I recently found a blog dedicated to getting mom bloggers to pledge not to be online bullies. It’s a neat site. You agree that, basically, you won’t be a jerk. It just asks that you express your opinions in a non-jerk way, and don’t criticize people, specifically moms, who do things differently than you do. It’s a good promise to make. I watched a piece on the Today show called “Mommy Meanest” about how some people apparently don’t have anything to do with their time aside from hopping from one blog to another and leaving hateful comments.
Like most things, this got me thinking. Bullying seems like a real issue these days, both online and in person. Luckily, my son has never had major issues with this. He’s had a few run-ins during his public school days, but nothing too traumatic. Some of his friends have had real problems, though, and I especially notice how nasty little girls seems to be these days. This lead me to a rather obvious conclusion–apparently the online mom bullies are reproducing. There’s a scary thought.
Obviously, this type of hateful language is a learned behavior. It’s really not that hard to figure out. Growing up with a severely disabled sister meant I saw and heard lots of things that I’m sure qualified as bullying. The one big physical altercation I was involved in as a child resulted from a girl making a comment about my sister that I didn’t approve of. Now my daughter, also disabled, though in very different ways, is in school and away from me all day. Now, Evelyn could give a crap about what anyone says. It’s more the idea of it that bugs me. She’s in a classroom for moderate and severely impaired kids, and I know sometimes people stare and make rude comments. Once, when she first started in school, I went to pick her up a little early for an appointment. As we were going down the stairs, a bigger kid, maybe a third or fourth grader, was a flight above us. He was making what sounded like a little bird call, but what he was saying was “re-tard, re-tard,” in a sing-song way, so maybe I wouldn’t know what he was saying.
So, I did what any mature adult would do and just ignored him.
Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! If you actually believe that, then you don’t know me very well, do you? What I actually did was stop and wait for him, pretending that I was looking in Evelyn’s bag so he wouldn’t know I was lying in wait for him, and then caught him as he went by. I stepped in front of him and asked him what his name was. He didn’t want to tell me. I told him it didn’t matter if he told me or not, that I knew what he said, and I thought it was a shame that he was already so mean at such a young child, because he didn’t stand a chance when he was an adult. I also told him that I had better not find out that he ever said anything to or about my daughter again, or I would talk to him and his parents personally. Then I marched right up to the principal’s office and told the principal what had happened. He assured me he would handle it.
I over-reacted. I know this. It was just some little punk whose parents are probably big punks, and he didn’t know any better. Evelyn didn’t know anything about what he was saying. The person who came out on the bad end of that deal was, of course, me. I was stressed and angry for hours after that, I cried, I said all sorts of unladylike things, just typical melodramatic b.s. It murdered my soul to think that my little girl would be on the outside of things, always different, always left out, and always left behind.
Obviously, thee were a lot of deep-rooted issues there that I have learned to deal with over the years. No one wants their kids to suffer, but the important thing is that you teach them how to deal with those types of situations. The world is full of jerks. Sooner or later, you’re going to run into one. It’s hard to tone down those mother lion instincts–it’s still something I deal with. I just try to tell myself that I am a role model for my kids (now THERE’S a scary thought) and I want to do the best I can for them. I have to teach them how to deal with people who might be mean to them. You have to handle the situation with maturity, and don’t let the things the jerks say hurt you. And if that doesn’t work, kick their ass.