Monday, December 21, 2009

Toughness is not being a bully

Dr Phil is talking about bullying today. One of the girls he's talking with who has been bullied lives in New Mexico. When *I* lived in NM I was bullied constantly. Being picked on, insulted and made fun of shaped who I am. I have a real hate-on in my heart for bullying. I have talked at length with Nathan about bullying already. For one, I have taught him that there are two things in this world you are to be to others NO MATTER WHAT. You are to always be kind and always be polite. I think just instilling those two qualities can go a long way into preventing bullying. I have also discussed with Nathan that no one is to ever hurt him and if anyone hurts him or hurts his feelings, he should tell me so that I can fix it. I've reiterated so many times that protecting him and caring for him is my job, that sometimes he tells me "I'm totally safe, my mama makes sure of that".

But, and I think this is the important part, I've also talked at length with him about what to do if he sees OTHERS being bullied. You see I don't think it's enough to teach kids what to do if they're being bullied or how cruel it is to be a bully (and how if your mama catches you being a bully, she's likely goin to put you in the oven and roast you). I think if we can start teaching kids how to handle the situation when their peers are being bullied, it teaches a couple of important lessons. For one it teaches them to be conscious of other people's feelings. Secondly, it gives them a plan of action for what to do in that situation. They go into it not wondering what the proper thing to do is. We all learned in younger years that role-playing what to do can be helpful in peer pressure situations. Finally, having a plan of attack in a situation like that makes it far less likely that your child will fall into bullying as just kind of a "well I didn't know what else to do" type of thing.

"When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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