jetsetgreen

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Bully

A couple of weeks ago EG came home crying. His friend, let's call him Wayne, who is also five years old, but a runt of a kid who still sucks a pacifier, closed a garage door on EG's head. I tried really hard not to freak out. Then I told my husband, who freaked the tarnation out. He wanted to blow up everything in our new neighborhood, "I will go over there and tell them that if they can't control their child than I will, and that EG is not allowed to play over there and that none of their children are welcome at our house. They need to stay away from us." There were other general pronouncements of finality bandied about and not a small amount of rage.

See, husband is from Back East where neighbors would just as soon knife you as look at you. I decided that maybe setting off a nuclear bomb in our neighborhood where we want to live for a long time would probably not be a good idea.

That wasn't the first time we'd had problems with Wayne and his brother, both had been seen punching EG and generally acting like little punks, but a garage door is on another level. We forbade EG from playing at their house and he's obeyed.

Today, EG came home and told us that Wayne had kicked and punched him again while at a friend's house. I consider myself a non-violent person. I don't like weaponry, I don't even want toy guns in my house, but this constant barrage from a squirrely little kid? I'm not OK with that.

"Wayne told me I have a new name: Butthead."
"Did you tell him that he's got a new name too?"
"YES! I said his name was PEE!"
"Good one!" I laughed.
"But mom," EG said, with a little awe in his eyes, "Betsy says that Wayne is a Kung-Fu Master."
"WHAT?" I started laughing and laughing, and then EG joined me, his giggles supplanting his nerves at the facing of a Kung-Fu Master.

I wiped my eyes and said, "Honey, you're more of a Kung-Fu Master than he is. Wait, I'm a Kung-Fu Master!" I chopped through the air above the kitchen table to EG's delight.
"Let's have a talk," I said, "Next time Wayne hits you, I want you to hit him back."
EG's eyes widened, "I can hit him back?"
"Yes. In fact, please, hit him back. Punch him right back."
"Can I kick him?"
"Absolutely. In fact, here are the new rules: no hitting at school, no hitting on the bus, and no hitting first. But if Wayne hits you, or kicks you, you kick him right back, you punch him right back. And then you tell a grown up."
You should have seen the smile on EG's face.

(I can't believe I just encouraged violent retribution.)

(I can't believe Wayne is still alive and my husband is not in jail, that is a minor miracle in itself.)



(Maybe I should dig out my karate gi and start wearing it around the neighborhood. We'll see who's the Kung-Fu Master now.)

45 comments:

Caitlin said...

Clearly, Wayne needs a little punching now and again. EG is actually doing him a FAVOR.
Heck, I don't even know the kid, and I want to punch him.
Good luck, EG- may the strength of the kung fu masters be with you.

Marianne & Clayton said...

I cannot wait for the follow up to this blog. Excellent parenting!

Annette Lyon said...

Hey, I agree--don't throw the first punch, but heck, if he hits you, defend yourself for all you're worth, kid!

kiki said...

I AM SO EXCITED!!

Rachie said...

We gave the same piece of advice to my nieces when they were about EG's age and had a friend who was always pinching and beating up on them. I don't recall ever hearing about them being pinched after that... Some kids just need a taste of their own medicine, especially if their parents aren't going to keep their snotty kids under control. I hope EG punches Wayne a good one right in the gut.

Chief said...

We had to show our poor kid how to hit back...he was so mortified that we would suggest such a thing. Took 3 years and he finally beat the snot out of the kid. No more problems

Cindy said...

You're a good mom.

sue-donym said...

Bravo!

Did I ever tell you about the time 007 white washed a boy (rubbed a kids face in a snow bank) that had done that to the Princess.

The neighbor kids were scared for years.

amelia said...

WAYNE SUCKS! GO EG!

I CANNOT wait for "The Bully, part 2."

Hil said...

Holy smokes this is intense... and tell EG Kung-Fu masters are way over rated anyway.

Marge Bjork said...

WOOO!!! WAY TO GO EG!!!!!

~j. said...

keek is so excited.

heh heh heh ...

Lisha said...

I have a gi that I would have let you borrow from my taekwondo self-defense class but it's a white belt and I don't know if you are quite there yet.

AzĂșcar said...

Hey now, I earned my yellow stripe belt fair and square.

acte gratuit said...

I believe Dr Phil once said, Punch back twice as hard then run away twice as fast.

Sounds fair to me.

Melanie J said...

This is possibly the first time I'm on Dr. Phil's team. Good advice.

I think my kid felt better just knowing he didn't have to sit there and take it if he didn't want to. He never got into a fight after we told him to hit back, but I think he walked taller and attracted less bullying as a result of that advice. Kind of an interesting little social experiment.

That's Ms. Amy to You... said...

The rule in our house is "You don't start it, but you can finish it". We haven't had to use the rule yet, but the day will come.

Lara said...

Bullies make me mad. I would want to blow up the neighborhood if that happened to me, too!

Good for you for giving him the power. He'll do well with it, I'm sure.

Cafe Johnsonia said...

I honestly can't wait to have this very same conversation with my own children.

GO EG!!!

the emily said...

A few weeks ago my husband took my son to a football game. There was a hill that my son ran on while husband watched the game. Two older kids (my son is 5) wanted to play. Isaac was ecstatic. The game they played was making Isaac try to get past them. They were on a hill, and they had the uphill side. Isaac would try to break through these two older boys, and they would knock him down. My son was frustrated, but kept it up. He finally got past them, so one of the boys grabbed his head and was squeezing, really hurting him. Just as my husband got up to help, my son kicked the kid right between the legs. I've never taught him that, I don't know where he's seen it, but boy did it work. Big kid went crying to his mom that "that boy hurt me." I've never been so proud.

