Monday, October 12, 2009

When Being Bullied...

Although Reese is big in size for his age, he gets bullied easily. Even kids younger than him can bully him! He doesn't know how to fight back, if a kid tries to take away something he likes, he will just hold on to the toy and not let go. He doesn't hit or give you evil stares but maybe make some noises.

We always taught him to say please and thank you whenever he wants or given something. He is pretty good at it. 90% of the time he will use please and thank you. My heart always feels uneasy whenever he tries to take something from another child with a please and yet he doesn't get it. It's hard to explain to him that you don't always get what you want even with a please! :)

Just the other day, we took him to Ikea playland. It was his first time. He was all excited and for the first time we parents are not allow to accompany him inside. So we sat outside and watch through a glass wall anxiously. Afraid that he will fall or hurt himself.

Not too long later, we saw a boy probably 1 to 2 years older than Reese pushed him in the pool of balls. Not just once but 2 to 3 times very roughly and Reese cried so badly. He was hurt. We parents were standing outside watching in horror and can't do much! Poor Reese, the parents of the naughty boy had the cheek to laugh until they realized that we were Reese's parents then only they started to feel embarrassed and apologized! Inconsiderate parents I tell you...

Daddy was so mad that his precious got hurt. I told hubby that sometimes, we just cannot be over protective and Reese will have to learn to defend himself. Then hubby said we will have to let him play with swords and guns! *gasps* What? Is that the way? Hahahaha....

After the whole incident, while driving home, I casually asked Reese what happened at the playland, did a boy push Reese? I told him, next time if someone pushes you or treats you badly, you push the person back and walk away. He somewhat repeated after me. I wonder whether he fully comprehend what I said. In my heart I still don't feel quite right. Ask him to push back? fight back? Is that right? but if not....how do you teach your child to defend himself? At their age, reasoning with other kids definitely cannot work because they cannot communicate well.... Any good suggestions?

9 comments:

Merryn said...

when someone push u, push him back?????

antiochagent said...

Thanks for your honesty in sharing Florence, i think that's what i appreciate best about this blog whenever i come back to visit it. I can see the difficulty in this issue and I do feel for Reese. It's not an easy problem to deal with ... it's challenging.

Allow me to share something that I was reminded from God's word a while back ... it that tells us in Romans 12:17 to "Recompense no man evil for evil.." The bible teaches us that in every situation, the way is not to repay back the unkindness with unkindness. Instead we are called to (v.21) "overcome evil with good". When someone pushes, steals toys, doesn't wait his turn, screams ... we have to teach our children to be gracious and not retaliate in kind ... rather that God teaches us to share with others, to be considerate, gentle and love one another ... including their enemies (those who mistreat them). It means being kind to those who are unkind. Easier said than done when you're facing it, but God can grant us the grace to be big hearted when we choose to obey His word. We can teach this lovingly to our children.

Depending on the age of the child, we'll have to help them deal with the emotions and perhaps guide to an appropriate response. The best response may differ case by case, and that takes wisdom to choose the but the principle of not repaying evil with evil is maintained. Another way is that you could speak to the guardian/parents of the child regarding the matter and for them to speak to their child about it. But you can't always expect that they would see it in the correct light (kids sometimes do take after their parents), then the scriptural principles still hold for us as parents as much for us as what we'd teach our children.

Living God's way isn't always the easiest, but it is what is pleasing in His sight and ultimately the best. Also, let's pray for the Lord's protection on our children as well, as there is only so much that we as parents can do for them. But that's where we learn to trust in the Lord.

A gift from God said...

Merryn,
That is what I told Reese... but I don't think it's right...but he needs to defend himself somehow... very very difficult issue to deal with actually.

antiochagent,

Hey Adrian, thank you for sharing.. I totally heart what you said but at those hurtful and frustrated moments... one cannot help but be defensive. It's not an easy issue to deal with that is why I said I don't feel quite right to ask Reese to fight back and yet... if I ask him to walk away, I am afraid the bullies will continue to bother him!! It happens. You know how children will pick their weakest victim and know no limits when unsupervised!

The only thing I can think of is pray to God for strength and the right guidance. :)

Really appreciate your sharing.

antiochagent said...

Another thing i didn't have time to add was with regards to the practical ways for our kids to deal with bullies.

