What Mamas Have to Say Monday

by Guest Author on June 25, 2012

Say What?!?

It’s What Mamas Have to Say Monday! Each Monday, our panel of mommy bloggers weighs in on wacky questions that we – or you – think up. Have a question you want our panel to answer? e-mail it to us at info@mamasagainstdrama.com. We’ll notify you if your question is selected!

Here’s what mamas are saying today!

Question: How would you punish your child if he or she had been involved in the recent incident where a group of kids harassed a bus monitor to the point of tears?

Shannon Hembree

I think my initial reaction would be horror that my child had participated in such a thing. And then I imagine I would be so angry my hair would catch on fire…and maybe my eyeballs as well.

Once that initial stage of shock had passed, I would try and figure out where I had gone wrong in teaching my child the importance of respecting others, empathizing with others, and resisting peer pressure. And then we would get down to learning those lessons. Every day.

I would start with respect. If my child somehow along the way failed to grasp the concept that adults are to be respected, they would have to start calling their elders “ma’am” and “sir.” If nothing else, it would be a daily reminder of what they had done…and hopefully a warning never to do it again.

As for empathy, I would start with the discussion of “What if someone said/did that to you…or your brother/sister…or your mother/father?” If kids never make the personal connection of how it would feel if they or someone they love were the one being victimized, they will never understand the impact of their actions. I would also have them begin volunteering once a week in different ways – from reading to the elderly and helping in a food pantry to collecting toys for needy children and preparing care packages for the troops. There is a whole wide world out there full of such diversity on so many levels, and if our children are taught to appreciate (and respect) those differences, the world would be a far better place.

Oh right, and my child would be grounded for a month from anything remotely resembling friends or fun. After that month was up and they had started a volunteer program and had time to really think about what they had done, they would write an apology to the woman along with an essay on why it is important to respect others, what we can learn by listening to and respecting others, and who some of the outstanding older female leaders of all time were.

And then I might just ground them again for another month, because my hair would still be on fire at the end of the first one.

*Shannon Hembree is the co-founder of Mamas Against Drama. She is the mom of a kindergartner and twin toddlers. You can follow her on twitter @shannon1hembree.

 Sarah Knight

This video was very hard to watch. And, truthfully, as the parent of two hypersensitive and quiet little girls, it’s hard to imagine them in this role. However, I also know that junior high is a very difficult time and cruelty is often thought of as “cool.”

The kids seemed to have no sense of empathy. They made fun of the woman and taunted her by calling her old and poor. I would have them volunteer with the homeless and the elderly, and get to know them as people. I would talk to them about the challenges that all people face – and that everyone has their own struggles, including all of the people that they love. I would also bring them to therapy to find the root cause of their anger and to learn healthier ways of releasing it.

Finally, I would have them write the woman a letter and tell her why they were sorry, what they had learned from it, and what they were going to do to make sure that it would never happen again – to her or to anyone else.

*Sarah Knight is the co-founder of Mamas Against Drama and you can follow her on Twitter at @sarahsknight.

Farrah Ritter

Oh this story has made me ill. That poor, poor woman.

I cannot even begin to think what I would do to one of my boys if he were one of these bullies. I know that it would take much soul searching, investigation, and possibly counseling to get to the bottom of it though. You know that they too were most likely raised in a house of violence, abuse, yelling, or bullying themselves- otherwise you would have to wonder how they could possibly treat that woman that way.

When I stopped teaching it was like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I was tired of the abuse- I was emotionally and physically drained at trying to help the kids that had no desire to be helped- or listen to me. They had their trust broken by adults long before I came around.

So the short answer is- we would probably start counseling. He would also be removed from the bus and grounded. He would also have to start volunteering at shelters to help people, and hopefully learn what it meant to care about another person. I would also completely go along with any punishment that the school provided. This is serious and hopefully these children are ashamed of themselves.

*Farrah finds sporadic moments to jot down her adventures at The Three Under. Her 3 year old and 15 month old twins are all boys. Someday she will own nice furniture again. Catch up with what she’s dealing with on Twitter as @momofthreeunder and Facebook.

