Not to take these measures to prevent bullies?

(45 Posts)
DomesticDisgrace Wed 26-Mar-14 09:52:16

This is something that comes up quite a lot.
People saying it's selfish for people to do x, y or z because their children may be bullied. AIBU and selfish to think this is a crazy way to think and it plays into the hands of bullies and panders to them!

For example, I had a big debate with a friend when Tina Malone had a baby at 50, my friend's argument was that the poor child would be bullied (I fully accept there are other valid arguments against having a child so late but pandering to bullies shouldn't be one of them!), I on the other hand thought it was amazing. The same arguments have been had for same sex couples and I just can't comprehend why we would focus on "fixing" the things that cause bullying rather than fixing the bullies and making it unacceptable.

The other day another one of my friends was telling me that because she lives in a block of flats in the inner city, her daughter absolutely has to have the latest in technology, clothes etc (it really is unbelievable, iphones at 9 and new brand name clothes every other week) or else she would be the laughing stock. Honestly I can't believe my friends attitude, she thinks it's ridiculous but claims I just don't know how it works in flats.

Same goes for giving children wacky names, while they might not be everyone's cup of tea, I hate hearing "Oh they'll be bullied" because I hate this notion that we should edit ourselves in case of bullies!
Don't get me wrong, while I'm extremely liberal it does boil my blood to see people purposely going out of their way to be wacky and prove how open minded they are.
I'm talking about actively going against what you really want for fear of bullies.

devoniandarling Wed 26-Mar-14 09:55:39

I agree with you completely. Nothing more to add really. And my children do have "different" names.

DomesticDisgrace Wed 26-Mar-14 09:58:55

Mine too Devon grin

I agree with you to a certain extent, I do think bullies shouldn't be pandered too but at the same time, kids do get bullied for this stuff. My kids do have unusualish names though...

DomesticDisgrace Wed 26-Mar-14 10:07:18

But Schro, they also get bullied for their hair colour, eyesight, being too smart, not being smart enough. If it wasn't for having two dads, an overweight mother, not having designer clothes every bank holiday etc surely it would be for something else?

I actually feel strangely cold about this because while I'm fiercely protective of my DD, I can't imagine taking these measures to protect her from them. I'd rather try to bring her to a mindset where we could roll our eyes and have a chuckle at the idiocy. I know how idealistic that sounds though confused

Martorana Wed 26-Mar-14 10:08:46

Tricky.

I think if you are going to get bullied, then you're going to get bullied. I would put bullying in a separate "box" if you see what I mean.

But deliberately doing something that might make your child's life more difficult when it's not necessary strikes me as being unkind. Yes, absolutely stick to your principles. But if it's your preference, rather than anything stronger than that, why not try and make your child's life easier rather than harder? Particularly when you are making a choice on their behalf.

The name thing is a good example. You are choosing someone else's name. not your own. I remember someone on Mumsnet sticking to wanting to call their baby Minnie, even after they were told that it's a common name for the female genitals among small children. It's just daft and unkind to do that. The child probably won't be bullied. But people will, at the very least,suppress a smile and might well laugh or make a joke. Which would be tedious.

I hate labels. But when my son started secondary school he wanted a coat that was the same label as the ones "all the other boys" had. So I got him one. It was a couple of quid more expensive, and I had to make a special trip to buy it. He would have been fine with a generic black coat. But with a little effort and a rotting of my teeth I could give him something that made him feel happy and confident, and made going to secondary school a bit easier.

It's all a judgement call.

RachelWatts Wed 26-Mar-14 10:09:33

"But their children will be bullied" was my mum's main objection to mixed race relationships.

LolaDontCryOnDogTails Wed 26-Mar-14 10:09:45

Get where you are coming from OP

But.... I was bullied, horribly horribly bullied
My mum & dad were very much like you in a don't pander to the bullies way.
I didn't have the latest things at the right times.
I had expensive clothes but never the ones everyone else had, they would go out of there way to make sure I was 'unique' and I was.
But it was pretty shit, if my kids ask for a pair of trainers because everyone has them I will get them, that will go for pretty much everything (within reason)

If my parents had given me options I think I would have had a happier school life, gone more and not ended up with the panic attacks and frankly debilitating insecurity that I have around any people.

Not that you are, but anyone please don't make a stand with your children.
If they want to that's fine but give them the chance to just blend in with everyone, the more I read on here about 'unique' 'quirky' kids on here I worry that the parents are pushing this onto their children.

Martorana Wed 26-Mar-14 10:10:09

Gritting of my teeth. Not rotting. I would have drawn the line at that!

Cobain Wed 26-Mar-14 10:11:08

My DB was bullied for being gay and then I was bullied for him being gay. He spent years in anguish. We should not change to accommodate bullies but we do have to acknowledge bullying and stop the route of bullying power. Some of those who teased me where not bullies they had just not been taught what was unacceptable, bearing in mind this was the 80 and some of their parents where openly homophobic. I would say parents scarred by bullying can be very protective.

DomesticDisgrace Wed 26-Mar-14 10:21:06

Lola that sounds like exactly the same childhood I had. My parents did mean well but I think I would have been happier if they hadn't been so focused on "not conforming". The first music tape I ever wanted for my birthday was boyzone and take that but instead they got me Madness and Oasis, while I now have excellent taste in music wink, I didn't actually enjoy them back then at all and the gifts we're totally wasted.

I'm not talking about going against what the children actually want (unless a completely ridiculous request) but I don't think I'd be happy to buy my DD all the latest gadgets and brand names "just so she fits in".

Perfectlypurple Wed 26-Mar-14 10:29:00

I was bullied at school. Mainly for not being rich!

