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« Berkeley & Oakland | Main | toss them all out »


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RJ Mical

"That was a nice moment! I'm always afraid to believe moments like that are real."

Whatever do you mean, dearest one?


Siiiigh. I had some sharp words today for the school principal about teasing, espcially at my daughter's age, 12, because this is the time when it can go from ugly to harassment, when it becomes not just about insecurity, but seeing how much escalation a victim will take.

But Moomin is so smart. Because some bullies don't want to be distracted. They are already playing their favorite game.

Koan Bremner

Moomin shows more understanding of the ugly side of human nature than many adults - but, I'm sure you already know this. A hug for Moomin to congratulate him on his resolve not to be a bully - and a hug to *you* for your part in raising such a thoughtful child! :-)


It was me that made the promise when I was little... I kept it until I was 13 and then broke it.. and was horrified, and then kept it a lot longer.

He seems very aware of rejection and does not forgive it easily. I think that just makes it tougher for him. But as long as he has one or two friends in school I'm hoping that'll help him out.

Koan Bremner

Ah, yes - I miscounted the paragraphs - I is ign'ant! Even so, the hugs, and the praise still stand.

I guess rejection is hard for anybody to deal with - but when he can identify the reasons *behind* the rejection (and he sounds so bright, I believe he'll learn that skill in fairly short order) then he might be able to differentiate "tactical" rejection (as in "I'm not playing with you *now* because I don't want to look bad in front of my friends) to "full" rejection ("I don't want to play with you because I don't like you, period").

I'm not saying that one form of rejection is less painful than the other - but recognising that different forms of rejection say more about the person rejecting than they do about the person rejected has certainly helped me, over the years.


Moomin is really smart about bullies. The conventional wisdom now--what they're starting to teach kids in schools with anti-bullying programs--is to recognize that telling doesn't work (because bullies will retaliate and also because they wait until adults aren't watching) and ignoring doesn't work (because, as Moomin put it so incisively, they're already playing their favorite game). What works best is getting a bunch of other kids together and ganging up on the bully and calling him or her on his behavior in a group. This requires focusing on the kids who are mostly observers--not the bullies or the bullied-- and getting them involved, getting them to hold themselves morally accountable for stopping it. Which would be hard for a 5&3/4-year-old, however brilliant, to do. And it wouldn't work in situations like what just happened at the park. But it might be worth talking about for the future, or with his teacher (if this kind of thing ever happens at school), or for times when other kids are the targets.

There's a pretty good (if somewhat didactic and bibliotherapy-ish) kids' book about this strategy called "the Bully-Blocker's Club," by Teresa Bateman.


"I don't think that will work, Mom. Because what they like to play best is TEASING."
*silence of deep truth*
"Well it's worth a try to distract them, anyway."
"I don't think it's going to work so well."

What a very, very, very, very smart kid. This reminds me of a conversation I just had with a close friend of mine from childhood--she pointed out that for years and years, her family would FORCE her into social situations where people were absolutely determined to rudely reject her. This happened far into adulthood--she'd be out with parents, siblings or friends, they'd run into some snobs from the socialite scene, the snobs would engage family or friend in conversation, and totally ignore her. And her family and friends would allow this to happen, and act like it was HER problem to fix it. As if the snobs would accept her if only she'd obligingly change into the right kind of person.

Sometimes it is JUST FINE to recognize that people are assholes, and blow them off.


You are such an excellent mama, and i really believe that is a great buffer between your son and that boy (who was probably recently called a little baby by someone bigger than him. . . ), and all the other hurts that kids have to face.


It's tempting to enroll Moomin in some kind of lethal dojo of whupass so that he could simply chop them into mincemeat, eh? Why do we have to be so civilized? HIYA! And the stupidass boys would be writhing on the ground bleeding.


the part at the end, where he's walking on the fence. Gymnastics is almost exclusively the purview of the petite. Can't you picture moomin on the front of a Wheaties box with his Olympic medals, grinning and touting the favorite cereal of Martians?


Sky's mom pulling the "Milo's smarter than you," didn't help. My parents used to hold the prospect that I'd be able to look down on my school-yard tormentors while they bagged my groceries, or asked if I wanted fries with that, as the 'next life' reward for putting up with bullying.

Most kids grow out of the bullying thing. Some, unfortunately, make a career of it.

Lisa Hirsch

Oh, it just makes me want to cry, the other kids treating Moomin like that. Yeah, I was the weird kid who got teased a lot, although it was a few years later before that happened. At his age I was in a school where I was about average, apparently, then we moved and I wound up in a school where I was the smartest kid in the class/teacher's pet.

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