Stop Raising Bullies

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Roses are red
Violets are blue
Your kid might be a bully
And you might be one too

Before I become Dr. Seuss, let me elaborate.

I don’t know what in the Scared Straight is going on, but this culture of cruelty has to stop. Is it any wonder that suicide rates in children are spiking?

My kids have shared so many unsettling stories, my heart hurts. And sometimes, they’ve been on the receiving end of the callous comments.

My son suffers from chronic eczema of the scalp, and he endured so many remarks about his “flakes” that we had to get him approved to wear a hat to school this year. If only his classmates knew the amount of time he and I spent combing out his “dandruff” before school each day, or the nightly scalp scrubs we did in the sink, or the dermatologist appointments and dollars spent on prescription shampoos. Fortunately, after an almost two-year journey, he’s had a breakthrough which feels like a miracle. But the residual effects of the mean comments still linger.

My daughter has also spent the better part of this school year standing up for the least-liked kid in her class. Her peers have said the following to this boy:

“You’re ugly.”
“No one likes you.”
“Ew, don’t sit next to me.”
“Why are you even here? Go away.”

Kids threw food at him, pulled his chair out from underneath him, joked about him killing himself, and groaned when he walked into class. 

I reported this to the teacher, counselor and faculty. Nothing changed.

No child should have to endure this torment. Just watching it happen disrupted my daughter’s learning, and she came home troubled almost daily.

So what do we do about this bullying epidemic?

It’s going to take…YOU.

Yes, you.

Address your child’s behavior, and be a good example at home.

Can we micromanage everything our children do? No.
But is more caught than taught? Yes.

You can’t belittle, embarrass, or call your child names then hold them to a different standard. And if you do subscribe to that mentality, please consider your role in perpetuating this toxic cycle…for they may not say it to YOU, but they’ll certainly spew it to someone else.

I’m far from being the perfect mom, but here are some things I tell my kids:

  1. If you hurt someone’s feelings, apologize.
  2. Observe with your eyes, not with your mouth.
  3. Include everyone.
  4. You have no idea the battles your peers face at home. Please be kind to them.
  5. Passive aggressive comments are not productive.
  6. Manipulation is not okay.
  7. Sit with the kid who eats alone.
  8. Document bullying as best you can and report it.
  9. If you need to criticize or correct someone, do it in private rather than in public.
  10. Whom you associate with matters. Surround yourself with the right people.
  11. Don’t write anything in private that you wouldn’t want read in public.

Inevitably, there are external sources influencing our children that we cannot control. But let us never forget that the most influential person in a child’s life is most likely the parent.

Cheers to raising world-changers, not bullies.

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