You find out your kid has been bullied at school. If you’re a caring parent, this stirs up a lot of feelings within you, and you do something to make the situation better.
There are many ways to approach this issue, and parents all seem to take different paths. Some encourage their child to stand up for themselves, some have very brusque talks with the school, and others go directly to the parents of the bully.
These methods can all work, given the right situation and child, but one father from Houston, Texas, has blazed a new trail as he chose to deal with his son’s bully in a completely different manner.
Bullied himself as a child, Aubrey Fontenot knew what his son Jordan was going through. He’d had time to process his experiences.
“It taught me something,” he said, according to WHAS 11. “I was angry at first, then I said let me try something different.”
So he did something low-key that generally gets overlooked. He asked his son’s bully, Tamarion, a genuine question — and then, he listened.
Tamarion claimed that he, too, was getting bullied when he was at school. That answer surprised Fontenot, but he didn’t discredit Tamarion. He kept asking real, caring questions.
“I asked ‘who? You’re big, who is picking on you?’ He said all the other kids, they make fun of me.”
Then Fontenot took it a step further, calling Tamarion’s mom to get a better idea of the situation. He found out that the family was homeless, and Tamarion didn’t feel like he fit in because he didn’t wear the right clothes, and his clothes were often dirty.
So, with parental permission, Fontenot went above and beyond, and took Tamarion shopping. They laughed, they sang, and Fontenot helped build the boy’s confidence.
Then he sat the two boys down for an awkward little heart-to-heart.
“One kid said one thing, another kid said something,” Aubrey recounted. “I said we need to settle this stuff like men.”
spent some time with my sons school bully yesterday .. just to dig a little deeper on”why?” .. come to find out he was being bullied for not having clean clothes n clean shoes.. I asked “why?” .. just to find out that his family is currently homeless??♥️?✊?I had to do Something pic.twitter.com/IY29lgChqY
— TattooArtistAubrey (@illuminaubrey_) October 17, 2018
And it worked, which was proven by the fact that Tamarion and Jordan now play video games together, and Jordan refers to Tamarion as his homie.
It was vital for Fontenot to show Tamarion that he actually cared about the boy before trying to resolve the situation. He would have been within his rights to be upset or angry and tell the boy to leave his son alone, but that could have just hardened Tamarion and ostracized him more.
Instead, he opened his heart and his wallet to show the kid that there is good out there, and within a matter of hours his son’s bully turned into a close friend.
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