Regular readers of my column will know how much I detest bullies. Usually either my stonking temper or a quick witted remark can fix those who would be evil but recently I found myself conquered; humiliatingly, by a five year old.
It was at my children’s gymnastic class. My little ones were waiting in line for their turns to walk on the beam. They were holding hands in an attempt to reassure each other’s nerves. The two girls in the front took their turns then ran back and pushed in front of my kids. This happened several times and I was livid! My son put his balled up fists onto his hips Superman style and commanded “My turn” but the girls pulled ugly faces at him. My daughter looked to me for help. This was my dilemma…How do I help?
My friend Mel says that she would have just shrugged her shoulders and said “Never mind, your turn next” to her daughter and would probably have shushed her had her daughter protested. Maybe I am a little over dramatic but that would interpret to a child that bullies are a nuisance which you just have to put up with as, if you complain, you will be the naughty one. Not acceptable for my babies!
My husband who was sat next to me told me to chill out as they are just kids. He jerkily nodded his head to warn me that the bullies’ Dad was sat on my other side. This incensed me more as I believe he should have corrected his kids after seeing them do this more than once.
So, what was I to do? Probably not what I did do…
Loud firm voice adopted “Don’t let bad mannered, naughty girls push in, that is what bullies do. Go to your place in front” the result was my daughter shaking her head, wimpy teenage coaches staring at me (no attempt at sorting them out), Hubby & Son pretending they don’t know me and bullies giving me evil stares. So I stared back. The hideous little squits stared back at me harder, narrowing their eyes and I swear I heard cowboy music playing in the background. A mighty belly laugh exploded in my ear courtesy of my Man “Ha ha Lynz, they have out digged ya..Ha Ha Ha, beaten by a couple of kids” I had to laugh too but I knew I had lost face in front of my children. Must earn back scary Mum respect!
My son is just starting to settle into nursery school. He has made some friends and likes his teachers. Typically however, there are a couple of boys my Son calls ‘Mean Guys’ I offered the usual advice of ignoring them or telling the teacher. He sets off every day with determination to do just that but he tells me that they are just ‘in my face and annoying me’.
So last week, I decided to drive to his school a bit earlier when I knew it would be playtime. I parked the car out of view and watched to see how well he played with the other kids. Sure enough, I saw the bullies approach him and put their fists up to him. He tried to move around them but they blocked his path. Mother’s rage kicked in and I practically flew to the school gates ready to give the playground assistants a rollocking for paying no attention to my Son’s plight when “RRAAGGHHHHHHH” I spun around to see my little boy bellowing in the faces of his tormentors. He’d raised his fists as menacingly as he could muster and it worked a treat. The bullies quickly shot off in the opposite direction.
It was then that I realised that children are always going to have little battles but it does absolutely nobody any favours to have me charging in as if at war. My job is not to fix the bullies myself nor to insist that my kids deal with their bullies in the manner which I decree. My job is to mop up tears, offer advice when asked and watch in the wings to make sure my kids are OK; but backstage, ignorant parents and uninterested teachers versus me – that will be a full on warzone if need be!