Monday, November 08, 2010

On bullies/teasing

Elijah is the new kid, and let's face it.  His interests and talents are a little bit outside of the mainstream.  We knew that moving to a new school for 3rd grade would not be easy for him, but he has handled it with more maturity and courage than I thought possible.  

For the first several weeks (two months really) there were a couple of boys in his class who had been picking on him regularly.  He says they "bug" him.  He says Joe hurts his feelings while Jacob's specialty is pushing him around.  We encouraged him to tell an adult nearby when the boys were bugging him and to avoid them as much as possible.  Daily he brought home more stories of being pushed in the hallway and being called 'stupid' and 'cry-baby.'  I went to talk to his teacher and she assured me that she'd keep an eye out.  She said that the two boys doing most of the "bugging" were not in groups with Elijah, and he concurred that most of the teasing was going on in the hallway, at recess or at lunch. 

The same day I talked to Elijah's teacher, he came home with an office referral.  Apparently Jacob took his lunch box and was playing keep-away with it.  Elijah looked for an adult, couldn't see one close by so he punched Jacob in the stomach to get his lunch box back.  

Fighting is a serious offense.  Eric was the parent on duty when Elijah came home, and could see that he was already very upset by the trip to the office and the referral, so they talked about how to make better choices next time.  When I got home, I talked to him as well, and he agreed that forgetting the lunch box and ignoring the teasing would be better options if no adult could be found.  

But here's the thing.  Since the fight, two weeks have gone by and the daily teasing seems to have lessened significantly.  Today he said they were making faces at him across the room, but the verbal teasing and pushing seem to have stopped for now.  There is a part of me that feels, "Way to go standing up for yourself!  Its probably what needed to happen."  I don't want him to resort to fighting again, but I'm not disappointed in him for taking a stand.  

Sometimes parenting makes that line between right and wrong so VERY blurry.        


Jess said...

When I told Josh the story about Lij punching the kid he said, with NO hesitation, "Good for him." I'm glad you wrote about this, I wondering how you were processing and feeling about it. Parenting is blurry. Praying for Lij AND the bullies.

amberly said...

yep - way to go, Lij. I know you can't encourage fighting. I know. Blurry lines.

Still, I think our kiddos have to learn what strength they possess before they can learn to wield it well.

Simile Metaphor Collection

Elijah after running: My heart is beating like a coconut rolling down a hill.
Elijah on urination: Pee is like horses galloping out of the gate. Once they get started you just can't stop them.
Elijah: If school were a human I'd give it a wedgie.
Elijah: I am like a hot rod and I just want to be a plain old Ford
Elijah on the fruits of the spirit: I've got them all covered except self-control. Its like a tiny green tomato and the rest are all big ripe ones. Especially love. Its like the biggest tomato we saw in the garden tonight.