March 29, 2011

Bullying

Bullying---what to do? I do not have a Phd. in child psych or anything like that. I am a parent, grandparent, former little league coach and a writer who used to be a construction worker in NYC. My credentials on the topic of bullying were earned in the “school of hard knocks” having learned from the old time teachers whose names were, experience & common sense, although it seems common sense has been forcibly retired and replaced by a no-sense guy called zero tolerance. I digress.

First of all, we are all unique. But my experience has taught me that the kids who wind up being bullied invariably feel they are “more different” than their peers and do not feel good about themselves. They hate their nose, their eyeglasses, their hair, maybe their parent’s car is “old” and they are embarrassed being seen in it. It starts there and the bully will sense it. Why are some kids easier targets for a bully than others? The first line of defense against the bullies of the world is a suit of armor called self worth and self respect. This comes from the parent(s). This is CRUCIAL. A child can and must be taught that being different is OK. When they begin their journey outside the home (which often times starts in a day care center) they may be ready to defend who they are. If they are not prepared they are easy prey to the bullies of the world who will sense it and attack. So parents, teach by word and deed. Help the needy, say HI to a homeless guy, visit a rehab center where kids who are “different” are being treated. The preparation for the battle all starts at home. If you suspect your child is having a problem with a bully, ask him/her straight out. Then voice your concerns with the school. Go on-line and access the plethora of info available. And—do not be afraid of using some good, old fashioned, common sense.