disclaimer:  while i don’t believe that taylor is being bullied, i do think that other kids are assholes and that they’re maybe sorta picking on him.  and even if taylor was being bullied, i don’t know that he would tell me.  instead, i think taylor would live in denial.  what kid wants to admit that other kids don’t like him or that he’s not included?  my son wouldn’t.  he’s stubborn and full of pride, but mostly…he’s sensitive and a bit naive…prone to becoming a “follower”, of being easily influenced by his peers.  i see myself in my son…a little bit insecure, wanting acceptance, hoping to fit in…but always feeling a little…different, like an outsider.  not bad different…just…his own person, different.  i think maybe it’s an only child trait.  we’re a bit quiet, aloof, and we observe.  on the other hand, we want attention – often becoming the class clown, using manipulation to get our way, or simply being a brat.  i was never the cool kid, but as an adult, i can see it all unfolding before my wiser, more experienced self – taylor is that kid.  he’s the kid who wants attention from the popular kids…trying too hard.  and you know what?  the cool kids always know…they always know when you’re trying too hard.  and what taylor doesn’t understand is that these kids thrive on that shit.  they make fun, put the weaker kids down, laugh at their expense.

kids are mean.

 that being said, i have a story to share…

because of t’s ADD {which i haven’t addressed on the blog yet}, we’ve established a weekly drawing.  if he remembers to write in his assignment notebook every day and turns in all  his homework throughout the week…he gets to draw from a box.  this box contains “prizes” that taylor has written on pieces of paper.  prizes range from a trip to get frozen yogurt after dinner to an hour of playing the wii to going shopping at his favorite store.

last week, he got to choose from the box – hooray!  and the prize was “go to hot topic”…his fave store.  {a tween’s playground, a parent’s nightmare – they sell candy, t-shirts with trendy sayings, hello kitty, goth clothing, anything and everything twilight related, neon hair dye, cd’s, bracelets, etc…a myriad of trendy…junk.}

luckily, taylor had a gift card.  and after what felt like hours of deciding what to buy, he settled on a black baseball hat with the word SWAGG printed across the front, in a gold 70’s font.  taylor thought it was so cool.  he paid for it and wore it right out of the store.  i didn’t think anything of it.  was i supposed to?

the next day he wore it to school.
when i picked him up from school, he wasn’t wearing it.
me:  honey, where’s your hat?
t:  it’s in my bag.
me:  why aren’t you wearing it?  did you lose it and you just don’t want to tell me?
t:  no.
he turns his head and i can tell he’s avoiding me.  i can see his little chin quivering…
me:  taylor, what’s wrong?
t:  my friends made fun of me, mom.  they said my hat is stupid.
me:  WHAT?!  well clearly those kids are not your friends.  true friends don’t tell you that you look stupid.  are you kidding me?!  honey, i’m sorry.  it’s okay.  those kids are mean.

my heart broke into a million pieces.  i just imagined taylor, swaggering into school, new hat on his head, smirk on his face…ready to get high-fives and compliments on his cool new purchase…  only to have his spirit broken by so-called friends.  i still haven’t seen the hat.  i’m praying that it’s at the bottom of his backpack, but my fear is that someone took it from him.

so okay…he wasn’t bullied, per se…kids will be kids, right?
but what bothers me the most is that he took his hat off!  he didn’t stand up to them, he didn’t hold his ground…he acquiesced.  have i not given him the skills to be himself, to be confident in who he is and what he likes? 

ugh.  i don’t even know how to wrap this up.  i’m just so bummed that this happened and i wanted to share it.

if you have any thoughts…please feel free to share.


23 thoughts on “kids.

  1. Oh Paige!!!!
    My heart is aching right now because I know EXACTLY how you are feeling!!!! My Liam is such a quiet, internal kid who would turn the other cheek and ask, “Did you want to hit me here too?” before standing up for himself.
    Other kids suck so fucking bad. When I was a teen and someone would pick on my younger siblings I would tear after them with my spiked hair, leather jackets and Doc Martens and scare the bejesus out of those little fuckers. They would NEVER bother my brothers or sister again. But now, as a mom, as much as I just want to beat the living shit out of these entitled little useless pieces of crap I can’t. The whole thing makes me nuts!
    Last week Liam told me he’s depressed. I ask a million questions, none of them the answer to his problem. Does he want to see a therapist? No. Is it a problem at school? No. For a week my stomach has been in knots over this because we just don’t know what is REALLY going on in their worlds outside of our homes.
    The only answer he will give me is that he is bored and wants to be done with HS (1 more year) and then go to Europe. He is exactly like me. I remember feeling the same way. Except, I had fellow punk friends to be with and he really doesn’t fit into any classification of kids (if that makes sense). He’s too “normal” for the punk kids even though they all listen to the same music, but his interests are very different than the “mainstream” crowds.
    Maybe we as parents are overthinking and worrying ourselves over nothing, but every time I turn on the news….
    I can’t even think about it.

