In my “real life” I’m a high school teacher. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to say that I see evidence of bullying every day I teach. It’s the boys throwing punches because someone said something about someone’s mum or the girl crying because her supposed friends have written that she’s a dog on her latest Instagram pic, it’s name-calling (slut, faggot, retard) or the kid who has been turfed out of their friendship group. I was no stranger to being bullied in my intermediate and high school days… I know it happens and I don’t like it. But the other day, when I saw it happen to my kid? It broke my heart.
We’d had a really lovely morning out at a small airfield near our house. We’d sat on the porch of an old pre-fab building, watching plane after plane take to the sky – CJ saying “Bye Plane” every time. We’d dined on toasties; I’d had a coffee and he had the fluffy (babychino) that he has to have every single time we go to a cafe. After we’d finished, we moved out into the open area for him to stretch his legs and burn off some energy before heading home.
Another family arrives with a slightly older kid. The mother heads inside to order; my son ventures over to the kid and says hi. Bam! This kid, saying nothing, just shoves my boy in the tummy knocking him down. CJ begins to cry and it was that sound that broke my heart. It wasn’t a hurt cry, it was a cry of “I don’t know what I did wrong. Why was he mean?”. I looked to the other parent who just stood there and then ran in and scooped my boy up. I cuddled CJ tightly and said (passive aggressively loudly, I will admit) “I’m sorry that happened, darling. That boy obviously wasn’t in the mood to play, but he forgot to use his words”. No apology from either the kid or the parent. If the table were turned, I would have apologized and CJ would have had a “time in” (where we sit down together and talk about why the behaviour is not okay) and it really ticked me off that this parent didn’t seem to care.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not sure I did the right thing either. And I get that different families have different forms of discipline. But if our end goal is raising people that turn into respectful, polite and decent human beings… Shouldn’t you care more if your child is being a bully, even if he is only three? I don’t have the answers, all I can do is have my little guy’s back and try and stop anyone from crushing his beautiful friendly heart.