The Unbearable Banishment: A deep cut begets deep anger

Monday, September 26, 2011

A deep cut begets deep anger

"Daddy, I don't want to go to school anymore. They tease me."

It has come to light that my little 5-year old peanut of a daughter is being teased in kindergarten. At recess, she walks around the playground by herself. Kindergartners who have older siblings are taught early on how to stick the knife in. 9-Year Old Daughter has sailed through school without any of this nonsense, so this is new to me. Something biological kicks in when you discover your child is being picked on. A chemical reaction. It has fostered a swelling of anger in me that I've never experienced before.

Every class has one kid who is singled out and relentlessly hammered by everyone else. I had a bit of a problem with being picked on back in Eastpark Elementary School, but it was nothing as compared to what happened to poor Joy Keck. You didn't want to get near Joy or you would get "Joy Keck germs." Her torment continued straight through Midpark High. I don't recall her having one friend. I'd love to report that after high school, Joy gave Cleveland the middle finger and is now a successful cardiologist with homes in Beverly Hills and Geneva. But the truth is she committed suicide.

Mrs. Wife is taking the calm, rational approach. Writing letters. Trying to separate fact from fiction. I, on the other hand, would very much like to walk into her classroom and ask, "Honey, which one of these mutants is picking on you?", rip their tiny arms out of their tiny sockets and calmly ask, "Anyone else?" As satisfying as that would be, it's probably the wrong approach.

I just read an article about how kids are reluctant to report that they're being bullied. If you report you're being bullied, you label yourself as a victim and are likely to walk around feeling like one. If you make a public declaration that you're a victim, you'll be treated like a victim by everyone around you. Kids know this.

My greatest fear is that if we don't get a handle on this, it'll snowball and there'll be no end to it. She'll end up with the same low self-esteem her father is plagued with.

12 Comments:

Blogger Sausage Fingers said...

Sounds like a tough situation, my temperament would make me wait for the father of the bully and have a wee word but that is silly and would solve nothing. I also had a pal commit suicide he was perpetually bullied to no end, my friend Keith and I would protect him as much as possible. A few years after we moved the the states, Chris took his own life ending years of pain...
I wish you only the best in this situation and I am sure you will handle it well.
PS. If you need any weapons I have a stockpile...

September 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

Always a tricky one to deal with. Today, our schools here have posters all over the place, urging kids to report bullying. It doesn't seem to be working!
I was teased at school, but I was lucky-I had my natural happy disposition and some tough (thug!) friends!
I hope it's sorted soon and without any scars.

Off topic, but you and some other locals may like this;
http://www.greenchairpress.com/blog/?p=1858

September 26, 2011 at 5:48 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

take a deep breath... a word with the teacher (or a letter) is clearly within scope. activities outside of school can also help keep her engaged with other kids. by the next school year, it may have all blown over...

but yeah. those visceral reactions are pretty damn powerful...

September 26, 2011 at 6:36 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Sausage: If I were younger and still a dope I might do the whole parent thing but you're right. It'd never amount to anything. But about those weapons...

dinah: I wish she were a bit more like 9-year old, who walks away unbothered when teased.

daisy: Such sane advice. We have done just that; reached out to her teacher and have set up play dates. You women are smart.

September 26, 2011 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Adam Kenny said...

This is yet another one of those things for which a "What Does a Dad Do Now" manual would come in damn handy. My kids are both adults now but reading your post brought back - in a rush - my very emotional reaction to an episode in which the younger of my two was really getting teased.

Suffice it to say, the input you've already received from dinah and daisy is better than what mine would be.

Hope this all works out for you and your little girl.

September 27, 2011 at 5:21 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Good advice from Daisy. I know you'll keep a watchful eye.
Being a puny child I suffered some physical bullying and learned to lash with my tongue proving a literate background can be an asset.
A big bracing hug for the little one.

September 27, 2011 at 5:28 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

AK: No doubt this will all have been forgotten by the end of the semester but when you're in the middle of it, it can be quite a distraction. My wife gave the same calm advice as daisy and dinah. In these matters, I will defer to the women.

Pat: I hope the animals who bullied you as a young child saw your photo spreads in magazines later in life. The best of all revenges.

September 27, 2011 at 6:51 AM  
Blogger JZ said...

Years after relocating/settling down to/in Raleigh, I came to learn that the one person who I vehemently held resentment toward for bullying me was living just down the road in Holly Springs. It was a strange sensation --accelerated heartbeats...tightening of muscles-- imagining the reality, however irrational, of running into this dick. I don't know why he had it out for me...or whether I, as a shy introverted 6th grader, exaggerated his methods of personal amusement passing the time on the bus to school (trapped on a bus dealing with that! at least when I got to school I could keep an arm's length).

Chances are, your healthy household and support by teachers and other people in the community will overcome whatever bullying is going on. The feelings may be with her for a very long time, even if the memory fades. But hopefully it will eventually emerge in her character as something positive and productive.

September 27, 2011 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger nursemyra said...

I was going to suggest contacting the teacher too but it looks like you've got all that under control. *hugs* to your little one

September 27, 2011 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

I recall being called names when I was a shy little girl with large front teeth. Luckily, I wasn't damaged by that experience... AND I grew into those teeth! Mrs. Wife is wise and I'm glad you are following her (and Dinahmow and Daisyfae's) advice. More than likely, it will all pass without any repercussions.

September 27, 2011 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger looby said...

I agree with the others, a face to face meeting with the teacher is a good idea, and she (he?) will be obliged to act on your concerns. It also lets the school know that you're keeping an eye on them.

I completely understand that hot flush of anger that flares up though. I wouldn't trust myself to keep calm if I ever thought anyone was harming one of mine.

September 28, 2011 at 4:47 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

sugar, just so you know, i STILL have that feeling when one of my (now grown) chicks is verbally attacked! i just don't respond out loud *laughing*

mrs. wife did the right thing.
xoxoxo

September 30, 2011 at 9:00 AM  

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