Will My Child Be Bullied?
I don’t normally watch the news or read it online. I try to stay clear of the fear mongering reporting and sensationalized news stories that have become so commonplace in our society. But as much as a try to avoid the news, reports that involve the violation of children pull me in and fall like dead weight into the pit of my stomach. While child abduction, sexual abuse and shootings at elementary schools repulse me the most, there’s one topic that’s even more frightening because it’s much more likely to happen to my child — bullying.
Bullying happens on the street, it happens in school, it happens online — basically it can happen anywhere and anytime thanks to modern technology. And the middle school years are the most vulnerable of all. It’s that in between and awkward time where you’re not an elementary kid anymore but you’re not quite a seasoned teenager, either. Kids who were best of friends in kindergarten often find themselves in different social circles once middle school rolls around. The reason? One girl isn’t cool enough as the others. Or maybe, as it could happen in Maggie’s case, one girl has two moms.
When I lay Maggie down to sleep at night, I stare at her in wonder. If I could make her life as easy as possible, I would do that in a heartbeat. I know that she’s going to have her own hardships to overcome and life lessons to learn. But the last thing I want is for her to have to suffer because of my choices, my life circumstances. Maggie didn’t choose to have two moms. She came into this world like every other child, but she happened to be born into a family that some people view as “different” or “untraditional.” My wife and I are good parents. We love Maggie with all of our hearts, we take care of her, feed her, clothe her, read to her, play with her, spend time with her, teach her to be kind and more. We do all of the things that responsible, loving and caring parents are supposed to do. But all of that isn’t enough to shield her from the fact that having two moms could make her “uncool” in the eyes of her classmates. They might laugh at her, tease her and say mean things to her. Kids can be impulsive. They can be relentless. And without a foundation of kindness, they can be downright callous.
My hope is that by the time Maggie enters middle school, two-mom and two-dad families won’t be such a big deal anymore. Maybe, just maybe, having two moms will actually make her “cool.” Or maybe the word “cool” will have gone by the wayside, and the word “friend” will mean something more. I don’t know. What I do know is that I can’t protect Maggie from everything. But, like all parents (gay and straight), I sure am going to try my best. I plan to teach her how to stand up for what she believes in, that she can talk to me about anything, that strength of character is what matters most in life, and that having two parents who love her to the moon and back regardless of their gender or sexuality is the greatest asset a child could ever have. Will any of this protect her from bullying? No. But if it does happen, at least she’ll have two supportive and loving moms in her corner to help her face it head on.