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Bully, verb: discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner

Bullies really shit me.

I feel like starting a gang of parents who (masked of course…and maybe even wearing capes if we could come up with the right shade) roam school yards protecting our kids from the terror they inflict.

Pow to their arrogance. Bif to their aggression.

We’d make sure we cornered the bully- when no one was watching- and then claim innocence when they dobbed on us. Let’s see how they like it! What do you mean I was wearing a purple satin lone ranger mask ? Scoff, scoff. Sly wink at the bully (again- when no one was watching).    

Ahh if only protecting our kids was that easy.

With all the sad news about teenage bullying and the dire consequences of this behaviour in the media recently my soul aches when I think of my children being bullied at school.

Recently the primary school representative rang the parent of a child who had pinched my son (Master 11) so viciously that a purplish-green handprint was visible on his side for weeks. The parent is one I know by name- a smile and a wave whenever we pass each other. On the afternoon of the call I was waiting in the school car park and the parent in question walked right past and gave me the dreaded snub-face. She determinedly looked the other way until she had past my car. I watched as she walked by and contemplated how I would feel if the bully-shoe was on the other foot? But then I remembered it had been…well sort of.

When my daughter (then Miss 6) was in grade one she brought a prized magic trick to school- the disappearing ball (right up my sleeve) wow-presto-trickerooney. Another little girl wanted to know how she did the trick. She wanted to know so much that she kept tugging on my daughter’s sleeve. My daughter got so fed up with the little girl ruining her trick that she blew a big raspberry in her face. Gah. Not nice.

The receiver of the raspberry told the teacher that my daughter had spat at her and I received the phone call from school telling me my child’s behaviour was unacceptable. True-ish.

My daughter got a big lecture and I made her write a note of apology. But did I really think she was a bully? Secretly I’m not sure I really thought she was a ‘bully’ given all the circumstances. However I still made an effort to catch up with the parent of the child and offer my apology for the incident. It was a sincere apology on my part. I knew my little girl could have handled the situation waaay differently (and perhaps I would then be on the receiving end of an apology…but I digress.)

Since that day my daughter has not been invited to that girl’s parties and invitations for play dates from our end have been ignored. When she sobs into her pillowcase about it I bring up the ‘raspberry’ and tell her that all our actions have consequences. Some of these consequences are very long lasting. She’s learnt her lesson.

And so snub-face Mum has taught me a lesson too.

Somehow as parents we all have an innate gift to be able to look at our children and see only sugar and goodness. Oh sure we know our kids can be naughty and annoying and demanding…but when faced with accusations of them being naughty and annoying and demanding with someone else- our hackles instantly rise. We become ‘Parent the Protector’.

Even when the evidence is reported and physical it’s somehow still possible for a parent to see their child as innocent within reason- err… given all the circumstances. But the truth is all we are doing is making all kinds of excuses for ourselves- and the justifications somehow, perversely only serve to indict the victim.

And that hardly seems fair now does it?

Perhaps she was embarrassed. Perhaps the snub was all in my imagination. But what I know for sure is there will always be Bullies. And sadly there will always be parents who turn a blind eye.

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