Tuesday, November 11, 2008

bully on the playground

Tonight we took Naief to a park w/ slides, swings... you name it, they had it. He loves the place, and it exhausts him, so mommy and daddy love it! ;)

We go probably a few times a week, sometimes more, depending on schedules, but tonight was the first time for Naief to encounter a bully...

I've been wanting to write a post for a few days now on the differences between children from different cultures. Now... I'm no expert on the raising of children, that's a given, but I do believe you have to have discipline, teach a child right from wrong and such... as you all know.


Tonight Naief ran over to this one particular area that has a slide, a tunnel that you crawl through at the top w/ a slide at the other end that's enclosed ... and fun stuff like that. It's a favorite for him. As he started up the stairs, there was a little boy (Arab) at the top that first tried to push him off the stairs. This isn't a first... since some kids don't want other children in their 'play' space, so I figured he'd give up when Naief didn't, and go off to do his own thing. But... when that didn't work, he then waited for Naief to get to the top and proceeded to tackle him.... down to the floor/bottom of this thing! When he got 'em down, the kid got on top of him and wouldn't let him up.... even putting his arm around his neck and keeping it to the floor! Such a mean little boy!! He looked mean... isn't it sad that a child that young is so mean?! Makes me wonder what's happening at home.

Needless to say, Naief started to cry, and then I got worried that the child either took a bite or was trying to take a bite....

Hashim had to get Naief (I think hubby was in a coma or something... or just letting them fight it out or wanting to see what would happen because he just stood there for what seemed to be ages... I have no idea, but I was having none of it!!) and he literally had to pull the child off of him... while the father stood over to the side and said nothing. Only until we got the boy off, did his father come over and say that this child is trouble (all in Arabic to Hashim) and told the boy to get down, to which the boy got smart, refused and went on his merry little way. This kid was smaller than Naief... so I have no idea how old he was... maybe the same age... maybe younger.

With hesitation, Naief went back up the stairs and once he got to the top, all he could do was look behind himself to make sure the kid wasn't there and do this little whimpering thing. After some encouragement, he decided to go down the slide on our side, but didn't want to go back up after.....

Even after going over into the other areas w/ other slides and things, I noticed that he'd get sorta fearful when encountering other kids... altho, he did warm up to this cute little girl (who was Jordanian, come to find out) that was the same height and had light hair. She was also the same age as Naief. Her brother was there playing and became very protective of his sister when Naief got close. It was sweet. The brother was probably 7 or so. After obviously forgetting his worry, he eased up and started kicking the ball to Naief, which Naief loved. He'd run around kicking and trying to get the ball while squealing w/ glee! :)

Hashim thinks that Naief will probably be bullied in school. This makes me a bit sad to even think about, and you guys may be thinking "yeah, but that's a few yrs from now and you're right, but, lemme tell ya, that's all mothers talk about!!! "What school will you send Naief to?" "Have you thought about schools?" "Don't put him there, he'll be picked on" "I have a friend whose child was bullied in every school... his mother is an American."

Plus, all the good schools have waiting lists that can take yrs, so you have to plan ahead... (btw, the really good private schools are VERY, very expensive. you have your choice from a ton of others that are private, but they have their own pros and cons, w/ many being racist (from what I hear) , towards those that aren't pure Bahraini).

So... as you can see, one tends to think about these things quite a bit... and his being bullied for whatever reason, has concerned me and something I'd prefer not to happen... but I know that's not life. It will happen, at some point... maybe many times.

Anyway, after tonight's little reminder... I told Hashim that it would be good to get him into karate lessons (when he's old enough, of course) or something so he'd learn how to protect himself in case that ever happened. Plus, it'll give him a boost, if he were afraid, that he could possibly, hopefully, kick some major butt if it came down to it. And I like the thought of that!

Originally, my post was going to be about the way I see Arab kids behaving compared to Indian kids, especially the way they are w/ Naief... but tonight pretty much proved my point to be false (with the Jordanian kids and an Indian girl), so I'll wrap up w/ this point. I think bullying is derived from other underlying issues (sees same at home, not given enough love, attention, and/or ignored... causing the child to act out). It's sad to see so many parents not caring about their children. Not enough to discipline, give guidance, lead by example.... while giving the love and attention your child so desperately needs.


Bobby said...

