Times are definitely not what they were thirty years ago. My son who is six years old recently came home from school in tears because a bully was picking on him. This happened about a week after he confessed to leaving his coat on the playground because this same child said it was funny looking. Last night he asked his dad if he wanted him to punch himself in the face. His dad did not realize what our son asked and said “yes” then he proceeded to punch himself in the face. His dad and I were horrified.
Our son is more open with his father so I left the room while they talked about the situation. After much prying (why do our kids inherit our bad traits) his dad learned this same little boy planned on hitting him at school the next day. His dad spoke with the teacher this morning but felt he was being humored more than anything. We talked about why this child would be picking on our son and the answer is very clear. He’s a sensitive child who wants to make others happy-far too much like his mother. My husband said little kids can pick up on other little kids being “weak.”
Whether or not he is actually weak in being this way goes outside the scope of what I am discussing. His going through this reminded me of how I was tormented as a child for also being a “soft touch.” In first grade, a little girl was being made fun of because she came from a poor family and her clothes looked funny. Two third graders tormented her daily and one day I walked up to them and said they wouldn’t like it if someone did that to them. Their response, “What are you, her sister?” has stayed with me to this day. It was an introductory time into how cruel kids can be and it continued throughout high school when I was called “disease infested” due to a cancer relapse. I worry about my son. Will he always remember being made fun of because of his coat and a little boy bullying him because he desires others to like him so much?
So when does peer pressure actually begin? I told my mom about my son’s coat incident and she remarked that making fun of things like clothes does not typically happen until children are older. When this first happened I had a horrible flashback to when I was ten and my parents would drive me to school in their cars that were always old. I would lie down in the seat to avoid being seen when I was dropped off for school. My mom’s words, “You’ll pay for your raising” rang into my ears in regard to my son’s coat incident. I worry about what the future holds.
The scary thing is it has just began. Did I mention he is in Kindergarten?