Wendy Bradford

This is such a hard one. I would be so ashamed and disappointed and truly embarrassed as a parent. I very honestly can’t even imagine what I would do. I would have to consult an expert — like a child therapist. I am interested in hearing what others say.

*Wendy writes truthfully about life in New York City with twins plus one at Mama One to Three. She includes many references to wine and coffee. Find her using bad judgment and even worse language on Twitter, @mamaonetothree, and Facebook.

Brooke Bernard

Wow. What a question. I hate to even imagine this. I think as a parent not only would I have to address the actual bullying but the other, perhaps bigger, issues underneath. I would want to ask my son, “What were you seeking by doing this to your bus monitor?” At its core, I believe the incident revolved around boys wanting to fit in and be cool. I’m sure there was a leader; I’m sure there were boys involved who KNEW what they were doing was wrong and did it anyway.

I would want my son to face some serious consequences; I wouldn’t want him bailed out of whatever the school board decided should be his fate. In the end, though, I would want to help him fill his desire to be accepted with better, more appropriate choices — God, family, true friends who would never expect this of him.

*Brooke Bernard is a mother of two and a freelance editor who blogs here at Mamas Against Drama almost every Wednesday. She can be found trying to tweet @BrookeBBlogs.

Laura Bedingfield Herakovich

No one can even fathom her child acting like such a complete and total hoodlum. The words that flew from those youngsters’ mouths were so tactless and inappropriate and so unbelievably disrespectful that they make me shudder. Sadly, there are houses in which children are reared today where this is not the case, homes where children are not taught to respect elders, to have manners, or to show grace and courtesy.

Thankfully, that is not ours.

It’s also with great thanks that I say our children will not be riding a bus to school. Buses scare me for multiple reasons.

However, IF I ever found myself in these parents’ shoes, I’d probably crawl in a hole and ask for a “do-over”. We would certainly have a discussion about the family name and how one tarnishes it. We’d have a serious line of spoken, eye-to-eye apologies taking place–not just to the bus monitor (who should have stood her ground and done her job, but that’s a different story) but also to the bus driver and to the other passengers on the bus (I tend to go for overkill on these things). And then my child would not see the light of day, except to go to school, the dentist or the doctor (driven by his father or me) for the next 2,000 years.

He would know his repulsive behavior reflected upon his father, his brothers, his grandparents and me, and I would make him feel the shame in that. Big time. I am not afraid to demand or require my children to act appropriately, regardless of their age.

Yep, I’m 41 and one of my guiding tenets is still whether or not my parents would approve, and I don’t see how on earth that could ever be bad.

You have to have morals to have morals.

*Laura Bedingfield Herakovich is the mother of three rambunctious, yet adorable boys. You can read her personal blog at http://www.jtandtheob.com/

That’s all the mamas have to say this week. Check back next Monday for another wacky (and yet profound and insightful…) round of answers from the mamas!

Read previous What Mamas Have to Say Monday posts!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Beckie June 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

Hi All,

I’d like to thank you for this post. That video was too hard to watch – I watched the first 10 seconds and then turned it off. I’ve watched and have been bullied before – no need to see it happen again.

That said, I read your suggestions and decided that rather than wait until my son does something horrific to make him start volunteering for the elderly or whatever population needs it, I’m going to start now. The best medicine is preventative medicine.

I just went online to Hands On DC Cares and found a project that allows 5 year-olds to help. The organization is great – it’s an organization that matches volunteers with local non-profits so you can volunteer as much or as little as you’d like with a cause that interests you. It also has a national network so you can find something locally. I did it years ago in Atlanta, but it’s nation-wide. So I signed us both my son and I up for a day in July and we will be packing groceries for the hungry. My goal is now to volunteer once per quarter. I was going to say once per month, but let’s be realistic 🙂

So, if you are interested, here is the link to the national network: http://www.handsonnetwork.org/. Hope to see you out there!


Shannon June 25, 2012 at 9:51 am

Yea, Beckie! I agree that prevention is the way to go. Thanks for the information!


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