a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.
“her 11- year-old son has been constantly bullied at school”
synonyms: persecute, oppress, tyrannize, torment, browbeat, intimidate, cow, coerce, strong-arm, subjugate, domineer
My son will be 10 in October. Double digits. It’s wild to think that in a few months, I will be the mom of a 10-year-old boy. If I close my eyes, I can remember when he was a tiny baby and how scared I was to begin the challenging journey of raising a kind, strong and smart boy. The task, at that time, seemed so hard and almost impossible. The years have passed and suddenly my firstborn will be entering 4th grade. 4th grade. I remember passing notes and having crushes at that age. The grade when I started to grow up and got in trouble often for talking too much. When cliques and mean-girls situations started happening. Shit got real.
To this day, my main priority is to raise our children to be kind. As of today, I can confidently state that we have succeeded. Not a day goes by where I don’t hear the words “Your son is so polite.” Or “He is such a nice boy.” The compliments continue and I always smile and proudly agree.
“Yes. He is our good child.” He just is.
Tonight, before he showered, I reminded him to wash his hair, body, face, and all parts. If I don’t say it, there is a chance that the only thing happening in that shower is singing (did I mention he has a fabulous voice and loves singing?). Then I said something along the lines of “You don’t want to be the smelly kid in class.”
As I opened my mouth and caught myself saying those words, I immediately knew what he was going to say next. UGH. Why can’t I just keep my mouth shut???
“I’m that kid, mom. I’m the bullied kid.”
There are not a lot of times when I am speechless. I stood there for a second (jaw probably dropped) and looked at his sad eyes (despite his smile) and said, “No…you aren’t the bullied kid.”
But we both know it.
My son is picked on every single year, mostly on the bus or the playground, because he doesn’t fit into the stereotypical “boy mold.” Football, Fortnite, wrestling, weapons…it’s not his cup of tea. Tea! He loves hot tea, Taylor Swift, and most of his friends are girls. Numerous times he has been made fun of for wearing purple (his favorite color) and his voice (“Why do you sound like a girl?”). The list goes on. It makes my heart drop and I feel so sick to my stomach. Knowing that he has to listen to these kids repeatedly in his ear day after day is just so painful and as these kids get older, the meaner the comments will be.
The school is most definitely aware that my kid is an easy target. My husband and I are aware. I pray every damn day he gets on that bus that the tormenting will stop and he will be left alone. There are too many stories in the news about the outcomes of bully situations and most of the time, these stories do not have happy endings. It’s rare that I feel so strongly about a cause that I want to take immediate action. With work, being a mom, a wife, and a friend, there is not enough time in the day for me to take on much of anything else. This is different. When it impacts my son…my KIND, CARING, HONEST, FUNNY, HANDSOME son (I am not exaggerating because he is mine, I promise), it’s time to step in and help to make a change.
So yes. My sweet son will be starting 4th grade, and although he thinks of himself as “the bullied kid” now, I will do everything I can to make sure that he does not identify with that label for much longer. It’s heart-breaking. Please, please, please. If you have kids in school, please join me in reminding them to be kind every single day. It could change lives.
Visit: www.stopbullying.gov for more info and resources.
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