Friday, January 8, 2010

Patience, charity and violent tendencies

I think Little Prince is pretty much the coolest kid ever.

He gives me pictures that say I LOVE YOU MOM. He draws vampires, too. Quite well. He tells me I'm beautiful almost every day and loves it when I dress up. Whenever we have guests, he always seems to appear with a serving plate of, say, yogurt. Or pears. Or Teddy Grahams. He's such a good host.

He loves to play monsters, spends hours constructing zoos for our countless plastic animals, and is getting quite good at doing flips on the trampoline. He can climb to the tippy-top of the tree without falling. He never tires of his scooter. He memorizes hours of dialogue from his favorite movies.

He's good at taking care of his brothers, cleaning the bathtub, and being awesome.

I'm tellin' ya, he's the coolest kid ever.

And he gets bullied.

Why my kid?!

There's just one kid - let's call him BiggestBratEver (or BBE for short) - and he picks on my baby boy.

BBE lives two doors down. They're not in the same kindergarten class - thank every star in the heavens, even the ones I can't see - but BBE teases LP relentlessly whenever they're both outside. Which is, oh, every day.

There's the normal 5-year-old name calling ("you suck," "you stink," "you're dumb," "you're a loser") and we've had some minor rock throwing and pushpin-scratching incidents.

This has been a matter of much discussion and prayer in the That Girl household. First I tried winning the kid over with love - lots of hugs and compliments and even cookies. No joy. (This is an ongoing experiment ... I haven't given up yet.)

I know very little about BBE's home life. I know they yell a lot. I know they're out of work. I know they sit on the porch and chain smoke, and have bonfire parties with their friends til one in the morning. I know BBE has two older teenage siblings, and one toddler sister. I've chatted with the Mom a couple times, and she seemed very pleasant both times. The dad, quite simply, gives me the creeps.

I kept waiting for a nice, neutral setting in which to bring up the bullying. (I don't think showing up at their door with 'there's something I want to discuss with you' is the best starting point.) But they didn't go to the neighborhood party, and they skipped our house trick-or-treating. As in - walked deliberately to the other side of the street. They don't see me when I wave hello anymore, and they weren't home when I brought them their Christmas gift. (They were fine over the summer - the blatant ignoring is a recent development.)

I'm beginning to think the bullying is because the parents don't like us - for whatever reason - and BBE is just picking up anti-LP vibes at home.

At any rate, our current plan-of-attack is simply to build up LP's self-esteem and watch BBE like a hawk. (Is it bad that I'm hoping they'll just move soon? They've already foreclosed on their home, and they're just renting this house ....)

But you know what? Frankly, LP doesn't seem to mind at all.

I have suggested that LP not play with BBE for a while - to which LP responds: "But he's my friend, Mom, and I forgive him." When I instruct LP to tell BBE off every time he starts name-calling, LP answers: "Nah. I just ignore him."

Every day, LP skips out to play with BBE, while I'm at the front window, clenching my fists. And truly, LP ignores every jibe. He continues to be pleasant and loving and as Christlike as can be.

I, on the other hand, want to drop kick the kid.

30 comments:

Julia said...

wow we should all learn from LP! my neighbors just recently started treating us the same way... a new epidemic or something?

Joni said...

When we lived in Nebraska we had a few neighbors blantantly give us the cold shoulder after learning we were LDS. It hurt.

We have a neighbor issue here too, but nothing so heart-breaking as yours. What a dear that little LP is. Isn't it funny that we try to teach our children, "Jesus said love everyone," and then they go ahead and do it while we struggle?


My MommaBear instinct would be kicked into high gear too.

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

It is indeed a Mom thing. My kids are way more forgiving of their mistreatments than I am. I am glad. Wish I could be more like them.

Good job LP!

Kristina P. said...

This breaks my heart! I hate bullying.

Danielle said...

You've raised him so well! You should be proud of yourself, even if YOUR knee-jerk reaction is to drop kick the BBE.

Good luck!

wonder woman said...

I think LP really is the best kid ever. What a sweetheart. I can just picture BBE at 20, thinking about the little boy he used to pick on the and kid never cried or was mean back. You are doing a darn good job, Girl.

But I'd want to dropkick BBE, too.

Margaret said...

Wow I wish I was like your child and could just let it roll of my back.

j@nAe said...

Oh, please don't let my kids grow up, oh PLEASE don't let me kids grow up! I don't think I can handle it. It's all too painful. How on earth do you learn charity when you want to kill un-baptized "innocent" children? I'm dead. I just know it.

Tami said...

This is the hardest part of parenting. Teaching your children to be Christlike, but not someone's doormat. I feel your pain, we have experienced the whole bully thing. (Luckily for us, we're in the military and we moved.) I will pray for little BBE, although a bully still one of God's children. I will also pray for you, because I so know the drop kick urge!

Sarah said...

We had something like this happen when Josh was around LP's age. On the school bus some older kids told Josh to let them hit him as hard as they could to 'see what happens.' AND HE DID! And came home and told us all about it. And I wanted to throttle those kids for being mean to my baby boy. In the end, we told Josh that was NOT OK AT ALL and that no one is allowed to hurt him or make him feel bad about himself. Sounds like LP is safe, warm and secure thanks to great parents. So, take your queue from him for now and don't sweat it. And it if gets worse, then it's time to have the 'we can be nice without being friends' chats.

Erin said...

What a difficult situation for you! And I can't believe LP is so easily forgiving and seeming to let it roll off of his back. Good luck with the whole situation.

kristi said...

This isn't the same kid that used to be his best friend and was always at your house, is it?

Kim L. said...

AHHHHH that breaks my heart. I HATE that stuff. I am soooooooo sorry. I don't even know what to say...except SOMEONE needs to drop kick him, and it might as well be you.\"/ So sorry. Love ya!

