I feel like a bad parent.

After school today, my son went with some of his friends to hang out at a park. One of the kids… who he’s never particularly liked, let’s call him A… grabbed a bottle from my son’s backpack. Then, basically, this kid tried to pick a fight with my son… but my son didn’t take the bait. The kid tossed the bottle… My son picked it up and started to walk away… and A’s best friend threw a whole different bottle at my son.

My son can be a bit emotional (my fault)… so I’m sure that as he walked away (and subsequently called me for a ride home), they saw him cry. And he said a lot of kids he knows were there. No one stood up for him. And he’s convinced that Monday at school everyone (literally) is going to be picking on him… making fun of him… and no one will be his friend.

The offending kid is pretty popular, my son says. He really thinks his whole grade is going to know about this and he will have no friends.

I don’t know what would make someone be so mean to my kid. He’s a little shy sometimes… but he’s never had trouble making friends.

But some kids are just mean. And right now… he doesn’t have a ‘best friend‘. [He used to before he started middle school last year but when his friend wasn’t in any of his classes, they drifted apart. They’re still friends but it’s not the same.]

I feel like I did something wrong. Like I failed.

He’s told me before… and again today… that he wishes we lived at the other end of town because all his friends live over there… so they’re all better friends with each other than with him. They go to each others’ houses whenever they feel like it and my son feels left out. And now he thinks he has no friends at all.

The irony is that we live on the side of town that’s considered “nicer”… but that doesn’t matter to him. Hell, it doesn’t matter to me… but… it’s not like we can move anyway. For a whole slew of reasons. And I doubt it would change anything… a lot of those kids have been friends since preschool. We can’t go back in time and be there when he was younger so he’d met these kids sooner.

I can’t fix this. There’s nothing I can do. I feel terrible. Why did I ever think I could be a good mom? I’ve failed.

And now I’ve got a killer headache from forcing myself not to cry. I can’t let the kids see that. Not now. Not about this.

I feel like a failure. If my son isn’t happy, isn’t that what I am?


©2017 what sandra thinks

About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy, too. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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63 Responses to I feel like a bad parent.

  1. Hell NO! How can you be a failure just because of some obnoxious, overbearing brat. Kids can be so cruel and unthinking, it’s all part of growing up. Just let your son know that he did exactly the right thing by ignoring this bully. Give him a big hug, and tell him how proud you are of him. Then be proud of yourself for bringing up a son who did the right thing.

    Hugs to you both.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This doesn’t have anything to do with what kinda parent you are!!! Stop thinking that way…although I totally get what you’re saying. But, life is not easy, other people are assholes, and it’s a tough lesson…,but one that’ll be reaffirmed throughout his life. You care and you comfort. That’s really all you can do as a parent. Aside from finding the fuck who took his bottle and kicking his punk ass.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But my son is sure he’s going to have no friends now because the bully is popular… if there are sides, my son says, no one will be on his. He was more upset than I’ve ever seen him. It’s killing me… and I can’t even help. Why does it have to happen to my kid? Is it not just me who is cursed? Is it my whole family? 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • No. He’s not cursed. And if a turd like that little shithead is popular, I wouldn’t want any of his little hangers-on to be my friend anyway. It seems like the end of the earth to him now…because he’s 12. It simply won’t matter in time. Now, as a parent, it sucks seeing your child hurt, for any reason. You just have to help him understand that he’s great, the other kid is an ass, and try to make him see that doing shit like that isn’t cool. He won’t believe you now. That’s true. But in time, he’ll see that you’re right.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I kept it together while my son was awake, but I’ve been crying for about 3 hours now.

          I know that kid isn’t worth crap but the thing is… he IS popular and my son is convinced he’s going to have zero friends after this. So even though the jerk and his friends all suck, I don’t want my son to have no friends. It’s already been bothering him that he doesn’t have a ‘best friend’ right now. And now he thinks he’s going to have no friends. He already told me he feels invisible sometimes. Like he’s on the edge of a couple of different little friend clusters but he’s not really a part of any of them.

          I don’t know how to help him. I can’t do anything. It’s killing me. I don’t feel like I’m going to recover from this… and I’m worried he won’t either.

          Liked by 2 people

          • I hate hearing shit like this. People really are such assholes, even from birth sometimes. I hate not being able to help my kids when they have an issue. I guess it’s good that it was on a Friday. Two days away from those kids might as well be 2 months to 12 year olds. Hopefully it’s old news by Monday. By the way, has dad talked to him yet?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes…it KILLS me when something happens with my kids and I can’t do a damn thing to help… or fix it.

