Lesson 11: Bullies

Tweens & Teens 50

As every parent knows, bullies eventually become a problem in every child’s life and as a parent it is your responsibility to give your child the tools they need to combat these bullies. I suggest small shivs and mustard gas. Katanas might seem like the most obvious option but they’re really not the best choice because small hands are too weak to use them efficiently.

Also, children are irresponsible creatures who are always losing their jackets/lunchboxes/homework on the playground. Once my kid lost her own shoes at school. How the hell does that even happen? Clearly, children can’t be trusted with katanas because replacing them can be very expensive. Plus, it’s entirely possible that the bully will find the katana and then you’ve just armed your child’s bully with a katana. Nice job, asshole. 

Of course, some people might say this is a good lesson in responsibility for a child to learn, and that it will probably teach them not to forget all their crap on the playground, but I’ve always thought that a good lesson shouldn’t end with your child missing an arm. Some people have labeled me “a softie” for this conviction but I just turn the other cheek and remind myself that I’m the bigger person and that I can always burn down their garage later.

Many parents feel that the best way to deal with bullies is to teach their children how to use their words instead of their fists and I agree because the last time someone bullied my child, I told the bully that if he didn’t stop fucking with my kid, I would sneak into his house while he slept and fill his bedroom with hungry polar bears which would eat his face off and he totally believed me. Which was kind of insane. I mean, where am I going to get polar bears in Texas? Luckily, 5-year-olds are not that bright.

As your child gets older he or she will eventually find themselves face-to-face with the more subtle and manipulative bullies who have traded their childish ways of demanding milk-money for the more damaging art of taunting, snubbing, and insulting everyone they can. This is the worst kind of bully and also the most virulent. They are dangerous, horrible, and vile but they also serve as an important lesson to your child. And that lesson is Everyone is special and unique and wonderful. Except for the assholes. They’re just assholes. Don’t become one of them or I will disown you.

Many people point out that most bullies (both children and adults) are created by their own low self-esteem and they are usually miserable and have been bullied themselves and I think it’s an important factor but not really one that makes any sort of difference at the time. I think it’s more important that children remember these simple points:

  1. Everyone hates the assholes. It might not seem that way because they often end up popular, but in real life everyone wants them to fail miserably. Just look at every single movie ever made about bullying. Heathers, Mean Girls, Karate Kid, Carrie … in the end we all want the asshole to fail and in the end they usually do. Except for those slasher movies where the guy in the hockey mask murders everyone. Those movies don’t count.
  2. Eventually you will graduate and you will never see those people again. Except at your high school reunion when you’ll realize how small and ridiculous those people were and you’ll wonder why you ever let them make you miserable and then you’ll change your mind about torching their car which was really the only reason you showed up to the reunion in the first place. 
  3. This is good practice for when you grow up because sadly, there are always assholes in the world. In fact, some of them have computers and use them to troll the Internet and viciously attack people they’ve never even met. When I first started blogging, I was a bit shocked that perfect strangers would go to the trouble to leave comments like “your retarded” (sic) but I quickly learned that those people are the same assholes from high school, and that it’s amazingly easy to change a comment saying, “You suck and you’re a shitty writer and everyone hates you” to “You are the best writer in the world and I’m naming all of my children after you.” Then the troll would return to see what damage he’d done to my self-esteem and would be livid to see that I’d changed his comment and would write, “I NEVER WROTE THAT. I WROTE THAT YOU SUCK. YOU AREN’T FUNNY” which I would quickly change to “Your writing is magical and I would love to watch you sleep but I’m afraid to get too near you because my herpes are really contagious.” Then I continue to do this until the troll spontaneously combusts from sheer frustration. It seems harsh but if someone is going to try to bully me I at least want to be entertained by it.

In summary, some people are assholes and we all hate them for you. Eventually you will escape from them but they will never escape from themselves. You win.

A surprisingly real aside: If you are being bullied, tell someone. Tell a friend, a teacher, your parents. Bullies can totally fuck up your sense of logic and make you feel like you’re worthless. You aren’t, and it’s not weak to say you need help. Even now I turn to friends when I start to think that the assholes might have a point. Then my friends remind me to ignore the assholes. Because they’re assholes. You are awesome and this will pass. Promise.



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brwne... brwneyeddaisy1

Love this article!!! Now seriously, how do I deal with a little bratty 4 year old bully at Church??


I was bullied so feel well prepared to teach my son about bullying.  So far so good.  I just wish that bullying got the attention then that it does now. My childhood would have been a lot happier.

sophi... sophiesmom07

Love this article! LOL

Rebeccah Williams Connelly

You are awesome. Please feel free to change my comment to whatever you like. :-) Love it.

Dewlaps Dewlaps

I don't know how you continually do it. But I'm glad that you do. Thanks for making me laugh out loud while I'm sitting at my public library pretending to get some work done.

Gigan... GigantaursMommy

And if talking doesn't work I've found that bullies are suprisingly afraid of you once you learn how to make cleaner bombs and threaten to blow up their favorite toy poodle!

pinki... pinkiebling

This is awesome, Jenny. Love it, love you, f*ck the haters!

Sara Reibslager Tripp

Love this article!  My son is having problems with a boy who is doing everything to take him down to zero status.  I try to help him deal with it as best as possible and kindly remind him that this other boy will probably grow up to be a _______(enter some distasteful occupation here)

nonmember avatar Mike M

A few pieces of advice which helped me as a young kid (between ages 10-12 - though I wish I was given this advice at a younger age) were that some people just don't grow out of their childish behavior when they become adults. Knowing that I adjusted my expectations of others to better fit reality and my hopes for a better life in my future. (I had a lot of hope that adults are wise, grown-up versions of kids, but that does not always reflect on reality.) Another thing is that those who bully others do so in order to cope with their own life as putting others down allows them to think better of themselves. Knowing that made it possible for me to accept and forgive bullies, criminals, etc. which resulted in me being much happier as I was no longer harboring anger towards such people. (Obviously it would better if everyone was wise enough to not feel compelled to bully or otherwise cause harm to others, but not everyone is that wise and compassionate towards others.) And lastly I feel that it's important to not hold the feeling that others must behave how I want them to behave - that's a selfish type of thought, and it's dictatorial if carried out upon others.

kathy... kathykate

Just had this conversation w my 11 yo. "Use your words" only goes so far, and if you gave that your best shot, purple nurple the asswipe until he cries. TWIST HARD, then walk away smiling. He'll get suspended, I'll be shunned, but my kid will grow up a-okay, and the bully won't do it again. Ever.

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