Thursday, 13 May 2010

Who's the bully?

There seems to have been a lot of bullying going on of late. I seem to be feeling it in each and every aspect of my life. From my children to my work and I don't like it.
FunnyGirl came home from school last week deeply upset that one of her three strong girlie crew had called her best friend fat. 
She wanted to know why her other friend would be so horrid to someone who is supposed to be one of her best friends.
What could I say to her?
That there is a lot of it around and that she had just better get used to it?
The girls mum was mortified. Of course she was. We are all friends us mums. Not only are our little ones best friends but we are tied together by our older children too. We are not stupid, we are all educated women. We know that we can't control what are kids say when we are there, let alone when we aren't.

There was lots of 'she said', 'she said' but of course by the time the incident was passed through the kids, the teachers, the on lookers and back to us parents it had become like a game of Chinese whispers.
All adult parties remained chipper but feelings cut deeper than a fixed smile on the playground.
What would your reaction be?


  1. As the mum of a child that struggles to hold his temper (mini hit a neighbours 9 year old tonight after provocation), I understand the mortification. It was terrible, but I think that children instantly know what will hurt and they just say it, they dont yet have the filters and it is something they will learn.

    I made mini appologise, even though Maxi explained what had happened.

    It is just that know at the door, it really floored me. A hard lesson

  2. It is always hard to know what to say or do. It doesnt matter if it is happening to you, one of your kids or one of your friends.
    The fact that people stand back and allow it to go on is what makes it worse. @lolas_mum is right there is more and more of it going on on Twitter and on anon comments left on peoples blogs.
    Sure parents cant be held totally responsible for the things that their kids say and do when they are not there. But someone does have to be accountable.
    It is time that everyone stood up for what is right. It is the only thing to do with low down dirty bullies. Be them your 'friends or foes'.

  3. Its sad that bullying seems to be a default setting, at least given how people seem to end up acting on forums, blogs and twitter - fortunately haven't had to deal with it with our girls yet but I do worry about how to given I was badly bullied at school

  4. Sorry to hear what has happened. It's the start of some very awkward and what should be, some very unnecessary lessons about life, and in some respects women. I'm also sorry to hear that you're experiencing bullying in other areas. I try not to get myself too embedded with Twitter and I don't do forums, but I do see a lot of stuff that makes me uncomfortable. Very passive aggressive and in some instances, directly aggressive behaviour from people online.
    You will all work your way through what has happened and it may be a bit awkward now but the dust will settle.

  5. Bullying, or as I had to call it the other day as bullying doesn't happen at my son's ex school (right), teasing is not acceptable but it will happen.
    For your girls there is trhe wonderful beatbullying website which I found after a spate of bullying/teasing which affected The Boy.
    As for bullying elsewhere in your life sometimes I find it hurts more than at other times. Sometimes I can ride it and let it wash over me. Other times I avoid it by not going anywher near the bully if I can help it and when I am forced to, I confront it. Surprisingly it works more often than not. I usually confront privately but with the option to spring it in the open if it does not work.

  6. Sorry to hear that. There's things going on in my son's class too and parents simmering slowly, not knowing whether to call in teachers or let it lie. Most of the time the kids don't want it to be spoken about to a teacher for fear it will get worse. Thankfully my son is not directly involved but tensions in the playground are still palpable sometimes.

    I've seen some dreadful bullying on twitter and blogs(not BMB ones I hasten to add). Personally I think anonymous commenting should be outlawed. It's so cowardly. They say in a few years they'll somehow be able to trace anyone who has ever commented anonymously. Bring it on!

  7. I am petrified of my children getting to the age when bullying is an issue - especially now we have phones, live chat, social networking and so on in the equation.
    I was bullied at primary school for being a titch and a red head. Nasty letters and 'top 10' lists of friends circulated without you on it were the way it was done then.
    I wish my parents had taught me to stick up for myself.
    I smarmed up to the bullies and tried to buy their friendship. They obviously just abused that and took my dinner money to spend on sweets.
    I think honesty is the best policy, explain why people say hurtful things, make sure the parents know and encourage your children to be confident and happy in their own skin - make their own choices, wear the clothes they want, and people will warm to that.
    It wasn't until my late 20's that I managed to achieve this, what a waste of all those years being scared of what people though of me.
    Sorry this has turned into a bit of a self counselling session!!!

  8. Good on your daugher for being so empathic. All we can do is teach our children to not ever be unkind and to support and stick up for their friends who experience it..(if safe to do so) and tell us again and again if this happens.

    I used teach social workers and foster carers on all aspects of bullying. Telling an adult generally causes it to stop in roughly 80% of cases. It is really great she told you and really great she has such empathy.

    I have seen it on twitter too and I choose not to engage with the people who make nasty comments clearly aimed at others if not directly expressed. There are all ways to bully and to control and those people are best avoided.

    Life should be lovely x


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Appreciated as always. xx


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