When my son was four, he was bullied by his classmate. He is my second child. Let’s call him ‘Ben’. The boy asked him to kneel and Ben did. I was upset when the class attendant told me about it during pick up time, and how the school handled it.
While reporting the incident to my husband that evening, my first son heard about it. The next day, he started troubling the boy who bullied Ben. He did this daily and made the boy so miserable that he cried at the sight of my first son.
One day, I went to pick them from school. The boy’s mother walked up to me, introduced herself, and apologised for her son’s misconduct. She pleaded that I ask my first son to stop tormenting her son as he had developed genuine fear for school. So I cautioned my son.
Ben is now 6. A few weeks ago, when I went to pick my kids, I saw a younger girl hit him several times and order him to leave the playground. He was walking out when I intervened. I found out that the girl hit him because he was using the swing she wanted to use. It made me furious! I ordered Ben to hit her several times and threatened to beat him if he ever tolerated anyone bullying him. I didn’t see the need to report to the school because I was not satisfied with their way of handling the situation. My first son later told me that Ben apologised to the girl the next day, and they became friends. According to Ben, girls should be respected.
I am more upset with my son’s unnecessary softness and inability to be firm than with the girl in question. Part of me thinks it is a case of tolerating physical abuse, and I sometimes wonder what he tolerates verbally.
He needs to stop trying so hard to be a people-pleaser. I have tried all I can to toughen him, to no avail. I have run out of ways to teach him.