When Your Child is a Victim of Bullying

As I listened to my son narrate his encounter with the bully from school, I tried to contain my emotion. I didn’t want him to know how much this story upset me. If I followed my maternal instinct and showed tears, he would be even more bothered by the situation.

I know that these types of things happen to kids.  I was picked on as a child. My husband was harassed by the bigger kids. But I was hoping that my son would move past kindergarten before he had to deal with this type of behavior.

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However, I’ve learned that children model the conduct that they see. And this kid was no different. He was imitating talk he had seen either from a parent, another adult, or possibly even another child.

I was at a loss for how to instruct my child when I remembered the following verse from Proverbs 31.

“She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Proverbs 31:26 NASB)

My first inclination was not to show kindness, but to have my son identify his peer and wring the kid’s neck. But I know that repaying evil for evil is not the type of reaction I want my son to see, nor does it reflect attitude of Jesus.

So I went to Him in prayer. I laid out my heart before Him, seeking the words that I lacked. For His ways are not my ways, nor are His thoughts my thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)

What I realized was this.

creator's words

When the voices of my child’s peers tell him he is “less than,” the words of his Creator must become louder.

I tell him he is God’s masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10) I tell him he is the apple of God’s eye. (Psalm 17) I tell him that he was created in his Father’s image, and that He isn’t finished with him yet.

And then, after instilling all of these thoughts God has toward him into his brain, my husband and I gave him advice on phrases he can say in return. Words which say, “your name calling doesn’t bother me.”

As we instructed our five-year-old, I realized that I was more bothered by the incident than he was. He is my heart, and I want so much to protect him from every force which threatens to steal his innocence. From every kid who is seeking the attention and love he lacks. From every bully and name caller.

He knows that if this kid continues to harass him, his dad and I will intervene. So far we haven’t had to do so.

Despite all my effort to protect my child, I know I must continually give him over to God. He was never mine. In the time I have with him, I will keep the words from Proverbs before me, being faithful to instruct, show kindness and love.

I will be the mother who shows her child that our attitude should not reflect those around us, but the One who created us.

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13 thoughts on “When Your Child is a Victim of Bullying

  1. This sentence speaks so loud, Abby, “When the voices of my child’s peers tell him he is “less than,” the words of his Creator must become louder.” This is such a great reminder. I’m often at a loss of what to say when incidences like this come up. And they haven’t been many as my son is just in kindergarten, as well, but there have been times he has felt left out and “less than” because he didn’t feel like he could play as well or whatever the case was. And it breaks my heart as a mom. It breaks. my. heart. I love this thought, though. I can instill the words of His CREATOR and they need to be LOUDER than what he is telling himself or what others are telling him, because they are the only words that matter and the only words that are true. This is good stuff. Thank you for linking-up. As always, I look forward to your insight and way of getting to the point so succinctly in a way that I can always relate with. Bless you and your family! And hug that little man for me…xoxo, Meredith

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    • It’s always such a blessing to hear from you too, Meredith! Yes, being a parent is on.my.knees hard. So humbling. So heartbreaking at times. I am grateful that although my son’s spirit is sensitive, he does not seem to internalize these types of things. And yes, I will hug him for sure. 🙂

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  2. There is so much wisdom in this post. I don’t even know which sentence to highlight. I think the decision to go to God first stuck out to me most, and then to build up your son before addressing the bully is often what I need to do for myself. If there was a bully free, injury free, hurt free bubble for my kids on the market, I would be first in line. Thank you for this encouragement: “Despite all my effort to protect my child, I know I must continually give him over to God. He was never mine. In the time I have with him, I will keep the words from Proverbs before me, being faithful to instruct, show kindness and love.”

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Kasey. I have so much to learn and yes, I would be first in line for that bubble, too! It’s always a blessing to hear from you. I pray God will guide all of us mamas through the tough times of parenting. 🙂

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  3. The “mama bear” instinct is strong, but I admire your strength in turning first to God and His word for wisdom. I also love that you first focused on reminding your son of who he is as a child of God. Wouldn’t we all be better off if we remembered who we truly are in God’s love before we react to people who’ve hurt us?

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  4. This is so timely for me to hear! Thank you, Abby! In my case, I know the other child truly needs prayer, as all bullies do. And so I pray for him, and for protection for my children…But yes, it is so hard to hold back on what my first instinct is! Lord, help us!

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    • I’m so glad it was timely for you, Renee. You’re right, and I prayed for the bully too. But it is so hard to hold back. With the bully, I feel if he acts like the comment bothers him, it will only give the kid more fuel.

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  5. Abby, I feel your pain. My heart goes out to you as your son’s mother. I am experiencing something similar with one of my teenagers. These types of things are so difficult to wrestle with, but as you already know. they aren’t too difficult for God. I’m reminded of Romans 8:28. He’ll bring good out of this too, somehow. I love your words, “I will be the mother who shows her child that our attitude should not reflect those around us, but the One who created us.” Amen, dear friend. Praying for you and your beautiful family today.

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    • Thank you so much for your prayers, Julie. I am grateful that at my son’s age and with his personality, he does not dwell on these types of things. I think it’s harder on us mamas who want everyone to love our kids as much as we do. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.

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  6. Abby, I really can relate so well. Both my boys have dealt with these types of situations but my youngest son dealt with it the worst. The hardest part in all of it was he attended a Christian School. I relate to having to give that Momma atititude to God and to allow HIm to show us how to instruct and guide. My son and I both learned how to truly pray for those who hurt you and how to be able to look at our behavior and responses as well. What a learning time and very painful. What an amazing mom you are and I can tell I see the fruit of all of it now. My son has allowed God to use it for good, even though it was meant for harm. We also learned that one fo the boys he was praying for came to Christ. I pray God has his way in this child who is doing the bullying but also in your son. Praying for you as a mom! Thanks so much for sharing this!

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    • How wonderful it is that the boy you were praying for came to know Christ! That is beautiful. I am praying for the boys that have been bullying my son also, and I’m grateful that the situation has not escalated. Thank you so much for your encouraging words today, Desiree.

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  7. Pingback: Learning the Balancing Act of Motherhood | Fearfully Made Mom

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