Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stinking bullies (aka draw to win a book)

Current work: MH duo, book 1
Listening to: Def Leppard, Adrenalize (deluxe edition so I get the acoustic stuff and the Hendrix cover, which is lovely – probably my third fave Hendrix track (Little Wing), #1 being All Along the Watchtower and #2 being Voodoo Chile)
Reading: India Grey – Spanish Aristocrat, Forced Bride (enjoyed this one – very emotional read. Lovely warm heroine, and she told the hero exactly what I wanted to tell him, poor guy)

Finally, my author copies have arrived (yay!). So I am a happy bunny.



Temporary Boss, Permanent Mistress is my Northern Lights book, and I loved doing the research for this one. Sadly, I didn’t get to do the research on location, but I’m working on that. (Dear Ed, you know the reindeer? We-e-ell…)

Have also started the vineyard book. Still not settled on the heroine’s name (which is crazy, because I know everything else about her and she’s talking loud and clear, but she won’t give up her name). This will come, so I’m not too worried.

Am really looking forward to going to London tomorrow – seeing some of my fave fellow authors and my lovely ed, then staying overnight with my best friend - but at the same time I wish it wasn’t this week. I will be much less fidgety when I’ve picked up son this afternoon and found out whether the bullies have backed off.


Yup. It's back.

Interestingly, son, aged 12, has already worked out that the girls in the gang who are plastered in make-up tend to be stupid and spiteful, and those who don’t bother tend to be nicer to talk to (not to mention brighter). Seems things haven’t changed since I was at school, then. Tricky one. All I can do is be supportive to him, keep close tabs on the situation and make sure everything’s in writing at school so they can deal with it – and also try to stop being a bad person and wishing I could stake out this nasty boy next to a wasps’ nest, smeared in jam.

We all know that bullies allegedly become bullies because they’ve been bullied (er – there is such a thing as making a choice) and we’re supposed to feel sorry for bullies because they’re poor, innocent victims. But I’m afraid I don’t feel sorry in the SLIGHTEST for the lad who hassles my child. I just want him to leave my child alone.

It’s said that the best revenge is living well. There is some truth to that. When I was 8, there was a nasty girl who ruled the playground. If you dared talk to someone she decreed shouldn't be talked to, then you were ostracised as well. (The ones she said shouldn't be talked to were nice. So I'm afraid I ignored her and continued talking to them.) And again, when I was 12, one particular girl made my life a misery. She wasn’t plastered in make-up, like the nasty girls in the current bully’s gang – but neither was she thin or pretty. She was at the bottom of the class, though, so I guess the geeky girl at the top of the class was her natural target for her frustration. Understandable, but not pleasant when you’re on the receiving end. I wouldn’t mind betting that I have a happier life now than either of those two nasty girls. But when you’re 8 (or even 12), you really can’t see that far ahead.

Oh, for a magic wand.

But the best I can do on the magic wand front is to write stories with happy endings that make people smile (and maybe shed a tear or two on the way).


To cheer myself up, I’m giving away a signed copy of the Temporary Boss, Permanent Mistress. Tell me a revenge story, or a bully story, or a bad pun, or a fascinating fact, and I’ll add your name in to the draw. Will draw the name on Sunday evening UK time and announce it on Monday morning.

25 comments:

susan wilson said...

I can remember being bullied by a school teacher who really should have known better. One day I walked into his class eating a biscuit (I had just finished PE and being diabetic needed to eat immediately afterwards so I didn't have a hypo). He shouted at me, took the biscuit off me and told me I was a liar when I told him I was diabetic. I ended up walking all the way home crying. My mother however, was made of sterner stuff. She promptly put me in the car, drove me back to school and pinned the aforementioned teacher up against a wall. My mother is 5ft 1 and he was over 6ft tall. The teacher in the class next door had to come in and protect his colleague. Funnily enough he never called me a liar or picked on me after that.
Now a mother of two sons I sometimes secretly dream of going down to the playground with a baseball bat to deal with anyone who has been mean to my boys. The sad fact of life is that children can be absolutely horrible to each other. My boys school say there is no bullying at the school - but that's only because they choose not to acknowledge it. I can predict me turning into my mother in another few years.........

Katie said...

Hope the bullying stuff does come to an end. It must be horrible to witness your son being bothered by it but not being able to fix it.

And having won from your previous blog giveaways - good luck to everyone that enters!

I'm looking forward to the book hitting the NZ shelves :-)

Cheers
Katie

Shirley Wells said...

Sympathies re the bullying. I'd like to put the child next the wasps' nest too ... and I'd soak the parents in petrol and throw a match. Grrrr!

