Our first experience with BULLYING … and how we Responded

I made it almost 10 years… Almost 10 years without my children experiencing bullying. 

It should have been longer. 

9 years old is too young to be torn down by other children. To feel the sting and the pain of rejection, humiliation, and deep sadness. 

But it happened. And while it was really the first time one of my children experienced bullying, I am positive that it won’t be the last time. 

A few weeks ago, my oldest son came home from school and just looked a little “down.” When I asked how his day was, he burst into tears.

A couple children had gathered around him at recess and made fun of him. They called him names, made fun of the his hair, the way he looked, how he ran, how he played, and other verbal bullying. 

The phrase that my son kept repeating was… “They called me, gay.”

As a mom, I am always working on my reactions. I have seen over and over that my children will react almost the same way I react. I can control the amount of “crazy” and emotion in situations by keeping my cool and calm. 

I did NOT want to stay calm! I wanted to march to the school the next day, have my son point out those kids, and I would give them, the teachers who didn’t see what was happening, and those children’s parents a piece of my mind! My mama bear inside of me was rearing it’s head, but I caught it just before I let it go off.

Instead, I gave him a hug, found a quiet spot, and looked into his eyes as I talked to him. 

“Do you know what gay means?”, I asked.

He shook his head. He didn’t know. 

This was an opportunity. An opportunity for me to teach my son about how we treat other people. A perfect lesson where he can learn to see the names and words we call people and the way we treat those around us is so important. This was a chance for me to show him how he could choose not to let words have power of him. 

I took a few moments to explain to him what gay meant. 

You know how Jimmy doesn’t like cheese, but you love cheese?
Okay. Since Jimmy doesn’t like cheese, but you do, does that make Jimmy a bad person?
What about since you love cheese, does that make you better than Jimmy?  
No. Right.
Gay is a word that describe people who like things different than others.
Do you like girls? (His response was an enthusiastic nod yes!)
Well, if someone is gay that means a boy likes a boy or a girl likes a girl. 
Does that make them bad or dumb or make you better than them? 
Nope. It just means that they like something different. 

I could see in his eyes as we had this conversation that he was processing all of this. It wasn’t scary, or wicked, or shocking… It was information, knowledge, understanding coming through his brain and into his heart. 

So, you see buddy, when someone uses the word gay to try to be mean, they don’t know what they are saying. They are the ones who are ignorant. They think that this word is a bad word. It’s not. And you can choose to see those kids as being uniformed about the words they are using to try to hurt you and other people. You can choose whether you are going to give them the power.

The conversation continued into a beautiful discussion about how he could stand up for people who were different and how he would never choose to participate in hurting and bullying other people who were different than him.

Jayden at one point interrupted me with the most sincere and sweetest words. 

What if someone who was getting picked on like me was gay? They would be hurt even more than me, mom!

**INSERT tears filling my eyes!!!**

I pray this simple conversation will be a pinocle point in his life. I hope he will be able to remember that first time he was bullied, called names, and how he felt when others were cruel with their words. That he will think back on our calm discussion and decide not to act the same way as those other children when the opportunity arises (which it will)

If your child has not experienced bullying, name calling, or cruelty, unfortunately, it will happen. And while we wish and hope that they won’t have to experience it, they will.

We can’t stop it, but we CAN educate our children about how bullying hurts others. We CAN love our children through the hurt and reaffirm how amazing they are and how those words that were spoken so meanly are not true or not even words that should be taken as “bad words.” 

Let’s help our children take away the power of words to be mean. Tell them the real meaning of the words they hear. Explain to them in simple terms that we give words power over us and others. 

I can’t promise my son that he will never be called names and made fun of again, but I hope that from this first conversation he will remember that he can choose to NOT listen to those untrue words that don’t even mean something bad. That he can walk away, talk to me or another adult and remember that he is someone special. 


16 thoughts on “Our first experience with BULLYING … and how we Responded

  • April 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Parents of the year! I love the way you handled this situation. You guys rocked it hardcore!!!

  • April 6, 2018 at 12:23 am

    I detest bullying so much. My son had an incident earlier this year with a bully and I had the same reaction. Mama bear wanted to come roaring out. Nobody hurts my kids. But we sat down and had a talk instead.

  • April 6, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Sounds like you handled it like I would’ve. Except I might have been likely to have a little talk with the kid’s parents.

    • April 6, 2018 at 2:08 am

      We absolutely spoke with the school and the teachers! It is so important to make them aware and stop it quickly.

    • April 6, 2018 at 2:09 am

      We had a talk with the teachers who were able to speak with the parents of the children who were involved. I was thankful for their quick and sensitive response.

  • April 6, 2018 at 1:07 am

    That sounds like a very tough time and your response and sensitivity seems like it really helped him to get through it. I know schools have a no bullying policy now so telling the school also is a good idea.

  • April 6, 2018 at 1:30 am

    Kids can be so mean. My older son has been bullied quite a bit and he’s homeschooled! I think educating our children is key. Great post!

    • April 6, 2018 at 2:10 am

      I absolutely believe in educating our children and helping them be aware of themselves and others feelings! I am sorry to hear your son has been bullied.

  • April 6, 2018 at 1:54 am

    My son is in kindergarten and said kids already have singled him out for being “weird.” It is tough in school these days.

  • April 6, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Sounds like you handled it really well. I have had this kind of problem, but I also talked to the boy’s parents when he tried to bully my son.

  • April 6, 2018 at 6:20 am

    It’s so sad that kids ever have to deal with being bullied. I also wonder what goes on with the kids that makes them bully other kids.

  • April 6, 2018 at 7:32 am

    It’s great that you explained things like this to him very well. I think educating kids about our differences is really important. It’s so sad that others just don’t take time to explain things to their kids.

  • April 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Bullying is such a huge thing to have to deal with at such a young age. It is sad that anyone has to put up with that.

  • April 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I found it very good how you dealt with this unpleasant situation. Unfortunately, Bullying is becoming more and more common. Very sad this.


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