Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Parenting Moment: Bullying

Time to pull out the "Mama" part of Frugal Teacher Mama. Last week, my son was upset when getting ready for school. He said that boys were making fun of him, calling him a girl because of his hair. His hair wasn't long, but it was longer than most of the boys in his class. It grows out to cute little curls and I loved it. 

Those curls are gone. He asked if we'd cut his hair and we did. It was his choice, but I can't help but feel that he chose not to get bullied rather than what he wanted his hair to look like.

It's really frustrating. In this case (and others) it's so easy to blame the kids or act like these kids are just mean, but with bullying being the focal point of many discussions lately, I feel like it shows there's an underlying problem. It's more than "kids being kids" because these little moments add up, the bullying gets more intense, and children don't feel safe in their own schools.

When I tried to think of why this is, I was reminded of the fable I'm reading this week with a third grade class, The Bad Kangaroo. Spoiler Alert: the lesson is that Children will behave like their parents. I think we could sub in "grandparents," "uncles/aunts," "teachers," etc. I don't mean to cast the entire blame on parents, we're raising kids the best that we can, but it would be unfair to expect children to be able to change and quit bullying without expecting the same from the adult role models in their lives. 

Through this I have looked back on my own behavior. I want to give my kids the best example I can be and that means recognizing when I'm being a bully to others. It also means showing them when to stand up for what I believe in or who I am.

I'm sure this isn't the last time this issue will come up in my household. I'm worried that the kids who taunted him will find new ammunition and am really bothered that he changed his appearance to fly under the radar. I really hope that all these efforts to end bullying are successful, but I think that in order to do so we need to focus on the examples the children see rather than expect them to change on their own.  

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