It happens all the time; kids teasing or tormenting other kids. Yet there comes a point when it escalates.
You notice your child, usually happy, eager to learn, suddenly not wanting to go to school. They won’t say why, or if they do tell you, you aren’t sure how to react. As a parent you want to protect your child; yet you can’t go to school with them every day. I know you can ‘home-school’ but honestly how many working parents have that kind of time?
When the bullying begins to interfere with learning, or when the victim reaches a breaking point, then what? We can’t fight their battles for them. What if your child has had enough and actually fights back? Unfortunately they are the ones who usually get caught. The bully gets off with no punishment. Is it fair? No. Does it happen often? Yes.
When it escalates to violence then & only then is it taken seriously. There has been enough violence in our schools, too many kids killing each other or themselves. Many schools have a “no bully” policy in place. My child’s school does. Yet even with that in place bullies happen. The bullies at S____ School finally drove my child to contemplate suicide! I did what any mom would do: I took action. I placed a call, got my kid the help needed. The problems at school haven’t gone away, but the staff are very aware of it.
On the other hand, what about the parents of the bully? In many instances the parents don’t see their child’s “bad” behavior or they make light of it. They use the old “I got teased till I just beat the kid up.” or” “Well maybe if the kid weren’t such a “loser’ “nerd” or whatever.” Names DO hurt. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” isn’t always true. Words do hurt, more so than any physical hit. At this stage of life our kids are just learning how to navigate through life. We as adults already know how to deal with people. We just need to help them learn to do that as well.
If your child is being bullied, listen to them; try to enlist the aid of the administration at school. If they talk about hurting themselves or others: Run don’t walk to a phone, call someone who can handle these things. If your child IS the bully you as a parent have a tougher job. You can’t just blow it off, or worse encourage it. You need to put an end to it. Sadly a majority of bullies are being taught how to be mean by example: their own parents or caregivers! If you see something going on that isn’t “right” speak up. Violence begets violence. As adults we are our children’s 1st teachers. What we do they copy. Don’t let your child down. Teach them the right way. Teach them to be a friend to others, not the cause of another persons pain.