Jen said...

can't wait to hear the follow-up on this one. 'cause you KNOW there will be! :)

Kalli Ko said...

I'm from Wyoming. We condone violence being taught in the home.

Also, speaking of parental backfire. One time in high school my parents went out of town for homecoming and all of my "friends" wanted to stay the night at my house after their night of drunken high school escapades. After I went home I locked the door instead. The boy (who was my prom date the earlier year) who drove them all out to my house only to find the door locked up tight had peeled out all over my driveway. My OCD parents did not take too kindly to this and the next morning my 6'4" physically terrifying dad went over to his house, escorted him back to mine, handed him a scrub brush and a bucket of hot water and proceeded to supervise for the next 2 hours while he scrubbed them off.

lesson.learned.

Vanessa said...

Oh my Miss this made my morning. I grew up in Baltimore so I get the knife you before look at you comment, when we moved to AZ when I was a teen I kept on asking my Dad & Mom what was wrong with everyone...the smiling and waving...weirded me out.

And you know the other night...oh actually at Allison's thing...there was this little kid just pestering Cameron and finally she smacked him in the face...and you know what I just looked the other way....seriously after awhile the kid deserved it. Hopefully this was not one of your sons! ha

Your husband sounds like mine...we are having a neighbor kid problem too....although its with girls which means they just say really horrid things and tell all the other girls to leave Abby out...

This growing up stuff is making me nervous...

MomBabe said...

I'm a fan of this parenting style. A BIG FAN.

swampbaby said...

LOVE.IT. I remember dispensing the same counsel. And, guess what - it works! Big J punched the crud out of a bully in preschool - then knocked him clear down the slide to the bottom - but that bully never touched him again.

Capree said...

YAAAY! It's about damn time. I hate bullies.

MYSUESTORIES said...

Good for you! And how long do ya wanna bet it's gonna take Wayne's parents to beat down YOUR door? Me, personally? I'd let your husband answer that one!!!

Mrs JP Chaos said...

I like your version of handling this. I have to wonder if I'd have kept my cool...

The Bakers said...

Yah, I can't wait for Round 2.

Rocketgirl said...

There's a bully in our nursery that has been targetting my friend's son Max for a year, so after much deliberation, she told him he could push the bully back if the bully started it. So one day at playgroup, the bully acted, and little Max gathered up his courage and pushed the kid so hard he flew a few feet. Then, in front of all the moms, Max turned to his mommy and shouted proudly - "Mom! I pushed him like you told me to!!!"

Heh. She turned 14 shades of purple with embarassment. When the same bully came over to our place for a playgroup, my brilliant daughter who does not need encouragement on hitting back started screaming "He's bad! He's evil!!" Right in front of the kid's mom. She hasn't gotten the hint yet. But my kid knows what's what. Awesome.

Steph said...

Seriously... sometimes sucker punching a 6 year old should be okay.

I am just joking... sort of.

soybeanlover said...

I'm so going to use this next year. Good for you and best of success to EG. Self defense makes me excited to have boys(not so much the baby brother retribution afterwards though).

Rynell said...

Your husband my husband seem to be of the same opinion on these matters.
I like the way you handled it.

wendysue said...

Cool Mom award! I'm all for letting the "Scott Farkas" kids of the world have it!!

rabidrunner said...

All of your comments were about the bullying and parenting and whatnot... but not a one mentioned the genius of a certain sentence. Figured I fill that. So here goes.

This sentence made my heart sing:
"There were other general pronouncements of finality bandied about and not a small amount of rage."

camillion said...

This is canonized in the eternal book of sound parenting forever and ever....

Best. Advice. Ever.

Jenny said...

so what do you do when the 4 year old neighbor kid tries to shoot/punch em in the penis? that is what I'm dealing with right now. any advice on that one?

also, since I don't know you and you don't me is it weird that i used the word penis on your blog?

craftyashley said...

That is simply awesome! I bow in reverence at your crazy kung-fu mommy skills!

JennyMac said...

Applause. My Father was a police officer...I learned from a young age NOT to hit first but if hit, hit back. And hard. My mom did not concur with this philosophy but there was a big jerk of a girl at my grade school and I was tiny. She hit me so I let her have it. End of problems.

Maya said...

I'm new to your blog but I love this post so much I'm going to comment anyway, Self-defense is not just left to boys. My parents taught me to throw a punch when I was 7. I mean, first they insisted we try the non-violent things first: walking away, using a witty comeback, telling the teacher or another adult. But when those didn't work, heck yes we were allowed to hit back!

My brother was getting picked on in middle school so my parents let the principal know of the family rule: either the principal needed to deal with the bully or my brother would. The principal went for the latter.

And again in HS I was getting shoved around. I'd just had surgery and couldn't defend myself. My brother had a couple of those guys hanging from the wall and after that, problem solved!

So go you!!!

kiki said...

Jenny, a metal codpiece?

Native American Momma said...

I agree with your decision. I am getting my Monkey in karate as soon as she turns three. She is bigger then the other kids and I want her to learn control.

Shawn said...

Better get ready for some fisticuffs with the parents!

Petit Elefant said...

You + Black Belt = my eternal happiness. go get 'em mama.

Em said...

Awesome. I LOVE it. A role model to follow when I have kids of my own: Promote non-violence until someone gets violent with your own kid, then instruct your kid to beat the crap outta the other. I hate bullies. Your kid is awesome, too.