It’s a common problem lately. It’s on the news, the radio, written about on blogs. And yet, it’s still a major problem.
You would think that we would have some time before this becomes a problem in our house. After all, our children are 4 and 2….not exactly ages that invite bullies. Not to mention the fact that we home school Paige. So interactions are limited.
But we recently had a situation that has me still shaking my head.
After Paige has gymnastics class at our local YMCA, I usually tend to let her play with the other children in the “family” gym. You’re not supposed to have children over 6 in there, but it was spring break for many of the local schools, so the rules were being bent. No biggie. I was annoyed by the older boys throwing the blocks at the younger kids, but it wasn’t a huge issue.
Paige found a group of girls and went up to play with them. I sat on the bench…messing around on the iPad (free time! yay!), but was still keeping an eye out for her. Not more than 10 minutes later, she comes up to me crying. Apparently, these girls were being mean to her. My normal response is typically along the lines of “I can’t fight your battles, but here is something you can say to them”.
So I sent her back and started monitoring the situation closer. What I saw was horrible behavior out of these girls. They flat out told her that they didn’t have to listen to her when she requested that they stop what they were doing and then ramped up the intimidating actions. I waited. Watched my child crumple into a sobbing mess as the girls continued. I held my breath, hoping that a parent of one of these children would step up.
No one did.
So I did. I was polite. Asked them to please use nice words and nice actions because how they were acting was really upsetting Paige. I wasn’t mean, they needed to learn that how they treat other girls really does matter.
I figured it was a teaching experience for all. And as I walked back to where my stuff was, one of the girl’s parents called out and asked if they were being mean. I responded that they were, but I had taken care of it and the girls would work it out. I even smiled!
And then I heard them talking. The looks in my direction confirmed that they were talking about my child.
“What’s she going to do when she goes to school?”
MY child needs to learn how to deal with bullying? At 4?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
Since when do the bullied have to be the ones to “deal with it”. When are the bullies just shrugged off?
Are we, as parents, really failing our children in this regard?
I agree that my child does need to learn to walk away from the situation or learn how to deal with a bully…but why are you not placing the blame on your child who was tormenting my child? When a group of 5 or 6 children gang up on 1, there is a VERY large chance that the 1 child is not the issue.
I wasn’t upset until the parents started defending the actions of their children. And then that made me incredibly angry. I tweeted the words that I just couldn’t say, cried tears on the way home, spent the day absolutely aghast that I actually witnessed what I had.
Parents, putting the blame on the bullied and not the bullies.
Come on people.
We can do better and our kids deserve it.
No parent wants to be that parent, but you need to be. You need to be a parent, not a friend. Teach your children. After all, they learn by example. If you push off their actions onto another, you are letting them be the bullies.
“Mommy? Can we go now? I’m not having any fun”