I was picked on by the headmistress of a primary school I moved to aged 8. Even at the time, I knew it was because I'd come from a school where the standards were much higher and I made her school look - quite rightly - rubbish. My mother, thank God, fought tooth and nail to get me back to my old school and I was only there for 6 months. (This was in the days when you attended the nearest school - no choice.) Only 1 person passed the 11+ from her school whereas no one failed it from mine. Speaks volumes, eh?

Good luck!

Donna Alward said...

Kate - I can relate to your situation and as a mum there is nothing worse than knowing your kid is hurting.

The long run doesn't translate well to a child, but here's something to cheer you...you ARE happier. YOU know that in the end he will be fine. Maybe it doesn't help as much as you'd like, but someday he'll look back and realized he got past it too and is the stronger for it.

Bullies tend to be bullied, and in some ways I DO feel sorry for them because the kids I see acting that way are mostly really insecure. We've talked about that here and how even though the girls are sometimes bullied, they are the lucky ones really because they don't have that insecurity.

Kate Hardy said...

Susan - good for your mum. (And HOW that teacher could behave like that to you... Wouldn't get away with it, now.) Big hugs to you, and thanks for posting.

Kate Hardy said...

Katie - it really horrible, not to be able to fix it for him. Hopefully the school will stop it before it escalates to him being physically assaulted again.

Kate Hardy said...

PS Katie - I meant to say thanks. And I'm sorry, I'm not 100% sure when it's out in NZ. December, maybe?

Kate Hardy said...

Shirley - thanks. And ouch on your headmistress. Glad your mum stood up for you. And yes, it speaks volumes :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Donna - thanks. Mmm, we'll have to have the conversation tonight (if the boy's who I think he is, his background's pretty nasty... but I still wish he could find a much less destructive way to raise his self esteem).

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's about feeling sorry for such people, rather about not demonising them. Recognising that they're human beings who act as they do for a reason doesn't make what they do any less loathsome, but it does suggest ways to combat the perpetuation of abuse.

None of which puts the slightest obligation on you or your son - your top job right now is to survive and defend yourselves. Good luck.

mpe

Kate Hardy said...

MPE - mmm, take your point about not demonising them. And I think anyone who's being bullied needs support - if they choose to bully someone else in order to boost their own self-esteem, that's where it needs to stop. They need to recognise that it's the wrong way to deal with the problem, and to have the opportunity to explain they're having problems with someone else and need help dealing with it.

Am relieved that son had a good day today and, although he saw the bully, the teacher clearly had a word to explain that bullying is NOT tolerated because bully-boy left son alone. Let's hope it stays that way :)

Anonymous said...

Commenting here for the first time. Love your blog Kate and your books. Regarding the bullying -- it is definitely hard to watch your child being targeted. My daughter a really cheerful and happy child was made miserable when she was 12 by bullies. Luckily we changed homes and schools the next year and the problem sorted itself.

But many years later my daughter a college grad with a new prestigious job had to buy a new suit. When she went to the store the salesgirl (working for commission) was the same girl. And this time she was forced to be nice to her. There was some poetic justice in that.

Elizabeth Hanbury said...

Kate, I can relate to your situation ((()))) It's tough ... you want to wade in and sort it out with the perpetrator on your son's behalf, yet you know that's not right or feasible.
The key will be how the situation is handled by the school. It's compulsory for schools to have measures in place to encourage good behaviour and respect for others, and to prevent all forms of bullying. They should deal with it promptly, firmly, yet adroitly, and in such a way that attention is not drawn to your son. Chances are that he may not be the only child on the receiving end so it's important that you liaise with the school (sounds like you are) so they can collate information. Stand on their toes, if you think it necessary, and ask them to keep you informed of what action is taken with regard to your son and that the situation is monitored at lunchtimes and breaktimes as well as lessons. There's nothing worse than seeing a child trudge off to school, dreading the day ahead because of being bullied.

Caroline Storer said...

Ahh Kate. Big hugs to your son. But my advice is..."Revenge is a dish best served cold." I was bullied at school. English girl in a welsh school; and I was cornered once by a gang of girls who terrified me at the time. Then I went off to university etc. got married, nice house, nice car etc. But I used to come back to Wales on occasion to visit my parents. One night I went to the local chippie and there she was. The "bully from hell" serving behind the counter. She clocked me, I clocked her - it was something out of the "gunfight at the ok corral". My mind raced. How shall I play this I thought? So when it was my turn to be served I faced her, and said something like, "Oh hi Mandy how are you? Gosh it been years since I last seen you, not since I left for University, got married and a job in London." Then I paused before asking, "And what have you been up to?" The look on her face was priceless, and before she could say anything I finished of with, "Bag of chips please." Yup. It was the best moment of my life! Hopefully your son will excel in life, and the bullies will end up in a chip shop wishing they hadn't wasted their youth on mindless bullying. Take care. Caroline x

Kate Hardy said...

