Sunday, December 21, 2008

A "T" Party

They're Invited!

Occasion: An ass kicking
When: Soon come
Where: The Playground
Menu: knuckle sandwiches and chicken wings

To date, in seventeen plus years of motherhood, I still can not get my head around what to do about mean children. Once again, Yael has come running through the house bawling inconsolably over the antics of L'il Nellie Olsen and the Dustmuffins. This time the "T for Terror" threat was heightened as she was accompanied by not one, but two other bawling victims of playground persecution. I'm helpless and heartbroken and, a bit obsessed with fantasies of doling knuckle sandwiches and chicken wings on a playground full of screaming children. I kid, but only a little.

I have a button/badge on my workspace cork board which reads, "girl hate is not cool." I bought it some time ago. As soon as I saw it I was immediately reminded of those many years of wearing the wrong, insert anything, absolutely anything and becoming a victim, now it's my daughter's turn. Childhood, especially at a mere 9 years old, should be simpler.

I think what bothers me most is knowing there are other parents who take this lightly. Knowing
there are people who dismiss verbally and emotionally abusive children as just, "kids being kids" as an excuse for not being responsible parents. Their ignorance is inexcusable at this day and age when just about everyone has known, witnessed, heard of at least one horrific tale of bullying. Shame on them.

So here we are again, Favorite Guy and I engaging in the self-esteem restoration, reassurance and reprogramming routine. And, I'm treating myself as well. While I may not know what to do, the fact that I am in my cozy kitchen posting this versus the Maricopa County Women's prison, one can deduce that I know what not to do, and that is equally as important. Laughs. We're baking Christmas cookies, watching silly movies and reminding our perfectly imperfect princess that mean people suck!



Darius T. Williams said...

Knuckle sandwiches aren't good...but chicken we're talking. You know, you should make a mexican hot wing with plenty of cumin and chili powder. Grill them or roast in the oven. I've got a wonderful recipe for a chipotle ranch dipping, all we'll need are margaritas (virgin ones for the kiddies - lol)

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Bullying is taken very seriously in public schools these days, but that doesn't help when you are talking local playground stuff. On the other hand, if the other kids who are involved do go to the same school you can bet its happening there. You might want to see if one of the other parents (of the teased girls) will bring it up to the principal or school counselor. They SHOULD be equipped to help. My principal actually helped with a cyber-bullying case...we're talking 5th graders!!

Renée aka Mekhismom said...

I am familiar with knuckle sandwiches but not the wings. I think that bullying is horrible especially when the parents will not take responsibility for correcting bad behavior.

This reminds me of the terror that I was subjected to growing up. Kids can be so mean.

I hope that the baking helped to smooth things over.

High Desert Diva said...

Big hug for Yael. Mean people suck.

shiborigirl said...

Yup - mean kids are a nasty breed. I was the frequent victim of our school's mean clique, and I still remember how bad it made me feel.

Mob mentality rules, especially in this cyber-bullying age. It's hard to combat it, but if you can manage it as the great parents you seem to be, Yael will be so much stronger in the end. Not much comfort now, I know.

Hugs to her and her picked-on buddies.


MBB Founder and Editor Denene Millner said...

Bullies do suck. Lots of talking and reminding--that she's beautiful and smarter--will help. But if it gets crazier, the teacher and the principal made need a good talking to. I was there with my Mari at age 7; by the time I finished with the parent, she was snotting in tissue and carrying on. But I didn't give a damn. She was instructed that if her kid came at mine one mo gin, Mari had instructions to whoop ass.

Never had another problem out of either of 'em.

Arm Yael with some good comebacks, and if that doesn't work, take it to the teachers/parents/principle.

Ms. Bar B: said...

I think that is a great thing to do. The following phrases should be retired:

Just kids being kids.


Just boys being boys.

They have no place in parenting. There is no such of a thing. If we insist on saving these phrases then they better be attributed to some darn good behavior. I'm sorry that Yael had another crazy experience.

JillHannah said...

You sound like an awesome mom. That's fabulous. I, too was the favorite emotional punching bag of the bullies growing up and I still have trouble ironing out some of that social/emotional crap from 15-20 years ago. I know you're getting advice all over the place, and lots of it is unrealistic or may not fit your situation. All I can say is that, for me, having other outlets (violin, writing, other extra-curriculars that didn't involve the bitchy kids) helped me tremendously, as did knowing I was loved at home. I wish I had more of a sense that the love was completely unconditional and that I was fine and wonderful without quite so much talk about how the bullies are just weak and pathetic and stupid, etc., because when I knew that and went to verbal battle with the bullies and had no backup so even if what I said was right and smarter the crowd would still laugh at me and make me feel bad, I then felt weaker than the supposedly pathetic bullies, which made me even lower and lesser and worse. I wish I knew then that there was nothing wrong with me, that they were mean and that wasn't OK, but you can't always stop the mean people in the world and when you can't, you learn to cope and love yourself and ignore them as much as possible.

