Friday, September 23, 2011

Bullies come in all sizes and ages

We took Dawson out of public school after 7th grade for many reasons. But one was because he was being bullied, and it had been going on for two years.

Well, this week we learned that Dawson has been bullied again. This time by family members who don't agree with our decision to homeschool.

Out of the blue on Wednesday, and I really did feel like it was out of the blue, Dawson got angry about an assignment. He stormed upstairs and destroyed his room, throwing around his clean and folded laundry and papers and yanking his comforter off his bed. A tantrum. (The last tantrum he had like this was when he confessed the bullying and fear he was having in the 7th grade.) He told me that he hated homeschooling and that he was torn about going back to school. He said, "You have no idea how torn I am about it."

He was right. I had no idea.

In fact, I had been noticing how much he was LOVING homeschooling and LOVING how we have the freedom for him to learn the way he best learns and LOVING his homeschool guitar class, and various other things. I was taken aback. Really I was. There were no signs.

But, he's a boy, so I guessed it was completely possible that he was feeling one way and telling me that he felt another. Or that he had feelings he wasn't wanting to discuss.

But after a calm conversation over lunch, the truth came out. He said something that just caused a "click" in my mind. He had spent the previous 24 hours with family members at a funeral. And I knew what was going on. He started sobbing when he told me that members of the other side of his family make him feel bad about homeschooling. He said they "throw their opinions at him". In fact, one of them even said they were "disappointed" in him. He was devastated. He didn't disagree with them at the time, in an effort to just allow it to blow over. But it buried deep in his heart and he was so hurt by it.

He cried for quite some time (even to the point of an anxiety attack) while I assured him that he is a wonderful person with no reason to doubt who he is or what he is doing with his life. I told him that these people have no idea what they are talking about, that they have no idea what homeschooling is really about and the reasons behind our decision. Not one of them has ever asked. I told him that I cannot think of one thing that I would change about him, if I had the chance. He's that great.

After he calmed down a bit, he told me that his angry outburst had nothing to do with whether or not he wants to continue homeschooling. He said that he still does. His outburst was because of the hurt he was feeling, the true realization that someone in his family does not care about him (his words).

I told him that these family members should be talking to ME if they don't agree with our decision to homeschool. But, instead, they choose to bully a 14 year old boy and shatter his self esteem. Over the past few weeks I have seen his confidence sour before my very eyes. In a 24-hour period, it crashed. It's not the first time that's happened, over various, ridiculous things. But now that he is older, he understands it more. It hurts more. People either don't realize or don't care that a few negative words can pierce a person's soul and shatter his spirit.

I told him that if we needed to revisit the idea of him going back to school, that we should. But he assured me over and over that we DO NOT need to discuss it.

I want to go kick somebody in the shin right now. But, it wouldn't do any good. All I can do is try to help Dawson deal with his side of this situation. He will be confronted with mean people in his life and, unfortunately, he has to learn how to handle it. I felt it was better to just help him see that he should be confident in who he really is, to know that we love him, and that he has a Father in Heaven who is immensely proud of him. We are immensely proud of him. He is an amazing young man, and homeschooling has a good deal to do with that. I know it in my heart, or I wouldn't be doing it.

Dawson went to church that night, and Rick picked him up so that they could talk. Dawson was much better when he went to bed, back to his old self. I am praying that he will just always continue to talk with us so that we can work through problems.

7 comments:

  1. My heart breaks for Dawson! Whether or not family/friends agree or disagree about homeschooling it should never be brought up with a child. (I know he's 14 and growing up, but still young. ;) ) It was the family members that should feel guilty and ashamed for their behavior! Perhaps they're questioning THEIR choices about education seeing how well he's going? Such things make others anxious.

    But how wonderful that you were able to talk this through and deal with the hurt he's going through. It's a testament to the strength of your relationship as a family and with God!

    Keep your head up high, Dawson! You're doing wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. NOT Right! Why don't people keep their mouth shut??? Poor Dawson...I feel so bad for him. Lifting you all up in prayer.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The mama bear in me would want to confront somebody and set them straight. I admire your self control! It is good that Dawson communicates with you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I feel so bad for Dawson. That was not right at all.

    When we first started homeschooling I had all 3 of my kids at home and my MIL was soooo opposed to the kids being at home.

    Every time she was around she would question them about what they were learning to see if I was actually teaching them. It was so frustrating. I couldn't imagine if she had outright said anything negative to them.

    My prayers go out to Dawson and your family. I'm so happy that he has such an awesome, understanding mom to help him through hard times like this!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Tell me where they are and I'll go kick some butt for you!!!!! What kind of idiot says that to a 14 year old?

    It sounds like you handled it really well. Dawson's lucky to have you guys as parents, and he's obviously a smart enough guy to sort it out.

    (I still want to kick those people for you all, though! Jerks.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This makes me so mad I could spit nails! How . Dare . They!? My heart hurts for Dawson. A 14 year old just doesn't understand what we've all learned the hard way ... the ones that should support us are so often the one that tears us down.

    We'll be praying for your family this weekend. Thank God for homeschool ... and that you can just help him talk it out and get to the core of the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Lion and the Ass.
    One day as the Lion walked proudly down a forest aisle, and the animals respectfully made way for him, an Ass brayed a scornful remark as he passed. The Lion felt a flash of anger. But when he turned his head and saw who had spoken, he walked quietly on. He would not honor the fool with even so much as a stroke of his claws.

    And The Moral Of The Story Is ...

    Do not resent the remarks of a fool. Ignore them.

    I always remember this Fable at times like this and say to myself...Their just being an ass! :)

    Your doing a great job and so is he! Tell him The Stitt family is very proud of him and believes in him and his journey!!! God Bless! :)

    ReplyDelete

We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!