Bullies of All Kinds
Mrs. Night lived across the street and a few houses down. She was old. She was crabby. She was a bully. Her lawn was precise and practical. Not one blade of grass was out of place. If a weed popped up or one blade of grass grew longer than the other, she went out with her sun bonnet and scissors, got down on her hands and knees and went to work. The bullying came when we would be playing catch across the street and a ball rolled on to her lawn. Within seconds she would zip out of her front door, scoop up our ball and run back inside of her house while she yelled, “I am always watching!” She terrorized us. The neighbors that lived across the street from us had children that grew up in the 60’s, and they said Mrs. Night was old and mean way back then. We theorized that she must have a room full of balls that she collected through the decades.
Stacy bullied me in high school. She had eyes for my then boyfriend. She was about 6ft tall, her hair almost taller than she was. She wore acid washed jeans, a jean jacket, ripped up flannel shirt and dark, dark eye-liner. Every day I saw her in the hallway she would mutter under her breath her choice expletive of the day as she ran into me-absolutely terrifying me. I remember being at a school fair with some friends and heard that she was there and wanted to kick my behind (not the word she used). I was so terrified of her, my stomach started to hurt and I started shaking. She smoked. She did drugs. She beat people up on a regular basis. She was a bully.
What Bullies Want
These bullies might look very different, but they both want one thing—to be in charge. They want what they want and will push, shove, manipulate, smash, and pulverize whoever gets in their way to their goal.
Each of my girls have been bullied in one way or another. When it happens, we try to deal with each unique situation with fresh eyes. Every bully is motivated to get what they want, but every bully is hurting and crying out for attention in a negative way. We talk about how they probably don’t have a home where they feel safe. We tell them that some people are just mean. We tell them that bullies bully because they have been bullied, either by their parents or other kids.
When our kids are bullied, I want nothing more than to take out my Mamma Bear claws and fight back. I’m learning to step back and give lots of hugs while helping them understand why this might have happened from the bully’s perspective.
Were you bullied? Have your kids been? What is your first response to bullying? What is your best response?