I'm so sick of bullies. So very, very sick of bullies. And having been bullied, I have this irrational fear that if I go talk to the parents of the bullies, then I'll have to deal with bullies of my own. That's a whole other problem though. Anyways, it looks like we have a street gang: 4 boys, ages 10-12, on bikes who roam the neighborhood as “police” (according to the girls who blew the whistle on them earlier today) bullying other kids.
Earlier today, Aidan had gone outside to play. I guess the boys down the street ran across him and started playing with him. He plays with one of the boys, Brant, fairly frequently and Brant seems pretty nice. He's ten. About 20 minutes after he'd gone outside to play (he'd been playing on his scooter out front and then came in about 10 minutes before to ask if he could knock on the neighbor's door to see if they could play) the dogs started barking so I went to go see what was going on. A little girl probably 10 years old was coming up to the door so I opened it and she told me that Aidan was being picked on next door (between the house next door and the next house down). Jeremy was just getting home so he parked his car and came down there with me. Of course as soon as we walked up, before we could see what was going on, they boys stopped everything. I asked them what was going on and at first they all started talking. Then, Brant stopped them and said that it was just him and that he had been play fighting with Aidan. It seemed apparent from the other boys' faces that he wasn't the only one and that some information was being left out, but we just fussed at all of them and asked them whether they enjoyed picking on younger kids and what would their parents say. The other boys were kind of smirking, but Brant looked like he was about to cry.
At that point we were working on dinner and so we came inside and worked on it some more, but Jeremy saw the girls riding around again while he was working out in the garage so I joined him when I noticed him talking to them. They told us that two of the boys are brothers to the girl who beat Aidan up last time, one of which I think might have been taking pics that day. Interesting. They said that Brant's older brother beats him up and when Aidan was getting picked on, that Brant was actually trying to stop them from hurting him and they were pushing him down. I have the feeling that the reason Brant said he was to blame was because he was afraid he would be bullied later if he didn't lie about it. The girls also seemed worried that the boys might bully them because they told on them (which was very much the right thing to do!) Aidan said that one of the boys had him up in the air and was about to body slam him (the girl who alerted me to the bullying said this too).
I'm so frustrated. I think Aidan has a hard time understanding the difference between activities that are just playing and activities that are bullying or are leading to bullying. The only time he knows for sure is when he's already been hurt. The girls said these kids are home alone in the afternoons (at least Brant and his brother are for sure) so it makes it a challenge to talk to their parents. I'm really super tired of this happening. Where do kids learn this crap and why do they think it's okay?