What to do with bullies

We spend a lot of time talking about bullying. Our kids are just get to the age in school when that becomes a concern, and it’s hard to know what to watch for. When do we defend and when do we correct?

What’s startling to me is how many adult bullies I run into in a given week. For some reason, we allow people to be nasty. Whether it’s a power dynamic, someone being too nice, or social strata, somehow these adults feel it’s ok to insult, yell at, or attack others. And I have to wonder if the rise in kids’ bullying correlates to a higher tolerance of that behavior in parents.

So we’re working on our language, and our modeling. We’re talking about what’s “kids being kids” and what’s inappropriate and should be reported. And we’re telling them that they should ALWAYS come to us if they’re hurt and not sure what to do next. One of the kids said, “but you’re not at school!” I will admit; I got the big eyes.

We will be anywhere and everywhere you need us to be. We can be at school in 10 minutes at any time. But even when we’re not there, we can work with your teachers and principals to help you. We have always, always got your back.

It’s hard to know what’s typical or not, but the look I saw this morning made me really mad. So as tough as parenting little kids is in terms of keeping them safe, I think moving into the next era is truly going to be tougher. Teaching our kids to stand up for themselves, be kind to others, speak respectfully to everyone, and know when to get help is a tall order!

But learning that still helps us as adults. I’ve had some interactions in the last week that have reminded me not everyone can be civil. And I’ve had to remember that sometimes it’s just not about me. That bad attitude may be tied to a different scenario altogether. And I – we – need to practice what we preach. Just a quick reminder that kids’ problems feel just as big and awful as adult problems, and that sometimes everyone needs a cuddle and a reminder that they’re not alone.