When I was growing up, there wasn't really too much talk about bullying, or bullies in general. Most kids knew who the mean kid was,
or who wasn't so nice to others, and for the most part avoided that person.
Maybe I grew up in a more protected environment then others, and possibly was just not surrounded by this type of behavior? However, my take on this topic was that is wasn't as bad as it seems to be now.
With this said, the increase in bullying in schools, on play grounds, in sports, on the internet, and in so many other areas of life has increased dramatically in the last 10 years, or since I was in school almost 20 years ago.
This is a very scary situation as it affects all of us.
My son came home from school 2 years ago and told me that two girls, who were 2 years older then him, told him that he was "fat, round and rolly polly". This one statement has negatively affected his self-esteem and he continues to think about this statement, although we have assured him that he is a very healthy active boy and that he looks amazing. We encouraged him to not listen to these negative comments, as they are not true. I do wish that I had of dealt with this differently when it happened, but I did not want to bring too much attention to the subject by the other parents. If I had of known how this would have affected my son in the long run, I most definitely would have dealt and helped him to deal with the situation better. This was a huge learning opportunity for me.
As a result, I take my children's concerns about things that are happening to them in their life very seriously now. I don't let the little things slide, because sometimes these little things aren't so little to a 7 year old.
Many things go on at school and on the playground that we as parents will never hear about. These comments or actions from others can fester in our children, if we do not take an active role in talking with them on a regular basis to see that everything in their 'world' is going well. Even then, your child may not share with you something that is bothering them. So, we must trust in our parenting skills thus far and hope that they have the tools to manage their emotions and actions, towards what they have seen, heard and/or been subjected to.
I am a grown adult, married with 3 children. On a regular basis I see bullying going on around me. One place that I see this is in the sports that my children play. This bullying can be done in the change room, however the coaches usually take action if it does, as soon as they find out. Sometimes it goes unseen by coaching staff. However, this bullying, like any sport can also be done amongst the parents. Some grown adults put down other children, other parents and coaches. This can be done face to face, verbally spoken out loud at a game or practice or by using the internet. I know how this feels as a parent, so I cannot imagine how this can feel when a young child is subjected to this type of behavior.
Interestingly enough, the ideas around bullying for an 8 year old are much the same as how you would deal with it when you are a grown adult. All bullies are the same, they work in the same ways to derive attention to themselves and to have others watch them. The peole who watch or see bullying are affected negatively as well. Bullying hurts everyone!
So to all the families, parents, and children out there who are subjected to bullying, there are many skills and ideas you can use and try, when dealing with bullying. In our class, Stranger Danger; Internet Safety & Bullying 101 we teach 8 - 12 year olds about who bullies are, how to deal with them and the things that they can do to be a better person, by not being a bully and by being an Upstander in society.
This course is recommended for young children who are growing, developing and learning at a fast pace. However, the concepts described and taught in this course can be applied to people of all ages.
To learn these amazing skills, sign up for one of our courses today, in a city near you.