A girl with a snotty tone is standing in front of me in line to a haunted hayride. She says snarky things to her friends – clearly a queen bee. She is mean in that cruel, covert, and subtle way. It’s all about the tone and how you look at the person as if the “mean girl” is gauging how mean to be while the victim prays for mercy. The mean girl’s mother is with her and does not even seem to notice, much less care to reprimand her. I’m intrigued. We can’t control everything our kids do, but we can do things to help the bullied children. Often, these kids are left out and struggling right before our eyes, and many parents are not aware of this.
People are having a lot of conversation about the bullying epidemic on social media and coffee shops these days. On the other hand, many parents are washing their hands of the problem, as if to say, “I see it going on around me, but it’s not happening in my house”. Please understand, I am not condemning parents. I am simply asking that we all do our part and try to be more aware. Mentally sign a manifesto to care about what is happening within our control. Talk to your kids about the proper way to treat people, and furthermore, model that behavior. Sit with the mom who pleases you less or maybe is even a bit boring or strange; give her a chance and you might be surprised what you learn about her. It is important we all do this, because our kids are watching.
Some things to think about:
Invite everyone or no one
Don’t send paper invitations to school
Talk to your child about who they interact with to better understand who might expect an invitation
Call out kids on mean behavior
Set an example of being nice to people in front of your kids – they are watching
Ask your child to be sensitive to other people’s feelings and show them what it looks like to be kind to someone
Ask your child what he or she may be thinking when someone is harsh or makes fun of them. Expect your child to model a kind tone even with kids they don’t like
We tend to worry more about academics and sports these days, but developing well-rounded, good human beings is actually one of our most important jobs as parents.