Saturday, May 2, 2009

All worked up

It's 9:45 p.m. and I'm ignoring my sink full of dishes. My husband is snoring away in his favorite recliner. Three of my kids are huddled together asleep in my bed. My oldest son is probably having a grand time at his friend's house right now.

I think I need the blog to be a place to spill my emotions once in a while. It feels therapeutic on some level for me to just "let it all out" this way.

Protective mama switch is never off for me. I'm finding it harder and harder to watch from a distance as my oldest son navigates through some of the taunting going on with two not so nice boys on my block. Gratefully, my son is a nice, smart and confident young man. He has a bunch of good, decent friends at school and on his soccer team. He generally gets along well with everyone. My son is a tall boy and will stand up for himself if pushed around. We are just stuck here with these jerks who like to make snide comments and foul gestures for kicks, I guess.

This afternoon, my kids were playing on our driveway, and I jumped up (hobbled, actually due to my swollen ankle) over to the window to see the "taunting". My son was handling it and not allowing this one boy to push him around with his words. But I got so, so mad. Who are these kids to harass my son when all he wants to do is play ball on his own driveway? I've had enough. I hopped down my steps with my bandaged ankle and I made my entrance. Boy, did I stare them down. They walked off, but circled back every once in a while. I've had it out with one of the moms already, and I'm afraid I'll have to go into battle mode once again. My son doesn't want to be a "mama's boy" and asks that I stay out of it.

It's so tough for me. This situation really upsets me. I am sick of having to be a watchdog when my kids go out to play. Who are these vultures that sneakily go around and pick on kids? The other moms are M.I.A. I'm here and see everything. My husband and I want our kids to enjoy the yard in peace and quiet. Why should any of us have to put up with this?

Whether it is right or not, I always want to help make things better for my kids everyday. I feel like I have to take action, but I don't want to make things worse for my son. I get so super involved with what they are going through. I don't really know if I should back off sometimes. I'm thinking about this situation often, and I'm afraid that it is affecting me too much emotionally. I don't know what to do. I'm tired of worrying.

Thanks for listening.


Mari said...

This is one of the worst things for a mom to deal with. I've been through it too and this is the third blog post about this subject I've read in a few weeks.
I don't have any great advice other than I think you have to let him deal with it if he can. It does make it worse for the kids when Mom gets involved. On the other hand - you also have to know when to step in. Wishy washy answer I know, but it really does depend on the situation.
Of course, it's important to pray for your kids, pray for wisdom for you and even pray for the kids who are the bullies. They have to have some kind of trouble in their lives to act like this.

shabby girl said...

Of course, my first reaction is, call the police. I know, I know, but he's on his own property for God's sake!

However, I agree, he should take care of it himself, if he can.

That being said, you will have to stay super vigilant, quietly, so he'll keep talking to you about it. You have already talked to one of the mothers, with no solution. Document, dear Mama!

I will share here that I used to tease (my words), harass (their words) other kids in my class when I was young (6th grade). Not because I didn't like them, but because it made me feel like I had some kind of control in my life, which I did not (disfunctional family, alcoholic father). I don't think I ever really had a clear picture of it until this very moment. I always felt awful about that. I've thought about posting about that subject, but truly, it's not such a great picture of me, is it.

What stopped it was, when I followed this girl home one day, teasing her, her mother came out of the house and screamed, "Take your glasses off Debbie, and hit her!" Oh, I thought, I guess she thought I meant all that teasing. I did not. I was just dealing with my own "stuff."

But this is a different day, "teasing" does not really exist anymore, I don't think. I guess I would have been considered a bully back then, but I wasn't, in my eyes. I am embarassed and ashamed today when I think back on that.

I've also worked in the Juvenile County Attorney's office within the last couple of years here, and I know that this is a different day. Believe me, I am not making any excuses for my behavior back then. But it is serious today. Stay on top of it. Keep talking to your son about it.

Worrying is what Moms do. It's our job.

Sabrina said...

This makes me so mad. I want to go and just grab them by their ears and walk them over to their house to have a "word" with their moms. Sorry, but hearing the fatigue and sadness in your tone makes me want to kick some bully butt! I will be in prayer about this for you.

Jenners said...

Oh this is so horrible. I can't believe you have to deal with this ... what is wrong with kids!!!??? And I think perhaps your husband can get involved maybe?????? perhaps it is a guy thing and then maybe your son might be more comfortable not being a "mama's boy." I don't know ... I'm scared to face the same thing with my son. Sending you best wishes and hugs.

becomingkate said...

I really feel for you and your family as well.
My daughter was badly bullied in middle school, and one male offender lived down the block from us. He would harass her while she did her paper route, making it necessary for her to quit.
One day when my daughter was 11 or 12, my late husband and I were playing tennis in the parking lot of the curling rink across from our house. My daughter was 20 feet away near the walkway, and her Bully came over the crest of it and started saying something nasty to her. When my husband overheard, he confronted him. The boy tried to flee but ran his bike into the bush and then wet himself.
My husband called after him
"You will never bother her again."
My late husband never got close enough to touch him, but we were all shaken by it. Thankfully, the boy stayed away from her after that, but she continually encountered bullying throughout most of her school years.
I did stay out of most of her battles but some of them are truly traumatizing incidents and I'm glad we saved her from him. She remembers it as a positive experience.
I agree with Jenners as well. If these are adolescent boys, they might respond more favourably to male interference (even if that means just making sure they know they're being watched)
Sorry for the long comment! I'm wishing for the best for you guys. *hugs*

T Rex Mom said...

So sad you have to go through this and always happy to listen (read). If there is anything I could do to help I would.

