Tuesday, June 12, 2012


today, at a school playground i watched 5 boys bully another boy. they were all between 12 and 13 years old. the victim was riding his bike in circles on the pavement of the playground and the other boys gathered near to shout insults at him. the boy just kept riding his bike, ignoring them. But the insults got worse and the boys got braver and braver...kicking at his tires trying to knock him off, yelling at him..gesturing.. it was like watching wild kingdom and the boy on the bike was a gazelle and the other boys were lions circling around him..closer...and closer finally i thought they were actually backing off, but to my horror they were spreading out and hiding in wait for him . I started to become really concerned that they were actually going to physically attack this kid. when he got near enough to me I called him over and said " are they bothering you?" and this kid, 12 years old couldn't even look me in the eye because he was about to cry, he just nodded. I told him he needed to tell his parents about this. that they needed to know WHO these kids were.I also suggested that if he's outnumbered and there are no adults he needed to get out of there (in the future) he nodded...unable to look at me or answer me.. so heartbreaking. " bullies are liars. people who say mean things act that way because they feel bad about themselves. don't listen to them. don't believe it. it's not true." I said. is that true? ARE bullies miserable? maybe they actually love themselves. maybe they have crazy amounts of confidence and they love being them. how would i know? but it seemed like the right thing to say at the time. i kept one eye on the bullies as they waited for their next chance at him, and one eye on my own kids. the last straw was when I saw them crouched down behind a hill getting ready to pounce. I walked straight at them - they saw me coming and started to walk away. I yelled after them " YOU GUYS NEED TO GO HOME. NOW! GET OUT OF HERE BEFORE I CALL EVERY ONE OF YOUR PARENTS! I MEAN IT!" " ok ok.." i heard them muttering as they started to walk away. they didn't leave. they just waited at a safe distance. When I started to leave with my kids they were walking back over. I intercepted them on the sidewalk and looked right at Big Bully #1's pimpled face. " Listen" I said - " you don't treat a friend like that-" friend?" the kid scoffed . "- friend or ANY person " I continued " one day someone's going to treat you like a piece of shit and you will remember this day. you hear me? don't do it. don't start bullying now. Be better than that. DO BETTER" the kids were trying to pretend they hadn't done anything and I said " i. heard. you. I heard ALL of you. " they left. I have no idea what I should have done. Probably not have said " shit" to a group of 12 year olds. I just couldn't stand it. You hope all that bully talk at school and all the public service announcements are an exaggeration. You think it doesn't REALLY happen. And then you see this. right in front of an adult. 5 against 1. it's every mommy's worst nightmare. kids are so cruel. how do they become that way? we got in the car and my kids were just staring at me with big eyes. I said " we stand up for kids when they are being bullied. ALWAYS. The end!"


  1. YES!! you teach your children to stand up for others and you show them how it's done. it's one of the best things we can do as parents. i think you did the right thing in confronting those kids head on. sometimes words stick. if just one of those kids mulls over what you said, if only one of those kids changes his behavior, it's worth it. even the "shit" part.

  2. i think you're awesome. the worst thing to do is overlook that this is happening, which i see people do all the time, and it's horrible. how can people just look the other way and think it isn't their business? i was bullied horrifically for a period of my younger life and everyone acted like it wasn't happening. i felt like killing myself because i felt that no one cared enough to help me. so good for you. awesome. <3

  3. when I first noticed it there was another mom on the playground. I didn't know her, but I brought it to her attention in a sort of " what-should-we-do" sort of way.
    She seemed concerned..upset...and then she left.
    I'm not trying to say she's wrong..but I think we all get stuck thinking- what CAN we do? it's not OUR kids..are we going to get in trouble if we confront someone else's kid? all those things float through our minds..myself included and there has been times when I see things and sheepishly let it go, but those times were usually when I saw a parent being harsh with their kid. But THIS- I've never seen this before, and this kid was clearly helpless. No way. Nooooo friggin' way. I wish I DID have their phone numbers,I'd be more than happy to explain to their parents why I did what I did.