Definition of Bully:
A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people. (thefreedictionary.com)
verb: Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
I am the mother to two children ages 3 and 5. One of my children will be starting Kindergarten this year, and the other will soon be starting preschool. While you would think that bullying should be the furthest thing on my mind, according to a recent article I read, “the fastest growing group of students dealing with bullying are pre-schoolers and kindergartner’s.
I would have been surprised by what I read except for the fact that I have already heard from several of my friends on how their children began being bullied in kindergarten. Am I the only one that this frightens? I remember how kindergarten use to be a fun place to go and make new friends, perhaps gain some independence from mom/dad. Now instead, it’s a place where babies are bullying other babies.
I won’t be naive and think that bullying hasn’t always happened. As a matter of fact, I specifically remember several times in elementary school where I was called names and teased to the point of tears. However, bullying has gotten so much more out of control than ever before.
Statistics show that one out of four kids are bullied and that bullying takes place every 7 minutes in some child’s life. Is it your child being bullied? Is your child doing the bullying? That’s a tough question to ask yourself isn’t it?
As a parent I would like to think that I am doing everything I can to raise compassionate, loving, and caring children. One would think that is the goal for most parents. I would never want to think that my child “could” be the one on the playground making fun of another child because they simply “don’t fit in“. (Seriously, who determines that anyway?) I also hope on the otherhand, that I am never to blind to see that any child can have moments of bad judgement, even my own.
There are so many times I have heard people say that “kids are just being kids”. I am going to have to call BS on that. I agree that sometimes that is the case, but when 160,000 kids are staying home from school daily out of fear, that goes beyond kids being kids.
So where do we start as parents in keeping our children safe? How do we prepare them for what at one point and time in their life is probably going to happen to them? I wish I knew! For now, I am doing my best to remind them each and every day how special and loved they are. My hope is that when/if another child comes along and tries to tell them something differently, they will have the knowledge to walk away believing otherwise.
We have the ability to change the way a child sees themselves (even the bullies). Sometimes we as parents need to reach out to children we see who are clearly needing a kind word. It is surprising to me how much a small jesture of love can mean to a child who has that lacking in their life. Change begins with each of us and together we can make a difference for our children. Why not start today?
The movie Bully is currently showing in select theaters. It has recently earned a PG-13 rating instead of the previous no rating. If you have children, I highly recommend you taking them to see this movie.
It is a great way to open the lines of communication for talking about this very relevant topic. Check listings for Bully at Fandango.com.