August is coming up and with it the first day of school. Apart from the agony of buying school supplies that they’ll lose in their first week there also lurks the minor bully. With all the sad things going on in the world you’d think that schools would be spared. I mean you get to be a kid all day! But you grow up and forget how mean kids can be these days. I had the reality check of my life when Yoshi was subject to bullying. There’s really no way of stopping it. As someone who has dealt with jerks all her life, bullies are at every stage in life. They’re like mini-boss levels you have to fight to move on to the next stage. So, instead of being the big mama bear I tried to arm my son with what I believed he needed to best combat them.
The first instance it happened Yoshi came to me and told me some kids were bullying him. Now, every mother knows their child and, not to say I didn’t believe him, but I wanted to make sure I got the full story. I made him tell me everything that went down at the playground. Turns out Yoshi can dish it out but he can’t take the heat. He’s apparently not very good at ‘roasting’ either, which I’ll admit was more disappointing than I thought it would be. I’m an asshole, and I’m great at roasting bitches. I thought he’d at least get that from me. I don’t know maybe it comes with puberty. Anyways, in this case, I let him know I didn’t mind standing behind him 100% and fighting the battle with him but it had to be a legit fight. I am not about to turn up at his school defending my kid if he’s the one instigating fights. We all know that mom. We all hate that mom.
He understood. Well, days passed and he’d continue to say they were teasing him. I listened as best as I could. I told him that I couldn’t fight this battle for him. Bullies are everywhere and he needed to stand up to them. I don’t condone violence. I advised him to speak up. I told him to use that smart brain of his. He was only 7 or 8 at the time but I believed he could outsmart them. He’s taller than the other boys and definitely stronger, but he was still intimidated easily. Yoshi’s problem is that he’s afraid to be hurt due to his past experience with Shadow. I told him that no one would be able to hurt him the way Shadow did. If Yoshi could survive Shadow’s wrath, he could survive anything.
I hadn’t raised concerns in the school yet. I believed Yoshi was being sensitive and I wanted him to toughen up a bit. Well, toughen up he did. I got called by the school saying that he was fighting and acting out. I didn’t exactly celebrate the fact that he was fighting but I was internally proud he wasn’t allowing himself to get pushed around. I asked the school if they could divide the boys up. My talks with Yoshi were more what he thought of the situation and different avenues to avoid fights or the bullies. I warned that if he kept going straight for the fight the teachers would label him the problem child and not the other kids. Well, it happened. In a final cry for help, Yoshi stated that he wanted to end his life. Everyone at school heard him then. He was dubbed the problem child or the child with problems.
The other issue was that the teachers wanted to blame it on me. They thought I was being too strict or too stressful. I was completely dumbfounded. My parents were extremely worried too. Yoshi was sent to a health center for a week. Which he absolutely hated! He told me horror stories of how the kids acted. He was shocked to see so many kids misbehaving and so many adults being insensitive. When he returned to school, he tried his hardest to behave. For nothing more than to not return to that horrid place. He told me the kids still made fun of him and the teachers he vented to did nothing. Well, I had had enough! I walked straight to the school one day and marched to his class. I took Yoshi out of class and asked him to point out those little shits! I fucking let them have it. You know the best and worst part? The school didn’t do a goddamn thing to stop me.
I called the kids out. Told them to leave my son alone and walked out with Yoshi. The children alerted their parents, who in turn alerted the school, who in turn alerted my mother, who in turn shook her head at me. Looking back, it was probably not the best idea. I was just so fucking furious! Sure, enough I get another call from the school counselor letting me know that Yoshi was acting up again. Oh, boy did I cuss him the fuck out! After which I took Yoshi out of school and had him homeschooled for the rest of that year. It was hard but Yoshi enjoyed the freedom so much more. He almost needed it. When he returned to school-a different school-he was again faced with bullies. This time Yoshi wanted so bad to be part of the “cool kids.” Maki seemed to have no problem being Mr. Cool Guy and making friends. Yoshi, unfortunately, takes after me in that we’re both socially awkward.
Yoshi was sad again but he seemed to have learned from his previous experience. He was stronger. At one point he asked me to paint his nails because he liked it. He went to school that way. The kids teased him, and you know what he did the next day? Nothing, he wore his painted nails proudly. It was his silent way of rebellion. I had a talk with Maki since he had also joined in the teasing. After that, it was Yoshi and Maki against the world it seemed. Which is when I decided this time to go to the school and hold a parent-teacher conference. If it was bad enough where Maki was getting involved then I had to step in before things got worse. The mother of the student also had a talk with her son and convinced him to be nicer to Yoshi. I wish I could say that he made friends and lived happily ever after, but kids are heartless fiends always looking to pick on someone. I can say, however, that his social circle did improve a bit.
Yoshi is able to successfully articulate to other kids how he feels and how they make him feel. At times he’s too mature for his own good-which makes him more of a target amongst immature children. I’ve learned that his confidence soars when he is active in sports. Sports camps cost a lot of money so I’m hoping he can join the school teams this year. I have started a GoFundMe page to help sponsor the little guy if you’d like to help him achieve his dream of being the next Messi (soccer reference). And by all means feel free to share your stories too. Yoshi has become an expert at handling bullies I’m sure he has some advice to share with your child too. My advice is to arm your child with love and confidence in him/herself. There are wars and then there are playground showdowns and that’s one battle you can’t fight for your kid.