Bullying: A Mother’s Perspective

Eighth Rising

I remember it like it was yesterday.  I pulled into the parking lot of the school where the after care kids were playing to pick up my oldest child, who was in 4th grade at the time. Before I could even get his car door open, he began to sob uncontrollably. My kids all have different cries. Hungry cries, “I got caught” cries, tired cries, and “I didn’t get my way” cries. This cry, though, was different. It came from deep within his gut – a brokenness that I’d never heard from my baby before. I don’t remember the specific details about the incident, but the root of his pain was something we’d dealt with before.  However, this time it was on a much larger scale. My son was the victim of bullying.

There are no words to adequately express how heartbreaking it is to know that your child is being bullied.  Any of the moms reading this post can attest that very few things anger us more than when someone threatens your child.

Jackson is different – there’s no question about it. To me, it makes him beautiful. God created him uniquely, with gifts and talents that make him special. But to his peers, it makes him an easy target. He takes after his momma in many ways – he’s smaller than the rest of the kids his age, started wearing glasses in the third grade, and loves to read – he’s always got a book (or three) tucked under his arm. He doesn’t concern himself much with brand names, or much to my chagrin, whether his clothes even match! While he appreciates and notices pretty girls, he’s not even remotely interested in being distracted by them. He is also in the school band. He’s a gifted trumpet player and is passionate about music of all kinds. On any given day, you can find him listening to anything from Macklemore or Lacrae to The Glen Miller Band and Kenny Loggins. Needless to say, his taste in music is diverse.  😉  Jackson loves Jesus and he’s not afraid to say it. He’s not obsessed with material things (he asked for one thing for Christmas this year – a nice leather coat). He knows that as one of five children, our budget for Christmas isn’t huge, and he’s okay with that. He’d much rather us take him out to a nice steak dinner anyway.

My point is this – he’s not your average teenager. On most days, he’s confident enough that even though some jerk doesn’t think his jacket is the right color, or his glasses are nerdy, or his taste in books is lame – it doesn’t bother him. But day after day after day of being made fun of can wear you down. He’s been the butt of someone’s joke for the majority of his school life, and for the most part, he has a great attitude about it. I’m his mom, though. I feel his pain even when he refuses to admit that it still hurts. I’m not satisfied with how the public school system has handled this incredibly serious issue, so we are exploring our options in that regard. I will NOT stand idly by and allow someone – ANYONE – to tell my son that he’s nothing less than amazing. I know what I see, and I know what the word of God says about him.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  -Ephesians 2:10

God’s masterpiece. You know what that means? God doesn’t make junk! According to Jeremiah 29:11, God has fashioned a future for Jackson – one that is full of hope! As his mom, I am committed to doing everything that I can to see that God’s plan for Jackson’s life is fulfilled.

The reason I am writing about this is that I want the parents who are reading to know that the issue of bullying is a very real, and very painful one. Kids are committing suicide on a daily basis because the pressure of bullying at school has grown to be more than they can handle. It’s one of the reasons I don’t allow my kids to access social media. No Instagram, no Facebook. There is a competition among teenagers today to be bigger, better, faster, or more popular and it’s almost impossible to live up to the standards of their peers. There’s only one standard that I’m concerned about my kids living up to, and that’s the Word of God. Kids expect perfection, but Jesus just wants our devotion. He offers grace in return. Until SnapChat can offer grace, my impressionable child will not be using it.

Many schools have protocol for bullying incidents, but unless it’s physical in nature, it often goes unpunished. Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
  2. Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. The adult can give comfort, support, and advice, even if they can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.
  3. Talk about strategies for staying safe, such as staying near adults or groups of other kids.
  4. Urge them to help kids who are bullied by showing kindness or getting help.

For more information on bullying and it’s prevention, please visit stopbullying.gov.

