Google+ Authentic Parenting: Where do Kids Learn to Bully?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Where do Kids Learn to Bully?

Bullying has become a serious problem in our society. Schools try applying stricter and stricter rules, but to no avail.
Every school going child has been on one side or another of bullying.

But where does this behavior come from?

It was long believed that only the socially marginalised would become bullies, but that has time and again proven to be a faulty theory.

My children do not go to school, so you'd think they are spared these encounters. All of the kids on the plantation are either homeschooled or unschooled. Yet when a little 4 year old friend came to play with my daughter, I overheard her teasing my daughter.
Later on, the same girl was heard to mock a friend of mine, telling her that she ought to be ashamed of her fat belly in that bathing suit and people would ridicule her.

Now where does a four year old pick this up if not at school?

The parents… Indeed, parents are the greatest model in bullying kids ever get, and mostly the subject is the kid itself. What else is the child to do then to repeat the behaviour he sees in his parents.

When at the four year old's home, both girls were in the kiddie pool and the father came out: "Look how good A. can swim! You can't do that, you ought to learn", he continued in a nagging chanting way "I. can't swim, I, can't swim, look, she is drowning". The little girl was discernibly sad, but it was also very clear that this was normal game in her family.

If we want our children to be empathic towards others, it is pertinent that we show empathy towards them in all situations. If we want them to use diplomacy instead of force, then we must model this in our parenting. We have a strong position as a parent, one we are often not aware of. Our children learn from how we act, and first from how we act onto them.
Do not engage in mocking or teasing behaviour towards your child, it is in no way fun to tease a small child. And if you catch yourself in the act, stop and tell your child you were wrong and are sorry.

photo credit: trix0r via photopin cc



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