Anon - thanks for your comment and the compliment! And thanks also for the inspirational story. Definitely a long-term game, this one...

Kate Hardy said...

Elizabeth - many thanks for the tips (and the hugs). School is pretty good about it - they do act quickly, and (cross fingers) it seems to be working at the moment.

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - thank you. And I loved your story. Girls can be so mean, can't they? Good on you for having the right words (I think I would've thought of them as I was walking out of the door!). And I think you're right. He's going to end up doing what he enjoys, and I think they'll end up having much more limited choices.

Olivia Ryan said...

I SO feel for you, Kate, and for your son. My youngest daughter was the victim of bullies at her junior school. They never laid a finger on her - just ignored her, sniggered at her, called her names. Although she was bright, she was slow at developing social skills and found it hard to 'fit in' - a perfect target for these kids. I never told her (although she says now that she guessed), but I went to talk to her teacher about it. The next day, he sent her on an errand and gave the whole class, in her absence, a talk about not picking on people just because they were quiet and a bit different. It improved after that - but when she won a place at the Chelmsford grammar school she left those kids behind and found her feet amongst some quieter girls more like herself. By the time she went to Uni she was a different person - 100% more confident. But she did also get picked on by a biology teacher at the grammar school - we never worked out why. The nicest revenge for THAT was that she went on to excel at biology, got an A at A-level and a degree in Pharmacology. Ha!

Avi J said...

Hi kate,
I remember in university there was this girl in my class who kept wanting to copy from me all the time homework course work every thing. She was the class bully, and such a terrible girl (no one liked her). one day she took my book from a friend I lent it to and she tore it in pieces and handed me the remains. I was angry and upset. I told the lecturer and she could not do anything about it. So for the next assignment I wrote about the wrong case study and left it open on my desk.. She took the bait and took the paper. She was so bold face she submitted it as her work. She got called in, by the lecturer for that and she even called my name and said I did the paper. Well she was suspended and an investigation was launched in which many student came forward with stories about how she was "mean" to them. They eventually asked her to with draw from the university. (Apparently her grade was so bad they let her go just a month ahead of schedule. I am not proud of what I did but I was at my wits end. I am not a violent person, just a book worm. (LOL)

LJ said...

There was this one time in secondary school that a girl in my class use to take away all my snacks. My mom was a great baker and she use to make all sorts of wonderful cookies, cakes and muffins for me. I went home in tears one day and mom asked what happened. When I told her all about it she, she said she would fix it. So mom placed a chocolate flavoured laxitative in some double chocolate chip cookie and sent me to school. As usual the bully took it. later on in class she kept asking to be excused to go to bathroom. I just laughed and laughed. She stopped bothering me ever since.
Way to go MOM.
Seriously schools should have stricter measures concerning bullies. They really affect children at such any age.

Gina said...

Kate I love the title of this post. Really "stinking bullies". My story is that in high school there was this rich kid that thought she could do any thing and get away with it because her dad was a member of the school board. She use to pass and pull my hair and throw down any books I was holding. Telling a teacher proved useless because I got the "Her dad isa board member" speech. It was really frustrating. Ducking her did nothing because sometimes she would intentionally look for me. Such a mean girl. My brother's best friend sister (betty) found me hiding behind the stairway and asked me what happened. I told her all about it crying all through. it so happened that betty was a senior compared to us juniors. She was so angry about it that she dished out to that bully some of her own medicine. Betty and her other friend would sometimes pull that bully's hair and scatter her notes. After about the third day the bully stopped tormenting me and just like that problem solved. She deserved it. This girl was pure evil.

Kate Hardy said...

Olivia - your daughter's teacher sounds wonderful. And good for her for doing brilliantly despite the rubbish biology teacher.

Kate Hardy said...

Avi - that was a genius idea for revenge. Definitely hoisting her by her own petard. What a way to treat people - and how terrible that the lecturer could/would do nothing about it.

Kate Hardy said...

LJ - your mum sounds wonderful. And what a great way to stop the bully!

Our school is good about bullies. It happens, but they do deal with it promptly (and I am so glad the rest of the week was better).

Kate Hardy said...

Gina - that's atrocious that the girl could get away with it because of who her dad was. And I bet he was the sort who'd say his precious little darling would never behave like that. Gree.

And great that your brother's best friend's sister looked out for you like that.