- Parenting Hub
- Category Advice Column, Child, Health, Tween & Teen Advice
I am not surprised, when adults and the media go on and on about futile attempts at stopping the increase of bullying. Everyone is jumping on the wagon, trying to come up with ways of ending it. Clever people are involved, and meetings with intelligent people are held. The simple truth is, that it is easy to stop the bullying. All we need to do is stop it within ourselves, the adult population.
It must be human nature to always want to blame outside influences, and to fix other people or things. The reality is the amount of forcefulness we use within our own environments, influences our entire lives, as well as the lives of our kids. This might hit home, but if we are honestly working for answers, we should dare to inspect all angles.
When angry or upset we roughly grab a baby or child. Our tone is harsher when we have reached our limit in patience. Our voice is louder. The harsh loud voice is intimidating to a young child. The intensity of a grab of the arm tells the child who is mightier. Our screams, or yelling in their faces, or even close in proximity, tells a child be quiet, or else. The parent likely does not have to resort to anything further, because believe it or not, their control has already been enforced.
What has the child learned? They have learned FEAR. I accept the fact that we all get angry and perhaps lose our patience. Crossing the line is where it is wrong. If we do cross that line it is important to apologise quickly, explain how we erred and ask for forgiveness and talk it out. The less aggressive tactics we use the better. Many kids silently sit on buses, or other public places. Perhaps some are quiet out of fear of retaliation, from their parents or peers who are bullies.
Respect out of fear is equivalent to no respect. Respect cannot be forced. If respect is forced, at some point in time, when the child is big enough, you will be challenged. Disciplining with care, attention, and love is harder, but the learning remains strong. The child begins to judge for themselves, the amount of time required to wait, or the days or minutes necessary. They learn self-control.
Some parents ridicule kids who don’t always have the stamina. Whining, overtired, or timid children, are afraid to challenge at times, out of fear of the parents. Some parents hate to observe a nervous child which sometimes they have created. Unless we look at honesty, we will fix an area that does not contain the wound.
We shouldn’t have to sugar coat truth. We are big enough to face it and remedy it. If we are honest, the answers come swiftly, and solutions to our problems are found. Rough handling or forceful talking to children is demeaning. It defeats them and causes anxiety issues, as well as insecurity dilemmas. In order to gain back some semblance of power, kids bully other kids.
The strange thing is we don’t see how many times in the course of a day, we bully other adults. Even in conferences people speak over others, interrupt them, or speak out of turn. The people overseeing the conference tend to overlook the more dominant contenders. They have no problem telling the weaker individuals to remain silent and wait. Adults cut people off in traffic, steal parking spaces, race to the front of a line, pretending they didn’t know where the beginning of the line was. People grab for the last item, push their way through a crowd, use carriages or other devices to bully others out of their way.
People yell demand, or speak gruffly, so as to be taken first. Everyone around them backs off due to their forceful nature. We never stop to look at this as bullying. Intimidating those working in stores, or offices, or even when talking on a phone, is harassing or bullying others. When we scream at store clerks, or yell at teachers because we don’t like hearing what they have to say, we are pushing others around. People yell at doctors, lawyers or anyone else providing a service. The power struggle starts, if a disagreement ensues. No one negotiates or questions to understand, any point of view, other than their own. It amounts to blaming the speaker when we don’t like the answers.
Parents all want the supposed “best” teacher but someone must take the left overs. Parents want special schools but some kids are left behind. Let’s face it, the squeaky wheel has always gotten the attention, and so it is true with the bullying parent. We just hate to call it bullying, when we want to win our way. Those parents who are more aware of choice openings, or who speak up in advance of an announcement, are rewarded with the prize. Those who politely follow the guidelines are left at the start.
We all want instant service and we expect it from our kids. Children are not machines. Have you visited a sports game where kids are playing? Parents yell at coaches, yell at the other team parents, and scream at the refs. Nobody holds back anymore. So why do we think our kids will refrain from hurting other kids who are in their way? If we show no patience, why would we expect to see our kids act in a different manner? Our problem is not to find answers about why kids bully. Our dilemma is to find solutions for adult bullying. If we stop it in ourselves, we won’t see it in our kids. Children are impressionable, that is the simplest truth you will get.
Some of the most educated people are bullies. They feel above others with their degrees and ideas. One is not allowed to enter their realm, or offer advice, to those who know everything already. The air about them keeps others in their place and almost afraid to speak up. We are so totally surrounded by bullies that we can’t even recognise it anymore. It has become part of the culture.
We are so book learned yet lacking in common sense and empathy. Common sense should tell us that what we sow, we reap, what we teach is what we will see transpiring, and what we model, will be observed in our children. Unless we make a drastic effort to change our own aggressive actions, and teach our children the time and place to be aggressive, we will be aiding in the creation of a bully. We have to notice and admit it in ourselves before we will solve anything.