Dobbers wear nappies

27 Apr


There is a rather disturbing phrase my son has heard in the playground. “Dobbers wear nappies”. It’s disturbing to me because it’s used to deter kids from telling responsible adults about issues they are having.

Yes, some kids dob all the time over silly things, but most come for help with something has really upset them. I want my son to come to me with issues he considers important so we can come up with ways for him to deal with these issues.

Bullying isn’t just a problem for children. Bullying happens at all ages, in all environments, in all levels of society. Dealing with bullying is a life skill and it’s an important one for our children to learn.

I was upset to hear that my son was being hassled by a child this year. The incidents began from day one this year and my son and I would sit down at night and try and figure out ways to deal with them. Nothing we tried worked, or at least not for long.

I ended up having to get some assistance and it was dealt with swiftly.

I’m still glad for the experience. It was a mild case involving the kind of violence that hurts but isn’t life-threatening. But it was important and valuable none the less.

I told my son that there are bullies everywhere and he had to defend himself loudly and with confidence. I told him to hold his hands up and create a barrier. I told him to dob, dob, dob away if his personal safety is threatened. I told him that he was in charge of himself and his life and nobody had any write to threaten that.

I also explained that it happens and will do over and over again in life. We talked about different kinds of bullying. He said he forgets what to say when someone is too rough with him and I told him that it doesn’t matter, just say anything and say it loudly and with confidence.

He reported back that he’d screamed in his face to leave him alone, held his hand up against his chest and dobbed. Excellent.

He asked me about how I was bullied. I told him about the nasty girl at school who wanted my best friend to be her best friend. She decided to “tell me off”. The entire school crowded together to watch as she called me a wog, taunted me about my weight, told me how pathetic I was and how I was nothing. I sat there and smirked. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. Some teachers ended up breaking it up. I’ve always felt ashamed of how I handled it.

I should have told her to get lost. I should have told everyone to mind their own business. I should have teased her back. I should have told her she was nasty and hateful, that she’ll hate her freckles when she grows up, that she’s pathetic, that she should get a life and leave me alone. I should have just said anything loudly to defend myself. Because I do matter. I just didn’t know it yet.

A mild case of bullying can be a gift and I’m happy to know that if anything more serious occurs there are procedures in place to handle them. As I told my son, physical bullying is assault. It’s a criminal offense.

Then I said something I never thought I’d say. I told him these things need to be “nipped in the bud”. But they do. Defend yourself loudly and with confidence.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

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