Home > Bullying, Lessons, Life, Motherhood, Parenting > The Other Side of Bullying

The Other Side of Bullying

September 23, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too 

~John Mayer

We have an awesome job as parents to guide our children. We often do that by example. Children watch what we do and say, all the time.

Bullying is no joke. When an adult labels a child a bully,  they need to make sure they have all the facts. Other children are watching.

Sadly, most of us adults have experienced bullying in one form or another, at some point of our childhood or adolescence and fully understand the hurtful mark it can leave.

I never took a school bus as a kid. My Dad drove me until I was old enough to walk on my own. I went to catholic school. I wore a white blouse, red sweater, pleated skirt, navy knee-socks and a sturdy shoe, every day. No sneakers. Sneakers were for gym class, worn in the gym; only.

School was a long walk, about two miles from the apartment building I grew up in. I was ten or eleven when I remember clearly, two girls who followed me home daily. They were also from my school. One was in my class, the other was a year younger. The route I took included a shortcut through a wildly-overgrown, empty lot between two residential streets. The lot had a path that cut right through the streets but concealed its foot bearers. The girls kept a fair amount of distance from me until I entered the lot. Once I stepped onto the pathway, there was no turning back and as soon as I stepped onto the pathway the taunting from behind began. Each day for several days in a row they’d make hurtful remarks about how fat or ugly or stupid I was, all-the-while, using their own sturdy shoes to take turns kicking up my pleated skirt from behind. Kicking up my skirt high enough of course to reveal whatever underwear I was wearing that day.

I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. It was painful.

So painful, that on the on the fourth or fifth day of “the following”, I finally summoned up enough courage to turn and face my “tormentors”.

Everyone has their limit and sometimes you need to let people know when that limit has been reached.

It surprised me as much as them when I abruptly turned and told them to “Stop!

They laughed and continued. I warned them again and told them to “STOP!”

They didn’t.

Instinct and impulse stepped in.

There was a full-force push to the ground, a stunned look from both ends of the assault and ultimately, freedom. The younger girl ended up on the ground, crying but they never bothered me again.

The question is, who’s the bully here? Maybe to some it’s debatable. Not to me.

I know what bullying is.

I would never endorse violence but I don’t believe in allowing yourself to be taunted either. Sometimes you have to tell people to stop and when they don’t, when they keep pushing or poking or pulling at you and you give them fair-warning and they still don’t stop; you need to push or poke or pull at them back; even if you are bigger than they are.

That’s not bullying, that’s setting boundaries.

Moms and dads who fail to see (or ignore) the whole picture and mislabel this as bullying are doing their sons and daughters an injustice, not to mention, sending a dangerous message.

As parents we have an awesome responsibility to teach and guide our children.

So, Mother’s — be good to your daughters.Teach them not to push, or poke or pull at other kids because they might get pushed, or poked or pulled on– back –and that’s not bullying; that’s setting boundaries.

Photo Credit #1 Mother/Daughter Silhouette

Photo Credit #2 Sturdy Catholic School Uniform Shoe/Google Images

  1. Anonymous
    September 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Yes, Karen, I think many of us have had this experience in one way or another. I remember my son’s preschool teacher speaking with me each day at pick-up about just how tolerant my son was of a child who kept taking things away from him. The situation was escalating, from grabbing toys to poking, to hair pulling. On the day that the same child made faces at my son, and followed him around mimicking him, my son summoned up his courage and pushed. While everyone worked with my son to help him express his dislike of this behavior in words, I joined his teachers in our silent relief that he finally stood up for himself. Bullies get away with their behavior because they can. As a mom and teacher, it’s my hope that we help our kids summon the courage to stand up for themselves and for each other. I believe that if we learned to stand up sooner, we could accomplish this with words instead of pushing. Setting personal boundaries is a problem that many of us carry into our adult lives. Glad you wrote this piece. anita


    • September 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Thank you, Anita. I greatly appreciate your comments.


  2. September 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Being a nerd meant getting picked on so often that I don’t remember most of the incidents. I do remember the one time it escalated into a full-out fight.

    One group of “cool girls” had been taunting me for a while. This particular morning, for some reason, they decided it was time one of them beat me up. All day I had been hearing whispers, “A..is gonna get you.” Where would this happen? Where else, the locker rooms.

