It is easy for me to relate to my 8th grader’s experience in school but the reverse isn’t entirely true. That is because until a few years ago he went to a private school that worked very hard to make sure that everyone respected each other.
That doesn’t mean that no one was ever teased or bullied there because that stuff happens everywhere but timing, luck and whatever gave my son a clear path so he didn’t experience any sort ofÂ negativeÂ banter until the tail end of 7th grade.
A group of kids started teasing him and he didn’t like it. When he told me about it I listened and suggestedÂ that it didn’t sound malicious in nature and figured since the end of the school year was about a month out it was best to just ignore it.
“Don’t react to what they say. Just smile and go about your business and they’ll find other people to mess with.”
He said ok andÂ asked me what happens when school starts up again and I said let’s not worry about it unless and until it happens again.
“On more than one occasion I have responded to their inquiries with â€œbecause I said soâ€ or something similar. And one more than one occasion I have thought that Einstein would kick my ass and then I remember that I am not afraid of dead pacifists.” Â Children Shouldnâ€™t Be On Facebook- Dad Said No
The Value of a Father’s Advice
I have used “because I said so” or “don’t worry” as responses and advice more than I like to. It is not the kind of response that made me happy as a kid and I don’t necessarily like it anymore as an adult but sometimes it is the best response for a particular moment.
School resumed a few weeks ago and so has the teasing I am told that there are two or three girls doing it. Since they are playing with his name I suspect that one or more of them are doing so because they like him and not because they are being mean.
This makes me him squirm a bit which makes me think his protests about not liking girls isn’t real. Matter of fact I am 96% certain the guy has discovered that some girls might be fun to play with and is wrestling with that.
Reminds me of the way his old man started to squirm when hormones and puberty started to mess with me. But it also reminds me of some things I went through and that some wounds take longer to heal.
I was never the cool guy growing up so I don’t have cool moves he can use to fix things. But it hasn’t stopped me from offering some advice about dealing with people in general.
Tips that I am very confident about and one that might be a big mistake.
I Am Ready To Fight
Last night he told me he is tired of being ignored when he asks people to call him by his real name. “I am ready to fight, let’s get the shirt.”
The shirt is a reference to an idea I had where he would make a shirt that says, “Hi I Am Insert the name he dislikes here.” It was an off the cuff remark I made about ways to own the name and make people recognize it doesn’t bother him.
“Junior, if they don’t think it bothers you they will find a new person to annoy.
What concerns me about this is what happens if it blows up in his face or goes sideways in some fashion. He hates being the center of attention so bringing attention to rid himself of it might be dicey to begin with.
It makes me wonder if I was an idiot and gave him bad advice so I have sort of dragged my feet about helping him do this.
I don’t expect him to skate through life unscathed. Fact is I think something like this might be helpful, as long as it stays at this level and doesn’t continue all year round.
It is important to learn how to deal with people and adversity but still it grinds on me a bit.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart.