Because I'm the Mom: Defending a My Little Pony fan

By Heather Condley Rainone | Managing Editor Published:

Have you heard the story of Grayson Bruce, the 9-year-old North Carolina boy whose principal told him to stop bringing his My Little Pony backpack to school because it makes him a target for bullying? His mom is sticking up for her son and pushing back.

Part of me (most of me, really) is totally behind Grayson and his parents. Why is the victim being punished? In an interview the family did with their local news station, WLOS-TV, Grayson seems to fully understand what's going on.

"Most of the characters on the show are girls … most of the toys are girly … surprisingly I found stuff like this," he said. Grayson gets that it's outside the norm and he's OK with that.

I think childhood should be about finding out who you are and what you like as long as you're not hurting someone else. God knows how much better off we'd all be if we could learn to accept ourselves, let alone other people.

But another teeny-tiny part of me knows that if it was my son, I probably wouldn't have let him take the backpack to school to begin with. And that makes me a little sad because I realize I'm stifling my children from being who they are by trying to protect them from being teased.

As a parent it's very hard to know when to draw the line. How far do you let your kids go before you pull them back? When they're learning to walk you worry about letting go of their hands because they might get hurt if they fall. Sometimes they will get hurt and it's very hard to decide when to hold on and when to let go.

In the interview Grayson also said, "They're taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names …" Yes, I'd say that is a little too far. It sounds to me like Grayson expected some ribbing. It's the punching he's not OK with. It appears as though no students have been punished yet over the bullying, even though Grayson told one reporter that a fellow student, another 9-year-old, told him he should go home and kill himself.

I think the school is totally wrong on this. Knowing that the majority of discipline problems in school are boys, I think there shouldn't be any harm in a boy liking a cartoon that has no violence and promotes love and friendship. And I'm glad there are people like Grayson Bruce and his family who aren't afraid to break silly societal rules.

If you have any parenting topics you'd like me to touch on, feel free to comment on this post or email me at hrainone@recordpub.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @heatherrainone or follow my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HeatherCondleyRainoneRecordCourierManagingEditor.

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