Good for your son for wanting to deal with this on his own and for standing up for himself. It might be a tough situation but it sounds like he is learning from it.

Take care and I hope that ankle feels better soon.

Joanne said...

It's really a tough situation where you're so torn and it's hard to know what to do. But the advice in your comments seems good, keep a sharp ear tuned, try to let your son handle it, and definitely have your husband subtly step in if the situation arises on your own property. Hopefully they'll tire of this and move on soon.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear you are going thru this bullying situation. I have been there with my own son and it was not an easy thing. I hope this works out and things settle down. Being the parent and seeing your child go thru these things is one of the hardest things to endure. Wishing you the best...hang in there!

Caitlin said...

Ugh. I am so sorry that you are all having to deal with this! Kids are so cruel! Where are those bullys' mothers? I am DETERMINED to not raise a bully!

Good luck, hope things get better! Sounds like you're in a tight spot!

pughy said...

I so feel for you and you have a poser of a problem here. I think your son is to be congratulated on his stance in this, he is obviously going down the route of ignore them and they will go away. Your son is probably right, they do get bored and go on to the next victim. Please though be vigilant in case they up their gain.

You will feel so frustrated and feel you are not doing enough, Just letting your son know you are there for him, and loving him is more than enough. Chin up

Carol x

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh it's so hard! We want to help our kids and have the wisdom of experience to do so... But then we need them to learn life's hard lessons on their own. What is the right thing to do? It breaks my heart to see bullying.

But think of it this way... What is going on these boys homes? Bullying comes from a lack of love and they are likely being bullied in some way by the parents (even if that the bullying is just neglect). These boys are searching for a way to fill that void. They get "power" from picking on others. They can't distinguish between good power and bad power...

Keep telling your son how much you love him and that you are there to listen. You son will benefit from your support.

Anonymous said...

I can't turn my protective mama switch off either.

Cassi said...

Oh Kelly, that sucks!

When I was about 6 years old I was being bullied by this kid Nicky. I told him my mom was a witch (I have no idea where I came up with this) and if he touched me again she was going to turn him into a frog. :) I guess he had nightmares for a few nights and his mom asked my mom to assure him that she was not a witch. But mom told him that she was a witch and she would turn him into a frog if he touched me again. That was the end of the bullying. :)
Obviously don't follow that lead but it was reassuring to know she had my back. That's probably what's going to help your son the most, give him that added boost of confidence....just knowing that his parents are there for him.
Good luck.

Shabbygirl was so brave to post about her past...that's tough.

Anonymous said...

i can't imagine having to deal with something like this--i was super protective of my younger sister while we were growing up--and feel for you. i don't have kids of my own but work in a high school taking care of discipline.

typically, the worst cases of this are seen in late grammar and middle school, so it's not so bad for our students. every once in a while i deal with this situation and will be honest--the bullies often have absent parents who don't show up when called to meetings. the kids tend to come from homes where parents are not doing their job. it's no excuse, but those kids are also miserable. pushing other kids around is a form of control and it boosts their low and fragile self-esteem.

The Write Girl said...

Hi Septembermom,

I am sorry to hear the kids are still bullying your son. If your son wants to handle this, I think you should give him some room. However, there have been things on the news about child bullying that are pretty unsettling. If you notice any changes in his behavior or mood, I'd definitely try to step in. Those kids parents need to realize what their children are doing is wrong. I think you are doing the best you can. Hope everything works out well : )

Michelle said...

Ick. This is definitely something I'm worried about -- and seeing it in the daycare we go to with three of the kindergarten boys. It's hard when it's in your neighborhood and you can't get away from it (none of these boys lives in our neighborhood, luckily). Any chance the school can get involved, even though technically much of this is happening outside school? I wish I had an answer for you... at least your boy is handling it well!

Gerri said...

Hey Kelly, Like many have said to me a "Momma Lion" it is instinctive to protect our young. I think it will always be challenging. One of the last things my Grand-Mother said to me was in defense of my Mom. My Mom still tries her best not to "lose it" over her protection of us. Now that your son is older, he is trying to find his way as a young man. I applaud him for that. I would keep a safe distance and maybe share with him your feelings and ask him how he feels. Maybe you too can come to a happy and acceptable medium. Blessings in your Mommy-Quest!

This Crazy Thing Called Motherhood said...

I gave you an award on my blog so come check it out when you have a minute! :)

This Crazy Thing Called Motherhood said...

I really feel you on this. I could write forever about my own similar experiences, but suffice to say that I truly understood what you felt. It is so hard to be a parent sometimes.

I don't really have any advice to offer since I am still trying to navigate this same rocky path myself, but just know that you are not alone.

Take comfort knowing that you are a good mother for caring so much. Too many kids these days are without watchful, involved parents.

Vent away anytime! :)

Becca said...

This is something else I am really not looking forward to. I, just like every other mom, wants their children to be loved just like they love their children. The day another kid hurts my little girl will be the day my heart just falls apart.

I am sure it is tough to just watch kids annoy your son especially when obviously their mother seems to ignore the fact! I have no advice to offer as I still have yet to deal with these types of situations. Just know that it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job and are a wonderful mother!

AVR said...

I know we want to be there for our kids and protect them from whatever, but this is not always easy to do. Your child is minding his own business and has to deal with these kids that have nothing better to do. They need to go somewhere else. Would talking to their parents help? I know your child wants to stand on their own because they get taunted by other kids if mom is defending them, but a parent has to intervene when needed. You are not going to let your child be bullied, if you can help it. My daughter has had to deal with racism in the part of town we are in and she is not used to that, it has been difficult. In this day and age, but it still exists,sadly. I hope your ankle gets better, I sprained mine last September, again!

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