Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bully Bully

We are apparently going back to school this week. Testing yesterday and UGH, bullies today.
I’m reading two books that deal with the topic of bullies:

Wally Lamb’s, The Hour I First Believed

Elizabeth Bettina’s, It Happened in Italy (the Nazi regime demonstrated bullying in the worst way)

I also just heard about Laura Ling and Euna Lee sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp in North Korea…my mind is on bullies.

I had a bully. Every day in second grade I’d return home, bury my face into my mom’s shoulder and then armpit, soaking her shirts with my tears. Bullies bite! I find it humorous I’m now Facebook friends with my second grade bully.

Here’s why the topic is itching under my skin (kind of like the wasp that stung me the other day) ~
My girls are dealing with a subdued and mild case of bullying from some neighborhood kids. It’s typical “girl” stuff, but I have to admit, I don’t like it. I’ll take this moment to remind you I am a softie. I was the kid who turned away whenever someone was pelted with that memorable tongue-colored rubber ball, as a consequence for losing Four Square. I hated watching fights brewing in high school. When my husband switches the TV channel to boxing or wrestling, I snarl. It’s odd though, I will watch some shoot ‘em up, kill ‘em movies with him. Go figure.

My Back To School Questions Today:
How did you deal with bullies as a child? Did you stand up to them? Were you one?
How do you deal with it when your children are bullied?


  1. I'm going to send you the guide to dealing with meanies that I wrote for my daughter earlier this year. We can teach our kids to stand up for themselves in a Christian way!

  2. I was the bullied... in HS I was called many names and spat at. I actually had the chance to talk to my bully via FB since HS and asked him point blank what was it about me that they all found so wonderful to pick on..

    His response wasn't what I wanted as far as I wanted to know what was so wrong with me.. and he said that nothing I did or said would have ever changed the fact that they were young and stupid boys. He said he was so sorry for the pain he caused and wished he could take it back. Yet years later I still hear them Dog Face Dog Face ugly ugly Dog Face even though I no longer look at myself and think I am ugly when I mess up I feel that chant in my head. Yes feel it not hear it... I feel the pain and heart ache that went with it. I am hoping that my kids never have to go through something like that but I know in this day and age it will happen. I can only hope that I am better able to help them cope or over come their bullies.

  3. I was bullied -- but worse, I was also a bully. The elementary years were tough, and I remember being laughed at and ridiculed for a variety of things ... and then sadly, I remember returning the favor in junior high.

    Good thing we have a God who teaches us to forgive others ... to forgive ourselves ... and to seek forgiveness from those we've hurt. I've had to do all three.

  4. I don't remember ever being bullied or being a bully. I certainly shared a lot of unkind gossip with far-reaching consequences, though.

  5. I haven't dealt with bullies yet. My oldest daughter is six (almost 7), and it does worry me sometimes. I hope if it ever happens, she'll deal with it well and it won't escalate into anything big.

  6. I'm having the bully problem right in my own family with my kids! I don't know if it's a junior high age phase, but my oldest son is sarcastic and "picks" on his siblings with more frequency than I'd like! We're working on a heart change!

  7. I remember observing some bullies but I was pretty lucky. I didn't bully nor did I get bullied. I stayed pretty quiet and nice to everyone I could. But I hate to see it happen and wouldn't tolerate it now!

  8. Great topic! As a 5th grade teacher, sometimes, unfortunately, I'm up to my elbows in bullying... jeesh, especially this past year. We watch a video in class called Broken Toy... wow, it's so powerful. This year, I had half my class crying because of it. It really made a strong impact. I had to sit several boys down throughout the year and have lengthy one-on-one conversations with them about their choices and how they treat others. Phone calls to parents, emails, etc, etc. Not fun.

    I wasn't a bully-bully in grade school. But I did have my moments. Those not-so-nice moments that I regret now. I want to make sure my son doesn't have those moments that he'll regret later in life.

  9. I'm interested in Jill's link...

    It's a tough topic. I hate bullies and my children have had to deal w/ them from time to time. I try to teach them realistic responses (like saying 'whatever' instead of saying 'what your saying is hurting my feelings and I would like you to stop'). The latter is what my mom told me and it NEVER worked. The first worked pretty well with my oldest so we'll see how it goes with the rest...

  10. I had a bully. She'd pull my hair and run. I don't know why I didn't tell any adults, but I finally had enough of it. I couldn't run fast enough to catch her, so I waited until I could catch her unawares and pulled her hair back. :$ She never pulled my hair again, but I do wish I'd handled it a bit differently. ;-)

    Fortunately, I really haven't had to deal with it too much. When one of the kids hurts another, I step in physcially if I need to, or we talk about it--offender and offendee--seperately. I try to help them see that even though hurting others is wrong and won't be tolerated, that people generally hurt others because they're hurting inside themselves.

  11. Jill, I appreciated your sending that. It was insightful and empowering!

    Doodles, I remember that story you shared with me before. Those chants we hear...I wrote a post about that I think several months back that comes to mind: expired thoughts. Maybe I'll go back and read it.

    Jennifer, that is ALL of a GOOD thing! 2nd grade, bullied. 6th grade, guess who became the bully...neglected to write about that, though didn't I?

    Ronnica, that was honest of you to admit. In high school for some reason gossip intrigued me. Now, it bores me and I'm always reminded when I hear it, there is a reason that specific person is sharing it - a deeper, sad reason.

    Cindy, I pray right now as I write this that you won't have to deal with anything escalated either, but if for some reason you do, I pray for your child to be resilient and more aware of God because of it.

    Jody, I was the youngest of four girls. I was always on the bottom of the pile on. Fortunately, I think it grew some fight in me.

    Terri, I hate to see it happen, too. Even in movies or books. I watched part of this show, What Would You Do? or something like that where some girls were fake fighting to see what response they'd get from onlookers. It fascinated me!

    Katie, you know come to think of it, I think I spent a lot of recesses chilling out with my fifth grade teacher. I'm sure they adore you and you are safe for them.

    Tess, I like how you mentioned teaching realistic responses. With the one response, I can see how it could just create more laughter from the bully. You are onto something with that. Jill's article was thorough and something I'd like to discuss with my seven-year-old.

    Danyelle, flashback ~ I think mine was a hair puller too now that I think back. Our pastor has been known to say, "Hurt people, hurt people." Makes sense to me, but sad.

    Thanks for the thoughts! I wonder if we'll discuss recess tomorrow or lockers or the smelly gym?

    Sleep well!

    ~ Wendy

  12. I needed to read your post as well as those who commented. Powerful stuff. Wow, thanks for sharing!!

  13. Bullying is always a tricky one.

    I was bullied at school in fact I was often picked on because I was quiet. But I stood up to them all the time and it shocked them, little me standing up to the big bad bullies. What I did was to show them that I wasn’t the type to allow them to treat me like they did and once they think they can attack you and that you’re weak they’ll never stop.

    I defended myself, and I don’t mean using violence I just let them know that I had presence and that I had a voice, and they would back off!

    So my advice is defend yourself but don’t ever use violence that way they think you are just like them and it will make it worse, because when they get bored they’ll pick on you and they know you’ll fight back so they pick and pick and pick, until you yourself becomes a bully.

    Thanks for your comment on my poem, it’s really encouraging.

  14. I can't stand bullies, not way back then, not now. Perhaps I'm 'unchristian, I fight back, well usually. :) Sorry, not the best role model...

  15. My ten-year old, Denver, had a bully picking on him this year. Broke my heart. The amazing thing was after meeting with the principal and teacher and teaching Denver to just walk away, ignore, or laugh at the bully, the problem went away. The principal called me a few weeks ago and said she'd seen Denver and the "bully" eating lunch together. I asked Denver about it. He shrugged and said, "I guess nobody had told him that it wasn't cool to be mean. I told him and now he's nicer."


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