Special thanks to Take Part for sponsoring this very important subject matter.
As many of you know, I’ve been pretty vocal about issues concerning bullying here on my blog. As a victim of it, and often times seeing the cellist go through it, I’ve become a passionate supporter of most campaigns looking to eradicate bully behavior and return kids to being kids.
Mr. Houseful and I had a pretty intense conversation recently in which he called my definition of bullying “grey.” After mulling it over, not without a little side of saltiness though, I realized that he was indeed correct. I do honestly think that sometimes bullying is applied to the wrong instances, and it makes the argument for more productive handling of the issue void for some people.
I shared a little of my story almost a year ago in my blog post entitled Bully – as a direct response to the very weighted documentary that came out last year. The cellist also viewed the documentary in class this year, and stated that some of the very same boys who were and sometimes still are, a constant thorn in his side, were given a pre-talk so they wouldn’t be a distraction during the documentary.
No child should have to deal with the added stress of having to fight through consistent attacks on their character, academic ability, physical ability, lack of money, abundance of money, hair, weight, skin color, or complexion. None. I do realize that kids tease each other. This is an instance in which I don’t allocate that type of behavior into bullying, unless the teasing is one-sided (let’s face it, even adults tease each other every now and again, and the banter sometimes goes both ways) or mean-spirited. I’ve seen my daughter break up with a friend one day over them not sharing with others, or her just not feeling the sharing. The child was called mean, and everyone went to their perspective houses. The next day, it was as if nothing had happened. THOSE are not instances of bullying. THOSE are instances of children learning to work through conflict, and resolve it as best they can for their age.
Bullying shouldn’t be a conversation to take place on eggshells. We should confront it, and make sure that it’s not tolerated in any way, shape, form, or fashion.
As someone who knows all too well the mental and emotional ramifications that it can have, we have to support our children who feel that their feelings aren’t being validated. Instead of just telling them to go and handle it, when you’ve SEEN that they can’t, is irresponsible on your part, as an adult.
When you see a change in their psychosis, or they become withdrawn when they were outgoing. When you notice that a child, whose demeanor was normally that of a super sweet one, turn into something vile, and cruel, it could be too late.
Teach your children that people who empathize don’t bully. Empathy can go a long way in the process of learning how to treat peers, no matter how young or old you are.
Several steps that we can take as individuals are:
~ Reach out to the new kid (or adult) without judging them.
~ Follow YOUR gut, not the opinions of those surrounding you.
~ Treat those around you as you want to be treated.
~ BE NICE!
I’m sure we could ALL learn to empathize a little more.