              It would be nice if everyone forgot about this by Monday… I don’t know if that will happen. I hope so… I mean, this jerk and his best friend obviously suck so is my kid really so important to them that they’re going to harp on this one thing? I hope not. I don’t know why my son is the target. Is he too smart and unassuming? But a couple of the other kids who hang out with the jerk (not the jerk himself nor his best friend) are in the honors classes with my son… so they’re smart, too… it can’t be a “nerd” thing just because my son’s one of the smart kids. Do they think he seems weak? Aren’t those the kids bullies usually go after? But he knows karate. At least he knows what to do if the kid takes a swing… block-kick…

              And yes… my husband talked to him last night. He was picked on a fair amount when he was a kid, too. But I don’t know if it’s the same… times have changed. But my son is also in a place where he doesn’t really want Mom so much… he’d rather talk to Dad about stuff. By the time my husband got home from work and talked to him, he wasn’t crying as much so I’m not sure if that talk made him feel better or if time made him feel better. He’s still not great though. He’s acting fine… normal… but I can tell he’s sad. And I’m not bringing it up unless he does.

              It probably doesn’t help that my daughter is off with her best friend today and sleeping over there tonight. My son wishes he had a best friend. He even said that yesterday… “is one friend too much to ask?” And it’s not… and I hate that this is all happening. I can’t make anyone be his friend. I can’t do anything.

              Liked by 1 person

              • You really can’t, you’re right. Other than facilitate play dates or sleep overs. I know it’s hard on him. I don’t know that it’s a nerd thing, or anything other than it was just his turn to be exposed to the shithead and his nonsense. He should call the little fuck out in front of everyone, in a mature but strongly worded manner. Then, if the shithead thinks it’s cool still, and faux puffs up, which is exactly what bullies like to do, then give shithead a little taste of what karate is all about. I hate those kinda kids. All talk, no backbone. What they need is a good ass whoppin’ and especially from the kid they never thought would or could. Let your son know that it’s the shithead who doesn’t have friends, at least not any real friends, and that the shithead is the one who is peaking at 12. Either ignore him, call him out in front everybody, or kick his ass. Also, tell him it’s good to be underestimated. It’s a position of power, because you have the element of surprise.


                • I don’t even know how I’d make any play dates or anything like that happen. I don’t know kids’ parents. If he told me someone asked him to do something, I’d let him. (Although, I have such extreme paranoia and negativity that at this point, I’d worry that someone was just inviting him so they could beat him up when he got there.) Anyway… I let him do what he wants to do. I worry, but that’s never going to go away.

                  But I can’t make anyone invite him to do anything. If they don’t ask… they don’t ask.

                  I’m not sure my son would say anything to call the kid out. He’s not that outspoken… And I don’t think he’d do anything that could get him into trouble. He’s just a good kid.

                  After school right now, my son walks to meet me closer to my daughter’s school and then I drive them both home. My concern is that this kid walks the same way… and I don’t want him to “attack”, verbally or otherwise, during that walk which is, of course, not on school grounds. Fuck… I really hate this kid. And I wouldn’t put it past him to physically attack. If that happens, my husband is going to lose his shit.

                  My husband made a comment like what you said… about the kid peaking now… but it doesn’t matter in the big picture. When this asshat is done with school, then what?


                  My husband took my son to the comic book store. And my daughter’s with her friend. I’m home alone dwelling on this… I need to stop. I was thinking baked goods might be the answer, but I’ll probably just regret that later…

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • It sucks. I know the feeling. Can’t protect them at all times. Maybe pick him up for a day or two, just to make sure? I still say the asshat wouldn’t have the balls to actually attack him. They never do.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I don’t know… that whole “What are you gonna do about it?” line makes me nervous. He’s trying to provoke my son… and he seems like the type to physically attack. But I really don’t know.

                      I do plan to ask him if he wants me to pick him up for a couple of days but I have a feeling he’ll say no. If he’s going to try to act like it never happened or like it was no big deal, me picking him up is going to kind of contradict that…

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • That’s a good point.


