How my 5-year old taught me a lesson about dealing with bullies

I grew up without a dad. He died when I was around my son’s age. And as a kid who was the smallest and youngest in class I got bullied often. I knew even at such a young age that I had no father to run to, no dad to fight bullies for me. My widowed mother was too busy working to provide for four kids. So I learned, early on, to fight my own battles.

In third grade I got into a fist fight, yes a friggin fist fight, with a boy who I remember was twice my size. I thought I had no one else I can run to save me from this bully’s taunting so I decided to solve the problem with a punch straight to his nose.

Eventually I learned a much more civilized way of dealing with bullies–I developed scathing sarcasm, and learned savage comebacks. Bullies would often get surprised with the hurtful sarcasm that would sometimes come out of my pretty little mouth.  My replies were often so awful and doubly hurtful bullies often walk away with their battered and bruised ego never to bother me again.

My strong feisty mama taught me never to step on, belittle, or bully other people. But do not ever let yourself be bullied. “Put those bullies in their place,” she used to tell me.

So you can just imagine my reaction when a boy decided to bully my 5-year old in my presence.

My son was biking around our street then, and I was watching him from the balcony of our home. A boy around seven years old approached him and asked;

“Wanna race?”

My son who knew racing isn’t something I approve of looked up at me and then declined the boy’s offer. But something must have triggered this bully’s gears for him to zero in on my son and consider him a perfect target.


He circled my boy a few times like a hyena sniffing his prey. He then pedaled away and went right back in to attack. He sped by my son and shouted “Your bike’s old!”

The first few times I told my son to just ignore it. But after seing it happen a few more times I felt my blood rush to my head.

Why is he doing this? Why don’t he just leave my son alone? I kept asking myself almost crying.

How can a little boy be this vicious? How can a little boy be horrible?

I scrambled to find my shoes so I can go down and confront the boy or whoever is supposed to be watching this kid.

As I checked on my son again I saw him say something to the bully. His face was calm without a tinge of sadness or anger.

Afterwhich he decided it was time to get back inside just as I was about to get out the door. I sat down beside him and asked him to talk.

“It’s about the bully isn’t it?,” he asked with his signature nonchallance.

I asked how it made him feel.I wanted to help him process this experience. Did he feel bad about himself? Did it ruin his day?

“I know my bike’s not old, we just got this on my birthday a few months ago. He probably just didn’t know anything nice to say,” he replied.

I was dumbfounded. My five year old is seeing this awhole different way.

“It’s okay mom, I’m okay,” he assured me.

“Maybe his parents didn’t teach him that it’s bad to say things like that and to do that. Maybe they forgot to tell him because they were busy,” he explained.

I was speechless. It never really occured to me to try and see bullying and a bully from a different perspective. One that is filled with tolerance and understanding.

“What was that you told him before you left?,” I finally asked him.

“Goodluck, I just told him goodluck,” my boy answered as he went into his room to play.

There I was prepared to go on an entire lecture of nasty things he should’ve said  and here is my 5-year old handling the situation, reacting to the experience better than his momma ever could have.

Goodluck. Good friggin luck.

Although my son didn’t care to elaborate I knew exactly what he meant.

Goodluck with that kind of attitude. Goodluck living your life with so much nastiness in your heart. Goodluck going through life with so much deep seated anger, insecurities, and bitterness.

Because someday this nastiness will come back to bite you in the butt and when it does you need loads of luck. Good friggin luck being a bully.

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