For the summer, Ben is back at the daycare he has been at since he was an infant, a place he is basically very comfortable at, especially since he is reunited with Matthew.  As I could have predicted, Ben has started coming home complaining about the same boy that has been a bully since they were babies (as Ben was still crawling, this boy was “running” around the room and throwing stuff at the other babies).  The bullying is pretty minor, as far as I can tell…A little teasing and a little bit of pushing around for the right to play on the computer or some toy.  I know it bothers Ben, though, and few things break my heart as much as when Ben talks about getting teased.  It got to the point where, on the way home, Ben asked, “Why do some kids need to be so mean?”

Of course, I don’t have the answer for him…I have some guesses, but I don’t like to judges five-year olds, their parents or their home life (at least not publicly).  What I am left doing is walking a tight rope of trying to tell my boys when to ignore it, when to “fight back” (not physically, of course) and when to tell the teacher.  I don’t want him to be a snitch, but I want him to know when he needs to get an adult involved.  I don’t want him to be a kid that lets himself get pushed around, but I also don’t want him to be an angry kid, yelling at anyone that bothers him.  And, while I’m not the type of man that finds crying unacceptable, I don’t want him to cry when he gets bothered.

I really struggle with this balance.  I try to explain to Ben that some kids are mean to get attention, and they do the things they do to get a reaction from someone.  I try to explain to him that just because a kid does something mean, they aren’t necessarily a mean kid.  I pointed out to him that every so often, he is mean to Matthew, but it doesn’t make him a mean kid (something that really brought it home for him).  I know there are other reasons that make kids the way they are, but not reasons that I think Ben’s young mind could grasp.

I also tell him to seek out the “good” kids…the ones that make him laugh or who he plays nicely with.  I told him that just because a couple of kids do mean things, it doesn’t mean everyone is doing mean things (I think Ben finds himself overwhelmed when he gets teased and paints all the other kids with a broad brush on any particular day).  I try to stress the importance of friends to him and doing nice things for other kids.  I try to focus on being a good kid.  I believe all this works for him…I think he understands me and I can see his mood shift when we talk.  Now it’s time for karate lessions. 😉

Another side note, Ben had done a craft at home where he made a shark out of these plastic things that get melted together.  He brought it to school and it was a big hit.  He started talking about how he wanted to make these things for his friends at school.  I told he that we could, but would have to figure out how to give it to them so that the other kids don’t get upset or jealous.  He thought a moment and said, “Maybe {bully’s name} would like a turtle?”

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