  3. Marquessa says:

    No no no. Your son had the courage to walk away and not engage. You taught him that. All you can do is help him understand as best as you can is that if friends laugh at him, they weren’t good friends to begin with – difficult for a child to understand. Then again who am I to talk…Restraint in those kinds of situations is not my forté. The first time a little kid punched my first nephew in the stomach at the park, I found out where he lived, went to their house and told off the parents. My sister-in-law was mortified but that kid stayed far far away from him after that. And my nephew secretly thanked me. 😶

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s how I am. I’d love to tell this kid… and his parents… exactly how much of an ass their kid is. But it won’t do any good. And I’m too much of a chicken anyway. I’m dying inside because I can’t help my son… and he knows these kids. When he says he’s not going to have any friends anymore, I’m worried that’ll really happen. This is killing me!


  4. As someone who went through something similar at school, I think the fact that he left, called you and you picked him up is proof that you’re not failing. I never told my parents because I knew (or believed) that they would somehow say it was my fault. At the end of the day, you’re not responsible for the popular kid/bully so it’s not your fault. It might be worth having a word with the kid’s parents if you haven’t already. Or even the school?

    ~big hugs~

    Liked by 2 people

    • The whole thing didn’t happen on school grounds so the school won’t do anything… they probably wouldn’t even want to hear about it. I have no way to talk to the kid’s parents. I met them years ago when my son was in first grade but I have no way to contact them… and I’m pretty sure I’d say something regrettable. Including lots of inappropriate language.

      Seeing my son so upset breaks my heart. I’ve been desperate not to cry… but since he went to bed… I’ve been crying pretty much the whole time. It’s been, like, 3 hours.

      Thanks for the hugs… ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      • If he knows the kid from school it concerns them. If it can happen elsewhere, it can happen there (God forbid). Even if they don’t do anything it might be good to have it on record.

        Look them up on Facebook, maybe (ah, modern life). If it’s a message, you might be able to control what you say better. I just think it’s better to say something to someone just in case. That way, it’s out there and no one can say, ‘we were unaware that anything was happening’.

        Aw, I’m sorry 😦 Cry until you can’t anymore, get some sleep and then when you’re feeling better sit down and figure out a plan. 💜


  5. No, love. You didn’t fall. Kids can be awful, and they will exploit any weakness they can. It doesn’t matter that your son cried. What matters is how he handled the situation — by walking away. He learned that from you. Sure, he may not have had anyone stand up for him, but there are undoubtedly other kids that get picked on. These are the kids that tend to band together. I’ve been there. My husband and I both were. Just remind him that the time it will take for him to graduate won’t be forever, and one he done, none of that will matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ditto what everyone else said. It sucks, both as the parent and as the kid. But there’s probably a few kids the jerk kid picked on, and those kids might be the ones who will stand with your son. Maybe he doesn’t know who they are yet, but if the bully picked on other kids (and you know he has), they may approach your son, or maybe your son knows who they are, but never really talked to them. Those are the kids who can make better quality friends anyway.

    You’ve got a good kid there. You’ve given him the tools to stay out of dangerous situations. You’re reassuring him he did the right thing. Now he needs to realize he has enough self-confidence to be okay, and know there are real friends who will stand with him. It’s another tool in his growing-up kit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gigglingfattie says:

    You are NOT a bad parent Sandra! If anyone has even the slightest chance of being a bad parent, it’s the parents of the kid who was tormenting your son. But maybe this kid is just a brat and his parents did the best they could with him? Who knows. But from everything you’ve written about your kids, you have two fabulous ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lennon Carlyle says:

    This is probably another reason I wasn’t blessed to have children. I would hunt that kid down and give him the biggest wedgy ever and probably shave his head. Bratty little punk. I’m so sorry your son went through this but he did the right thing. You’re a great Mom….do not blame yourself for what another kid did. Love & Hugs Gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, a LOT of the time, I wonder why I ever decided to have children. Not that I don’t adore them, obviously, but I worry SO much… I know it’s excessive… and I get really stressed out sometimes. Not great mom-qualities… sigh.

      Believe me… I want to kick this kid in the face. But I don’t want to get arrested.

