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DJ update: the power of the blog, the power of a nine year old

People sometimes ask me why I post such personal things here. This is why:

About a week after I posted about DJ's bully problem, Joanne Jacobs put the story in a column that appeared on both the Fox News website and Jewish World Review.

After my original post, I received an email from LaVonne, who put me in touch with an author who wrote a book that dealt with bullying.

After the Fox column appeared, I received an email from an attorney who sent me the exact wording I should use in a letter to the school.

After the JWR column appeared, I received an email from Dawn Pennington of Ribbons of Promise National Campaign to End School Violence. She then had the director of the program email me a brochure the group uses. From that, I used their suggested wording of a letter to send to the school administrators.

I feel I have the situation totally under control now. Apparently, so does DJ.

Last night I asked him how things were going in school and if I needed to take further action with the teacher or principal.

No, I took care of everything.
Excuse me?
I took care of it in my own way.
What did you do?
I handled it, mom. It's all good now.

He wouldn't talk further about it, so I decided to let it go for the time being.

I dragged myself out of bed to drive him to school today. I wanted to see for myself.

I walked into the building with him and as we rounded the corner towards his classroom, he waved good-bye and blew me a kiss.

I stood there, lurking around the corner instead of leaving the school. I watched.

Big Bully approached DJ. I tensed. DJ smiled at him. They sat down on the floor in the hallway and BB pulled out his Yu Gi Oh! cards. DJ did the same. They compared cards and laughed and grinned. BB was incredibly impressed with the power of DJ's attack cards, or something like that. I really don't understand Yu Gi Oh! talk.

What I do understand is this is probably temporary. This is not the end of the situation, because I still have issues over how the school handled the whole incident.

What I also understand is that DJ has gained some confidence and a sense of empowerment. Whatever he did, he did it in a way so that the boy was not only nice to him, but seemed to want to engage in a friendship with him. Perhaps DJ just realized that they have a common interest and used that to his advantage.

Even if the friendly moment is fleeting, at least DJ realized that confronting his problems rather than shirking away from them can often times have good results.

We'll see what happens.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference DJ update: the power of the blog, the power of a nine year old:

» Why the Internet is like your Grandma's old party line from The People's Republic of Seabrook
Whenever any of y'all begin to doubt the power and scope of the Internet, consider Michele Catalano's son DJ. She posted a story about some problems that DJ was having with a bully in his class. Before you could say "back over the kid with an SUV", DJ ... [Read More]


Brilliant! Tell DJ the "nice lady" is proud of him.

Congratulations to DJ for resolving his problem. It's not near as good a solution as a violent one would be, but that's just my personal bias. I like to see bullies get beat up.

Best. Kid. Ever. No, I'm not biased, just honest.

Your kid is one smart cookie!

DJ has done the next-to-impossible: befriended a bully. Maybe the bully will be a better person for it. Whatever; DJ is truly a special person!

I'm glad you're not letting the school get away with their HORRIBLE attitude.

While this is a wonderful development and will be so good for DJ, don't let the school tell you they were right. (Not that I think you will...)

Yep. I would have to say that these resillent little fellas sometimes have a way of just figuring it out on their own. I am always trying to meddle and making the world perfect for him (not saying that this was your scenario)...but eventually I just have to step back and let the guy figure out life on his own.

DJ could teach us all a lesson or two--especially a lot of the political hacks in DC!

Good for him.

"I like to see bullies get beat up."
Doesn't this just lead to further violence?

Congratulations to your son.

That's great news! Way to go, DJ!

Big smile on my face now. That's excellent.

Fifty points to DJ!

"Doesn't this just lead to further violence?"

alteeffour, you say that like it was a bad thing. And from personal experience, fighting bullies RARELY leads to further violence.

Just more proof that you’re raising a great kid – you showed that you supported him and he decided to do something about the problem.

Hope everything works out.


Kids are pretty smart sometimes.

Doesn't this just lead to further violence?

Only if you don't do it right. If you do it right, you've got somebody who'll spit-shine your shoes every morning for the rest of the immediate future.

But I still have to admire the way DJ seems to have handled it in this case (although I don't know what he did exactly to achieve the outcome).

He seems to have ended the bullying and (as a bonus) at the same time taught the bully bastard that there are alternatives to bossing people around and that they are, generally, more fun.

More power to DJ.

"Only if you don't do it right. If you do it right, you've got somebody who'll spit-shine your shoes every morning for the rest of the immediate future."

So who's the bully now?
Most bullies are in fact bullied already.

smart kid. :o)

i don't think this topic was too personal for a website, by the way. not at all. it's something everyone can relate to, and this is the best place to get advice and support.

now, natalie's menses? that was too personal. she's gonna kill you.

I think it's interesting that, while DJ was smart enough to see that negotiation can lead to an amicable solution without violence, few of the adults want to acknowledge that it's a real possibility to offset threats with dialogue.

Kind of like how the adults refuse to see such optionsin the rest of the world.

I'm waiting for someone to say that DJ decided to solve his problems by "just talking it out or trying ot be nicer or bending over so [his] enemies can fuck [him] up the ass, which is called appeasement in some places."

