Please note : this is not an advice article. Everything written comes from my own personal knowledge, thoughts and experiences.
When it comes to children, we all know they kinda tell it how it is. No holding back on the truth of things. They say exactly what they are thinking (especially the younger kids) without a second thought. But as kids get older they learn what you say out loud and what you keep to yourself, something parents and care givers usually teach or at least should be teaching.
As much as we (well, most of us) teach our kids to be honest, to be polite, to be respectful…. there is still things that seem to get forgotten about. Ask yourself, really ask yourself, are you teaching your kids about being kind to others even if they don’t like someone, or if someone looks different, has a disbility, or may be less fortunate than you? Really… Are you? Now think about what sort of things you say… Are you, yourself, making comments (or even jokes) about people’s weight, colour, disability and even sexuality? Hey, we’ve all done it at some point, don’t for a second act like you haven’t…. mostly just as a little joke, not intentionally trying to be an awful person but as adults we really do need to be mindful of what we say in front of children. As the saying goes “monkey see, monkey do”.
I won’t sit here and say my kids are perfect little sweethearts, but I will 100% say that I openly talk to my kids about bullying, racism, body shamming, gender and sexuality. No matter what, I have always taught my kids to be kind to others, even if they are not fond of someone for whatever reason…. be kind no matter what colour their skin is, if they have a disability (physical or mental), if they identify as a certain gender or what their sexuality is, even their body shape or size. There is absolutely no reason to be nasty to anyone just because. Bullying and being a complete a-hole is a choice.
I am utterly shocked that bullying is still so bad, especially with so many schools claiming they have a zero tolerance to bullying. Although, this world is a cruel place and people are becoming more and more arrogant and selfish, honestly why am I shocked. Yes, social media has a huge part to play in a lot of the bullying. They are the gutless wonders that hide behind a keyboard. Sitting at your computer and bullying someone is pretty petty to be honest. But there is still so much bullying going on all day everyday in schools directly to another kids face. Some kids can’t even walk from class to class without being harassed. Many of my friends and clients tell me stories of incidents involving their kids being badly picked on, bullied and even getting into fights.
Seriously though these behaviours must be being learnt in the home. In some homes at least and then those kids are projecting it onto their friendship group and the end result being a bunch of nasty bullies. At what point does a child go from saying things out of pure innocence and honesty to becoming just plain down right mean. Thinking that being nasty to another person is ok. Kids making other kids lives hell. And all for what…. Does it make them feel good to make someone else feel so crap. Do you think it makes you ‘cool’ or popular because you are a nasty so and so. The worst thing is that adults can be just as bad. Far out some of the school mum’s are pure evil.
Ladies Bitches, we left high school 10+ years ago, get a life.
Lately I’m hearing that body shamming is a big deal (no pun intended). What the frigging heck! Young kids calling class mates ‘fat’. Being a huge advocate for body positivity, confidence and inclusivity this really makes my blood boil. What the bleeping bleep are parents saying in front of their kids for them to think body shamming is ok. Listen up people, body shamming is not ok at any age. Heck, bullying is not ok at any age!!!!
With the body positive movement becoming bigger and bigger how on earth are kids even picking up on calling anyone ‘fat’. Every single person in this world is unique and different. All of us are different shapes and sizes…. even if we all did the same exercises and ate the same food, we would still be different shapes and sizes. It’s called genetics. Look it up.
Then there is the whole bullying kids about their sexuality, calling other kids gay, as if it’s such an awful thing to be gay. Like seriously, it’s 2020, are we still not past this being so taboo. Grow the feck up people. Who gives a flying F if you like men, women or trees. Love who you want to love.
I’m so beyond fired up over this. Yes, bullying will happen no matter what we do but it needs to be stopped the second it starts. Schools need to stick to their ‘zero tolerance’ pledge and actually sort these bullies out immediately. I’ve heard from friends of mine that their kids school have some kids on sucide watch at school due to such severe bullying. Now that is so messed up. But it’s reality, kids are killing themselves due to bullying. That’s right, this is F*%KING serious!
I honestly don’t have the answers to resolving this but we can all work together to educate our children about bullying. Speak to your kids openly about all topics. Let them express their opinions, allow them to speak honestly to you. Talk about issues of racism, body shamming, sexuality. Having these discussions could help prevent a lot of nasty behaviour in the future.
Parents (and care givers) open your gosh darn eyes and ears. If another parent or even a teacher approaches you about your child possibly participating in any kind of bullying for feck sakes listen. Don’t get your back up and go straight on the defense. Act like an adult and take on board what is being said and then go and speak to your child about the issue. Teachers, you need to listen too and take bullying claims seriously. We know a lot of you are doing an amazing job, praise be, and we know it’s not an easy job. Unfortunately there are a lot of teachers who just don’t care or can be bullies too. Yep, it happens.
I had an issue with a parent about 4 years ago now. I asked this mother if I could speak to her about a problem our 2 kids were having. This other kid wouldn’t allow my son to play with her or the other girls (one being his best friend at the time) because he was a boy. No other reason than the fact he has a penis, basically. I was very polite. Even down played just how much my son was upset over it because I didn’t want to upset this mother. I thought the conversation went well…. nope, she then went straight to my friend and claimed I had been rather nasty to her and her daughter which then caused me to become pretty peeved off and then I got my back up, feeling as if I needed to then defend myself. Why on earth did I even try to be nice, why did I down play my son’s feelings. I was livid. Should of just punched her in the face right there and then for pulling that kind of f*%kery. But that’s not being a good role model for my kiddies is it just.
Moral of the story…. attempt to be nice and discuss with other parents and if they don’t want to listen then go directly to the school. If they don’t listen then shoot, I don’t know. Teach your kid how to fight…. I don’t know. Parents just darn well listen and calmly between you attempt to sort things out.
Were you bullied in school? Or were you the bully? If you could go back and redo school, would you behave differently? If I’m to be really honest, I dare say I was nasty and hurt someone during my time at school. I know I saw some awful stuff done to others that I didn’t stop. I wish I could go back and change it but I can’t. All I can do now is talk to my own kids and teach them to be kind human beings.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” – Mark Twain
Please!!! For the love of all things holy and not, talk to your children regularly. Not only about any bullying issues but also check in on them. How are they doing, are they having any issues at school, are their friends going ok. Let them know they can talk to you. Let them know they can openly and safely speak about anything. Also, if you suspect your kid could be the bully then nip it in the butt right then. We can’t change the world over night but we can sure as heck start chipping away at it. It cost nothing to be kind and teaching your kids that, could save another child from living out a torturous nightmare at school, that could potentially have long last effects continuing into adulthood.
Now, go talk to your kids.