Who is the Real Bully?

today is a great day | I’m sure everyone heard the story of Nadin Khoury, the 13- year old bully victim, who garnered attention from the Eagles because he was attacked by a group of teenagers and hung on a fence by his coat.  As a parent of two children, I was highly appalled by the incident.  Every parent, at some point, faces the realization that it could happen to their child.  But what if you were the parent of the bully?

For the first time ever, my daughter was accused of being a bully.  Shocked, stunned, and disbelief were my immediate reactions.  If my children are accused of something, I want to hear all sides so that if my kids are at fault, I can correct it immediately.  “Bully” is a strong word, so before you use it, make sure you can back it up because I’m gonna check… and check good.  After all, you’re saying my child physically or mentally hurt someone weaker, which is a no-no in my book and constitutes disciplinary action.

The woman who accused my daughter of being a bully is, in fact, the same woman who complimented me on both my kids and their behavior and said she was so happy her daughter, “Susie” has someone to play with.  Huh? That statement should have projected a red flag in my mind immediately.  But instead, it went over my head.

Susie is 8.  She met my children a month ago.  You mean to tell me she had no one to play with until my children came along?  Hhmmm… “I wonder why?”, is what I should’ve asked myself.

Susie’s mom seemed to be a nice lady.  We exchanged phone numbers.  Why not?  I’m always open to new friendships, especially other moms.  So one day, she calls me up and asks me if I can watch Susie for an hour or two.  “Sure, no problem at all.”  They all play together anyway.  So her mom drops her off and oh boy… let’s just say she was a handful and her mother couldn’t have come a minute sooner!

Here’s one of my parent rules:  Do not get involved in minor kid drama. Kids play and get mad at each other all the time and say they aren’t friends anymore.  The next day, they’ve made up and are playing again.  It would be silly for me to react everytime time my child comes and tells me, her friend did something she didn’t like.  Our conversations regarding kid drama normally go like this:

My child: “Mommy, we were playing jump rope and ‘Taylor’ didn’t let me go first.”
Me: “Did you get a turn to jump?”
My child: “Yeah, but…”
Me: “Go wash your hands for dinner.”

My child: “Mommy, ‘Sarah’ said she wasn’t going to play with me anymore.”
Me: “Okay, well find someone else to play with.  Now go wash your hands for dinner.”

My child: “Mommy, ‘Patty’ told ‘Carlos’ I liked him.  I can’t believe she said that!”
Me: “You can’t control other people’s actions or what they say, but always be conscious of your actions and what you say.  Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want anybody to say to you.  Now go wash your hands for dinner.”

My child: “Mommy, ‘Kevin’ said my shoes were ugly!”
Me: “You know your shoes aren’t ugly.  When people say negative things, don’t engage in conversation with them. Ignore them or tell the teacher.  Now go wash your hands for dinner.”

I’m not a mom who thinks my children are perfect.  Angels… yes.  Perfect angels… no.  But, just because you’re (or suppose to be) an adult, doesn’t mean I’m only taking your word either.  Especially if, based on past actions, you aren’t credible or a bit absent-minded to begin with (but that’s a different story).  It’s sad how some adults always blame kids for their mishaps and premature senility.

Anyway, if something constitutes immediate correction, then I’ll go to the child’s parent or a teacher, whichever is applicable.

So let’s fast forward about a week.  My girls and Susie are all playing together.  According to my daughter, Susie is being loud, pulling on her arm and is scratching her because of her nails.  My daughter yells at her to stop it and says she’s not playing with her anymore.  Susie starts crying.  Susie’s mom walks in the room and asks Susie why is she crying.  Susie tells her my daughter is being mean to her.  Susie’s mom turns to my daughter and viciously calls her a bully.  Hence the pic on the left is how her expression was described to me.  My daughter tells Susie’s mom, “No I’m not, she was scratching me and I told her I wasn’t playing with her anymore.”  Susie’s mom says, with pen in hand pointed at my daughter’s face, “Yes you are and I don’t want you playing with Susie again.”  Now mind you, Susie’s mom saw me after this incident took place and said absolutely nothing to me about it.

In my opinion, anytime a parent feels another child is being mean, go directly to the parent… immediately.  My first reaction would have been to tell the child, “Stop being mean.  If you can’t play nice, then don’t play at all. There should be no scratching and no yelling.  Period.  Now where is your mother so I can talk to her?”

In our case, Susie’s mom did us a huge favor.  Based on some other occurrences, my parent radar peaked “trouble” with Susie and “screws loose” with her mother.  So her mom saying she didn’t want her daughter playing with mine, suited me just fine.

However, the simple fact that you approached and intimidated my child (and saying nothing to me) leads me to wonder… who was the real bully?