    • right?! kids as young as 13 are KILLING themselves over being bullied. it’s so scary. as parents, we have to listen to our children – ask lots of questions and constantly look for signs of bullying. and to the parents of the bully – do the even know?

  2. Its unfortunate that kids often follow what is “supposely”cool and will be mean to other children(even if that is not their true nature). I think that the hardest thing about being a parent is wanting to protect your child from this hurt. It’s so hard- I just try to reassure my daughter its okay to be different. I hope she always stays true to herself .

  3. I’m seeing similar dynamics revealed in my grandson(s). One, who is ten, flat out admitted to me that he didn’t care for school this year because of a bully in the classroom. The grandson who lives with us HAD to have a face mask after school today. Grandpa came up with a high quality UnderArmor head sock, which he is happy with at home, because we told him he looks like a Ninja. Who knows what the kids at school will say.

    You know what got me about t.’s story? I wondered in his selection of the cap how much was pre-determined by his speculations on what the kids would think was cool.

  4. Kindred spirits is right … gosh, this story made me so sad and I’m already sad by our experience with Julien yesterday. These are the types of experiences that make me wanna rip my son out of public school so f*ng bad. But if it’s not at school, it will be somewhere else. The hardest part for my husband and I is that we *were* those kids. The ones who were different, picked on, put down, bullied. Every time something like this happens, it brings up all of those deep feelings from our own childhood. And Middle School SUCKS. Hands-down. I am dreading when we get to that point … :(

  5. oh paige! i can’t really relate because i don’t have kids of my own..but, i am in a school every day and i see it all the time! it breaks my heart to know that your precious taylor is going through such a senseless and hateful thing. tell him i said to hang in there! kids these days are just cruel and the only reason they are picking o someone with their own unique interests is because of their jealousy/lack of confidence. so sad. but i, like you, was always a little bit different and picked on for such things…but looking back i am glad i stuck to my guns and marched to my own drum. it has made me who i am today..a little bit odd and damn proud! :)

  6. This story made my heart hurt for your Taylor. I am not a mother, but I am pre-service teacher, and I realize how prevalent bullying is within schools- it makes me sick to think that the kiddos who are their unique, quirky, funny little selves are picked on for not being “normal”. My best suggestion would be to see if there are any teachers that Taylor likes who can be a sort of “ally” for him- keep an eye on him and stop the bullying when it starts. That suggestion may or may not work, but I truly hope that your son’s bullying gets better.

  7. This happened to grant recently too, with a full face, wind mask that made him look and feel like a ninja (so similar to Terri’s story). He was so excited to wear it and the shit bags at school told him it looked dumb, so it ended up in his backpack. I was pissed and sad and upset for him as well. Your story is compounded by the fact that he earned it (the hat) by doing well the week before. Little effers. But this has always happened, and continues. It’s a shitty initiation process to knowing who you want to give your energy and time to. You told him the right thing. Hopefully it doesn’t take him long to fish the quality people from the vampires and stop giving those eff holes the time of day. Miss you lady.

  8. This literally brought me to tears! I am so sorry for Taylor. It eats me up inside that people can be so mean because I, too, was that kid that constantly was seeking approval but never really got it. You told him the right thing and, while it is incredibly difficult to watch her baby be hurt, think about how you would have reacted if someone tried to get your to see the light when you were that young. Stay strong, Paige.

  9. I am not excited to pop out kids for reasons like this. Add facebook and twitter and god know what else and being a kid/teen is a nightmare. I had a hard time in school. I used to be part of the itty bitty titty committee till I was about 17 (its true, i swear!) Add shaving my head at 13 and honestly i could be mistaken for a boy. Add some insane shyness to that… and oh man, i’m glad the internet wasnt really around then.

    Ok enough about me… just saying it sucks and when you’re there, you don’t see it clearly until years later when you look back and thank yourself for being yourself despite all the d-bags. We all want to be accepted tho, can’t help it.

