A Letter to the Mother of My Child’s Bully

sad-girlShe doesn’t cry about it. That’s not her way. She gets angry though; a slight deviation from the righteous indignation of tweenhood. She doesn’t like being called names or being lied about.

Would you? I don’t think you would.

I wonder though: Do you call your children names? Is that why they are so mean to other kids? Or are you the other sort of mother, the one who can see no fault in her kids, the one who is slowly building an ego so large it will one day explode?

I don’t have a view inside your home to hear how you talk to your kids. You don’t have a view inside mine to hear mine pour things out to me.

We talk about you a lot, though. That maybe you’re not very nice to your kids. That maybe you’re not setting the best example. That part of this is your fault.

You’re probably shaking your head already, aren’t you? How dare I! I’m just one of those sensitive people looking for someone to blame, right?

Don’t take my word for it. Researchers have been studying bullies for decades. They can’t pinpoint any single factor in what sends one kid down the path of cruelty and another down the path of victimhood, but they do say family plays a crucial role. Parents who are cruel beget cruel kids, that’s pretty obvious. But even warm, loving parents can unwittingly create a monster if their discipline is wily nilly or, worse, non-existent.

I’m not trying to rub your face in this. I know for a fact that I’m not a perfect parent. We had leftovers for dinner last night. Again. And not just because it was too hot to cook.

I was exhausted.

You’re probably exhausted too.

I don’t hate you. I don’t even hate your kid. I hate what they do, though, and I hate that there’s little I can do to change it.

See, that’s up to you. I can tell my kid to ignore it, to rise above it and not to let someone else tear them down. I can help her become a stronger human being and a kinder one too, because she’s just as imperfect as I am. She could always use life lessons in kindness, and your kid’s providing her a heckuva pile.

But changing your kid’s future? That’s on you.

 

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