It has been quite some time since I have written, but now I feel a purpose again - to protect my children.
Everyone likes to throw the word "bully" around these days. No one simply gets teased these days, they are "bullied". Kids don't get to be kids anymore. They can't horse around because if someone gets hurt, we have to have a place to place the blame. It is unfortunate. Instead of saying to 2 kids, "Well, that's what happens when you horse around", parents are asking "who did this?!"
I guess I have always thought of bullying as a malicious act, not a simple "John is a dodo head" comment. Yes, I am dating myself with that, but trying to keep it clean. Bullying is when someone physically or mentally tries to hurt you physically or mentally - at least in my mind. This is the actual definition: use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. I would assume most of us think of bullying between people of the same age - peers.
So I am asking the masses... What happens when an adult repeatedly uses their influence or strength to affect a child, who is not their own? Is that not also bullying? What am I referring to? Let's use an example. Billy and Sally*** are not friends, but they are in the same grade and their parents sort of are friendly. Sally reports everything Billy does to her mother. We are uncertain whether Sally is prompted to do so, or shares her knowledge willingly. How do we know it is reported then? Because Billy's mom started getting phone calls about Billy's behavior from Sally's mom - because wouldn't she want to know? At first, yes, it seemed harmless and a way to keep tabs on Billy. But then Billy's mom recognized that she was starting to question Billy's answers. Was he telling her the truth or was Sally's mom, who had gotten the story from Sally? She was disciplining her own kid based on the validity of knowledge from another (at that time) 6 year old. Something didn't feel right. As her husband always said, the 6 or 7 year old isn't always the most credible witness. She didn't want to have this knowledge anymore because it was making her relationship with her son strained. Contact with Sally's mom stopped.
That's where it ends right? Mom tells Billy, stay away from Sally. She is not a friend. Any time you are around her, what happens? Billy acknowledges that he ends up in trouble. So Billy keeps his distance. Mom keeps her distance, and the world continues to turn with a little more tension.
Flash forward a year, yep, a whole year. Billy's family has cut off contact with Sally's family all together. They move on, develop other healthier friendships with more likeminded parents. Billy's mom rests easy again. Until one day, she asks how things are on the bus. Billy then shares that he happened to be in trouble from the bus and sitting in the front. The thought, "Here we go again" comes to mind, but luckily she stays calm. She contacts the school to see what the infraction was exactly. Billy tells Mom it was horseplay between he and his seat mate (punching each other in the nuts, I believe was the term. Why do boys do that?), but she still want the download from school, and to contact the other parent to apologize. Ironically, when she contacts that parent, they have no knowledge of it. So, Mom is confused. Billy said that the school administration said "an angry mom" called. Who else would have called to tell about 2 boys horse playing in their own seat?
Lightbulbs go off! Did the seat mate also get in trouble too? No. Did he even get talked to? No. Lights are now FLASHING, along with the anger. So "an angry mom called" to say that Billy had been horse playing on the bus and discipline was meted out against him without mom's knowledge and based on the word of another child who was NOT involved in the situation. Huh?! Mom has to visit the school, meet with administration, finds out she is right. While Sally's mom is never mentioned by name. It is clear that Sally's mom was in play through easy deduction.
So here is where I become UNCLEAN, and take it personal because well, I am Billy's mom in this story. What the FUCK is wrong with this woman?! Who does that? Who goes to such lengths to control another child's behavior that she is contacting the school and demanding action?! It didn't even involve precious Sally.
School should be a peaceful, safe place for public students to be educated, and for their parents to feel confident in that education. (Kudos to a sweet friend for that verbiage). I shouldn't have to be on eggshells daily wondering whether a school is going to label my child as a bad seed because Sally's mom feels the need to call the school daily with her latest report! How can I fight back though? What can I do to stop the hypersensitive busy body from making these calls? Sadly, pretty much nothing.
So right now, I write and I wait, until the next event, and the next... Because with Sally's mom, there is always a next. Oh, and I will also document every move that is made. I will make sure I am rock solid should it come to the point of filing a case against an adult for defamation of a CHILD. Let's hope it doesn't get to that, or one of us moves.
***Names were changed because I am not like Sally's mom, who uses my son's name in a derogatory manner every chance she gets. She is a mean person and is raising a mean girl. I refuse to do that. But I unfortunately have to teach my child at a much too early age that there are bad people out there, even at age 7.