I despair every time I hear of a teen taking their own life because of bullying. I sometimes think people should be isolated until mature/old enough to not bully at school and have our education in our twenties!

I know schools are meant to be anti bullying but in reality that means nothing.

I wish there was an easy answer.

MidniteScribbler Wed 26-Mar-14 10:40:29

I was teased as a child for my name. It's a common name in another country but very unusual here. I was determined to give my son a name that he did not have to spend his life spelling. If you've experienced bullying yourself whether it be name, clothing, etc, then you're likely going to try and avoid that for your own children.

I also googled his name to see if there were any negative connotations. I had to explain to a young mother why her plan to call her daughter Jhypzy-Rhose Lee was a bad idea.

Bullies are bullies - they will always pick on someone for some ridiculous reason, nothing can be predicted. My DS was bullied - I don't really know why but think mainly because he doesn't like football, don't think I could have forced him to like it just in case he got bullied over it.

However, I do think some things are asking for problems....sending your kid out in a woollie snot green cardi knitted by Granny Beryl or stuff like that or deliberately making them stand out....wrong and sad but true.

So no, I wouldn't want DS to stand out or be a target but you can't stop these things happening anyway no matter what measures you take.

My sister was bullied at school til my mum took her out - just because she is a sensitive soul - how can you change that?

Bunbaker Wed 26-Mar-14 10:55:09

I agree with Martorana and Lola

By all means don't play into the bullies hands, but why make it easy for them?

I wasn't bullied at school, but I was teased a lot, because my mum was and individual and not part of the crowd, and she wanted me to be the same, when all along I just wanted to be part of the crowd. I have an unusual name that caused much hilarity and ignorance and it was a major factor when I chose DD's name. So she has a name that people have heard of and can spell.

I think children should be encouraged to be individual, but it shouldn't be forced on them.

OwlCapone Wed 26-Mar-14 10:59:14

I was teased mercilessly because of a stupid name and my life would have been far better had I been called something else. It wasn't just the "bullies" it was an easy target for all normal reason throughout school and beyond.

Whilst I would agree to a certain extent, in the case of names why make it easy for your child to be teased by everyone? Even friends would have a little joke but they all added up to sheer hell.

StarSwirl92 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:00:02

I was bullied. It was my accent, my parents were from the north and we lived near Birmingham, so I had this really strong northern twang. For 8 years it was an every day occurrence. My kids will hopefully, be what they want and who they want to be. But I don't intend to pander to the bullies, that just teaches them it's ok to bully those who are different.

OwlCapone Wed 26-Mar-14 11:00:25

The things that make my children stand out are things that are their own choice, not something I have chosen for them and forced them to live with.

Bunbaker Wed 26-Mar-14 11:01:41

Well said Owl

thegreylady Wed 26-Mar-14 11:04:06

7 and a half years ago my dgs was named Finn which wasn't so common here then. His older cousin who was 9 said "it's not a teasing name anyway" which was a very telling comment.

I agree in the case of not having a child at "to old" an age, mixed race relationship (which is what me and my half sibling is from).

We suffered bullying because of racism.

I also suffered bullying because my parents didn't have me well dressed, or particulary clean, my hair needed washing every night, but my parents just didn't agree with this, so I went to school with greasy hair.

They set a budget for clothes, even though they could if afforded more and again I was picked on and stood out because of that.

My youngest DD had developmental delay and LD's, it was best that she played out wearing a tracksuit.

I bought her La Coste (top brand in the 90/00's).

It meant that she had some "street cred" from the kids in the area. So it made her life easier.

That's what I don't understand, why wouldn't you make your child's life easier, or afford them a decent portion of your disposable income, just to "prove a point".

I can understand your friends POV, unless she is getting seriously in debt.

My children have unique names, but not outside the UK.

I find the sneering about some names on MN has racist undertones.

Damnautocorrect Wed 26-Mar-14 11:05:16

On loose women yesterday Janet street porter said 'the best thing you can do for your kids is to teach them to fit in'
No no it's not, give them the confidence to make the choices and be the person they are.

Burren Wed 26-Mar-14 11:06:20

I'm with you, OP, although with huge sympathy for people who feel they were bullied for not conforming.

My perspective comes from the fact that I was bullied for being clever in two rough schools, notorious for violence and high rates of pregnancy, where being clever was a real disadvantage - with the result that I got very good at pretending to be stupid, and it took me until well into adulthood to be unapologetically clever and allow myself to achieve without being ashamed of it.

I had no support from my parents, because they thought that I must be 'getting above myself' and 'didn't want to make a fuss'. That, in fact, was the really damaging part - that both parents were happy to let my life be made a living hell for something that was generally considered a good thing, rather than go and see the Head.

All I can do for my son is to give him the tools to deal with bullying, should it happen, and ensure that he knows I will be 100% supportive of him, and will have no issues with raising hell with the school, should that be necessary.

"The things that make my children stand out are things that are their own choice, not something I have chosen for them and forced them to live with."

That works both ways.

In terms of not allowing your child to be Goth, say (which my youngest is now), or setting a spending limit, which doesn't really make sense.

Especially if the parents don't apply it to every other aspect of their own lives.

My Mother will still tut about what I spend on clothes, or household nick nacks, or my DD having her Make up professionally done, but will then spend as much on ciggies and alcohol.

Martorana Wed 26-Mar-14 11:22:55

"The things that make my children stand out are things that are their own choice, not something I have chosen for them and forced them to live with."

THIS!!!!!!!

What I can't bear on name threads is when somebody say "I don't know if I'm brave enough to use it" It's not you who's going to have to be brave!

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