Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bullying: Questions for each family

 Bullying is not a new issue that children (and adults) face. The definition of bullying may not be universal, but often school bullies are what come to mind first. But, today we have to deal with cyber bullying, workplace bullying, emotional bullying, sexual bullying, and bullying at home (though some may disagree, I think parents can be bullies to their children). Basically, bullying is common.

Since many first think of bullying as something that happens at school, Homeschoolers may not face external bullies, but this Psychology Today blog is an interesting take on how some parents "pull" their kids from school to escape bullying. But, is pulling a child away the same as not enrolling your child in such schools in the first place the same thing?
Do our children "need" to be exposed to bullies and unfriendly people in the first place? Can they learn coping techniques without facing bullying?

I'm not sure that there are many people who choose to homeschool in the first place (as in, from pre-k, etc) to avoid bullying by other kids, but perhaps there are those who choose to homeschool to avoid bullying by teachers.

So let's take a general definition of bully: a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

So if an adult were to say, act forcefully when they try to manipulate a child into listening, would that be considered bullying? What if they added into it threats of taking away priveledges or even paddling (legal in some states of the US and common in other countries around the world). How about if that over bearing person were to say, point fingers in the face of a child and speak threateningly that if that child didn't finish doing their task, they may just have to throw them out of the room?

Sound like your school?

Sound like your home?

What are we teaching our children when we put them into these situations from early on? Even the most loving, equal footing, cooperative living home can have instances of bullying. Are we purposefully domineering? Are we exposing our children to violence via cartoons, the news, movies or computers? Are we laughing when someone is tripped by someone else? Are we teaching that that behavior is acceptable? Are we asking our kids how that tripped character might feel?

Who is in control at your house? Do you have one person who makes all the decisions? Is it democratic?

These types of questions, can help us all see that bullies aren't just the kids who make spit balls in the back of the third grade classroom. It was learned somewhere, and if we teach our kids to do it, take it, or just stand by, we perpetuate the problem.


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