Monday, July 22, 2013


When Bullying Rears Its Ugly Head Before The School Years

That moment, when you leave your child in the care of someone else, or with other kids, what is the one thing you fear when you walk away?

For me, its the fear that my child will not be accepted, either by his peers or the adults in charge. Last week I had some instances that happened where my four year old was playing with other kids and in the process was bullied, on three separate occasions. It broke my heart. The last straw was seeing my kid with bloody knees and thankfully in that instance it was handled appropriately by the other child's mom. But all too often the phrase, "boys will be boys", or this is just how boys act is thrown around and I'm not cool with that.

I think when you provide an excuse for the behavior, then you allow your child to act that way. So when you say "boys will be boys", and your child is a boy, he is simply acting the way you have labeled him. He is, what you say he is. Don't give your child an excuse to push other children around by labeling it "boy behavior". If I ever caught my child bullying another child, I would make him take responsibility for his behavior. He would have to apologize, and if the behavior continued, we'd have to leave immediately, and there would be some form of punishment to drive home the point that his behavior is not acceptable on any level. Making your child apologize for their actions makes them understand that what they have done is wrong, it makes them take responsibility. But when you apologize on behalf of your child, then you make an excuse for them, then you are encouraging the behavior, not halting it.

What upset me, is the first occasion when the two boys that were picking on J myster, were not asked to apologize. Instead the parents apologized to me for their kids behavior and then said, "well that's boys for ya." And part of me cringed when I heard that. There you go, you just excused your child's behavior and allowed him to do it again. But of course in that situation, I was just glad the other parents realized the behavior was bad and I hoped that in private, the matter would be addressed.

My parenting tactic, is making a child responsible for his actions as early as they are able to understand the behavior is unacceptable.

So for me, when I leave my child, I want him to make friends, feel accepted and I don't want to return to see my child all bloodied up. Have you had instances of bullying with your preschool aged child? I never realized that it could start before school. But I've always known that J myster might be the result of bullying due to his small stature. Last week my heart was broken when I saw my child crying and knew his feelings were hurt more than the physical pain he was feeling.

He's too young for this. I am not ready for this yet as a mom and I don't want to have to toughen up my son so early in life. I don't want his innocence taken away due to some kids that think its funny to hurt others. It starts with parents. Parents please don't allow your child to bully others. Teach your child that all people deserve respect no matter their size, stature, color, gender or ethnicity. Bullying starts with you. Will you allow it, or will you teach thru it?

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Photobucket Author: Heather Wife, Mother of Two Boys, Coffee Addict, Pinterest obsessed, an aspiring writer balancing every day life of raising a family and blogging about it. If you like what you just read, consider casting a one click vote ;)


LisaBrownDesign said...

Oh my gosh, my heart is just breaking for you right now. Just yesterday at the library, I saw a 3-year-old-ish boy shove a 8 month old baby to the ground. The baby started crying frantically, and the mom of the 3-year-old boy was nowhere to be seen. When she finally did show up, she asked if the boys had bumped into each other or something. I think it goes back to us as parents wanting to think our children are "good" - and viewing their actions in a way that fir our preconceived vision of them being "good". As for a fix? I'm not sure. Sadly, it might just be something he'll have to deal with. Heartbreaking, for sure. Actually, I think the best way to avoid bulling is to homeschool - not the main reason why we're doing it, but certainly an added benefit. Take care, and be sure to give that guy a few extra hugs.

TK said...

That is just so sad. Ans it's even worse when parents of the 'bully' don't see it or are in denial of it.

TK said...

Very sorry to hear about this, Heather. This is definitely one of my biggest concerns, and is kind of steering me to avoid preschool altogether! But I know that is not the answer. I wish parents were more aware of what their kids do.

Kera said...

Oh no :( I just can't believe that this happens at such a young age! Preschool-aged kids should not even know how to be mean to one another...unless sadly, they learn it at home or from TV. I hope this doesn't continue to happen to JJ, but I'm glad of your approach to helping him overcome it and learn from it. You're a good mama!

Heather said...

Me too, and I think like what Lisa said, parents don't want to think that their child could be capable of intentional meanness, but it has to be addressed, or you are saying its ok. I've often thought of homeschooling after I hear about horrible school shootings and violence at school. Its a scary world!

mail4rosey said...

My teen went through a period a couple of years ago where she was getting relentlessly picked on and it was not fun. Like you said, it was heartbreaking. I'm glad that you're helping spread the word that it's not okay, and sorry your little one's already been subject to such nonsense!

Heather said...

Thanks Kera. Thankfully this week of swim lessons, I haven't heard or seen anything to be concerned about. Hopefully its a thing of the past now, or will at least happen few and far between. Its so hard, you want to protect them from everything. But I also want my children to have the strength and know how to stand up for themselves. Hard things to teach to kids so little.

Kelly Marie said...

Absolutely, make no excuses and nip it in the bud early on. My daughter is turning seventeen this week and we've raised her that way. We are always getting praised for what a wonderful young lady she is.

What does the phrase "boys will be boys" really mean? Boys push other boys around so it's OK.??

I think the key is to show by example. The parents around you will catch on. ;) Good luck!

Heather said...

Thanks! I sure hope so!! My child has been told he's a sweetheart because I always teach respect, kindness and manners. Some kids just don't get taught that. Ugh...makes me sad for them.

MolleyMills said...

I'm sorry this happened to your son.Parents apologising for their children's transgressions is a cop out and I hate it. Teach your child right from wrong and follow through. I imagine a world where this will happen day. Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up

Heather said...

Thanks for having me other there and thanks for stopping by. I think there are a lot of parents out there that just simply don't know how to address this issue.

BohemianBabushka said...

So sorry your son had to go through this. I agree with your style 100% and unfortunately bullying isn't the only topic it would cover- think lying, cheating,stealing, which will be rearing their ugly heads soon enough. I think parents SHOULD apologize for not having taught their children better and then they should have their children apologize also.
What a fine line and either-way-you-lose predicament, that of showing children how to defend themselves physically and mentally. Truthfully though, don't we still deal with that as adults too?
Great subject, gracias for sharing. BB2U

Heather said...

Thanks Babushka! You are right it does apply to a lot of aspects in parenting. Essential we are growing adults and should teach them how to own their own behavior.

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