The media is full of stories of bullies and bullying lately. I know that when I send my children off into the world, it's my fervent wish that the world will treat them well. Sadly, that's not always the case.
I have had mixed feelings about some of the public response regarding the responsibilities of schools. There are bullying situations that need the intervention of adults and, I agree, schools and teachers do indeed have a responsibility to keep children safe. However, I strongly believe that the primary responsibility for our children's safety begins at home.
I need to be the first person to teach my children how to treat others. I need to recognize that my attitudes and behavior will be a stronger teacher than my words, and treat others the way I expect my children to treat others. I need to talk to them every day about how their words and behavior affect other people. By calling attention to times they treat people with kindness and respect, I can reinforce that kind of behavior. I need to know who my children's friends are and know their parents. My children need to be supervised.
I can also help my children handle teasing. I often refer to Love & Logic strategies in parenting and they have several resources that deal with teasing and bullying at different ages. That link will take you to a great L & L article about teasing. I talk with my kids about things they can say and responses to bullying or teasing situations. We practice so that when they need the skill, they know what to do. This also helps them stand up for other kids. I know there are extreme situations that require adult help and I am not talking about those. There are so many opportunities for my kids to stand up for themselves with a cool look or a quick comeback...and all of these will lessen the chances of a more extreme situation.
Yes, I want the world to handle my children with kid gloves. I want them to be super stars where ever they go and I want everyone to recognize their brilliance and wonderfulness! That's not the world we live in though, and there are so many things I can do at home to prepare my kids for the real world...and then the real world may appreciate them more.