This is a guest post by Bambi Bishop. You can usually find her over at Reading Until I Fall Asleep.
When I was pregnant with my son, Lucas, the news was saturated with stories of girls and boys being bullied to the point of suicide. I remember sitting at home, fearful of the type of world I was bringing my child into. Who are these people and why do they feel that they have the right to treat another human being this way? It made me nervous for his future, but I didn’t think I would have to worry about such problems yet…
The other day my husband and I decided it would be the perfect time to introduce Lucas to a park with a playground for the first time. At one and a half years old, we knew he wouldn’t be able to do very much, seeing as the equipment is designed for big kids, but we wanted to have him start interacting with other children and have a place to run around freely.
It started out great. Lucas loved the bouncy motorcycle and the swing. But within five minutes, things went from fun to frightening. I watched as four children (all under the age of 10) ran to the swings, what I believed to be friends at the time. It wasn’t until one of the boys asked if he could ask the others a question. All he wanted to know was their name. Suddenly, what could have developed into a friendship turned into an unnecessary brawl. Two of the boys chased the boy, slammed him down to the ground and repeated to punch and kick him. At first, I wasn’t sure if this was horseplay or if what I was actually witnessing was an act of violence. I was horrified when I saw the young boy walk away from the bash brothers crying.
I instantly asked numerous adults in the vicinity if that child was theirs, because I needed to let them know what had happened. The father ended up finding me, and I relayed what I saw to him. He then went to the two boys, who were hiding on the jungle gym, and asked where their parents were. Of course, they were nowhere to be found and the boys weren’t talking. The poor kid and his father ended up leaving; most definitely having their evening of fun ruined by those two selfish, boys.
My Feelings Afterwards
After that, we didn’t stay too much longer. I felt sick to my stomach that I had to witness this. It was my child’s first encounter with other children in this type of atmosphere and my hopes of a peaceful, happy, fun time were ruined. Not so much for Lucas, thankfully. He made a friend who ended up calling my husband a werewolf because of his hairy arms. But I will never be able to shake the sadness from this event.
I went home and couldn’t help but wonder how the boy was. Did he cry himself to sleep that night? Did he ask his father to never take him back to that park? Has this event shaped a small part of him for the rest of his life? All things I would worry about with Lucas. I wish I had told the boy that he’s better than those two and not to let this change the way he is and given him a high five or something.
Then questions started to arise. Like, why weren’t those kids being monitored by their parents? I don’t think, no matter the age, I would be able to leave my son playing with other children unattended. Not just because of something such as this, but what about kidnappers? I also started to think about what I would have done had this happened to my child. I no doubt would have called the cops to report the children and their parents, especially if there was a witness willing to tell their accounts. These kids didn’t even get a reprimand for their actions and you know they are just going to do it again.
After all is said and done, I’m still reeling from the event. It put my worse fears into reality and there’s no going back from that. Hopefully, by the time he’s in school, bullying will be handled more effectively, but I fear it will never end. I’m grateful to Jennifer for giving me a platform to express my discontent with this situation, and for that, I thank you.
To see what you can do to help stop bullying, visit www.stopbullying.gov
Tell us your bullying story in the comments section below.