Bullying in School

I am sad for my niece. She is being bullied. When I first learned about it last week, I wanted to teleport to Baguio immediately and spank those kids and their parents. Yes, both kids and parents…because I believe that most of what your child becomes is a product of your parenting. How was she bullied? Her classmates would ask things and money from her, and worst, they let her carry their things! Anak ng teteng talaga! Ni hindi ko nga pinagbubuhat yang batang yan ng mabigat kung kami ang magkasama eh. Ka-highblood. I also don’t know what to advise since I am not a parent.

But these were what I told my sister (sya yung kausap ko nung una) then my niece. Translated na kasi Ilocano yung iba.

Sis: Bullying kaya yung hingi ng gamit at pera nya at pinapabuhat ang mga gamit nila sa kanya?
Me (to sis): OO! And tell her to tell them na hindi nya responsibility na bigyan sila ng pera at buhatin ang gamit nila. Matuto sya to asy no kahit pa mawalan sya ng friends. Tell her na hindi worth it makipagkaibigan sa mga ganong tao. Whoever does that to her, wag na nya pansinin unless school work ang usapan.

Me (to sis): At kausapin mo teacher nila.

Me (to sis): The point is wag syang pumayag at wag iiyak sa harap nila. Otherwise, mas lalo syang ibubully. Kung i-threaten sya, sumbong sa teacher agad. Basta say no and don’t talk to them unless about school work.

Me (to sis): Kung ipilit nilang magpabuhat ng gamit, e di iwan nya mga gamit nila duh

Niece (binigay ata ng nanay nya sa kanya ang cellphone at biglang sya ang nagreply): Pero tita magagalit naman sila sa akin.

Me (to niece): Hayaan mo kahit magalit sila. Sabihin mo di mo responsibility lahat ng pinapagawa nila. Kung sasaktan ka nila, sumbong mo sa teacher. Taga saaan ba mga yan at pinapabuhat mga gamit nila sa ‘yo?

Me (to niece): Bast don’t ever ever touch their things and be responsible with your own things. Siguraduhin mong kumpleto ka lagi sa gamit at just bring enough (things) for the day at konting extra para pag may humingi, tell them na sakto lang dala mo

Me (to niece): Velmarie, those are not the type of people na you should consider as friends. Kung magagalit sila sa yo, so what. Hindi ganyan ang true friends. True friends respect each other and don’t hurt you. Kung wala kang magiging friends dyan sa school, ok lang. You will meet other people pa who will treat you better than them.

Me: Pero hindi sila titigil sa pagbully sa yo if pumapayag ka sa gusto nila. If you say no, look at them straight in the eye, with a serious face and firm tone. Yung hindi nanginginig na boses.

Niece: Tita, nanghihiram sila ng kahit anong gamit.

Me: Wag mong pahiramin. Responsibilidad nilang magdala ng things nila. Tell them hindi ka magpapahiram dahil gagamitin mo.

Me: Just stop lending your things anak. Again hindi mo obligasyon or responsibility na magdala ng extra for them. Magulang nila ang may responsibilidad to provide for them. Tandaan mo yan lagi.

Niece: Tita pero nagagalit ako pag minsan. Pero nagagalit sila.

Me: Pag nagagalit din sila, titigan mo lang sila until sila ang unang mag-iwas ng tingin. Wag yung masamang titig. Basta titig lang tapos blank face lang, yung tipong di ka affected sa galit nila at may konting taas ng kilay.

Me: Matagal ka na bang binubully?

Niece: Nung elementary pa kami. Thank you tita. Matutulog na ako.

Me: O pray na sana itigil na nila yun and pray for strength para kayanin mong wag silang pagbigyan. Bakit ngayon mo lang sinabi? Big girl ka na. As you grow older, mas marami pa yan. Kailangan matuto kang lumaban para di ka aapihin. Lumaban in a way na being firm to say no at wag matakot if magalit sila sa yo. Dapat palaban ka sa mga taong nang-aapi sa yo. Not through suntukan but with (the right) words, your facial expression and the way you look at them.