Kimberly said...

Wow...that is one incredible little boy you have there. I think your plan to build up his self-esteem might be unnecessary. Seems like you already have!

And I would so want to drop kick the kid too! Amen sistah!

janel said...

You're a good mama bear. With smart baby bears, too.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I readily admit that I always have a low patience threshold for other people's kids and when stuff like this happens, even worse.

Lately I've been resorting to an "on my turf only" policy when I feel like my kids are threatened (I'm not just talking about bullies, but kids who behave/talk/watch media that makes me nervous). If they want to play, they play here. I can monitor what's happening and I'm quick to point out to the visitor what our family rules are if I need to. I know it doesn't solve anything, but so far it's the only thing that keeps me from cutting of all contact with kids that make me worry.

Having said all that, I can't believe some of the home environments kids are growing up in. I'm half amazed they're not way worse than they are. Nevertheless, mama bear prevails, and if people's feelings fall prey along the way, so be it. (You can see why my children may not have any friends until they go to college, right?)

DeNae said...

You know what, this is a matter for some serious prayer. I have been down this road so many times I could draw the map blindfolded.

Once, my kid was the bully. Once, it turned out both kids were being bullied by a third party I didn't even know was in the picture.

In one situation we put up with it for two years, and it turned out great. The kids are grown now and very good friends. Another time it only took a couple of weeks and we pulled the plug on the entire relationship.

And the truth is, you just don't know. That's why I can not emphasize enough how much you need the Spirit when dealing with this situation.

Good luck!

Harmony said...

I hope that this is LP's last bully ever. Why do they always pick on the nice, wholesome kids? LP is obviously wise beyond his years, forgiving his enemies and being nice to those who abuse him. He sounds like he's right out of the scriptures! What a boy! And, for the sake of YOUR sanity (an mine, too, because if I saw that little rat I'd like to beat his face in) I hope they move TOMORROW.
I wonder if the family knows you're Mormon and feels uncomfortable around you and maybe that's why they "don't like" you. But you probably already thought of that one :)

Rachel Sue said...

Oh, so hard. So hard. My daughter came home from school one day and told me that her previously best friend didn't hate her anymore, my jaw dropped and without even knowing any of the story, I just wanted to find this little girl and give her an earful. I still don't know the whole story, but I do know this: My 5 year old told me that she prayed that Heavenly Father would make her friends not be mean to her anymore, and He did.

I think she may have taught me more there than I have ever taught her. . .

I hope it gets better. I hope it gets easier. I hope you find the way.

MommyJ said...

So much good stuff has already been said... I just want to add that you must have a remarkably sweet and amazing boy, and that is most probably a direct reflection of how his Momma and Daddy raised him.

I've never found myself in this situation, but I imagine I would be in line with the drop kicking sentiment...

I hope everything works out and that you find some peace for your little guy soon.

(And um, holy adorable! He is so cute!)

Happy Mom said...

Oh, girl, I've been there! Drop kick describes the feeling well!!!

Your a good momma with a very strong son. You'll figure it out.

Boy Mom said...

You make me laugh. I too have wanted to drop kick a kid or two. LP is an amazing kid, just make sure he can always talk to you and change his mind if something comes up that really bothers him. It also doesn't hurt to teach BBE a little empathy. Just ask him how he would feel if you talked to him that way and express confidence in his ability to treat others as he would like to be treated.

Good luck.

Lara said...

I think this is one of the hardest parts of being a parent. We haven't had a ton of problem with bullies, but enough to make me really upset with a couple kids so far.

LP is amazing, and so are you. Look how well you have taught him to be Christlike!

I couldn't help but wonder if your neighbors found out you were LDS and that caused the ignoring to start.

Kazzy said...

Aw, what a great kid, and a great mom! When my youngest got bullied recently I took him inside and we read from the sermon on the mount, so that he could let go of feelings of revenge. But it sounds like your son is already there. Kill the neighbor kid with kindness. You are doing great!

Qait said...

I nearly cried. Little Prince is such a sweet little boy! I was loving all those darling things you said about stuff he does--and then when you wrote that he gets BULLIED, oh man, I was sad and angry.
But that is AWESOME! He is amazing!
By the way, you're a wonderful mother. And yes, including your desire to drop kick the other kid. Why not? It's a mother-bear type instinct. ;)
Yeah...I even feel PROUD of you (and here I haven't even met you). You and your son.

Qait said...

oh. Have to correct something. When I said "that is awesome," I surely didn't mean the fact that he gets bullied is awesome. :| woops! I meant his whole reaction to it all, heh...

Melissa P said...

It is hard to watch kids be mean to your kids. We have a neighbor kid that did that to my oldest for about 3 years. No matter how much I told him not to play with him, he did. Finally one day he saw it for himself and decided he would no longer be his friend. Unfortunately, the neighbor still jabs at him when I am not around and they are 10 years old now. Some kids never quit being mean and don't move. He is also in my son's primary class.

Katy said...

Your son is a special boy! I need to learn a lesson or two from him.

Stepper the Mighty said...

LP is my hero.

Christa Jeanne said...

What a little rock star!!! I'm impressed. That's amazing that he can handle it so well. And, I must say, as one who was bullied incessantly throughout childhood (for reals - little known fact - I basically had no friends 'til high school!), it really can become a strengthening experience. Wouldn't change what I went through for the WORLD because it's taught me empathy, compassion and appreciation for the amazingness of each individual who graces this planet. So... not necessarily a bad thing.

*Finally* caught up on your blog - I quit my Google Reader from when I lost my job 'til the last few weeks - and, seriously, just gotta say I love you to pieces and am so glad we're still friends, all these years later! <3