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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