Meka said...

It's tempting, isn't it?

As a kindergarten teacher, I had to put out many of these types of fires, even at such a young age. I'd suggest talking to the kids' parents, but the reality is that their parents are just as bad. That's where they get it from. LOL! I can't tell you how many parents strolled into the conferences like, "What, my angel said that?"

"Ya damn right." I would respond, "So please watch what you, or their older siblings, or the TV, say at home."

With the victim's parents, I'd say "The reality is that there are people in this world who don't care if your child is nice. Make sure he/she knows how to defend him/herself."

It doesn't have to be nasty, but they've got to learn early how to roll their neck, mad dog a little bit, or laugh outside, even when it hurts inside.

Weith Kick said...

Mean People Suck.

Kala Pohl Studio said...

Yes, indeed, kids can be really mean at times. It does make me wonder about the parents always??

Jewelry Rockstar said...

Knuckle sandwiches, indeed. I have had my share of conversations with my girls concerning mean girls. It is tempting to just whoop a$$ (the parent's I mean). One day I went to school and just eye-balled a girl to let her know "that even though my daughter is not familiar with hood antics, I am and I'll kiss some hood A$$, now try me."

A Cuban In London said...

Tell you what... Do not put up with it. It's not defensible and it's not 'kids' stuff'. Teach them early and they won't make that many mistakes later.

Greetings from London.

Victoria said...

I am so sorry that your daughter is going through this and I feel for you as a mother. I never understood mean spirited kids either, and the adults who ignore them drive me crazy. My youngest daughter was bullied so severely in 4th grade that it almost did her in. She went from a happy child to one curled up in a fetal position crying that she couldn't go on anymore. We surrounded her with love, like a protective cocoon, and I went to battle with the insane school administrators for allowing this type of harassment to flourish. (My child was not the only victim, some girls had been enduring this bully for several years!) It was gut wrenching to witness my daughter going through this, and it was a year of hell that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I wish you and yours many good wishes that this can be stopped. May your precious daughter always know how special she is, and may Karma take care of the bullies of this world.

fly tie said...

ya know...i'd never really considered it before, but what you said about other parents taking such behavior lightly is so true. people don't take these things seriously then when something more violently occurs they act like they can't figure out why.

lol @ jewelry rockstar.

casserole said...

I'm having a whirl of emotions reading your post - anger at the bitchy girls who treated Miss Yael so cruelly, fear at what is ahead for me & my own little girl, and anger/sadness at the memory of being treated the same way when I was younger. I wonder if I'll have the strength as a parent to deal with this, given that when I was younger and the target of it myself I was painfully illequiped. I failed myself the first time around; am I going to fail my daughter?

Even at age 5, I'm already starting to notice some of the mean girl behavior at the parks and at school. (Thankfully I have NOT witnessed my daughter doling it out - I'd kick her little butt so fast....) This summer there were these two little girls at the pool who would not speak to my daughter, no matter how many times she approached them. "We can't talk to strangers" the older girl (age 7?) would say, in this voice where you knew she was enjoying it. The younger girl (age 5?) was more just following what the older one did. I finally had enough when Liv tried to sit at the table with them, only to have them immediately move to another table.

I don't know, something in me just snapped, and Mama Tiger came out. I'm not a confrontation sort of person, so I'm a little bit ashamed to say it came out in the form of passive aggression. "Oh, I'LL sit by you Liv," I say. "Haven't we had the most fun today???" and then I list out all the cool things she did at the pool while these other girls were ignoring her, just loud enough that they could overhear but still as if I'm only talking to Liv...

The older one was unaffected, but I could see the younger one's face kind of fall as she realized what she'd been missing. How much FUN my daughter was while she had been bossed around by her bitchy older sister. And then we got up and walked away.

Sorry for the long rambling. I guess my point it - sometimes passive aggression is exactly the thing? I know it's the kind of behavior we're supposed to avoid, but when it comes to my girl (and yours) being picked on, I think all the rules go out the window. Help her find her way of fighting back, not necessarily through outright confrontation but through any small act of defiance, anything that will let her hold her head up knowing that at least in one small arena with these girls she held her own.

Hugs to you. Hugs to Yael.

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