I love ur kid's foresight!
I think I was bullied the most in the school -- right from 6-11th grade. may be coz i was fat, dark n never bothered abt things like grooming.
I was I - ppl who like me wer my frnds who didn't like wer the bullies)
I never took them to heart - if I did I wud have fucked them to death there and then.I in fact used to enjoy it...
but there were other factors to back up
1. I was the topper in my class for all except maths.
2. I had the largest number of frnds who wer girls. (some my bulliers' crushes)
3. my teachers loved me
4. my parents are notorious for their fights in PT meetings.
5. I am the only guy in the school who lift any guy and make him fly in the air(!!!!!)

I dunno abt Bahrain but in Oman's Indian schools there is racism - malbaris w/ malbaris, gujrathis w/ gurathis so on...
I had frnds from all races though!

n don't worry of your kid...we all have our self defense in us!!

Olivia said...

I hope Naief doesn't encounter too much bullying at school. I was bullied myself, teased for being skinny (this was during the famines in Ethiopia so imagine the nicknames), and for having a tiny voice.

One time a girl teased my skinny legs and one of my best friends, who was always protective, stood up for me. A couple of times my parents had a talk with one girl who teased me, and another time they had a meeting with the parents of another one.

It was generally better after I moved to the States. The very last kid to insult me was in 9th grades, a red headed guy who was on the football team sat behind me in English class. I told the teacher and she moved me to another seat and that was the end of it forever.

I think that putting Naief into self defense classes will be better for him overall. I don't think it's to do with his ability to defend himself though one day that could come in handy. Rather it will give him an inner strength and inner calm as he grows up; he will be able to control his emotions, channel any anger. He will develop something that perhaps other kids will sense and then may decide not to mess with him, hopefully from early on. This help any?

Chief Rock Chef said...

All of my kids have had trouble of some sort over the years. My wife's approach (and I let her take the lead here) is to tell them to avoid the problem kids if possible, but that if they really push it to thump them in the mouth as hard as possible - we will back them up all the way. We are also sure to tell the school of any difficulties so they have the chance of putting things right themselves.

You are right - it is a shame that too many parents do not take the time and effort to bring their children up to respect others.

Just Jane said...

Poor Naief! I know how you feel. My boy has been bullied over the years on ocassion and mother bear instinct totally kicks in. My first reaction is to want to wipe the floor with the brats. Once I have a rational thought I feel bad for the bullies. Obviously things are not good for them at home otherwise they would not be showing such inappropriate behavior. Now my boy is nearly eight and when he has trouble with someone I tell him to ignore them if possible. If it keeps up then he is to tell an adult. I've also explained to him that some kids act mean with other kids because they are angry or upset about other things in their lives. He's a bright boy, I think he gets it.

Good luck with Naief. I think martial arts are a great idea. I hope to start my boy in them soon. I figure he'll learn to defend himself if necessary, and if nothing else, gain self-confidence.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I don't know about martial arts except that they may give a boy or girl more confidence as well as self-control. I reckon getting kids into sports - team games as well as things like tennis and athletics is great for kids. (Okay, not yet for your little kid!)
Bullying is horrible and I really cringed one time when I saw one of my younger relatives just bossing about a shy boy who was a kind of cousin. Parents do need to step in then and talk about sharing, how would you feel if you were him, etc.

Gaz said...

My eldest daughter was bullied at school by the son of a smackhead the school did nothing about it in the end i had to follow the dad home after school and have a man to man about it

Um Naief said...

gazza, here the parents do nothing... so i wonder how it'd be if we were to have a little one on one chat.... but if it came down to it, i think that's the best way to handle it. i can't stand bullies. i was also bullied in school... makes live miserable for a while.

One Wink at a Time said...

I'm sorry that you've had to deal with this already. No little kid should ever have to.
I think the karate classes are a good idea, it not only gives them confidence, but an outlet for their normal aggression.
It makes me sad that different races are treated differently. No matter where it happens.

Anonymous said...

Naief seems like a sweet little boy. :)

Bullying can affect the self-esteem, and behavior in a person for years. When I was bullied in school, I was always quiet and kept to myself. Anything I said (or did), seemed to make me a target for teasing. Because of that, I'm still cautious before speaking, or am even too shy to speak at all. Sometimes, it takes a while to learn your better, then what people say.

Putting Naief in karate is a good idea. That, as well as encouragement and building up his self esteeem, will give him the strength to stand up to any B.S. Just make sure you and his family are there for him. The best sort of self worth, s having friends and family, who you know are always on your side.