Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On Bullying

It is no surprise to me that Isaac is sometimes, and will probably be in the future, the target of bullying.  I've seen him be singled out on the play ground by other kids- whether they sense something is different about him or not is immaterial.  It happens.  It shouldn't.  End of story.

For the past week or two I've noticed that Isaac has come home with red marks on his cheek every so often.  Today he came home with red cheeks and a scratch on his neck.  I asked him what happened and he told me that a certain classmate has been hitting him.  I asked him if he was playing or if he was doing it to be mean.  He said he was doing it to be mean.  I asked him why this kid has been hitting him- if he had hit him first or back.  Isaac told me that he doesn't do anything to him except say "no thank you" and walk away.  I asked if he had told his teacher that so and so has been hitting him and he said no.  Trust me, I think he handled it perfectly on his own, however, if this keeps happening like it has been, the teacher needs to know.  Little Mr. I Think It's Ok To Hit Other Kids isn't going to learn that it's NOT ok without some guidance.  One time occurrences are bound to happen and don't need to be tattled.  Repeated offenses are an issue and a symptom of something more.  Bullying.

There is a new parenting trend out right now that I find interesting.  It's the "let them work it out on their own" trend.  While I think this has some merit, I think using this as the only means to have your kid learn socially appropriate behavior is negligent at best.  Because guess what guys?  At the end of the day, whether our kids turn out like little ass holes or compassionate citizens is on us.  It's. On. Us.  I'm not saying that every parent with a bullying kid has learned that model directly from their parents, but I am saying that if you have a five year old and they are already showing consistent bullying tendencies toward their peers, it's because you let them.  I don't think it would be fair to say this about toddlers.  Toddlers have a lot of stuff going on.  But by kindergarten...

Yes, kids do need to learn to problem solve on their own and not be little tattle tales, but they also need some guidance in order to do that.  Never looking up from your book or your conversation at the play ground is probably not enough guidance.  Not having consistent conversations about how to treat friends and classmates is, again, not enough guidance.  I am no super mom, and Isaac is not perfect, but with a little effort we've managed to raise a mostly sweet kid.  Not a kid who goes up to other kids at recess and starts punching them for no reason at the age of five.  Five.  Get that through your head.  What is sixteen going to look like for that little boy or girl if this is how they interact with kids at the age of five?

I'll tell you.  He's going to look like the 18 year old who thought it was appropriate to put his hand on my leg and say sexual things to me as an elementary school kid just to make his friends laugh.  She's going to look like the high school girl who pulled my hair until my head almost bled just because I was fat and she assumed my parents made more money than hers.  He's going to look like the kid other parents don't want their teen to hang out with.

It's on us, friends.  It's on us.  The "boys will be boys" attitude doesn't sit well when you're the mom of a kid with special needs who's getting hit on the play ground several days a week.  Sits with me like oil and water.  Are you raising a bully?  You might be.  Pay attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment