Hello, Tribelet, and welcome to After School Wednesday. IF you're just joining us and you want to be part of a group of mini-women who are out to help STOP bullying in your generation, just post a comment that says, "I'm in!" and you will officially be part of the Tribelet.
Right now I'm taking your questions about bullying one by one and giving you what I hope will be some helpful wisdom on how to handle the issue you're struggling with. If you have something related to bullying that's troubling you -- or you've thought of something else -- and you haven't posted it in a comment, please do that. I'm keeping a list
Today's question comes from NIMI who says there is a BOY in her life who terrorizes her. The BIG problem with that is that he's the son of her mom's best friend, so she's kind of stuck with him -- and asking her mom to talk to HIS mom would put her mother in a funky position. Yikes, NIMI, that IS a predicament.
Let's deal first with BOYS as bullies, since most of the time we're talking about other GIRLS being the culprits. Boy bullying is different (just like everything else about these mysterious creatures ...)
* Boys are more open about their meanness. While girls will whisper behind your back and leave you out, boys are more likely to make rude comments about you in the lunch line -- "Hey, Pizza Face, what's with the zits?" A girl who bullies might give you a subtle shove when nobody's looking. A boy with a bullying problem? He'll just knock you down ... and laugh.
* Boys are more random about it. Girls who act mean seem to be organized, you know? It's like a system they have because they're consistent and their plan builds, getting worse and worse. Boys, on the other hand, just see an opportunity to make you miserable and go for it -- but it's not like they stalk you and make it their new career to make you miserable.
* Boys who bully are more likely to do their dirty work with a pack. I'm not saying a boy won't bully you when no one else is around, but most of the time mini-guys like an audience. They bully to show how manly they are (like THAT makes them men .. really?) Get a crowd behind a mean boy and he's all ABOUT treating them to a show of his power over you.
Fortunately those differences make it a little easier to deal with Boy Bullies than girl ones.
* Because they're so open, you can choose what Code Card to use more clearly. He makes a rude remark about you -- you whip out your One-Liner. "Really, Josh? I thought you were better than that," or "You realize you can't hurt me with that, right? Just askin'." He knocks you on the ground -- that's a Report Alert. Get up. Brush yourself off. Give him a look that says, "Are you serious?" And go straight to an adult you can trust, and take a witness if you can. His kind of behavior is dangerous and a grown-up should know about it. This isn't tattling, which is to get someone IN trouble. This is reporting, which is to get someone OUT of trouble -- namely you. "Josh just shoved me so hard I fell down and I don't want to have to worry about him doing that to me again. How can you keep me safe?"
* Since boys are sort of unpredictable about their bullying, you can catch them off guard. If a guy, for some reason known only to him, is leaving you alone today, it's the perfect time to say, "This is a way better look for you. It would be awesome if you could be like this all the time. Just sayin."
* Because there will be a crowd around when Boy Bully starts in on you, you always have witnesses -- not just to his behavior but yours. How you react in front of those other people can model how they can deal with bullying if it's turned on them. Let's say he gives you that "Hey, Pizza Face," thing. You can deliver your one-liner -- "I thought you were better than that" -- and what do you want to bet someone else will use that later. If you feel confident enough you can bring the audience in. "Do you guys believe Josh just said that? It's like he thinks he can hurt me with that. Go figure." (or something like that). Unlike girls, boys who bully girls don't usually follow up with revenge. They might with the boys they're mean to, but not usually girls. Your situation is a crime of opportunity for them. You're there, so it's convenient to make some snarky comment about your hair, your clothes, your breath. If you answer with your creative one-liner, he probably won't hunt you down later to put you in your place.
I hope that helps, especially if that boy who gives you grief is a family friend. Unless he hurts you or even threatens to, you can handle this on your own. But it's also a good thing to discuss this with your mom or dad, just so they know what you're going through. "I have this handled for now, Mom, but I just want to know that you have my back if it gets worse."
Let us know if this works for you. God bless you out there, Tribelet.