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Twitter Fritters

today is a great day | I admit.  After noticing the abatement of my followers yesterday, I spent an hour scrolling through the list to see who could’ve unfollowed me.  Insane, right?  Ask any group of twitterers if they’re bothered by the big U (as in Unfollowed) and 90% will tell you hell no.  But then there’s 10% who seek twitter therapy because they’ve gotten the big U.  Yes, I admit, I needed therapy yesterday because I was… UNfollowed by a twitter fritter!

Comic Source: joyoftech.com

My twitter therapist, Dr. Getemback, suggested I oust those twitter fritters on Twitter.  So I politely tweeted to one fritter:

So funny how some tweeps say, ‘I followed u, follow me back’. U follow back and a week later they quietly unfollow. I see you o_o @xxxxx

Ha!  Boy did that feel good.  Since I’m an upfront and honest person, I frequently tweet:

If you don’t like my tweets, call 1-888-KISS-MY-MELANIN-A$$, then press 0 for the operator.

In part, I wanted to write this post because so many of my friends, on/off Facebook, are blithely unaware of the party over in the Twitterverse.  Bless your hearts.  Y’all tardy for the party as Kim (#RHOA) so eloquently sang like a wild banshee, I mean performer to a live audience. (Not sure if the audience was still alive after the performance though.)

Sorry for the digression, but damn… I could totally get a recording contract!

If you haven’t considered cheating on Facebook with Twitter, maybe I can persuade you to have a mental affair.  As it turns out, you are one fascinating S-O-B, and people, particularly me, want to know what the hell you’re doing.  No, I don’t want a long a$$ Facebook post where you’re probably expecting a comment.  140 characters are all I need due to my diminutive attention span.  Yes, I want to know what you’re cooking for dinner.  Maybe I can get some ideas.  I want to know if your kids are as bad or quirky as mine.  I want to know what enlightening book you stumbled upon.  What’s your perspective on the GOP, H. Mubarak, the UN’s plan to stabilize population growth, or the so-called CJD brain disease… Tell me dammit!

Aside from my picking your brain, I like the fact that Twitter is not cluttered with games, groups, events and aaaaaaaadddds galore.   Twitter is like lean meat with no fat.  (I’m on a bit of a diet.)  And talk about viral!  If you want something spread at the speed of light, broadcast it into the twitterverse.  If it’s something of value, tweeps will retweet to their friends.

And I can’t forget my crash course on shorthand (RT – retweet; OH – overheard; DM – direct message; BTW – by the way; IRL – in real life; F2F – face to face; IMHO – in my honest opinion; B/C – because; LMK – let me know, etc.).  I could type for days on how cool Twitter is minus the fritters, but I as I type this, I’m missing what’s going on in the twitterverse.

Just remember to abide by these 10 Rules of Twitter because it’s no fun tweeting to air:

  1. Watch your ratio. If only a few people follow you, but you follow hundreds or thousands, tweeps will think you’re a loser, or worse… a spammer.  Think, ‘annoying telemarketer’.
  2. Don’t drink and tweet. That’s like having a car crash with every driver on the east coast at one time instead of just running into one.
  3. Pause between tweets. If you don’t, you’ll be the only one showing up on your follower’s timeline.  You ain’t the only person they want to hear from.
  4. Keep small conversations, that are not generally applicable, private by direct messaging them. If I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, say that sh*t in private.
  5. Remember everyone can hear you. This may seem rudimentary, but Twitter is a public medium, just like a blog.  People like your mother, your boss, and the government read tweets.  Don’t tweet you’re gonna use somebody’s kid on your taxes for the money. And just because you rob and steal, don’t tweet your bank robbery plans.  Think of tweets like ghosts that can haunt you if you’re not playing nice like Casper.
  6. What’s rude in life is rude on Twitter. Passive-aggressive tweets are never as inscrutable as the sender thinks. When you’re being mean, even covertly, eventually everyone figures out the target. And then they start firing the arrows back your way.
  7. Keep within the character limit. Although you can go over, don’t.  Most tweeps are too lazy to click on the link to read the rest of your tweet… that’s what Facebook is for.
  8. If you don’t like what someone continually tweets, don’t fret, just Unfollow. Let them get therapy.  Maybe my therapist’ cousin, Dr. GetUback can help them.
  9. Plug moderately. Lots of people ignore this guideline, but if you’re almost exclusively using Twitter to plug your blog posts, events, or products, you’ll lose some followers.  This is how I straddle the line between a good tweep and a pesky tweep.  My twitter name is @9PinkDiamonds.  That’s who I am.  That’s my brand.  That’s my blog’s name. #yup
  10. Don’t expect tweeps to answer your own questions. All tweets are prompted by the question “What are you doing?” Many people don’t answer the question, and others are religious about it, like Kim Kardashian.  (Oh by the way, plenty of folks get paid to tweet.)  Does it irritate people if you don’t answer the question? Sometimes. Should you give a rat’s a$$? Sometimes.

So there you have it.  Shall you need assistance with divorce filings from Facebook?  I hear the alimony is worth it.  Oh, and nevermind the twitter fritters as they can be cast away in the Bermuda Triangle.

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