Aren't kids funny? When I offered to talk to Kelsey's friend's mother about the way Kelsey's friend treated her over the weekend, Kelsey didn't want me to either. Despite the fact that the friend was totally abhorrent to her, Kelsey didn't want to get her friend in trouble. I guess I remember being that way though, and thinking it was embarassing to have your mom "fight your battles".

Good for DJ. (And I'm glad I have a girl...who doesn't seem interested in this whole Yu Gi Oh thing. Pokemon was bad enough.)

Congrats! You raised a smart kid. I'm proud of you. Now, just keep up the pressure on the school. They still were pretty much wusses on their end.

I think there's a life lesson there ... now if I could just figure it out ...

Brilliant tactic by your son! Now when the bully is busy with the Yu Gi Oh cards your son can sneak around behind him and slaps the Gracie choke on him! Then after he chokes the bully unconscious right in the hallway, he'll be too intimidated to ever bother DJ again! =D

Anil, drawing a parallel between a playground bully and relations between opposing nations is exactly why you lefties will never understand what's going on in the world today, much less have anything constructive to say about it.

Damn, I love a happy ending. I mean, whatever the bully does in the future, DJ won this one. He knows he has a mom that will stand up for him, who will go talk to the authority figures and argue for him - and yet at the same time not butt in where he doesn't want her, and will let him try and work things out on his own. So he both knows that "mom has his back" and that he did this on his own, and handled things. In the end, that's something that will help him deal with other people who try and treat him this way.

My folks let me solve my own problems - but did it in a way in which I wasn't that aware that they would be backup if need be - I felt I was on my own, and that's not always good. Later - as in a few years ago - I find out they had secret meetings with teachers about this kinda thing. Kids like to know that parents would step in to help - but also like to have parents that will let them work out things on their own. But then, everyone wants someone to watch their back, y'know?

Isn't it funny that we all can't help but take bully stories personally?

Anil, sometime people don't listen.

And when they they fuck you over and over again, the time for dialogue ends.

Negotiations don't always lead to a peaceful solution.
It has nothing to do with child or adult situations.

Let's just hope the bully isn't going to decide to beat up DJ for his cards.

But yeah, Anil, what is the international Yu-gi-oh game?

My kid had a very similar thing happen: she and her erstwhile bully discovered a common interest in LOTR and became friends. However, this happened after it was made clear to the other girl that physical attacks would not be tolerated and there was a substantial cooling-off period.

I think the other kid in this case had issues: ADHD on her part, and chronic illness on her mother's. I sympathized, but I could not let her work off her problems by making my kid's life hell.

D.J. sounds like an awesome kid. I'm so proud of him! And of you, too, for being such an involved parent! Best of luck to you both. :)

And, my humblest thanks for the link to Ribbon of Promise. I'm proud to volunteer for them. :)

Anil, drawing a parallel between a playground bully and relations between opposing nations is exactly why you lefties will never understand what's going on in the world today, much less have anything constructive to say about it.

Yeah, those idiots drawing such parallels sure are annoying. But there's really no excuse for everyone saying that bullying is bad: "Sometimes it's all in your head, babe. If you take every instance of a kid pointing a toy gun at you as threatening, you have issues I cannot help you with." People should just toughen up and stop whining about how they're victims, right?

That's the blogosphere in a nutshell: one day your helping to topple the career of a senator, the next day your problems of a child bully are being suplimented by nationally syndicated columns and teams of lawyers. I do so love the internet.

I don't care about your analogies to terrorism or whatnot, but leave my son out of the political arguments.

Dealing with terrorism and nuclear weapons does not translate into my NINE YEAR OLD dealing with a bully. I really did not appreciate you using him in that light, especially with the "fucked up the ass" statement. He's a kid for god's sake. Was it really necessary to cloud up this post with your nonsense? I have plenty of political posts here where you are free to leave your words of wisdom.

There ya go! Good for DJ!
Exactly the way any smart kid would handle it.

(Of course I remembered giving this particular advice, buried in your comments somewhere. ahem)

I'm glad to see all the help you got from people too.


and to you, TOO, mom... :)

That's great to hear. Hopefully as he grows up he'll remember how he was able to resolve this conflict, since it's a skill that we all have to use for the rest of our lives. Sadly some of us are better at it than, say... most world leaders.

michele, you're right. bringing your son into it was out of line, and i'm sorry for having done that. I do think the larger point is valid, but that's no excuse. My apologies.

Congratulations to both of you - and it soudns like DJ has a good head on his shoulders, he should go far. Glad to hear everything worked out!


This kid of yours could have a future in politics! Congrats to him and to you, Mom. That is one lucky bully to have encountered a kid like DJ. From my experience, bullies are insecure and lonely. DJ offered him what he needed most...friendship...or at the very least, a friendly game of cards!

I also had a bully who hassled me. I finally went up to him and said "I would rather be your friend but if not lets get it over" . He said he was sorry and we were friend for the next two years till he dropped out. He just was a big guy who felt out of place in his life at the time. DJ may have made a friend that will last for a good long time