February 16, 2015

A Good Book for Not So Good Times

Last week I learned that Henry was being bullied at school.  My reaction was over the top.  I was so angry I could barely speak.  I assured him that I wasn't upset with him.  Then I gave the teachers and administration a piece of my mind.  I did this via email, not just because it was 10 pm but because I really wanted to measure my words carefully.  Sadly, there's been little response and I continue to worry about him from 8 to 3.  There was so much I liked about this school and then this occurred.  It's been happening more and more-- families are beginning to leave this parochial school in alarming numbers.

Then, as if kids being mean to kids wasn't bad enough, I overheard Henry telling his brother "You know, God doesn't like people who have babies when they are not married."  My heart fell as I listened to him.  I wonder if I've made a big mistake sending him to a church school that isn't affiliated with our church.  (The United Church of Christ believes that God likes all parents.)

I have A LOT to sort out.  It would be very tedious to read if I posted everything here tonight--the thought of changing schools pushes a lot of buttons for me.  Not only do I have to figure out what the realistic options are, I have to think of the long term effects.  I also have to separate what is my issue and what is something that truly affects the boys' day to day education.   I changed schools seven times before graduation.  I swore my own children would never experience that type of upheaval.

While all this is swirling around my mind, I started reading Masterminds and Wingmen.  It's by the same author as Queenbees and Wannabes, Rosalind Wiseman.  I knew this was exactly the book I needed right now when I read this,
...it's much easier for me to think through a problem that's not about my own children. When one of my boys is involved, my initial reaction is to get angry, disappointed, frustrated or anxious and to think of the worst possible outcomes.
and a few paragraphs later,
Sometimes our love and worry stops us from providing the help our boys need...parental anxiety can repel boys and come between them and their parents.
Now with seventy pages read and many post-its and highlighted lines, I'm still anxious.  But through the book's anecdotes I'm finding I'm not alone.  There may be some things I can change about the way we interact at home which will help my boys out "there" in the scary world.  It won't be easy though.  A lot of what is advised is not what an overprotective mama wants to hear.  For example, I don't think I'm supposed to call it a "scary world".  

Yeah, I've got a lot of reading to do.


  1. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this crap. Fiona sometimes says that some girls in her class exclude her from their play and it breaks my heart. I wouldn't call it bullying - more normal kid stuff - but it makes me sad. And the "God doesn't like unmarried parents" comment - oh my! What a terrible thing for Henry to consider. We talk a lot about people's different beliefs and where my and the kids' beliefs fall in relations (for example Fiona knows that some people don't believe gay people should be able to be married or have children and how I think that is wrong). Is it the school actively teaching this, or is it just coming from other kids? If the former, I'd have a hard time sending my kids there. Well, hugs to you, this is just a lot for any parent, and especially a solo one, to bear.

  2. I'm so sorry about what's going on with Henry. I honestly can't imagine what you are going through. I still live in my little bubble with Sidekick where I don't worry about these things yet. I really fear when he gets older because bullying terrifies me. Sounds like you are already doing the right thing(s).

  3. Oh my, I would want to mama bear all over this! It hurts my heart to think of your boy being bullied. I hope the school does a better job meeting your concerns. It scares me that, in this day & age, there are people out there that would actually imply or out right tell a child that god doesn't like unwed parents. Very scary

  4. Oh no!! Can I get that kid for you?!

    And I am sorry about the school stuff. My parents moved my school once (from public to private in 8th grade due to social reasons) and I think if you feel the school isn't a good fit, then do it!! They will survive the change and it will be better if they in an environment that fits your family better. I can understand your hesitancy because of your experience but I think it wouldn't be as bad as you fear.

  5. This is hard to hear about, let alone have to experience it as a parent. I had to change daycares, not for bullying but for other reasons, and that was stressful enough. Like you I had many moves in my life and I want to give my son more continuity than I had. However, not at the expense of being in a situation that is not in his best interests. Another little boy that I know was being bullied at his school - he was one of the youngest in the class - and his parents ended up putting him into a Montessori school where he began to do so well he won full tuition scholarships and absolutely thrived. Go with your gut on this. Much support to you.

  6. I think you have a lot to consider. The bullying is HUGE...and can only get worse, not better, if the school isn't on the ball! The babies comment would be a deal breaker for me. You don't want H to start believing that your family is WRONG in any way. If you weigh the options, moving schools vs. being bullied and fed wrong information seems like a no brainer to me. When I was in elementary school, 2 new schools opened, changing the boundaries for where we lived - I went to three elementary schools from K-8 without moving homes, all because the zones changed. It was no big deal. How easy going is H? Will this cause him anxiety?

  7. Sorry to hear this for Henry. Yep lots to think about. Most importantly keep him talking openly to you. How would he feel about new school? But no matter what you have to do what YOU think is best!