I doled out some advice the other day regarding kids and bullying. I said, be consistent, keep teaching them to be kind and it will all work out. I would like to apologize to that person for my ill fated advice. It turns out things may not be ok, that your child may end up being the bully. Perhaps to their own sibling. We have witnessed in the past few months an increase in physical behavior from Tyler to Isaac. We often heard Isaac screaming to Tyler to stop, Tyler starting things and egging Isaac on, and even hitting or really hurting him and then asking "What, I thought we were playing?" or telling us he was aiming for a more acceptable body part. There were times we rationed that Isaac was just as much to blame, after all he is a live wire and you never know what he will do next. We tried all the things we could think of, never admitting outside our home what was going on, ashamed, I suppose, of the truth. We finally gave it a name. Bullying. It had all the classic signs, everything we had ever known or read about bullying we were seeing in Tyler.
Oh! How could we miss it?? How could we not see what was happening? Our hearts were broken. It came to head one afternoon and we just had to make it stop. We took away everything we could think of, sent him to bed early, and had a very long talk about bullying and what it was and meant. He cried, I cried. We tried so hard to give him every illustration we could on the subject. But now what? I feel cold in my bones and aches in my heart. I feel guilt for not being perceptive enough to see what was going on. I questioned every decision I have made regarding his behavior lately, would I have done anything different if I had this knowledge weeks ago?? Will he learn to get past the little annoyances he holds as ammunition? Will he ever let go of his negative fun and pick up a positive one?
I know that we are not perfect parents, we make the best choices we can and put on our confident faces, especially around those we feel judge us or doubt us. Just like every other parent. We pray each day for our kids and want them to be strong, kind, and wise men when they grow up.
And what about my Tyler? My heart is so heavy and worried, if this to will pass, and will he be secure about himself?