    Reluctantly I went to my locker and started to change for gym. A crowd of girls, including A approached and began chanting, “get her, get her”. So she pushed, I pushed back, and the fight was on. ( I just want to say, like the Hulk, don’t make me angry. You won’t like it when I’m angry.) It was quite the girl-fight, hair pulling, scratching, kicking and lots of throwing each other into lockers. Finally some teachers came and broke it up. The two of us were sent to the principal. Because I was hyper ventilating, they kept asking me if I had asthma. Our parents were called.

    Of course, since I was the “good student, quiet kid” and she was the “trouble maker” there wasn’t much of a story to tell. I think she may have gotten suspended for a few days. The funny thing is, when A’s mother arrived I suddendly felt my sympathy shift. My parents were worried, and kept asking me if I was alright. Her mother responded as follows, (to her daugher) “you’re no damn good, just like your father, get in another fight and I’m giving you away.” It wasn’t directed at me, but it was painful to listen to anyone speak to, yell at, thier child like that. She didn’t even ask what happened, just came in and started yelling.

    And, I found myself saying, “It wasn’t really her fault. She didn’t want to fight. Her friends just kept pushing her. They made her do it.” (Which, by the way, was true.)

    While we never be became friends, that girl and I became allies of a sort. I never had another fight after that. And I don’t think it was all because I fought back. A lot of it was because I tried to stand up for my “enemy” against what was clearly the diatribe of her life. I’m not saying we should feel sorry for bullies, but we should remember that sometthing probably went wrong somewhere for them to be acting that way. Maybe that’s the place society really needs to examine.


    • September 23, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Interesting. Thank you, Goldy for reading & commenting!


  3. September 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    A very moving post. I completely agree with how you dealt with your situation. It’s wonderful that you had the confidence and inner strength to face the bullies. Bravo!


    • September 23, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks for stopping by artclub! I appreciate your comments.


  4. singleworkingmomswm
    September 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Great post, Karen. A couple of months ago we visited my sister and her hubby, and Maycee was sharing with them about this girl who was constantly embarrassing her, yelling at her, getting in her face if she was playing with her sister and didn’t do something “right”, etc, in essence, bullying her. Maycee was able to let it go most days, but finally, one afternoon when I came to pick her up from the aftercare program, and she was in tears. She’d had enough. We told the program head, and she thanked Maycee for telling her and ensured she was not alone (this girl had upset some other kids, I guess) and that the girl would be spoken to. Maycee has not been bugged by this girl since. However, her Uncle T told a similar story to yours, Karen, about his step-daughter. Words were not helping, teacher, principal, etc, could not get this kid to stop bothering her, so Uncle T. taught her how to do an uppercut punch in the gut. One day, after school, as soon as the bullying began, his step-daughter hauled off and punched the girl. The daughter got suspended, of course, but the bully never bullied her again. His point to Maycee…if it can’t be helped with words, you always have the power to take care of measures on your own with a good ol’ fashion upper cut. Boy, wish I had Uncle T’s advice when I was Maycee’s age. I really could’ve used it against my own bully-a very tall and big boy in my class. I would’ve loved to see his eyes bulge…My sentiments are 100% with yours, friend. Standing up for yourself is NOT bullying in reverse-it’s pure and simple self-defense. Love and hugs. XOXO-SWM


    • September 24, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks, Kasey! I’m glad Maycee was able to resolve her issue with words. That’s always the best way. Hands down. At the same time it’s nice to have an Uncle T in your life to give you advice for situations that aren’t solved that easily. It’s not easy being a kid. I guess like most things, it’s all a bit of a balance. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Hugs & Love back at you both!! xoxox


  5. Nicole
    September 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Great post Karen! I agree completely, I believe the term bully is thrown out there way too much now and kids think sticking up for themselves is bullying (I’ve had to have this discussion with a lot of my students). Not that I promote violence but sometimes ignoring them just isn’t enough! We need to teach our kids how to stick up for themselves and to know what their limits are!


    • September 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      Nicole! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. You are going to be a GREAT teacher.


  6. October 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    You’re so right. Kids have to learn to set boundaries and stand up for themselves without turning to violence.


  7. October 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you, Lady.


  8. December 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    It’s tough. I was verbally bullied for three years in high school by several boys. I ended up going to a therapist to deal with it — when they should have been disciplined.

    In math class in Grade 12 I lost it and whammed one of them, sitting in front of me, on the back of his head with a very heavy textbook. That shut him up for good. And, no I was not punished — the teachers knew full well the BS I had faced already.


  1. September 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm
  2. October 4, 2012 at 5:08 am

Your Thoughts Are Welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: