When I became a mother, I had all these hopes and dreams for my children. And as they grew, those changed. When they started school, one of those was for them to be liked. To have friends. To be accepted. I didn’t want them to be “popular” per se, but I prayed for an easier time than I had.

What do I do when that doesn’t happen? When my son comes home crying because he is never picked or always picked last? When no one wants to sit by him? When he is called fat and ugly? When he isn’t athletic, light on his feet, and super outgoing? What if he is slightly clumsy, slower, and socially delayed?

My mother’s heart aches and weeps. I want to don my Mama Bear armor and slay the dragons. But I can’t. They are just kids. And my son has to bear this hard time.

RELATED: Stop This Bullying! It’s Time To Teach Our Children Compassion

Kids are cruel. I know because I was one. Grades fifth through eighth were brutal. Living in a small town, going to a small school, I didn’t have a lot of choices when it came to friends. I had limited options and couldn’t escape what came my way. My looks, my personality, my athletic ability—all were under scrutiny and added fire to the jokes, taunting, and laughter. Emotionally I was bleeding, physically I was safe.

And now it is my son’s turn. To walk through these hard years. Different from the rest of his class which is full of athletic, strong-willed boys. My sweet, smart, and slightly awkward boy is fumbling with his changing body and now having his eyes opened to how the world can be.

We teach our kids about bullying. We chant the words “be kind.” Is it working? Sometimes yes. I do believe it does. And people are mean. It’s part of that broken world we live in. Kids at this age are struggling with so much. Changing bodies. More responsibilities. Overscheduled lives. Awareness of others and differences. They are becoming more influenced by society and parents. Less innocent. Our kids are growing up. And growing up comes with ups and downs. Joys and pains. Triumphs and failures.

I am watching it, and oh, how my heart is breaking. I can’t shelter him from this all. I can’t stand up to those other kids for him. I can’t keep his heart safe. The worry and anxiety over this has me in knots. I don’t know what to do. And can I really do anything? Or is this a right of passage? A really sucky one. But one he must endure.

Parents, are we doing enough? Are we asking our kids the hard questions? Even if our kids won’t answer them truthfully, are we making them aware of how actions can impact others? Do we mirror “be kind”? Or are we saying it and doing the opposite? I am looking at myself as well. Kids see and hear everything. Even if we think they don’t. Especially on social media. Which is another beast I am terrified of.

RELATED: I’m Teaching My Kids To Stand Up For Themselves

One thing that is different from my experience is the open and honest communication I am creating with my children. They know they can come to me with anything. I will answer their questions and concerns with my best ability. I listen to them. I hold space for their tears. I didn’t tell anyone about my struggles. Although I am sure my mom knew. And she saw that I was just as mean to others. A cycle I am trying to break now.

We are at the beginning of this hard stage of life. It may get worse before it gets better. I don’t know how to handle it. As the mother of a kid being bullied, I feel like I am failing my kids. And I know I would feel the same if my kid was the bully, which I know they will be at some point.

So here we are. My hopes and dreams changing for my kids once again.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Her View From Home

Millions of mothers connected by love, friendship, family and faith. Join our growing community. 1,000+ writers strong. We pay too!   Find more information on how you can become a writer on Her View From Home at https://herviewfromhome.com/contact-us/write-for-her//

To the Middle School Bully Who Changed My Life

In: Journal, School
To the Middle School Bully Who Changed My Life www.herviewfromhome.com

To my childhood bully, You changed my life. You were my first bully. I’m ashamed of how weak I was to be changed so much, but I’m also flooded with tender affection and pride for how vulnerable I was in my innocence. In fifth grade, I was a total success. I was pretty, popular, and confident. I was the smartest kid in my class. My heroes were Shirley Temple and Anne of Green Gables. I played the violin and danced ballet, tap, and jazz. I wanted to be a professional dancer and actress. In sixth grade, I started middle school,...

Keep Reading

5 Important Things to Tell Kids about Being Bullied

In: Kids, School
Child on swings with blue sky in background

Bullying is defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior with a real or perceived imbalance of power.” Ask any elementary-aged kid what a bully is and they’ll probably just tell you it’s someone who says or does something mean to them. And it’s going to happen. Our kids will be bullied by classmates, kids on the bus, children at the park, even at church. It’s important we give our kids the tools they need to address unwanted, aggressive behavior and these five things are a good start on what to tell your kids when they are being bullied. 1. Don’t ignore it....

Keep Reading

Teen Boys Need True Friendship Too

In: Friendship, Teen, Tween
Teen boys laughing together

I have a house full of all teenage boys, but this time it isn’t just my own four. I have four sons from seventh grade to a sophomore in college, but tonight is my oldest son’s 19th birthday, and we have five of his friends from elementary school here to spend the night with him. It is wonderfully odd to watch these 19-year-old boys interact with each other and to let me still play a part in their life. Unfortunately, I won’t have this same opportunity in the lives of my other sons. They do have their own friends but...

Keep Reading