Our brilliant, beautiful, talented daughter has become the victim of bullying. She is extremely tall and her height is what the bullies targeted. Usually, bullying is girl to girl or boy to boy. This instance crossed the gender line. Two boys picked on Claire. I could have cheerfully wrung their necks while I sat here with Claire sobbing into my shoulder. It is the dread of most parents, bullying.
Luckily, for me, Claire was able to talk to me about it. I am thankful she came to me. She and I were able to work through her feelings a little. I gave her the words to defend herself. I told her to use "I" statements. "I don't like it when you call me that." "I want you to stop." Claire was going to have to find the courage to be able to say the words but she never had to because Mama Bear in me came out and I went to school. The day after Claire told me she was being bullied the school called me and said Claire was in the clinic with a stomachache. This Mama Bear thought the worst. I thought she was faking a stomachache because she was upset. So I went to school. I talked to the school nurse who was upset to think Claire didn't tell her about the bullying. I talked to the counselor and I talked to Claire's teacher. Have I told you how much I love Elemetary School lately? Because I do. I love her school. I love all of the fabulous people who refuse to allow bullying in their school. They have to know about it in order to stop it, when they know about - WATCH OUT! It will end and it will end immediately! Claire's teacher has ZERO tolerance for bullying. It will stop and I will stay on top of it to make sure it is stopped.
As I was talking to my friend, Julie, about all of this she told me about the Dateline Special last week dealing with bullying. It was called "My Kid Would Never Bully." I started watching it alone but soon got Lucas and Claire together with me to watch it. It was exactly what I needed! It was perfect. If you haven't watched it, you should. It showed how kids react in situations where there is bullying; what they did to stop it and what they didn't do. The experts on the show gave great advice on how to handle bullying and told the kids it just takes one kid to step in. I watched in amazement as one kid stepped in to help stop the bullying and others followed. One kid, just one, can help stop bullying. Claire was able to hear to the exact words I gave her put to use. This was extremely timely for Lucas as well because he just finished a video project on bullying. He and two of his friends shot a video at school. In the video, one of the boys walked up to the other boy and knocked the papers he was carrying out of his hands. Lucas steps out, picks up the papers, hands them back to the boy. He then walks toward the camera and says "Courage." It takes a lot of courage to stand up to bullies.
Hopefully, some of what the kids watched stays with them as they go through the bullying years. Hopefully, they will continue to come to me when bullying occurs. Hopefully, if they see bullying they will step in and help. Hopefully, they are never the bully themselves. I will continue to give them the tools to deal with bullying as it comes their way. I will do it for the love of my children.