My Child Would Never...
Sound familiar? I am sure you know parents who say this frequently. Most likely, you've said it yourself at one time or another.
Please know this, as soon as the thought enters your mind, you have already cursed yourself. Think about what it is you are claiming your child would never do. Think back to your childhood. Would you have done it? If there is even the slightest chance, then I guarantee you are going to eat your words.
This week, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on Bullying. Personally, I am so sick of the term bullying. I believe most people hear the term bully and a stereotypical image comes to mind, much like: Nelson from the Simpsons. The kid who loves to beat up anyone and everyone just for fun, whose parents are basically abusive and/or absent.
If only it were that easy to spot.
Unfortunately (and this is why I hate the term "bully") more often than not, the tormentor looks and acts nothing like our vision of a bully. Often times, its the "Girl Next Door" or the "All-American Athlete". It's the student the teachers and parents just love, think is a great role model and encourage their children to hang out with. I honestly debated about whether or not to post anything on this topic, but I just couldn't resist. Far too many parents are raising kids who fall into this category and have no idea.
If being a parent has taught me anything, it is that love truly is blind.
Jim Bisenius conducted this seminar and he provided an overview of the social hierarchy of a classroom which I have tried to interpret here:
Basically, in every class (let's say of 25 students) you have 1-2 kids who all the students just naturally want to be around. They are typically very nice, caring people and they tend to be naive.
Then you may have 1-2 students who do not fit in socially. They tend to be more shy, sensitive, may have a lower self-esteem and are an easy target.
There is always a sneaky bully or two. These are students who crave popularity and gain it by putting down others and using fear as a way to keep everyone (except the naturally popular student) in line. The better they are at it, the less likely they are to get caught. Their parents have no idea they are this manipulative (insert, "My child would never" here).
90-95% of the classroom is everyone else. Kids who are just trying to fit in and keep the target off themselves. They may join in the tormenting of others to keep on the good side of the sneaky bully or they may just sit back and watch it happen, glad that the spot light is not on them. Every so often the sneaky bully may make them a victim to induce fear and keep control.
I know, it's not pretty but I suppose it evolves from survival of the fittest. Of course, I am momma, hear me roar and hell have no furry...
So, for all those parents who are visually impaired, here is a check list you can use to see if your child just might act differently in front of their peers than they do around you and other adults.
- Do you console your child NIGHTLY, often telling them they are not what the other students in the class say they are, to ignore them and that they do have good friends they should stick close to?
No? Then I can assure you, your child is not the class target.
- Every so often (monthly-perhaps) do you have to console your child, telling them they are not what the other students in the class say they are, to ignore them and that they do have good friends they should stick close to?
No? Then they are not part of everyone else.
- Does your child come home every once in awhile upset about how students in the class are treating each other and they wish everyone could just get along?
No? Then they are not the naturally popular student.
If you have answered no to the 3 above questions, then I hope I have given you something to think about. The good news is, your child is not doomed to be a bully forever. There is help out there and with some counseling your child can learn to have true friendships, not ones based on fear.