Friday, October 12, 2007

help me out here

Hey all,
JH has been having a tough time with a kid at school who has been doing a lot of teasing. The kid seems to be Capital T Trouble, and I'm sure JH isn't the only one getting teased. His teacher is aware of it, and I'm just trying to arm my son with an arsenal of fabulous comebacks. I've given him "I'm rubber, you're glue, what bounces off me sticks to you" (which seems to get him confused and he winds up saying "you're rubber and I'm glue"), the shorter "get a life", and "I know you are but what am I?", which doesn't always apply grammatically. Because of my lapsed Lutheran conscience, I am blocked when it comes to anything remotely witty or stinging. What I'd really like to do is bop the kid on the head myself, nothing harmful, mind you, just to let him know I mean business, and short of that have him removed permanently from the classroom, but those aren't options.

So- were any of you teased mercilessly as children? Could you pass along your best retorts? It needs to be first grade friendly, and if it makes JH laugh, so much the better.

Thank you from an exasperated mother.


suttonhoo said...

shoot. I don't have any that are age appropriate.

bullies are tricky because they're so starved for love and attention, and they're also fairly adept at twisting anything you say to them to their advantage (and to your detriment).

and yeah: I'm speaking from a whole lot of experience. I was a lot of different things growing up, but the one thing that I *always* was, given our nomadic habits as a family, was "the new kid". which made me a huge target -- because I had fewer social resources to protect me.

my dad taught me some great diplomatic skills -- disengagement seems to be key. sometimes that's through language; sometimes that's through ignoring the creep. engaging will almost always make it worse.

but the disengagement can't be cowardly -- it's not about running away. you need to stand strong, even if you're standing silently, and own your right to the territory. because with bullies it's usually about territory.

the worst part of bullying, I think, is the way it cascades -- you can't always take refuge in your friends because they fear the bully too, and may isolate you to keep themselves safe. which means that you might be left feeling even lonelier and more betrayed.

hugs hugs hugs for J-H -- and courage. one things for damn sure: it's one hell of a character builder.

J-H is so fortunate to know himself, to dig himself as much as he does, and to know how much he's loved. all of that is going to carry him through.

English Garden said...

Oohhh, thats rough, I agree with suttonhoo that bullies are starved for love and attention and that is probably why JH is picked on, because he obviously is not. I think maybe if JH just completly ignored the little S#%! if he never gets a rise out of him maybe he would leave him alone, maybe easier said than done, or there's the kill him with kindness, try to do something nice for him. Eric says the retorts don't work but just keep instilling in JH that he is an amazing, cute, handsome, wonderfully talented boy who is loved more than words can say. I often worry about Kate with her skin and the teasing, I'm just trying to instill a ton of confidence in her, I'll be coming for advice in a year or too!! Some of my friends (admittedly mormon) have a blog, sometimes they have good advice on stuff like this, if not you could always post a question.

anniemcq said...

Oh friends, thank you. For your thoughtful replies and your wisdom. I know in my heart that this boy needs love, I know that he is suffering, and honest to goodness, Joe-Henry knows it better than I do. He has no desire to hurt anyone's feelings, he just doesn't want this kids inappropriate attention.

I plan to write more about this subject as we go through it. Bullying is so prevalent, and there are so many experts, it's just hard to find a way through it.

Dayna said...

My little first grade boy recently went through this. He was teased because he has a little first grade girl friend whom he always plays with. I asked him what he felt when they teased him and he said AWFUL. I asked him what he thought the best thing to do would be, and my little pacificst said, "Walk away?" to which my husband, the big tough fireman replied "that's right son, walk away." It seems, it only works when they get a rise out of you. I worried this wouldn't work, but the next day the same thing happened all over, and he just walked away instead of letting it get to him, and it's stopped now. I'm sure it's not always that easy -but sometimes, it is.

Jennie said...

Hm. When I was in third grade, the babysitter watched a boy who lived next door. He was AWFUL - verbally and physically abusive. She taught me to call him an "anal orifice", which I thought was just great. Maybe not appropriate for a first grader, though?