Playground Politics: Invisible Bullies

by Mary MacRae Warren

I've suspected for a little while that my son has been the occasional target of school bullies.

He never divulged anything, but some of his behaviors seemed to indicate something amiss. Sometimes, when he was angry with me, he'd try to bend my fingers back or intimidate me by snarling.  Then recently, he was deliberately cruel to another child (implicitly urged on by a group of other kids).  

Then today I learned that all last year he was being mistreated.  I don't know by whom and I'm not sure I want to know.  

On the one hand, it breaks my heart to think that I haven't given him enough skills to defend himself.  On the other, I'm upset that no one in his school bothered to tell me this was happening.  At core, I'm saddened that he chose not to tell me, that he didn't think I could or would help. I know kids like to sort out their own problems, that this is a way of asserting their independence, but I am surprised he didn't confide in me. We have always been so close. 

I've always told him to question the questionable actions of others, yet he doesn't seem strong enough to do this.  I am at a loss for what to do.  Now would be a good time to have all the answers.

Mary MacRae Warren (aka Mrs. Cleavage) is a single mother who lives with her delightful young boy child in a cluttered apartment in Crown Heights. She is saucy, opinionated, creative, and a smarty-pants - not necessarily in that order. This is her story, live and unedited from Brooklyn. Check out her other thoughts at Eat. Drink. Memory.