This is a comment I left for a friend regarding THIS POST he put on Facebook:
I recently told my 10 year old son (regarding the kid who bullies him on the bus) - "Take him down. If he lays a single finger on you, TAKE HIM DOWN. I will support you. We will face problems with the school but I will support you. No person EVER has the right to bully another or put their hands on another. Take him down. He's a jerk, you don't need him, TAKE HIM DOWN."
This bully got off the bus the other day and stared ME down. I stared right back at him. And then he smiled. A genuine, heartfelt smile.
The second I told my kid he had the right to stand up for himself and defend himself he gained the confidence to do just that. He has not had a single problem with this bully since.
I am not saying that "my" way is the right way or the only way...but it worked for us. She is right, bullies, no matter the age (because, let's face it - any child over the age of 5 knows that it is WRONG to pick on someone), is a fucking asshole and they deserve to be told so.
I certainly do not condone violence, typically. A little background: this bully has been bullying my child for 5 years. He recently shoved my child. It was time he was given a taste of his own medicine. I do not know that it ever turned physical (from my son's side) but I do know that the teasing stopped as soon as I gave him the option.
I will not claim that I never bullied. I did. And I can tell you, with all honesty, that if she had beat me to a pulp, I never would have teased her again.
I was also bullied. Not seriously like poor Tyler Clementi or the other gay teens that recently committed suicide. But I like to think that part of the reason that I was able to get through it was because I stood up for myself. I surrounded myself with people who loved and cared about me and I stood up for myself.
In high school, two of my closest friends were gay (well, they still are gay...). I was often enraged with the humiliation and horror these two were subjected to. Recently one told me that he stopped telling me when people referred to him as a "faggot" because I wouldn't sit by and let it go. I would confront them, I would speak up and I would let my voice be heard. I don't know that it was helpful. I don't know that he didn't get MORE ridicule that "a girl" would stand up for him...I don't know that I made a difference.
What I DO know is that I would do the same thing today. I hope that you all do the same as well. As a society, we need to stop allowing bullies (children and adults alike) from getting away with it. As a society, we need to speak up. We need to let them know that this will not be tolerated.
I hope that I am raising those children today and I hope that you are as well.
I saw this quote today (whether it is truly Sarah Silverman's quote or not, I do not know) but it makes a whole lot of sense to me: "Dear America, when you tell gay Americans that they can't serve their country openly, or marry the person that they love, you're telling that to kids, too. So don't be fucking shocked, and wonder where all these bullies are coming from that are torturing young kids, and driving them to kill themselves because they're different. They learned it from watching you." -Sarah Silverman
While you may not see bullying as a problem for you or your child, give it time. We have all been subjected to someone, somewhere in our lives that makes us feel like shit...
Stand up. Take 'em down. Don't tolerate it any longer.