July 22, 2015

To Bully or Not To Bully, That is the Question

I guess all guys come to a point where they ask themselves if they will be nice or not. The saying “nice guys finish last” is not exactly a good come on for them to choose being nice. When I was in high school I witnessed many nice guys turn into jerks when they realized it can get them: a) girlfriends b) popularity c) “respect” from other bros. That is how messed up teenage thinking is, I guess. I remember when I was in second year high school and I teased a classmate of mine about his guitar skill and he took it so seriously that he pretended I didn’t exist. He stopped talking to me and he never looked at me and he never acknowledged my presence for 3 years. In other words: he was a complete jerk. And guess what? Within those three years, he was my biggest crush.

But this blog entry is not about why girls choose bad guys. I am one of them girls and I have zero answers. I never really stopped to think about it. In fact, during a very rough patch with my husband (then-boyfriend) about 8 zillion years ago, Life presented me a very nice man. He’s super smart, funny, and we basically love the same things under the sun: music, food, style, books, movies. But he was too nice. Is there such a thing? Can one be really “too nice”? And is that a bad thing? Of course not. Never. But I chose the one who can throw a punch. I don’t like violence, but I chose the one who can kill for me. Is that weird? For whatever psychological explanation blah-blah-blah, it is what it is. Bad boys do get babes.

So, with that said… how do I answer my teenage boy when he asked me if it’s okay to be a bad guy for a change? Knowing “being bad” has gotten me things yet my ultimate mission in life is to raise nice and compassionate human beings who can contribute significant things in this world? His “Bad Boy” Dad’s advice is: “Punch them if they punch you”, and despite my “all the world need is love” motto, I cannot deny that that’s how my husband won me over. That’s twisted right? Like I find my husband so painfully handsome when he smokes yet I hate that he smokes. I’m just injecting these facts in the story, I am not saying it’s sane, I’m not saying it’s right, I just feel I have to be transparent and lay it out on the table so you’ll see how tricky this whole scenario is for me. The thing is, his Dad and I are naturally spunky and feisty. We were born as so. We didn’t know how to handle our spunkiness and boy it got us into a lot of trouble while growing up. I was a bully and pretty much got what I wanted, but as I got older (and wiser?) I realized all the world need is Love. As cheesy as that may sound, it is also the most pure and true. 

My Prince is unlike his Dad and I. While my Prince was growing up, I have always stressed the importance of being nice. He lies from time to time (pet peeve) like any normal teenager would but generally speaking I have a nice kid. I remember the first time my son was bullied. He was around 6 years old (when I was 6, I was already beating up boys in playgrounds). I don’t remember what the bully did but I remember perfectly well how I felt. I wanted to bully the bully and it was painful to see my son sad and helpless. He’s now 15 and he has been bullied many times. There was a time his “friends” read his diary, there was a time when the whole school (because it’s such a small school) called him gay (just because he drinks soy milk a lot, and people in his school knew most soy milks are genetically modified = can wreck one’s hormones), things like not getting invited to go to the mall and other seemingly harmless teen stuff.
I say "seemingly harmless" because they may seem childish to us but these are a big deal for them. Especially for a sensitive teenager. It gets bad that there are days he refuses to go to school. It’s natural for a mother to be protective, the feeling bubbles and burns, it isn’t pretty. But despite my own sadness and frustration, I always tell him to remain nice

There's no need for violence. Never. I have given him that advice again and again. I have been in many cat fights myself during my teen years to know that. Thankfully, there are no bullies who resort to physical confrontations in his school.  He is such an emo kid. He's sensitive. Being born on the year of the Rabbit and all. It is very easy to upset his disposition. Please do not get me wrong. He knows how to stand up for himself. He is smart. He may appear weak and awkward most of the time, but he has spunk enough to fight for what he believes in. Like he explains himself well if he's accused of being a tattle-tale or something. He snaps back with witty one-liners when he's teased. But it doesn't mean he is not affected. Of course he is.

Now it has gotten to a point where he’s thinking being nice is not exactly working and that in order to survive, he needs to be a bully too
(let's be clear: by "bad/bully" I mean “teenage bad” – like making fun of people and ostracizing people just to look cool. Nothing super bad like hitting people or nothing super illegal like drugs or killing – heck no!). If he can’t beat ‘em, might as well join ‘em, right? Do I discourage him? Will I punish him? Oh my Prince… he has always been nice and sweet. He may have his teenage mood going on but it is nowhere near the angst his Dad and I had. Now he wants to try being bad. He thinks it is the way to get respect from his peers. He thinks it is the best way to deal with his current life. It’s a conscious choice.

As much as I have crushes on bad boys, I don't ever want him to be one. Bad boys make girls cry, haha! That's the truth. I don't want him to tease his classmates, I don't want him to be the kind of guy that kicks out friends out of a certain circle just because, I wish for him to be kind all the way. But I’ll let him be. I’ll let him be “bad” if he thinks that will work. I have reiterated the value of being a nice guy, but I’ll allow him to make his own choices. Let him do his own social experiments. Chew the consequences, weigh in the pros and cons, see the effects, the whole shebang. I can’t bear the thought of my son torturing someone else’s life (I always tell him to look back on those days when he was a victim. I remind him the Golden Rule: Don't do unto others what you don't want done unto you), but that’s just how it is with teenagers I guess. No matter how hard we try to sell the idea of “love one another” they’ll really go into that phase where they test what will be acceptable or not. I can't choke him, I can't cage him, I can't command how he'll live his life and we have no “religion” at home, so he doesn’t peg his life to be like Jesus’, but he’s aware how important Love is. Ultimately, again as cheesy as this may sound, Love is always the answer.  He’s naturally a kind and sweet being, I know his natural self will resurface sooner than he actually wants. After all, it is what it is.

Follow the Prince HERE :)