While we teach them to be loving and gracious at all times, we also should tell them to stand up for themselves and not be a doormat to be walked over. When being bullied, a child should be bold to speak up to the bully and say "It is wrong to push, so please stop pushing". Hopefully the child comprehends, and Reese should walk away and avoid conflict after saying his peace. But if it occurs again, you can teach Reese to always come to you or the attendant in charge. Another way that might be equally effective is he (or you) could approach the guardian/parents personally and speak about the matter. A little boy coming to say "Aunty, (with sad little frown) your son is pushing me .." elicits a different response to "Maam, your son is pushing my son ..". It depends situation-ally.

We try not to actively bypass the other parent to resolve a matter of another child. We are also taking into interest the development of the other child as the life of the child is equally valuable and important. Many parents do not like you to confront their children (you may be deemed the bigger bully) without passing it by them first, so this is a matter of courtesy and ought to be respected. How would we feel if another adult told our children off ungraciously if he did something wrong and may not have been careful with their words and tone? I think we can appreciate that there are some unwritten rules for courtesy.

If in the case that you are the only older person in attendance at the so called 'scene of the crime', you will have to arbitrate in as neutral a position as you can ... without partiality and based on what you personally saw. Many parents have 'tinted' glasses with regards to their own children actions but 'clear'
glasses for other persons children. So, we must try to fairly judge with all the facts of the case before ruling who is at fault and issuing a warning or word of correction.

Ultimately, it is also so very important that we correct in the spirit of love, be it our own children or others. Sometimes a gentle reminder to the children to play happily and wait their turn may be all that was required.

A gift from God said...

Adrian,

What you suggested works best for slightly older kids who can speak properly.

As for confronting the kids without going through the parents...well, it depends on the situation. If parents are responsible, they will watch their kids while they play and take appropriate actions when needed. But sad to say, many parents will not do that and assume their kids will behave while in their absence. Due to different backgrounds, some children can be really evil in nature. They seriously will prey on the younger ones and harm them. Being a teacher for so many years, I have seen enough. No matter how much you try to guide them, it has very little impact on the way they behave.

There are also parents who will not like to be confronted at all. It's not something pleasant.

I don't know about you. Maybe your little one mixes only with a selected crowd? It is much easier to apply what you suggest.

But I like Reese to be expose to the public where you have people from all walks of life and thus, your suggestions can only work in a very very limited capacity.

As for being fair to other children, well.... I try my best.

:) cheers.

MommyAngel said...

This is really a rough one which I yet to have any solution yet although hubby did asked Angel to 'fight back' but I don't think it's a good solution. But I personally think that being neutral in these is easier being said and done but at teaching Angel being kind to others, I too hope to make her understand that protecting herself is still the most important thing to do rather being 'nice' to those who bullied her. But in order to reached a balance in that is still the toughest ....

A gift from God said...

MommyAngel,

I agree with you. We have to teach the child to defend oneself and the best is trying to have a balance. :)

It's really not easy to be a parent... :)

Linda said...

My ziyi is very talkative, she can now tell me what happened and how she felt, because i told her my feelings a lot, like when hubby went outstation, I would tell her i was sad and I miss papa, and make a very sad face, and show her a very happy face when hubby is coming home. When i am not happy with what she did, i will also tell her that i am ANGRY and SAD, and sometimes she will cheekily asked me back, "ma... are you happy now?" when she did something good...

In Reese case, I think I would ask him what he think of the other kid ,"do you think that kor kor naughty or not? can push other people or not? were you happy or angry when kor kor push you? were you sad? I think Reese should be able to tell you his feeling with simple questions...

"Then you must tell kor kor very LOUDLY... DON'T PUSH ME PLEASE!!!" And if kor2 kept pushing you again.. just stay far far away and play something else ok... mummy or daddy don't like you to get hurt ok?"

The hardest part is when our kids get bullied or when they started to bully others...

A gift from God said...

Linda,

Reese still doesn't know how to express his feelings well and from young, he is not a very emotional boy.We are actively teaching him to express himself now.

As for being bullied, well... my take now is to just be around and watch him like a hawk! hahaha...

Until he can express himself properly... will teach him to use words to defend himself first before any other form of actions.