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13 thoughts on “Bullying: A Mother’s Perspective

  1. Karen,

    My son was bullied for years, and we dealt with similar issues in trying to get the schools to address it. In middle school, we were told, “That’s just how kids are.” It wasn’t until our son told a teacher that the world would be better off without him, and that teacher called me (I’m a teacher, too), and I got my school’s guidance counselor involved, that my son’s school finally took the situation seriously. His tormentors were disciplined, all the boys received counseling, and Ted came back from the brink of a very dark place…
    Yes, we came THAT close to losing our intelligent, wonderful, quirky boy. Not long after, we found a church family with a youth program that accepted Ted just as he is, and he found Christ. (He was at a youth conference on my birthday weekend – BEST GIFT EVER!) It took another year, and moving on to high school, before he really became comfortable being with a group of friends that “get” and support him. He’s now a junior and really looking forward to what God has in mind for him in the future: going to college, starting his own technology company, and he even just asked a wonderful Christian girl to prom!
    There is so much God has planned for our boys, and I applaud you for letting Jackson know you will always be on his side. We want our kids to be strong and able to fight their own battles, but there are times when we mamas know it’s time to step up and take action!

    Many blessings to you and yours,

    P.S. Our youth pastor created a video about Ted’s experience, and shared it with our church family on a recent “Storytelling” Sunday. It’s at http://www.earlhenning.macmate.me/www.dwellingplaceyouth.com/Student_Testimonies.html

  2. We are also a homeschooling family, and we have children of multiple ages under one roof. This is my first time taking this on, and, just for the record, I attended public school from Kindergarten to University. Needless to say this venture is a ‘work in progress’. Because mama is only one person, but needs to school 3 children at once, I really REALLY looked into tools to help me do this. I am sharing a link to one of the things I use to teach my children academics and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I commend you in your decision to shepherd your child safely, I also am VERY inspired by your blog. I will be reading often.
    So here is the curriculum we use for homeschooling, which puts academics into the HIStory of the Gospel. It teaches children how to be good citizens, includes life skills, character development, has a scriptural background, and includes projects that are super easy to do around the house. That was what I was looking for! I have found it to be a helpful resource, which creates lovely experience with my children. Whatever tools you chose to assist you, I wish you light, love, peace, protection, and God’s angels of strength, comfort, and guidance to help you every step of the way. God Bless.
    site from the Brick and mortar school curriculum comes from: http://www.american-heritage.org/
    actual curriculum site: http://latterdaylearning.org/

  3. Home school!! It’s been the best thing for my kids. They are thriving and we have plenty of social interaction with other people. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking you are failing him via the socialization myth- because it IS a myth. 🙂

  4. No kid should have to deal with it. Its a lame excuse that adversity in this case will make them stronger. We home school so really dont have to deal with it often but it kills me anytime i read about it.
    Big hug you sound like a great mom

  5. My children have both suffered through serious cases of bullying and unfortunately, the adults in a position to take care of it simply turned their backs. I am so sorry your son is dealing with this too, and I’m very glad for his sake that you are standing with him.

  6. All kids will face “bullying” to one degree or another. It’s been happening for generations, I think the reason we feel it is epidemic now, is that so many kids get their self worth from their peers Their self worth isn’t tied to being a child of the living God. Also, from the flip side, if the bully sees people as nothing more than an evolved animal, not as an eternal being, they will treat them accordingly.
    I’m determined to not let my children fall victims, but use adversity to show others the power and mercy of Christ. Life is not fair, but it’s how we respond to struggle that better defines us.

  7. I agree with most of what was said, but I think there should be a part two to this article, because simple telling your child that he is made beautiful in the image of God will not help him deal with bullying ( I have been there as a teenager). I think we need to teach our kids how to deal with rejection and negativism as well, because unfortunately thats how the world was and is. and won’t be any better in the future. I’m being very brief with this and wish I had more time to explain, but here is a link to another mothers blog who even not from a christian point of view, but from a very logical, common sense point of view, tells the truth..http://www.viralnova.com/this-young-mother-is-sick-of-how-kids-are-being-raised-heres-her-controversial-blog-post/

    • I totally agree. Our children are not the center of the universe in our home. We don’t coddle them, but rather enforce that while they ARE uniquely and wonderfully made, they DO have a responsibility to our home and to society.

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