      And I really hate that my bad luck and my everything-goes-wrong life is apparently genetic. My poor son. Of course I feel responsible! He told me he HATES that he cried… he probably got that from me, too…

      xo ♥


  9. You’re an amazing parent ❤️ your son is going through a tough stage in his life. Kids are cruel, misunderstanding and just down right assholes. You are doing the absolute best you can, and one day your son will realize that nothing you could have done would change anything. He will find his place, he will find his true friends and his true self, regardless of location and situation. It’s all about timing. don’t give up hope, you’re doing great, mama. It’s going to be okay. Best of luck ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kindness and your encouraging words. I need them right now. I don’t mean to make this about me because it’s not… but I am just broken over not being able to fix this for him. I am lucky to have such a great kid… I just hate that he’s going through this. Thanks again. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      • All kids go through it at some point, and though we do hate to watch it happen, it’s just a part of growing up. You can’t fix everything for him, he will eventually learn to fight his own battles, and you will be so proud of him and yourself for giving him room to sprout his wings, even though it was so hard. He is lucky to have such a great mom, and he wont be in this mess forever♥️ the best thing you can do, is let him know that you’re there for him, even though he might be stubborn about it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I just breaks my heart. I’m kind of glad my husband took him out today because I’m struggling with my tears… that will NOT help him feel better!

          Liked by 1 person

          • No, it certainly won’t. Do what you have to do to help yourself, whether that be letting all your tears out and screaming to the world because no matter what anyone tells you, it’s okay to cry. And then once your son comes back, do everything you can to help him. Play games with him, listen to his stories, his rants, just talk to him. Have a little mom to son time. That’s the best medicine. And after all, he’s only young once.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Aww, being a parent is the hardest job ever and its natural to want to do everything to keep your kids happy and safe. My oldest is 35 and just changed jobs and I still felt a little anxious about him and how it will all work out. It’s so tough being a mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Haylee says:

    As everyone else has said, your son did the right thing, so that’s a credit to you. I’d certainly have a discreet word with school though. Whilst it didn’t happen on school grounds and therefore they wouldn’t get involved in reprimanding the other child, they could keep an eye on things, be aware of any trouble flaring up and perhaps give your son some jobs to do at break times, with some other kids so he doesn’t feel alone. That’s the way I deal with it if any parents or children tell me of something similar happening. Of course, if it gets worse or starts happening at school, we intervene more. But I’ve mediated chats with offending parties before (both kids and parents) for things that have occurred at the weekend.
    Does the school have lunch clubs, a friendship bench or anything similar? I run a club at school and I always get a steady stream of kids coming in after eating who don’t like being alone, have had a falling out or just don’t like being outside. They’ve made friends with each other now and it’s another face (and sometimes protector, if it’s an older kid!) to look out for in the playground.
    I hope, and I’m sure, he’ll be alright. It’ll seem very real and raw to him now but nine times out of ten, these things blow over quickly and leaving the adult wondering why they had been so anxious.
    That said, if the school really doesn’t want to know about it at all, I’d seriously consider changing schools. It might be part of growing up but it doesn’t mean it won’t have a negative impact on them if it’s not dealt with or kept in check.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your thoughts. I appreciate them. My son is 12… in middle school… has 7 classes/7 different teachers each day. Breaks are between classes. (They’re locker breaks.) And then there’s lunch. That’s really it. There aren’t any clubs or anything else similar to what you mentioned.

      I’m hoping that this is forgotten soon, if not already. But I know my son still thinks his entire 7th grade is going to know about this (a large bunch were there… and they’ll talk) and that they’re going to pick on him for it… for him getting upset and crying. He told me a few times that he hates how easily he cries. I don’t know how to help with that.

      I don’t necessarily think the school doesn’t want to know about it… I just assume they won’t/can’t do anything since it didn’t happen at school so I wasn’t sure there would be any point to telling them. I might feel better letting them know anyway. My son thinks it’s a good idea, too, but part of him is worried that if the other kids know he told the school, he’d be picked on even more. Either way, I think he wants to see what happens tomorrow first. I’m not sure what the right answer is.

      And my husband thinks he should handle it, not me, because I might lose it (get too upset or make poor word choices…)!

      Liked by 1 person

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  13. cwhiteweb says:

    Aaw!! This made me a lil sad. This shouldn’t make you feel like you failed though. He is just trying to find his feet in his own environment. He will fall, yes cause that’s just life. But he is still young. He’ll get over this little hurdle and be on his way to much better days. It’s natural for you to worry. You did, after all, being him into this world. But don’t worry too much. Keep assuring him however you can and with support, he will make it through!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. you did what any good parent would do & cut out the guilt trip childhood is rife with bullies & thugs who get too much toleration 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

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