    One thing about bullying though that worries me for moms like you. If you tell your kid to stand up to bullies, to defend themselves, does that make it worse with all the violent bullies? By encouraging your kid to be themselves, are you encouraging bullies to take it to the next level? I don’t know. And who says your kid is going to listen to you? you’re old and don’t know what it’s like (not YOU Paige, just parents in general in a kids mind)

  10. this breaks my heart. and, i know what you mean…it’s not extreme bullying, per se. but, it’s heartbreaking as a parent to think of your kid being treated that way. i was treated terribly by girls when i was in grade school. they would make fun of my clothes, the way i looked, and the worst – they would make fun of me for having a disabled brother. ugh. a nightmare. but, good news! i made it though. and, i think it made me a little stronger along the way. hugs to you and your sweet family.

  11. Oh my, Paige!

    I`m so sorry for Taylor, it is so hard to not fit in (no matter where you live in this world). I do think that parents can play a huge part in this. By supporting your child in every way, you will give him the security he needs so much. I think you reacted in the right way, maybe next time he will have the courage to stand up to those horrible children.
    I was different myself and I struckled a lot with that and still do sometimes and now I am watching my daughter growing up to be different too… I hope I will give her the tools she needs to stay true to herself (I didn`t have them growing up)

    In my country we have several courses for children to help them staying true to themselves and building up courage…maybe something to look out for, for Taylor?


  12. I feel bad for my little buddy T… and I do agree with most of the “only child” stuff. You tell him that Uncle Derek said to wear his Swagg hat with pride….He’s got some swagger in him, after all, he’s got some Pitzer in him! The “new” male figure in his life (Mark) will be a great role-model for T. I have a good feeling about it. Tell him to bring the hat when he comes to IL and I’ll get one and we can Swagger to all the cool spots! Love you guys!

  13. Oh Sweetie,

    I can feel your heart breaking when you are telling about this. It is soo hard to be a parent anyway and then something like this comes up. Stay strong and make sure that Taylor knows that he matters (which I am sure is an everyday occurrence). Sometimes the toughest part of parenting is standing back and letting your child figure out how to handle a situation whether you agree or not but always being there not take their pain but to help them learn how to handle things in a positive manner. (My thought is that someone out there is insecure and has no other way to get Taylor’s attention but to pick on him.)

    Hugs and Kisses,
    Aunt Lori

  14. What a trooper for telling you about it though (with some prodding!). That’s something to be thankful for… In ‘real life’ I often feel a bit on the outer fringe of every circle I’m in. The outsider thing you brought up – although, I’m not an only child, so no excuse! And I always get the impression that a lot of my favourite bloggers are/have been exactly the same. Maybe Taylor will follow in his Mum’s footsteps one day!?

    Bullies suck. I was lucky in school to avoid that sort of problem, but it is so hard to not be desperate for the approval of your peers. Even these days I can get horribly flustered if I point out something I like in a shop and a friend is all “are you kidding!?” And I guess when you’re a kid you don’t have any standby witty comebacks/segues up your sleeves…

    I think Taylor seems like a rad kid though, from what I see on this ol’ blog.

  15. I’m so sad to read what happened to Taylor. Kids can be so cruel. My youngest has endured his share of teasing for a myriad of reasons. One being his style in clothes is something that separates himself from others and I know he’s shared in the pain Taylor experienced. As a mother you want to strangle those kids. My son has the biggest, most tender heart. When someone makes fun of him it’s like a knife driven into my heart. Thankfully my son has learned that it’s his own happiness that matters and to hold his high no matter who else might be threatened by it. But I know it still stings. I hope you can convince Taylor to take out that hat and put it on his head and know that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Much love to you and your boy.

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  17. Paige, I can’t speak from being a mom but I can speak from being an only child, being made fun of, and feeling the exact same things that you and Taylor both feel. Being an only child really is such a gift and a curse. You don’t learn to stand up to your peers like children with siblings do. Instead, your parents and adults around you shower you with attention and encouragement.

    I was painfully shy as a child and didn’t come out of my shell into high school. I just felt different from everyone else. I went through so many different phases of just wanting to fit in. But, it takes a while for a child’s “I don’t give a shit what you think” to really develope. It will happen though. *hugs*

  18. hi, paige!

    i’m a new reader here and i just wanted to say i’m a fan and i love your style :) and also, thank you for the “prizes box” idea. maybe i should try this at home too.

    so very sorry to read about this though. so sad on many levels. hope things with taylor are better now.

    sending love from the philippines :)

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