Bully

We took the kids to the Aquarium today. V isn’t all that interested in fish so I took her to the gift shop. They had a display of beautiful green and blue stones that she loved. She took them out one by one, handed them to me and then would put them back once she had a proper pile of them. While she was doing this, I overhead a conversation. It was between a father and one of his two sons.

“No. No, I am not getting you that. A necklace?”

“But why?”

“Because I say so, that’s why. Since when do you wear necklaces? Jesus.”

“Dad.”

“And a necklace with a heart on it? What is wrong with you? I’m not getting you that. Put it back.”

I watched the boy walk away dejected. I didn’t say anything. I think Dad sensed my disapproval. He wouldn’t look at me when I leveled my eyes at him. I will also say that I know that parenting is complicated. Sometimes you do things because you feel you need to protect your children from a vicious world.

But I keep coming back to one question.

Why are we so surprised that gay kids get bullied in school when parents bully their own children when they deviate even slightly from gender norms?

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5 thoughts on “Bully

  1. (sigh) If my grandson wanted a necklace with a heart on it either of his parents, either of his sisters, or I would gladly provide it for him. For that matter, his Nana and Poppa would get it for him too.

    If this little guy was being treated like this in public I shudder to consider what happens in private. As a former child protection worker I’m all too aware that what we see in the public forum is but a pale shadow of what happens behind closed doors. And people wonder why our children grow upu with lack of self-esteem, feelings of shame and isolation, etc.

  2. ok. that makes me heart break a bit.

    I will take heart that at least the dad seemed to feel embarrassed by his words when you looked, and the kid pushed back. may he continue to do so.

  3. That is so sad! For a while, my son really liked the color pink and he really loved to talk about princesses. I know my husband disapproved but when it was time for him to pick fruit snacks or treats, I’d let him pick princesses or something pink if that’s what he wanted. We need to let our children express themselves instead of pushing our silly adult biases on them. I mean pink used to be a manly color, for gosh’s sakes and blue used to be feminine. It’s important to immerse our children in our culture and intriduce them to social norms so that they can have social skills, but we also need to suppor them in their journey of personal development, even when that jorney takes them against social norms. We need to let go and let them be who they are. I feel so sad for that boy!

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