parent opinion

"A kid keeps calling my son 'f***ot' and 'ret**d'. Now I’ve got the best response."

Look, we all know the world’s not peachy all the time, right? And we certainly can’t protect our kids from hearing name-calling and teasing from their classmates, because there will always be at least one kid who assumes the a**hole responsibility in any year level.

There was one in my son’s class in Adelaide last year, and there’s one in his class in Sydney this year.

But this kid’s ‘insults’ are so bizarre, it’s only fitting that I arm my son with an equally obtuse comeback. So when he again reported to me that this kid called him ‘ret**d’ last week because he’s not in the top stream for maths, and a ‘f***ot’ for playing with the younger kids at after school care, my frustration grew (that’s mummy talk for ‘I wanted to smash something.’)

Speaking of after school care, that’s where the final straw was reached yesterday.

“Mum, what’s a ‘spaz’?” my 11-year-old asked me last night. Apparently, this kid had told mine when they were lining up for Milo, “Go away, spaz.”

Charming child.

This name-calling has been going on ever since my son became ‘the new kid’ at the beginning of the year. Yes, the school’s been told. Yes, the kid does this to everyone.

And that’s the thing – he’s never going to stop. He is just one of those rude and unpleasant children.


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So, hearing this final insult last night, I said the same thing I always say:

Oh please. That’s the best he can come up with?

Why are you listening to him?

Just tell him ‘thanks for your opinion’.

Tell him to shut up. Tell him to p*ss off.

But you see, that’s the problem. If my son says anything rude in retaliation, he gets into trouble, too. The bully wins as they get told off together – and that’s not fair. That’s part of why this kid keeps doing it – because he’s getting away with it.


But my gorgeous son wants to say something in response, and he bloody has a right to. So, something in me snapped last night. I wanted my son to take back control of the situation, because that’s what he deserves.

I had a stroke of genius.

“Ask him if he’s from the 1950s,” I instructed my son.

“What? What does that mean,” he replied.

Exactly. What does that mean, indeed.

That’s hopefully the response the bully will have when my son uses it the next time he’s abused. It will confuse him, and he’ll wonder what my son is talking about. Which will then allow my son to walk away from the situation, feeling that he’s spoken up and delivered a comeback, but with no risk of getting into trouble himself.

Perfection, I thought like the lawyer I used to be to ensure my kid’s butt was covered.

I explained to him that those nasty words were commonly used as insults in the 1950s, and earlier, by cruel, ignorant people. So that’s what the bully sounds like – as though he’s some weird old person stuck in a time warp.

Like Biff in Back to the Future. That’s how ridiculous his insults are.

Yes, this civilised response is much less satisfying than calling that child a d*ckhead and punching him in the face, which as a mother, I WANT TO DO SO BADLY.

But hopefully for my son, it will produce a more constructive result: the kid will close his mouth, and move on.

And if that happens, I’m calling it: I’ll be goddamn Mother of the Year.