can only take so much before they reach a breaking point. It’s nauseating to even think about it.
Parents, we need to come together. We’re on the same team. Let’s shower our kids with love. Encourage them to be good friends and to stand up for what’s right. It’s not always easy, but it’s important. It’s something I try to instill in my kids. Luckily, other parents have been teaching their kids the same and it’s made a positive difference in my son’s life. I hope and pray that it’s enough.