On Dealing With Bullies

My 23 month old toddler has become very active. She equally loves to play alone and also interact with other children. As her mom, I am very protective of her simply because she is my daughter. I love her and I believe that it is my responsibility to keep her away from harm or from harming others.

If it’s your first time to be reading my blog, let me share a brief background about what I do. I am a stay-at-home mom also known as a (plain) housewife. I personally look after my Matilda and we do not have a yaya. Because this is our set-up, I have seen how my daughter is at home as well as when we are out. I know her moods and I know everything there is about her. She is very kind – biases aside, it is the truth. By God’s grace, I try my best to discipline her and mold her to be Christ-like.

Like any other normal kid, she is always excited to see other children. One reason is that, it is mostly just the two of us who play with each other. So, whenever we have the chance to go to the Day Care at my husband’s workplace, we always make the most out of it.

The Day Care is just a simple play space with a slide, a pretend-house, and small tables with chairs, perfect for kids. Every morning, the teachers facilitate a circle time wherein they sing songs, dance and play with the kids – this is Matilda’s favorite part aside from going up and down the slide. We also love going because of the friends we have made there.

Almost all the kids are regulars, meaning they are there daily and are usually accompanied by their yayas. There are two very kind and loving teachers as well to keep the place organized, and also make sure the kids are well-behaved. But, sometimes, when there are plenty of kids and only one teacher is present, things can become a bit chaotic like this one day I will tell you about next.

About a week ago, on what is seemed like a regular day at the day care, a little boy aged 3 came in and was left by his mother. That day, if I remember correctly, he was the only kid without a yaya. According to the mom, as what the teacher also said, the kid will only be left for an hour, as the father will come to pick him up. It wasn’t the first time I met this little boy though. I have seen how he is when he is around, and I must say, the kid has the tendency to hurt other children, both big and small. So, I was on the lookout. I didn’t want Matilda to be hurt in any way so I made sure I was close by at all times.

In just a matter of 15 minutes, the little boy already started acting a bit too hard to control. The teacher kept reminding him to behave as there are babies around, playing. He kept on running, not minding anybody who he might bump into. I thought maybe he was just really excited, perhaps happy to be around other kids as well. The teacher then noticed that he is kind of too hyperactive so, she decided to get some toys for the boy to keep him busy, and placed him inside the house to play by himself for a little while. As I watched Matilda roam around, I happened to see she wanted to go inside the play house too. I let her walk her way through, confident that it was fine since I was right beside her. To my surprise, before getting to the entrance of the house, the little boy got a glimpse of Matilda and kicked her right at her tummy. It was all so sudden. I was shocked as I saw Matilda fall to the ground. My instinct was that I immediately held her and checked if she got hurt. I thanked God she was fine and saw that she was just a bit startled with what just happened.

If you are a mother, I am pretty sure you know how it must have felt like to see your baby get bullied right before your eyes. This was the very first time a kid hurt my child, though we had plenty of  “toy-grabbing” incidents before, this was probably the worst so far. I did what I knew what was right at that moment and approached the boy to ask for an apology. I told him that hurting others is wrong and he should never do that again. I appreciate the fact that the boy said sorry even though I knew he probably didn’t really mean it. I’m not even sure if he truly understood what I told him, rather, the gravity of what he did.

The teacher, yayas and other kids saw what happened and the teacher apologized to me, and I assured her that everything was okay. She must have felt bad and somewhat responsible for what happened even though it wasn’t her fault at all. Few minutes passed and then the father of the boy arrived. I asked him if he is the father (just to be extra sure) and told him these exact words, “Kayo po ba yung father ni (little boy’s name)? Sinipa kasi niya itong baby ko.” (Are you the father of (little boy’s name)? Because he kicked my little girl.). The father nodded his head, walked towards his son, asked if he apologized and told him not to do it again. After which, he sat down in one of the small chairs and started fiddling with his phone. He never approached me, did not even properly acknowledge what his son did, and worse, he did not even bother to look after his son the entire time. I must admit, I felt irritated with this. It felt as though it was something so casual that he did not even say anything. Nothing! How would you feel if you were me? I’m sure you’d feel really insulted.

Good thing though is that I was able to keep my cool and I just silently said a prayer. I prayed that God would help me control my emotions and that the Holy Spirit will fill me so that I will not do anything I would regret later on. Because I was upset, I just sent Joey a text message and told him about the incident. Only seconds after, Joey was already standing there looking for the little boy and his father. He asked which kid kicked Matilda in a firm voice as he approached his daughter. After hugging her and making sure she’s alright, he then asked again where the boy is. I told him it’s the one beside the teacher, who is patiently keeping him occupied to avoid another untoward incident. As you know, the father is so busy with his phone and this got Joey’s attention. He asked where the guardian of the boy is (again) but his father won’t respond. I’m not sure if it was because Joey’s voice wasn’t loud enough for him to hear or maybe he is just really focused with what he is doing. Joey then asked, “Sinong bantay nito?” (Who is this boy’s guardian?), referring to the boy beside him. It was only then the father looked up and said, “Pinagalitan ko na siya”. (I already scolded him.)Joey responded to him by saying, “Paki bantayan na lang mabuti, paki bantayan lang.” (Please just look after him, please watch him carefully.), in a very firm voice. I felt he was also insulted with the way the father answered. He did not even stand from the chair he is sitting on.

This scene that just happened caused a bit of tension inside the day care. I saw yayas began moving aside and talking quietly among each other of what they just witnessed. I saw a bit of panic in their eyes most especially the teacher who was in the middle of the confrontation. I guess she must have sensed that it isn’t the end of it all, yet. As it turns out, she was right. Moments after, the mom of the boy came in and asked casually about what happened. I was there beside the teacher waiting for her to apologize for how his son behaved. Although, just like her husband, she did not even acknowledge me at all. It was then I realized how much of an impact we have with the development of our children. How modeling affects their personality and character. If his parents are like this, how in the world will their son grow up to be?

You see, as parents, we have complete responsibility towards our children. These children were entrusted to us by God for this very main purpose – that we ought to teach them to love the Lord and to carefully follow all his commands as stated in the following verses:

Deuteronomy 6: 1-9 New International Version (NIV)

These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

What is our DUTY as Parents?

We are to raise our kids in the fear of the Lord by following all his commands – so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you.

What do we get in return?

The blessing of being intentional in our parenting is that WE, as Parents will be rewarded according to God’s promise – so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey. 

Why should we follow what is said in the Bible?

Because the Bible is God’s word. Everything written in the Bible is revealed to us so that we will know who God is and how He can transform our lives.

I always say, my handbook on parenting is the Bible. I can never be a perfect mom, nor Joey as a father to Matilda. But, as Christians, we carefully train her to be God-fearing, and a child who loves the Lord. If we fail in this, it is us, the parents who will suffer eventually.

I know it won’t be the last time we will encounter a “bully’ and I also know that the character of every person is based on how he was brought up. I just pray that I will be able to teach Matilda well enough to understand that this kind of attitude is wrong, and that she must never copy it. I also have a previous post about my personal experience being bullied as a child here, what I learned from it and why we want to go for homeschooling. As for the parents of the child, I feel like I also fell short on how I handled the situation. I should have set my emotions aside and spoke to them. I should have explained clearly what happened and I should have grabbed to opportunity to show them kindness. Now, I know what to do next time and I should really keep that in mind. How about you? Do you have kids who were bullied? What did you do? How did you explain this to your kids?

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