Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What Do You Say to a Bully?

Matthew has been having some run-ins with another kid in his class. I'm not terribly concerned. Matt can, and does, hold his own.
But often he'll tell me "Riley called me a baby today."
I never know quite how to react to that.
Part of me wants to call Riley's mom. Part of me wants to tell Riley off. A bigger part of me knows that this is something that Matt has to deal with, and that the teachers are on top of.
In the last little while there seems to have been a lot of name calling and questionning of friends. Matt's at the stage where when he gets angry he can verbalize it. As can his friends.
Trust me - this is much better than the biting stage - but still freaking annoying.
And, what do I tell him to say?
I suggested saying "I'm not a baby, you're a baby." But I know that is not a good thing to teach a child. I called my sister and asked her.
My suggested line of "I'm not a baby, you loser" did not go over well with her.
I want Matt to be assertive - and not just accept being called names. But, I don't want him to be rude.
So, today in the car I said to him "Matthew, what are you going to say when Riley calls you a baby?"
His response "No. I'm a pirate ... arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr."
Ummmmm... okay.
Apparently he got some crazy genes from me.
Good comeback. Funny and original.
But, any ideas of what you do say to a kid who calls you a baby? I'm still working that and I'm (slowly) approaching 30!


Multi-tasking Mommy said...

I'm laughing so hard, out loud right now! I LOVE Matty's solution, it works!!!

Seriously though, if you want to coach him about what to say, it is tough!

What about, "I don't like it when you call me that, please don't". Simple, but to the point. Two wrongs don't make a right, that is my philosophy, but you do have to stand up for yourself too!

infectiouslaughter said...

"I'm a pirate" is hilarious!!

SciFi Dad said...

What about something as simple as "No, I'm not." Would that work?

I don't suppose it's possible to convince/teach Matt to just walk away? That would be most effective... pretend he doesn't hear the insult and just move on. It will infuriate the bully by taking his "power" (i.e. the reaction).

With Love, Fat Girl said...

How about, Takes one to know one?

Keep in mind I know nossing about child psychology... nossing at all

Laural said...

In the spirit of maturity ... I love "It takes one to know one."
Seriously. Hilarious!!!
But, my daycare providers may get mad at me.
I was thinking "I know you are, but what am I" (pee wee herman) but again ... I dunno.

kate said...

Bullying is a big issue in the schools these days. Here's a great place to start - read this brief article by an educational psychologist, Dr Michele Borba
Matty's answer, by the way was, was a good one because of the humour! Sometimes kids know more intuitively than us adults!

Amy said...

Ooh I love the pirate response! That's awesome!!!
Go Matty!!!!
Wish I had his comedic timing. The other kid will be stunned (hopefully) and not know what to do. Perfect!

R said...

My sons' preschool teacher says to them "Are you a baby?" They say "no!" She says "so what does it matter if he says you are?"

And she then tells the other child not to call people names. But I think this is a good (if hard) lesson - don't put too much stock in the opinions of others, especially if they don't know what they're talking about.

My preschool problem is that the principal's daughter is in their class and is a vicious, nasty, rude and sometimes violent little monster. I've no clue how to deal with that.