My teen had always been the boy picked on ever since he started pre-school. I got used to being the parent of a bullied child, he’s very passive and never out-spoken about the issues he has/had. I wrote about it awhile ago, Being the Parent of a Bullied Kid, but now things are changing; for the first time since Cody began his years in school he’s gotten to be the popular kid for the few days he’s started and it’s helped out so much!
On the day he was to start school he was really nervous and he told me he had no friends, he was excited until this point. His last days at his old school were a mix of his friends ignoring him as a game and having his things tossed on the floor, so he wasn’t sure what to expect and his stomach was in knots. I told him, “Of course you have friends! You just haven’t met them yet.” And he gave me that “You are crazy, Mom” smirk. We talked about situations like, what if no one has the same interests? What if no one likes what he does? But I have so many different friends in various odd angles of life that when I started listing them off he started laughing. “People don’t need to be the same or like the same things to be friends, you just have to have the common need of wanting to have someone to talk to.”
So he went to school… and he came home trying to hide his grin and full of stories about all the different people that wanted to meet him, who helped him out and I was so happy for him. I said, “How does it feel being the kid everyone wants to know instead of the one everyone wants to pick on?” And he told me, “It’s not much different really, it’s still a lot of attention, everyone is always bugging me!” But he had a smile and through the next few days I would learn about the new people he was meeting and about the people he’s figured out are probably his good friends at this point.
It has made an incredible impact on his school work, he actually spent hours working on it last night with no real grumps about it. He made some sarcastic complaints, but sat down to really figure it out and finish. He talks about his school work with a little more pleasure in doing it rather than with no discussion at all and yesterday when I helped him write his business letter to the principal I was taken aback. He had written in his letter, “This is the best school I’ve ever been to so far.” I asked him if that were true or if he was just exaggerating for the letter and he said no, it was. He was really happy there.
Many people don’t understand the impact of what bullying does to children, their grades, their desire to learn and push forward. I am witness to what happens when there is a positive environment. I know that my son may eventually have his bullies to face here, but it didn’t begin that way. It began with friends, with people wanting to share his space rather than push him aside, ignore him or pretend he wasn’t there only long enough to knock his things around or break them. He walked in being the one everyone wanted to know, everyone wanted to help; he walked in with his head down and they brought it up – towards themselves as peers. Now I know that if at some point he must face another bully that at least he is standing up, his face forward and he’s in a positive environment that he can have a foothold on in order to be comfortable enough to stand up for himself or at least talk to someone that can help him.
I watched my son be so excited yesterday about how kids go skating on Friday’s down the street, laughing over a letter instead of complaining about how he had to write it and listening to my husband in regards to his algebra homework instead of sighing and giving up. I keep in my heart prayers that this path continues on in this way, that I no longer have to face the fear of him leaving school when the choice is no longer up to me and I am tremendously thankful to my husband for having found this home, in this place where there is the ability to Hope.
Be informed about Bullying, it is a serious problem and it does affect children everywhere mentally, socially, physically and emotionally. It affects their desire to work, live and believe in themselves. Keep informed and know the signs, how to handle the situations and how to hold their head up. It matters.