Friday, October 3, 2008

Bully-Proofing--how I ruined my son's life,and how he fixed it

I am a HUGE believer in "Love and Logic." My mom-by-marriage gave me the book Parenting with Love and Logic on my first Christmas as a mother--Quinlan was a month old. I'm not always good at living the principles, and I have to go back and reread the book often, but I firmly believe that it's a wonderful method for teaching kids to be confident and self-reliant.

The other night I was talking to a friend about some interactions that were taking place with her child and another child at school. She asked my advice, and I referred her to the Love and Logic website and an article that used to be called "Bully-Proofing Your Child." It seems that they've now given it a more genteel name, but it's the same principle nonetheless, and it works.

When G was in 6th grade, he entered a new school. I know I'm a little biased, but I think G is one of the most likeable kids around. He's a lot like my younger brother in looks and personality--just so likeable. Knowing this, I couldn't imagine anyone not thinking he was pretty great.

Well, for his birthday, Q and I went to the school (she happened to have a dental appointment that day), and decorated his locker. We went to one of his teachers and gave her a silly crown and scepter. The teacher was excited to get in on the act, and we thought everyone would have a good laugh. I was excited for G to come home that day.

When he walked in the door, G was MAD. I quickly realized and felt TERRIBLE knowing that I'd been the cause of his ill mood.

It ended up that one of the boys in his class, whom he had a number of classes with, started calling him names--"Miss G" or some such. We talked about it a bit and I very briefly shared the bully-proofing ideas. He came up with his own plan on how to handle this kid, which he didn't share with me. The next day I was a bit nervous--all day.

When G walked through the door, I asked him how it went. He said that the kid had started in again and other kids were joining him in the teasing. G said that he turned to the kid and said, "Who?" When the kids would say it again, G would say "Who?" This continued. G finally said, "I don't know who you're talking about," and turned his back and went to sit down at his desk. The kid simply left him alone after that. No teacher, no principal, no anyone of authority had to get involved. He handled it HIMSELF!
One of the great things they did at the middle school last year was that they had a "Bring Your Parent to School" day. I went and shared my time between Q and G's classes. In the first class I went to, a kid came up to me and said, "Are you G's mom?" Of course I replied with "Yes." He continued with, "I'm ____. G's best friend."

I knew this kid shared the same name with the bully from the beginning of the school year, but I knew it couldn't be the same kid. I asked G after class, and it WAS the same kid. I said, "I thought he was mean to you back in October." He said, "Yah, he was, but now we're kinda friends." Woah! I couldn't believe it.

That's how I know it works.


Dolly said...

Wow! Love this story :) I've had three sons go through middle school-with tons of bullies around them. My eldest grew taller than everyone, my second one developed wit and charm, and the third son was so athletic, everyone wanted to be his friend. My daughter is now being tested-6th. She is tall,sweet and athletic-but she still gets a few girls who tease. She does what your son does..."Who?" and walks away. I'm amazed with this smart generation of school kids! (Geniuses)

Anonymous said...

that is such a WONDERFUL story!!! wow... he is an amazing kid!!!!

vaxhacker said...

We love the Love and Logic idea as well, but I wish I could say we follow it more often than we have... still, always time to improve. We're seeing how middle school goes, so far so good, but I'm sure interesting social times are ahead for us :)

meganconser said...

I just checked this book out from the library-- one I need to buy I think. I also check out: Humor, Play and Laugther, Stress Proofing Life with your Kids- its a fun read reminding us parents that we are dealing with kids who should act like kids. I haven't gotten very far but will likely review on my blog.

Anyway- your boy handled that in a perfect way- one I would expect from your sweet children. Thanks for sharing your story.

Mom2my9 said...

I love the book "Parenting With Love and Logic", too! It has really changed my life and how I deal with my kids. I think everyone should read it!

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