At nanay na uli nya nagreply. Nakatulog na ata ang bata.

Syempre ibang usapan na ang sermon ko sa nanay nya.

But seriously, I fear for her and the kids who bully her. She’s turning 13 in September. And maybe those classmates too. What will become of them if they continue to behave badly? And of course, it’s a big deal for my niece to have friends. Syempre as an adult, it’s easy for me to say that it’s ok if you don’t have a lot of friends. But at that stage, friends are important to my niece too.

At hindi ko alam kung tama ang mga pinagsasabi ko sa kanya. All I know is that we should know how to stand up for ourselves and fight our own battles, even as kids. Hindi ko alam if nagegets ba nya yun. She seems meek kasi. But she really has to learn how to be tough. Mahirap yung ganyan. Madadala nya kasi yung pain hanggang pagtanda if hindi naagapan. I should know, based from personal experience.

I’ll have a very long talk with her (and her sister) when I go home.

Hay kairita pa rin those bully kids.

Anything else that kids and/or parents can do so that they won’t be bullied?

Dear Mama and Daddy #2

Dear Mama and Daddy,

Bonfire2016I miss you both more these days. I don’t know why. Maybe because I have a lot of questions about some major decisions that I’ve been contemplating on lately. Maybe, I need your guidance about life. You always did that when you were still here. If I remember correctly, I consulted you with all the major decisions I made before. Yeah, maybe that’s why I miss you more lately as compared to other days. It’s tough being an adult. I don’t know how you managed it during your time, with all the challenges in raising 6 kids. But don’t worry. This is just me rambling incoherently amidst all the uncertainties and “noise” going through in my thought bubble right now. I know that eventually, I’ll get to clearly see God’s plans that will unfold before me in, His perfect time. I’ve proven this so many times in the past.

Be Careful What You Joke With Kids

joycekulitIn December 2014 during a phone conversation, I kidded my then 5 year old niece to come with me to Tagaytay and we’ll spend Christmas at my brother’s place. Few hours after that call, my sister informed me that my niece was crying and she was waiting for me to fetch her so that we could go to Tagaytay. Patay! To appease her, I promised her that I’ll just bring her to Tagaytay in December 2015 so that at least she’ll be a year older by then. At hindi na sya ganon kahirap bantayan hehehe. Also, I need to save up first and she also needs to do the same. She agreed and she never forgot.

Funny story related to that. After our father’s burial in January 2015, we opened the donation box to account all gifts. The money was spread on the floor. Suddenly, my niece said, “Mommy, adu nga kwarta. Mangala ka pang-Tagaytay tayo.” (Mommy, there’s a lot of money. Get some for our Tagaytay trip). Hehehe. Matandain ang bata. Kahit sumisenti kami sa pagkawala ng tatay namin, napatawa kaming lahat sa hirit nya.

And all throughout 2015, she would often ask me once in a while about our Tagaytay trip. I always assured her that yes, it was still a plan but she should do well in school before I make it final.

Hence, it was keeping up with a promise for this little girl in 2015. While I learned my lesson the expensive way, I’m glad I was able to keep up with that promise. At least, now I know. I’ll be careful with my jokes especially with that niece next time. And no regrets as I had a blast. We all had a blast!

Family Saga: Decision Concerning my Niece

At the time I shared this, I really didn’t know what to do next. The next day, I went ahead and paid for her balance even though I wasn’t sure yet whether I would like to continue to support her or not anymore. But I told her that she will need to pay me back because it was not part of what we agreed upon prior her school. And I did not talk to her after. And I was still disappointed with her behavior after I have paid for her tuition.

When I went home for All Saints Day, we did not talk. I deliberately avoided talking to her because I still don’t know what to do with her.

After much thinking though, I decided to give her one more chance, her last chance that is, if her grades were ok. I texted her to ask what her plans are. She said she would still like to continue her studies if there’s a chance. I told her to email me her grades and the total amount for her second semester then I’ll decide. She did, and fortunately for her (and a little relief for me), she had good grades. Her lowest was 87. And so I told her to go ahead and enroll. This time, I’ll just be the one to deposit her tuition and maybe I’d have to do that every month. But I’d rather go that route than be stressed again later on should she decide to spend it elsewhere. Also, lesser temptation for her. And while I’m still mad at what she did, I will again take this risk with the hope that she has learned her lesson and all I’m asking from her is to take this chance while I still can help her so that she’ll be able to stand on her own soon and provide for her and her daughter.

As for her parents, I’m not sure if they knew about it. Haven’t asked them because I knew I would still be emotional and I don’t want to do that with the whole family present. Plus, I don’t want to confront them, especially my sister because I know I can be harsh to her and for sure, what I’ll get will just be silence. Dagdag frustration.

Family Saga: I Don’t Know What To Do With My Niece

I am very disappointed with my niece. I am still in fact fuming mad until now, 6 hours after her very disappointing text. She became a single mom at a very young age. After giving birth last year, I asked her what her plans were. She said she wanted to continue her studies. Suffice to say, her parents cannot support her, especially now that there’s an additional member of their family. I decided to support her so that she can still have the chance to have a better life despite what happened to her. Also, in my mind, she will be going back to the same school, where tuition is cheaper. However, she chose a different school, which is more expensive. How expensive? My anticipated tuition per semester in the state university was what I needed to set aside per MONTH for her new school. But thinking that maybe it was the best option for her, and since I already gave my word and commitment to support her, I gave her the go signal to transfer school. I crunched my numbers, cut down on my expenses, and sacrificed some luxuries and target savings, just so I can accommodate her school expenses. I was even hesitant to jump into a relationship, something that I have prayed for fervently in recent months, just because heck, I don’t have any extra for dates! (While it is nice to have someone to spend for you, I have been independent for the longest time that it makes me uncomfortable when someone spends for me.)

Sometime last week or the other week, her sister, who is now an OFW, told me that this niece sent her a private message in FB asking for financial support. I was surprised but did not give much thought. I just thought maybe she was shy to continue asking for support from me. To intervene, I texted her to ask when her payment is due. I’ve been paying monthly since she started school in June. She said she was not sure. Just to test that we are aligned with what she paid so far, I asked her to confirm if her payment for October is the last for this sem. She did not reply.

She dropped the bomb last night. She texted, asking me to deposit a certain amount in a certain bank and email her the scanned copy of the deposit slip so that she can take her exams later today. And she said she spent the money I sent her from July to September. And that she was sorry. WTF. My blood boiled that instant. I wanted to cry just to let it all out, but I was still in the office, in another site, away from the comfort of my own workstation. I had to struggle to think objectively. I asked her calmly what happened. She said she spent it for projects and food, and the rest she did not know where it went. WTF. I lost my cool and texted my disappointment with her, and more strong words that I know would hurt her. And I don’t care. I don’t deserve this. I am not asking anything from her in return. Our deal was that, I pay for her tuition, her parents should pay for the rest of her expenses. Should she complete her course, all that I paid for her will be her graduation gift. Otherwise, she has to pay whatever amount I shelled out up to the time she quit school.

I still don’t know what to do now. I want to go home so that I can slap her and confront her and her parents. I cannot sleep because I am really hurt. I don’t know whether I’ll still take the risk to help her or not. And I can’t believe she even gave me a tight deadline in paying for her tuition. WTF again. Unfortunately, our province has been hit by Typhoon Lando and I cannot contact my aunt or my brother. Electricity is still not restored in many areas, moreso, in the far flung place where my aunt is. Arrrgggg!

Note: I did not oblige my other niece, who is now an OFW, to help me support her sister because I want her to start early with her savings. Besides, she already has her own family, and I helped her put together her budget before leaving, and encouraged her to focus on her own family and set expectations with her parents that she won’t be giving them monthly support. However, part of her budget is a monthly savings for her parents for major events where she will be forced to shell out money for them.

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