Thursday, February 17, 2011

Alexander's Revenge

We've had a tough week this week, and it's been especially difficult for the kiddo. Alexander's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day doesn't hold a candle to what Eric's been through this week. Some of the "in crowd" kids took one of his shoes after gym class the other day, he turned in the wrong homework, had a surprise quiz, and was laughed out of a school sponsored Manga club because the other boys didn't like his choices of reading material. Everyone has bad days, and being a middle schooler is always a difficult time, but I feel like he took more than his share of lumps this week. It is especially irritating because the school is in the throws of an anti-bullying campaign.

I also feel like I'm not really helping him. My first reaction is to call the school, but Eric won't give me the names of the boys who are giving him a bad time. I think he is probably worried that they'll bother him even more if they get in trouble. Jeremy and I keep trying to tell him that this is a difficult time for everyone, but I remember feeling so awkward at that age, I don't think that we'll be able to convince him of that until he's 25. I'm also a very over protective mom, so part of me wants to go over to the school and talk to those kids myself, but that would probably be the nail in Eric's social coffin.

I wish that there was some way we could convince him that being popular in school doesn't mean anything in the whole rest of your life, that people who are mean are usually insecure about something, and that all of this emotion, angst, and awkwardness will pass but every time I try I just hear my mom's voice trying to tell me the same things, and I remember how I didn't believe her anymore than Eric's going to believe us.

So this morning, as Eric was leaving for school I gave him a hug. I told him that being popular in school doesn't mean anything in the whole rest of your life. I told him that the people who have been mean to him are probably having some kind of situation of their own and lashing out is the way they are trying to deal with it. I told him that being a teenager is a short time in life and it will pass and I told him that we love him, because I  think that's really the only thing we can do right now.

1 comment:

  1. This breaks my heart. My oldest is in Kindie and she's already seen some of those behaviors! I was not only shocked, but like you, didn't feel like I was helping all that much.

    You are so right - this is a short time, and it's not easy on anyone.

    I just try to stay very logical and factual with my kiddos and ask lots of questions where their answers make them see they are in no way contributing to the bully's behavior. That way it's not mom telling them a bunch of crap they tune out, but so they see it on their own. I just pray at some point that sinks in, and builds their confidence enough to deal with the bully on their own.

    Another thing I've done with kids around your sons age (I was involved with youth group for many years) was to start a journal that goes back and forth with them. So, I would start with an entry telling them unique things I love about them, and then I'd leave it up to them to see if they'd respond. Typically they would, and before long they'd be writing me things as a way to cope with the most difficult problems. I'd usually set parameters that they could write anything in the journal, but if they wanted to talk face to face about something that needed to be clear in the writing, or they had to bring it up to me. Otherwise, we'd only write.

    Just throwing ideas out here, I know you've probably thought about them and I certainly don't want to come off as a know it all, because trust me, I don't. But, on some level I still believe it takes a village ...