Thursday, April 8, 2010

Yo-yo Lessons (Part 3 of 3)

My last yo-yo challenge was what to do about the kids who were teasing.  I know some of this is just Barley needing to grow a thicker skin.  Under his aggressive persona, he is really quite sensitive and gets hurt feelings easily.

The yo-yos would be sold for another 4 days at the school after Spring Break.  While we have the means for Barley to get another yo-yo, maybe not all the kids do.  Barley had told us who the teasing boys were--we did not know all of them, but I did know the parents of 2 of them.

I debated calling the parents of these boys or not.  I don't want to be the whining parent who complains any time her child gets slighted.  However, I knew if Barley had been the one doing the teasing, and this is not impossible, I would want to know so I could have a stern conversation with him about it.  I used that as my gauge, and made the phone calls.

The first kid, had also previously bragged during a Scout meeting,when we talked as a group about how to handle bullies, "I don't worry about bullies, I AM the bully!"  At the time, I just quelled him with a stern look and told him this was not something to be proud of.  I had forgotten about the incident, but while talking to this boy's father about the yo-yo teasing, I remembered his comment and shared the information as context for what had gone on today.  The father thanked me for letting him know, and then called me back 5 minutes later so I could reprimand the boy directly.  Said bully-boy sulkily claimed he had not called my son "poor"-- he had only called him "a loser."  I made it clear this was not acceptable either, and that any further verbal comments would also be reported to his dad.  He was now on notice--for whatever good it would do.

The second kid's mother was also annoyed at her child's behavior.  She thought it was especially stupid to be calling our kid "poor" since DH and I obviously made "a lot more money" (her wording) than she and her husband did.

This missed the point on a couple of levels: 
  • With DH working part-time, it was likely not true that we make more money
  • Even if we really WERE poor, it was equally unacceptable to tease like that
Anyway, even if her core reasoning was not the same as mine, we both agreed on the principle--which was that teasing was not OK.  She promised to talk with her son about it, and I invited her to let me know anytime if Barley ever behaves the same way.  I also let her know that her son had not been the only one.

I had dreaded making those calls, but once they were done, I felt better.  We let Barley know the next morning that we had spoken to the parents of two of the boys, and we all agreed such teasing was not acceptable.  He was to let us know if there was anything further at school.  He nodded.  We also told him that if he did earn enough to buy the fancy yo-yo, he was not to brag on them, or anyone else about it.  If it was unpleasant to be teased, then we certainly expected him to remember that feeling, and refrain from doing the same to anyone else.  He nodded again.

And so life goes on.  Hopefully we are all a little wiser for it.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, calling them. I liked your gauge: you'd want to be told. That's a good gauge to follow.


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