Sticks and Stones
In high school my house received the call I had been dreading for the past 11 years. My father picked up and the voice on the other end asked if Chris was home. After he informed them that I was not home, the voice asked, "Is he out f*@%ing some guy." There was laughter from more than one kid and then they hung up.
The monsters had finally followed me home.
It's not always the bullies we fear the most. A few cuts and bruises, some sticks and stones, are nothing compared to the idea that your parents might find out you're being picked on. That you're known as a loser because you're different. As a kid, for some strange reason, you don't always realize your parents love you unconditionally and that you'll never be seen through their eyes as anything put perfect.
And so you dread the idea of them coming to pick you from school. They might see something you don't want them to see. You agonize over a call your teacher makes because of a bicker in the playground. And you die at the thought that a couple of classmates might call your house and out you.
Make sure your kids know they are loved. Make sure you have a daily conversation with them so you know exactly what's going on. And let them know that nothing they tell you will ever be judged.
My father never told me he got that call. I had to find out through other sources. I don't think he wanted to upset me. But I was glad it happened, because it meant that I didn't have to worry anymore.