I don’t think I’d be making myself out as being terribly unique if I shared that I struggle with abusive behavior. We all do, right? No one likes people who are mean, duplicitous or unpredictable. It’s tough to know when to let it roll off your back and when to stand your ground. Which idiot has a gun in their glove box, what response will elicit a physical response?
I am struggling because I can’t see this person, I can’t protect the person being hurt and honestly, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how the hell to cope with a 7 year old telling my daughter he’ll kill her if she tells on him. I wrote to the teacher* and have her assurance she’ll keep my daughter safe, but the thing is, how do you believe that? How do you believe that after a threat to kill her she has ever really been safe.
Now I know that it can be said that the child probably doesn’t really mean that, but when words like “attack” and “bullying” really become commonplace in how a day at school is described, what do you do? What if he does mean it? Or what if he doesn’t, but then he gets backed into a corner by taunting and dares? My primal response to these things is equal parts mom and child.
I am scared.
I am angry.
I am shaking.
I am angry.
Mostly though, I am heartbroken. I don’t understand what is happening to our society. Little girls being made to look like women; little boys being conditioned to fight; parents perpetuating, ignoring or simply freezing.
I don’t want to freeze, but I am at a loss as to how to navigate this space of teaching my girls how to stand up for themselves and how to know when to ask for help.
*This is not an indictment of the teacher or the school. My concern shared with the teacher via email was met with an immediate response which cc’d the principal. I feel heard, but I believe this problem is much larger than my daughter’s experience. My questioning is about how we as parents cope with a generation of students who live in a world where school shootings and student suicides seem to exists as palpable threats all over the country.