Aubrey Fontenot found out that his 8-year-old son, Jordan, was being bullied in school, and as any parent would, he wanted it to come to an end. But instead of reacting in anger, he took a completely different approach and decided to show some kindness to his son’s bully, a boy named Tamarian.
The father posted to Twitter about spending the day with his son’s bully to get more insight into his life and, hopefully, understand his actions a bit more. And, boy, did it pay off.
According to his tweet, he learned that his son’s bully was actually being bullied, too, for not having clean clothes. When Fontenot pushed to find out why the boy didn’t have clean clothes, he found out his family was homeless:
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
— AUBREY .. the tattoo artist (@illuminaubrey_) October 17, 2018
“Spent some time with my sons [sic] 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,” the father wrote on Twitter. “I had to do something.”
The caption was followed by a video of Fontenot and Tamarian shopping for new clothes together and then later having a sit down with his son so the two could work out their problems. Shortly after, the father posted a Twitter update, writing “Problem Solved” along with a photo of the two kids playing video games together:
According to the father, Tamarian was ready to open up to him because he could tell that he cared, proving that a little empathy can go a long way.
“I came with the energy that he was ready to receive,” Fontenot told ABC 13 News. “Because a lot of times, just because you want to talk to me doesn’t mean I want to talk to you. But I think he just wanted, he was ready to talk to me. He knew that I cared. He saw it in my eyes.”
Something else could have been at play, too: According to Psychology Today, it can be extremely discouraging for a bully to see that their “victim” has a strong support system.
“Bullies operate by making their victims feel alone and powerless,” Psychology Today blogger and licensed social worker Signe Whitson writes. “Children reclaim their power when they make and maintain connections with faithful friends and supportive adults.”
Fontenot definitely showed his son’s bully that his son has a strong support system. But beyond that, he also showed the bully some kindness, which, according to stopbullying.gov, is a great approach to de-escalating a bullying situation.
You can find more ways to help your child deal with bullying from resources such as the American Society for the Positive Care of Children and the Anti-Bullying Institute.
Fontenot posted a follow-up video to Twitter a week after the first one. In the new video, he’s taking both boys to the Houston Texans game, and they seem pretty excited about it:
Figured I’d give you guys another update 😊🤫🤴🏿 pic.twitter.com/xA3ak3qGzI
— TattooArtistAubrey (@illuminaubrey_) October 25, 2018
Way to go, Dad!