Avoid Ruffling Feathers: How to deal with bullies
Our kiddos have made lots of friends over the summer. Together with their new friends, they raced down the street on their bikes, found hiding places in the neighborhood, and even formed clubs. Ah, the joys of childhood summer-time fun.
Their lives an only child close by. This kid is the same age as my twins, but is twice their size. Ray and I saw him come after Noah with a stick, push Josh off his bike in the street, pound on Zach’s back with fisted hands, flip my daughter the bird, and call my kiddos much worse than anything I choose to post here, all in a matter of days. My children were being accused of ganging up on this kid and I’ve been asked to keep my kids away from him. No joke.
I know that my kids aren’t perfect. In fact, I am aware that my kids certainly know how to antagonize others and often they egg each other on. While this is not okay and we are dealing with it, the name calling and physical bullying is inexcusable.
I wish I could say only the neighbor kids are at risk of being labeled bullies, but the parents of these mean kids are calling my kids all kinds of things, and instigating this behavior in their kids as they sit by and laugh. It certainly is true that bullies breed bullies.
While it is difficult to do, my kiddos have always been taught to treat others the way they want to be treated, and not to antagonize others. Sometimes there is just nothing the good kids can do to prevent the bullies from picking on them, but as parents we need to make sure that our kids don’t let the mean kids (or their parents) ruffle their feathers to the point that they lash out or fight back. Turning the other cheek may just mean walking away and not taking the name-calling to heart.
We have explained to our kiddos that they don’t need to be friends with the mean kids, but have asked them to continue to show them kindness. Bullies most often lash out when they feel insecure or left out. Even though it’s hard to do, we’ve asked them to try not to get angry or upset and not to give the mean kids reason to be mean or call them names. When our kiddos are called names, however, we’ve asked them to ignore the name calling and not reciprocate. To avoid being bullied, our kiddos have been instructed not to leave anyone out intentionally or speak ill of them. And, of course, they are not to gloat or boast about anything.
Have you and your kiddos had to deal with bullies? How did you handle the situation?