My son asked me if I had ever been bullied as a child. Luckily he isn't being bullied or struggling at school but he's a thoughtful type of kid who is always asking me questions. He likes real life answers and doesn't tolerate bullshit. It's my opinion that when a parent needs to be more of a parent than a friend so conversations like this are tricky. The focus should always be on the kid and appropriate for the kid yet the answers need to be honest. HONEST.
I glossed over an incident in 6th grade where one particular girl spent the better part of the year targeting me. I also mentioned how important it is to realize that bullies aren't just kids. There are some adults out there that are more toxic and dangerous than the worst of the ignorant grade school bully. I told him that being a bully isn't just a way of acting but a way of thinking. Bullying is a way of interacting with others that encourages them to feel fear and insecurity about themselves. I wanted him to recognize bullying behavior because even though it's not happening in his life now, bullies are everywhere. Bullies are convincing liars and they aren't just little assholes on the playground.
All the concepts being introduced to your child both at home and at school will eventually be associated with real life. It's like parenting. I prepared for parenthood by reading all kinds of expert opinions on the emotional and physical needs of kids. When it came time to integrate this knowledge to actual parenting I was incredibly disappointed to learn that most of what I learned was fucking bullshit. BULLSHIT. Maybe it's a ridiculous comparison but I would up feeling bullied by what I felt things were supposed to be like and the experts who added fuel to the fire of my fear by continually reinforcing that if I just kept taking their advice it would get easier.
I was reminded of this yesterday when I received a parenting magazine in the mail THAT I DID NOT SUBSCRIBE TO BY THE WAY that had a caption on the cover about, "Mommy Confidence." Cue hysterical laughter. Seriously, the kid on the cover of the magazine looked like a little Nantucket sailor with his clean, designer outfit that likely cost more than I pay for car insurance each month.
The magazine deserved the trash but I'm green and shit so I put it in the recycling bin. I WAS bullied into thinking I wasn't good enough by the waste of paper that told me that expensive car seats, lotions, designer clothing and grossly expensive staged baby photos would help me survive the first year of motherhood. Better yet in this rag, 4 pages were dedicated to the idea that THAT YOUR BABY'S FART WILL BE THE MOST EMBARASSING THING THE KID DOES AND GIVES ADVICE ON HOW TO HANDLE IT.
I pity the first time pregnasaurous who also received this unsolicited propaganda in the mail yesterday. Like I told my son, bullying doesn't stop with childhood.
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